My take on PW and the J.A. Konrath situation. The content in question can be found by clicking here.
I consider myself to be a friend of Konrath’s. Not a close friend, probably if you ask him, but more than just a passing nod situation. Konrath and I have had some excellent conversations on the industry and a few other things. That said, I have a few comments I would like to interject into the ramblings of PW. These comments and opinions are my own and no one else has to agree with them or even care, but I explain my connection to Joe (J.A.) Konrath so people won’t think I am just talking out of my ass.
“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.”
Why should those companies even care? They have chosen their cash cows and sink all of their money into them, leaving the rest of the mid-list authors to fend for themselves. Being published by one of these houses is not nearly as beneficial as it used to be. Still so many base their entire careers on just that.
“Konrath, a midlist crime novelist … an active self-promoter who’s repeatedly spoken of the financial success he’s had self-publishing his backlist as Kindle editions.”
And God bless him. Konrath has offered more solid advice and education to the masses than probably any other person or entity to date. He is open, honest, and educated. He doesn’t spew garbage, he goes out, does the work, and then shares what he has learned, be it good or bad.
“A look at Konrath’s sales numbers shows a steady decline in his print sales.”
Um, did you all miss the steady decline in almost everyone’s print sales? Books are getting too expensive, it is getting more difficult for people to get to stores, and when they do the customer service offered in the majority of bookstores is worse than atrocious. Konrath has offered readers a better way to get his books and it is working. His sales have not declined, just his print sales, and this is bad why?
“So Konrath essentially took a book no one wanted and instead of fully self-publishing it, signed with Amazon-Encore…”
Okay, lets’ get this right. Konrath found an alternative publishing method to publish a book that none of the big six were willing to take a chance on. To say no one wanted it is totally inaccurate. There are thousands of readers/fans out there who cannot wait for this book to come out. And isn’t that what is most important? What the readers want? And I could probably list ten other publishers who would have jumped at the chance to publish SHAKEN, myself included.
“Ira Silverberg, at Sterling Lord, was more blunt about how uneventful Konrath’s move was. “Certain authors will feel they’re doing well in schemes like this,”
Well if he is making money with this formula then he is doing better than well. He is succeeding and that is what every author out there should be working toward. Success. If your life depends on selling books (meaning it is your main source of income) then you do what you have to to make those books sell and to make that money. Konrath decided to stop relying on those who typically know very little about what readers actually want, and he is making his own success. Kudos!
“They flip off the publishers who rejected them, claim new technology will support their career, and they get attention they never had before. Let’s see if we remember who those authors are in a few years.”
Yeah, let’s see. Because what Ira neglects to acknowledge is that those authors, who aren’t flipping off those who rejected them, but are actually accepting the new opportunities offered to them by those publishers, and moving ahead with new strategies. You see, what so many writers fail to see is that a rejection is not really a rejection. It is simply one person’s opinion of something that didn’t suit their immediate needs.
Your work rejected because it was badly written? It is not a rejection. It an opportunity to go back in, revise that work, make it better, and find someone who recognizes that and gives it another chance.
As for who will be remembered, I have thousands of books by authors who went the big six way and after the first book they dropped off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. Why? Because they relied on a publishing house that didn’t care if they succeeded or not, they simply needed to fill a slot so the only book they published that month wasn’t a Steele or a Patterson or a Sparks. They needed filler and they used those midlist authors to fluff up their catalogs. Success is important to Konrath and he refuses to accept rejection, he simply embraces new opportunities.
“The company, which currently has about 20 projects signed up, offers e-book publication and distribution as well as POD, with a focus on the e-book frontlist.”
“Hul-lo! This is called Independent Publishing and it’s not a new thing. The opportunities have been out there for decades, the problem is that the media, the agents, and the big six talk us down and paint us as unattractive or unethical. Now all of a sudden an agent sets up shop and it’s okay? I’ve been doing this for ten years and while it I’ve published hundreds of books and short stories, this agent comes up with 20 projects and gets a mention in PW? Oh please!
“While Diversion isn’t paying advances, it’s not taking everyone who comes in with a manuscript.“
So does this mean that Diversion and their authors will be ineligible for membership in all the glorious industry organizations for authors? How ever will his authors succeed without RWA or MWA or any of the others?
Again, ten years and what has been my business model the entire time is now trendy because an agent finally got some sense?
“…will mean that more agencies, and others, will jump into the publishing fray.”
Oh good, more people will jump on a wagon that has been rolling for years and take credit for doing things that some of us have been doing all along. Kinda like eHarlequin. They used to cast us aside and make snide little comments about those of us who did it, now they are sucking up the dollars and the praise for bringing to light a part of the industry long overdue for attention.
It amazes me how only one side of the industry can see and appreciate the actual value of a man like Joe (J.A.) Konrath. There is nothing really dramatic about what he did with this deal or anything else, at least not for Joe. This is the kind of man he is. He doesn’t do half-ass. I don’t think he can. I think maybe this ambition in Joe is his super-hero power. He refuses to fail. His successes may come in varying degrees, but Joe doesn’t fail and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Now, PW and many other entities and organizations in this industry cannot say the same.