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A Grateful Author Thanks Her Agent

27 July 2011

Indie author and regular visitor David Gaughran (Make sure you get Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should if you don’t have it already) has written a great story about an indie author who made it into the indie hall of fame with an Amazon contract and says she couldn’t have done so without her agent.


J Carson Black has agreed a three book deal with Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s new thriller and mystery imprint. The deal will include her bestselling thriller The Shop, as well as two yet-to-be-released titles.

This is very interesting news.

For those who don’t know J Carson Black, she is the author of seven titles, and first self-published in June 2010. She didn’t see significant sales for months, and only really took off in April this year.

. . . .

Here is the announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace:

Self-published author of four Amazon Kindle Top 100 bestsellers, J. Carson Black’s THE SHOP, a story of the Manson-style murders of a superstar and four contestants on the set of a reality show in Aspen, Colorado, to Courtney Miller at Thomas & Mercer, in a three-book deal, by Deborah Schneider of Gelfman Schneider (World English).

Exciting stuff.

For those worried about their own sales figures, you should know that even after eight months of being on sale, J Carson Black was still selling in small numbers.

In February 2011, she sold 137 books. The following month she sold 1,280 books, and the month after that – April – she sold over 10,000. But that stunning rise didn’t prepare her for what happened in May – over 70,000 books sold. That rate of 2,000 a day or so has pretty much held up through June and July.

. . . .

The Shop has sold very well (around 65,000 copies), but it is not J Carson Black’s top seller – Darkness On The Edge of Town gets that honor. Amazon obviously feel that the market isn’t saturated yet for The Shop, that they can take its sales to another level again, and that there is a huge untapped market for it in print.

Remember, Amazon have amassed mountains of data on the buying patterns and preferences of their customers.

. . . .

She was also one of the first writers I asked to contribute to Let’s Get Digital, and one of the first to respond. I’m just going to quote a little from what she had to say there:

They say writing is a solitary business, and that’s true when it comes to writing the book itself. But I’ve had a lot of help getting to the milestone I reached today. At the time of writing (June 5, 2011), I’ve sold a little more than 100,000 Kindle e-books—and that’s just for the year so far.

There are many reasons for this, but the pivotal moment for me came last summer when my husband Glenn decided to (a) get my rights back from my former publishers, and (b) put those books up on Amazon Kindle.

Without that step (which I initially thought of as a waste of time—I made one sale in June and 2 sales in July) we’d still be looking under the couch seats for change. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Glenn, because without him none of this would have happened.

. . . .

But this deal is special to her, and to her agent. When I spoke to J Carson Black earlier today, she had this to say:

The Shop went to all the best people in the best neighborhoods, and was turned down flat. My agent, the incredible Deborah Schneider couldn’t believe it. She loved that book, thought it would sell instantly. She’s been in the biz for a long time, and she was sure it would be a hit. So this is vindication for both of us. She spent two-and-a-half years trying to sell it, but I think things have tightened up so much in New York it’s very hard for anyone to break in–or in my case, break back in.

Vindication indeed.

Link to the rest of this great story at David Gaughran

Agents, David Gaughran, Ebooks, Self-Publishing

6 Comments to “A Grateful Author Thanks Her Agent”

  1. Wow. What an amazing success story. And I like this one because she didn’t go insane with marketing. Her book did the work for her. Way to go J. Carson Black.

  2. It pays to stay for the long haul and it never hurts to thank the people who help make it happen. Congratulations, J. Carson Black.

    • JM – I, too, was impressed by her thank you. It reflects well on both agent and author.

  3. J. Carson Black’s story is the fairy tale I yearn for. Having read several of her recent interviews, I’m vacariously celebrating her success. Kudos to Glenn for his savvy actions and agent Deborah Schneider for her tenacity. I’m signing off now…gotta look for change under the couch cushions.

  4. More and more, agents and publishers are looking to success in the self-published ranks to find their next best seller. D. B. Henson is one such whose self-published standalone mystery was picked up by Touchstone after enough success to label the book “national bestseller” on the cover of the print version.

    All bets are off. Self-published authors are being courted by traditional publishers and the traditionally published, feeling unloved by publishers, are heading for the indies. It’s a new ballgame, boys and girls, and we are here in the forefront.

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