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Ed here: Interesting disagreement about the state of publishing and how to improve its fortunes for all concerned. First the piece from Publisher's Weekly then a response from writer J.A. Konrath
Agents Weigh the Growth Of Alternate Publishing Options
By Rachel Deahl
May 24, 2010
In a week that saw Barnes & Noble announce a new selfpublishing unit, one small deal that had the publishing industry paying attention was J.A. Konrath's decision to do his next book, Shaken, with Amazon's publishing arm, AmazonEncore. Reports quickly surfaced that Konrath would be making a roughly 70% return on the list price of his forthcoming e-book— $2.10 off a $2.99 Kindle edition. While a rep from Amazon confirmed that royalty does not apply to Konrath's deal with AmazonEncore, the deal still had some in the industry saying the move signaled a "game changer" for corporate publishing. Since Konrath is presumably getting a high digital royalty rate on Shaken, many wondered whether the big six should be quaking in their proverbial New York City boots.
Konrath, a midlist crime novelist whose series featuring detective Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels has been published by Hyperion in paperback for years, is an active self-promoter who's repeatedly spoken of the financial success he's had self-publishing his backlist as Kindle editions.
One thing that made the Konrath deal, in some peoples' eyes, less of a groundbreaking moment was that none of the major New York houses were interested in his new book. A look at Konrath's sales numbers shows a steady decline in his print sales. According to Nielsen BookScan, the first book in the Jack Daniels series, Whiskey Sour (2005), sold 32,000 copies, while the latest, Cherry Bomb (2009), has sold 4,000 copies. So Konrath essentially took a book no one wanted and instead of fully self-publishing it, signed with Amazon-Encore, which will bring the book out in paperback a year after the Kindle release this summer and at the very least e-mail all those who downloaded his last book.
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------------------J.A. KONRATH RESPONDS
Publishers Weekly Epic Fail
Publishers Weekly has done some terrific reviews of my books over the years. But they just did a relatively unflattering article about me that misses a few key points.
You can read it HERE.
Welcome back! That article certainly makes me seem like a loser, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, PW's version of the truth is lacking in many areas. Let's shed some light on those areas.
My six Jack Daniels books have earned US royalties in excess of $200,000. They are all still in print, some in multiple printings.
The first three have more than earned out their advance of $110,000. The second three should should earn out their advance of $125,000, but all the the books haven't been released yet. CHERRY BOMB, my last book in the contract, is not coming out in paperback until June.
The hardcover of Cherry Bomb did sell well enough to go into a second printing. The hardcover release was also mistakenly messed up--one of the major bookstore chains didn't get copies in their stores until more than two weeks after the publication date. There was a demand for Cherry Bomb that was unfortunately not met.
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