A Self-Publishing Success Story
By Bob Hughes - Jan 17 , 2012
A seasoned author is reaping the rewards of self-publishing.
J.A. Konrath, a thriller writer, has said on his blog, www.jakonroth.blogspot.com, that he’s earned $100,000 in the last three weeks from his self-published books.
Konrath has been published by what he calls “legacy publishers” and, like many authors who are not huge name brands, he has had his share of ups and downs within the traditional publishing model.
He chose to self-publish after doing a lot of work to promote his traditionally published books, build his audience and not seeing much return for his efforts. In addition, as he says, his “legacy” titles aren’t the ones that are behind his popularity: his self-published novels are. As he writes on his blog,
“My legacy books didn’t lead people to my self-pubbed novels. It’s the opposite. My self-pubbed books continue to outsell my legacy books at up to 10 to 1. People aren’t buying me because I visited 1200 bookstores in my career. They aren’t buying me because I have a popular blog about publishing. They aren’t buying me because they love my old books.”
His latest book, The List, a techno-thriller, is riding high on the Amazon list. And its cost, $3.99 for the Kindle version, is remarkably low. Yet the author has been doing quite well – better than many bestselling writers with so-called legacy titles.
As he says in another blog post,
This is no longer a question of choosing between accepting 17.5% royalties from a legacy publisher or doing it yourself. This has now become the best way in the history of mankind for a writer to earn money. It may be one of the greatest ways to ever make money, period.
Now, in this space, we feel that for most writers, a book is a stepping stone toward greater marketability. For a fiction writer such as Konrath, the stepping stone, or the impetus, was his frustration with traditional publishing. For him, self-publishing proved to be the way to go.
Self-publishing is a more-than-viable option nowadays, and one that many more writers will choose as more consumers buy Kindles and other e-readers, and as more authors, potential or seasoned, grow frustrated over traditional publishing methods.
One of the interesting points Konrath makes is that his book as one rejected by publishers (on one blog post, Konrath lists the rejections – they make for good, and all-too-familiar, reading – see the post here). Although the rejections were polite, and editors were quick to point out that the novel wasn’t a great fit for their lists, the rejections show a pattern of needing to choose something that syncs with a publishing list, that is, the kinds of books the imprint will want to display. One of my favorite rejections that Konrath listed included this, “I wish I could be more enthusiastic.”
Surely that editor would be more-than enthusiastic now to know that he passed up a hit. But it’s Konrath who’s having the last laugh.
He’s not the only fiction writer to succeed with e-publishing, though he may be be the rare one to do so well. For anyone else who’s writing a book, it’s important to weigh all options – traditional publishing, self-publishing, print on demand – and see what works best.
We’ve got so many options today authors have a better chance of reaching their audience than ever before.