I have a few friends and acquaintances who’ve asked me if I’ve thought about self-publishing or considered putting my books into e-format. There’s a genius author and blogger named JA Konrath who writes a suspense/thriller series with maybe the most clever motif for titles I’ve ever seen: “Whiskey Sour,” “Bloody Mary,” “Rusty Nail,” “Dirty Martini,” “Fuzzy Navel” and “Cherry Bomb.” His genius is the finger he keeps on the pulse of the sea change going in on the publishing industry, most particularly on Amazon and the Kindle. Here’s the press release for his newest book and the latest information he’s shared involving Amazon’s new imprint publishing branch, Amazon Encore. A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Shaken by JA Konrath Press Release
I’ve mentioned to a number of people how the world of publishing is in flux with all the new types of technology being introduced, and basically what it boils down to is: digital is cheap and anyone can do it. With the Kindle, absolutely anyone with a tiny bit of tech-savviness and something written with a word processing program can make their writing available for sale, and set their own price. Seems like a great idea, right? It tempts people to imagine that their writing is just as available to the world as if it were for sale on a shelf in Barnes and Nobles. But the reality is that this is just not true. What publishers offer is marketing, leverage in the industry, and the requisite built-in network to get your name known to everyone and their mothers. You know, things like the New York Times bestseller list, you absolutely don’t get there without a publishing house backing you.
So when it comes to self-publishing, it’s a question of your goals. Do you just want something out there that you can hand to friends and family and say you’ve got a book in print? Or do you want people to know your name, and give you money?
There’s that saying that selling one apple for only five cents is still five cents more in your pocket than selling no apples for fifty cents. With so much material now available in e-book format, most of it for pennies, people with readers are like kids in candy stores. Why pay $29.95 for a new hardcover book you might like, when you can pay $1.99, or even nothing, for something else to read until that book comes out on paperback, or even better, Kindle? Most people, especially those who read voraciously, have enough books on their list they want to get through that they have plenty to do until that spendy hardcover is cheaper, or for resale at their local bookstore. The big publishing houses are now trying to figure out how to deal with that, and still make money, and still make the authors money.
Amazon may have the solution. With its own proprietary e-reader and its built in consumer base, the marketing practically does itself. With their own publishing branch, people with e-readers can get the books they want for the low price they expect (it costs less than pennies to format an e-book for the Kindle, as opposed to the large print costs to create a traditional book), and those without readers can still get their hardcopy book. It’s a win-win for Amazon, and according to JA Konrath, for the author too. This is the trend folks, and Mr. Konrath is proving it.
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