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Stephen Leather Makes an Amazon Connection

26 July 2011

For those unfamiliar with him, Stephen Leather is the Joe Konrath of Great Britain – an established writer who jumped into self-publishing and found success.

Now Stephen is taking the next step and connecting with Amazon’s captive publishing arm in the UK:

Stephen Leather’s bestselling e-books The Basement and Once Bitten are to be republished under Amazon.co.uk’s Encore programme. Leather will join other indie writers such as Joe Konrath who have been picked by the initiative, which seeks to unearth talent using reader reviews and sales. Amazon is redesigning the covers and will publish them in November as print books and will relaunch them as e-books.

Leather, who has published books with Hodder & Stoughton, has sold 200,000 copies of the e-books since he decided to self-publish them on the Kindle before Christmas last year. He said the move was his attempt to crack the US market. He said: “I see it as a continuation of the experiment that I started in October last year. I feel as if I have gone as far as I can with them and so I’m keen to see what Amazon can do with their marketing techniques. Most of my sales have been in the UK, pretty much 90% in fact, and Amazon Encore will give me the chance to crack the American market for the first time, which I hope will produce a knock-on effect for my Hodder and Stoughton thrillers.”

On his e-publishing blog Stephen hints that the Kindle indie market may be changing, making it harder for self-published writers to break-through simply by underpricing traditionally published books. He writes: “Yes, independently-produced e-books can do well, but I think they’re selling mainly because they are cheap, and the market for cheap books is actually only a fraction of the total market. And as I’ve said elsewhere, the hard fact is that the vast majority of independently-produced e-books simply aren’t very good and people are starting to realise that. Obviously the fact that readers can download samples before buying does weed out the really bad books but I am pretty sure that as time goes on readers will become more concerned about quality than price, which has already happened in the US.”

Link to the rest at Future eBook

Amazon, Self-Publishing

2 Comments to “Stephen Leather Makes an Amazon Connection”

  1. Someone made an interesting comment the other day (I think it was Mark Williams – one half of the “Saffina Desforges” writing partnership) when they said that few indie successes have crossed the Atlantic.

    Stephen Leather, Saffina Desforges, and Mark Edwards & Louis Voss have all been huge in the UK, and have sold comparatively little in the US.

    I think the same goes for most US indie stars.

    I’m not sure why that is. And I don’t think “language” explains it in a satisfactory way – Saffina Desforges released a full US version of their book, and others have tried the same.

    Amazon must think they can solve that puzzle.

    • David – I tend to share your puzzlement that many English-language books do not cross the ocean well. One doesn’t have to go back too many years, at least in the United States, to find Harry Patterson/Jack Higgins, Frederick Forsyth and Ian Fleming selling like mad over here. JK is the only recent Brit author who comes to mind as a big success in the US.

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