Home » Joe Konrath, Self-Publishing » Joe Answers Your Questions

Joe Answers Your Questions

26 March 2013

Q and A from Joe Konrath:

I’m going to answer emails in this blog post. Not specific ones, but amalgams of the kind of email I get on a regular basis. If you’ve emailed me before, and I haven’t replied, here’s the answer you were seeking…

. . . .

Q: I read your old blog posts, and you recommend things that you now advise against. What’s with the hypocrisy?

A: As new data comes in, I change my mind.

It is one of Joe’s Axioms that people would rather defend their beliefs to the death instead of admitting they might be wrong. I try to admit when I’m wrong, and I adjust my beliefs accordingly. I think the ability to learn and adapt can only help while seeking success.

Q: Why are you so down on publishers, and those authors who choose the legacy route?

A: This blog has documented all the reasons I believe self-publishing is preferable to legacy publishing, ad nauseum. It used to bother me when I saw writers signing bad contracts (hint: they’re all bad unless you are a huge bestseller) and I believe that writers make bad decisions because they aren’t edumacated. So I try to edumacate them, and adopting a controversial tone helps get this blog more traffic, thus making people more aware of the topics I discuss.

But frankly, it is none of my business what other writers do. If you want to sign away your rights, forever, for 17.5% ebook royalties, forever, knock yourself out. I no longer have a horse in this race. I got all of my rights back, and my six week Kindle total is $116,000, which is more than the first three-book deal I signed. For those same books.

Do whatever makes you happy, and follow whichever path you think is best. But do yourself a solid and research all of your options. Writers never had options before. Now we do. You owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can before deciding which route to take.

. . . .

Q: You keep bragging about all the money you’re making. I think you’re a liar.

A: I don’t consider it bragging. I post my numbers to show what is possible.

Before I started blogging, writers were pretty much kept in the dark about money. No one knew what anyone else made. As such, there was a lot of suspicion, misinformation, envy, and floundering.

I was one of the first writers to openly talk about earnings. I felt this transparency was necessary in order to show my peers the difference between self-pub and legacy.

Now, lots of writers openly discuss money. I like to think I played a part in that.

And while I’m not perfect, I don’t lie. There’s no reason to. If I wasn’t making a lot of money, I’d be honest about it.

Sometimes I use this blog in an attempt to instigate change, because there are certain things about this industry that should be changed. But I don’t make shit up to prove my points. I draw conclusions after having experience, I don’t fake experience to pimp an agenda.

Link to the rest at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

Joe Konrath, Self-Publishing

8 Comments to “Joe Answers Your Questions”

  1. Amen to everything you said, Joe!

  2. Everyone has an opinion. If I say the sky is pink someone will say, the sky is blue. Although it is pink as sunset sometimes. I think Joe is doing all of us a big favor by posting his blogs and sharing his experiences with the rest of us who just started on the writer’s journey. And if you disagree remember the sky takes many colors, not just blue. Keep up the good work, Joe.

  3. Outstanding.

    Useful information, and I love Joe’s tone here. Clear, intelligent, thoughtful, and no-bullshit.


    “But legacy publishing? If you can get a Hugh Howey deal and keep the ebook rights, go for it. Or get E.L. James comparable money. If not, going with a legacy publisher isn’t diversification. It’s simply a bad business decision”.

    Although I still want to look at Howey’s e-book royalty rate, and I think there are articles that prove James would have made more money staying indie.

    And there is not enough money in the world to convince me personally to publish with a Big Pub. I. Don’t. Trust. Them.

    But for those who would want to – Joe’s guidelines here are the best guidelines.

    • Hugh is making indie ebook rates (60-70% on titles over 2.99) since he KEPT all his ebook rights. 🙂 That’s why his deal is so brilliant. He only sold print rights to S&S.

    • I think legacy publishing helped EL James with the translations and getting into foreign markets. Her German publisher really pushed the books, otherwise people over here probably wouldn’t have noticed them. I’m not sure of someone who’s indie and does most things themselves would be able to achieve the same.

      • Of course, E.L. James’ German publisher is Goldmann, which – just like her US publisher Random House – is a subsidiary of Bertelsmann. So pushing their surprise success in the US market on the German market as well makes sense for Bertelsmann. And since they own a bunch of newspapers and have a stake in the RTL group of TV stations as well, they had the means to do it.

        What I find interesting is that most of the reports about “that new publishing phenomenon E.L. James” were in morning shows and lifestyle programs rather than in the cultural programs which you would expect to discuss books. There were a few reports about E.L. James in the cultural programs, overwhelmingly negative, but the book was pushed to the sort of people who watch morning shows and who might be persuaded to buy a supposedly scandalous book with lots of sex. It’s basically the same audience that Charlotte Roche tapped into, only that – and I never thought I’d ever say that – even Roche’s oevre is superior to E.L. James, plus there’s a lot more sex in Wetlands.

        • which cultural programs? Really, we’ve some left? But then, I live in a cave and the animals are brilliant and more beautiful than any ‘culture’ program, mostly because they have dedicated culture and their programs are to care for their young, hunt, eat, sleep, have sex. A real adventure series.

          ok ok, just making a joke. but serious about the cave part

          • Yes, occasionally they still drag Karaseck & Co. out to talk about books, usually either on 3Sat or late at night on one of the third programs (Literatur im Foyer with Thea Dorn). Though it’s no longer as entertaining as it used to be, now that Marcel Reich-Ranicki has retired.

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