Joe Konrath

Barry & Joe Discussing The Guardian Discussing AuthorEarnings

20 July 2014

From Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler:

Joe sez: Yesterday, the Guardian reviewed aspects of the latest AuthorEarnings report in an article called, Self-publishing Surging to 31% of Ebook Market, Claims Report.

Barry sez: I’m a big Guardian fan and think it’s great that they’re covering the data AuthorEarnings has been crunching — data that contradicts a lot of misinformation and legacy industry propaganda. I also think it was entirely sensible for them to reach out to Philip Jones of The Bookseller and Nicola Solomon of the Society of Authors for a contrary view.

Joe sez: Maybe they also could have reached out to you for a supporting viewpoint, since you have written for the Guardian. Maybe they didn’t have time, or see the need. But I see this as a biased piece questioning AuthorEarnings data.

Barry sez: Well, we can always argue about “balance” or whatever in these matters. In general, I like to see a contrary view. My concern about Jones’s and Solomon’s views isn’t about whether they were pro or con; it’s more that they weren’t very coherent.

. . . .

Guardian: According to the Bookseller editor Philip Jones there are “large question marks” about Howey’s data.

“This is a very narrow selection of a particular type of market at a particular time,” he said. “Most people who’ve looked at this in any depth say you can’t extrapolate from bestseller rankings on the Kindle store to a picture of the wider market. Howey sees an ice-cube, and shrieks ‘iceberg’.”

Barry sez: Wait a minute… “a very narrow selection of a particular type of market at a particular time”? They’re tracking over 100,000 titles! But hang on, let’s ask Data Guy himself…

Data Guy sez: The Author Earnings reports are cross-sectional studies of Amazon ebook sales.

The raw data for each is obtained by a custom-coded Java web Spider software program that crawls the thousands of Amazon category Best Seller lists page by page and then “reads” the Amazon product pages for each of the 100,000+ listed books, extracting each book’s title, author, publisher, price, overall Amazon Sales Rank, review counts and scores, and DRM info. It works by parsing the raw html of ebook product pages, following links through all the main and then sub categories. Anything on a product page can be pulled into a spreadsheet cell.

The methodology involves an interplay of four factors: 1) The known overall rank of each title on the Kindle store. 2) The estimated daily sales for those ranks. 3) The sales price of the ebook. 4) And the royalty paid to the author.

1) Is known. 2) Has been compiled by dozens of indies, who note their daily sales at varying ranks, and these rates match up and are regularly re-checked. 3) Is known. 4) Is known for self-published titles and well-estimated for all others.

You can tweak (2) and (4) as much as you want and not break the conclusions found in our reports, which is that self-published authors have taken sizeable market share of ebook royalties on the largest bookseller in the world.

Joe sez: I believe the only way to deny the results of the AuthorEarnings data is to say that Amazon sales rank doesn’t correlate to the number of books sold. Which is VERY presumptuous. When Amazon sneezes, a thousand indies check Jeff’s pulse. If Amazon was tampering with rank, someone would be able to show it.

Almost all media sales follow a power curve. Looks like a hockey stick. You can adjust this curve all you like, but since the distribution of indies to traditionally published authors is even and consistent, it doesn’t change the results. Move a legacy book up in sales by its rank, and the neighboring indies go up. Move an indie book down in sales per rank, and neighboring trad books go down.

What Data Guy discovered, in essence — by looking deeper into the data than anyone had before — was three things:

1) It isn’t just indies in the top 100 taking up 25 – 30% of slots; it goes all the way into the top 100,000+ titles on Amazon.

2) It isn’t just 99 cent works selling at high clips; it’s a range of prices.

3) The difference in royalty rates (5.6x) more than makes up for the difference in price and ranking.

What is the opposing argument? I haven’t heard it from Jones or Solomon…

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath

Konrath and Eisler vs. Richard Russo: The Sequel

11 July 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Think the Authors Guild really has all writers’ best interests in mind?

Richard Russo, who in a previous Authors Guild letter tried to show he was attempting to win a second Pulitzer Prize, this one for Not Knowing What He’s Talking About (I’m sure that’s a category), is adding to his bowl of fail with this new letter, sent to Guild members.

So, contrary to what anyone could have possibly expected, Barry Eisler and I fisked it.

. . . .

Russo: The primary mission of the Authors Guild has always been the defense of the writing life.

Barry sez: One of my favorite things about Russo is the way his real priorities leak through no matter how much he tries to mask them in high-minded verbiage. Because yes, what Richard Russo and the “Authors Guild” want more than anything is to preserve a certain lifestyle — the lifestyle that comes with being anointed by a legacy publisher, becoming a member of an exclusive club, and getting to write full-time from the proceeds. The lifestyle that’s theoretically available to everyone but that is in fact doled out to only a tiny fraction. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. We’re talking about a one-percent economy, where the one percent’s lifestyle is achieved at the expense of the other 99%. I’m sure when Lloyd Blankfein argues for the merits of the system that landed him at the head of Goldman Sachs, he makes the same sorts of arguments Russo makes in all his missives to members of the Authors Guild. Because the worldviews are identical.

Russo: While it may be true that there are new opportunities and platforms for writers in the digital age, only the willfully blind refuse to acknowledge that authorship is imperiled on many fronts.

Joe sez: I would have liked it if he said something like, “authorship is sinking”, which would have acknowledged he is indeed winking and nudging about how stupid that comment was.But he isn’t winking. He is, unfortunately, serious.

There is not a single front where authorship is imperiled. Not one. In fact, more people are publishing books than ever before (Bowker noted a 400% increase in the last five years). This is because every single one of those authors now has a chance to reach readers and make some money.

Richard, if you believe “authorship” is “signing your rights away for your lifetime plus seventy years to a legacy house” then use that precise definition. Because if every legacy publisher suddenly disappeared, authorship would still exist.

Last I checked, I wasn’t blind, willfully or otherwise. It’s interesting you use that term, because it perfectly describes your myopic confirmation bias. Barry Eisler justblogged about this very topic, namely the inability for those within an establishment (in this case, the legacy publishing industry) to rationally judge opposing viewpoints from outside that establishment due topsychological projection. You are the one who is willfully blind, Richard, and yet you are saying those who disagree with you are willfully blind. Who else but one blind would even suggest authorship is imperiled when more writers than ever are making money?

Barry sez: I just have to add… “While it may be true that there are new opportunities and platforms for writers in the digital age”…? Russo isn’t sure? This is just a hypothetical possibility he’s heard sing of from seers and psychics? What can you say about a person who thinks this “may” be true? It’s like someone saying the earth “may” be round.

. . . .

 Russo: We believe that ecosystem should be as diverse as possible, containing traditional big publishers, smaller publishers, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, as well as both e-books and print books. We believe that such an ecosystem cannot exist while entities within it are committed to the eradication of other entities.

Joe sez: I’ll translate for those who don’t speak Legacy Archaic: We don’t want things to change even though they’re changing, so we’ll fight for the old way of doing things–you know–the way we’re comfortable with that made us wealthy and feel special.

I’m all for diversity. I love having multiple choices as an author. But that’s not up to me. It’s also not up to any author.

It’s up to readers. They are deciding how and what they want to buy.

For over fifty years, publishers have been able to control the situation. They decided which authors to publish. They decided which books would be read. They decided on the price. They released hardcovers a year before paperbacks to make as much money as possible. And they were able to give authors unconscionable contract terms. All because they were the only game in town. An oligopoly.

But since Amazon, an outsider, came along, the shadow industry of self-publishing has given readers, and authors, a choice.

The Authors Guild should be thrilled with this. But instead, they continue to act like the “Legacy Publishing Industry Guild” bravely defending the status quo.

And Richard? For the majority of authors, that status quo kinda sucked.

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath

More Konrants

30 June 2014

From Joe Konrath:

I just got back from a wonderful vacation with my family with limited cell phone and Internet access. We had to communicate by doing something called talking, which is a lot like texting or emailing, but without emoticons or abbreviations.

I have now returned, and as I might have guessed, the stupid was strong on the world wide web while I was away.

. . . .

First off, Laura Miller said some ridiculous things in a recent Salon article.

Laura: Anyone who has followed the coverage of the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute knows that some of the most impassioned voices on the pro-Amazon side of the argument come from self-published writers. It’s easy to understand their impulse to defend Amazon’s e-book publishing programs, given that many had tried in vain to publish their books with traditional houses before opting for, say, Kindle Direct Publishing.

Joe: Sure, Laura. It’s bitter losers, snubbed by the industry, who despise it because they had to settle for the meager compensation of controlling their own rights and making more money with Amazon.

You’re aware many have also tried to publish with legacy houses and succeeded. Then we discovered that legacy publishers had unconscionable contracts, archaic business practices, and overall behaved badly. But, as they were the only game in town, we lived with it… until Amazon came around.

Many authors are pro Amazon for a simple, easy to understand reason: Amazon treats authors better and pays them more.

. . . .

Laura: The Big Five compete with each other for the books they want to publish.

Joe: Compete how? The size of the advance?

Don’t you find it curious that they don’t compete by offering better contract terms in other areas, such as royalty percentage, rights reversion, length of term of rights, indemnity clauses, non-compete clauses, next options, and many other author-unfriendly provisions?

How about competing like other companies compete for employees? Insurance, bonuses, 401k, pension plans, severance packages, vacation time, paid lunches, travel compensation, expense sheets, etc.?

. . . .

Is it real competition when all the major publishers somehow wound up offering lockstep 25% ebook royalties? Isn’t it odd some publishers didn’t try to attract authors by offering more?

Now perhaps all publishers coincidentally came to this figure independent of one another. But I think it is more likely that everyone secretly agreed that the only terms they’d “compete” on were advance sizes, except in the rare case of mega-bestsellers.

. . . .

Laura: Most readers are not willing to read dozens of sample chapters in order to find something acceptable or to rely on consumer reviews of questionable authenticity.

Joe: Can you show me the poll you took of “most readers”? I assume the sample was at least tens of thousands, right?

Have you ever been in a bookstore, looking for something new to read? Readers browse, whether it is legacy pubbed books, or self-pubbed ebooks. Sorta like you do when you Google something and find the website you want in the search results.

Google doesn’t only list the vetted, curated, sifted websites. It lists them all. And the popularity of a website is based on reader preference, not sifting.

. . . .

Laura: While there’s not much self-publishers can do to influence the outcome of the Hachette-Amazon dispute, this affair should serve as a cautionary tale about placing too much power in the hands of a single retail outlet.

Joe: Hachette authors aren’t at the mercy of Amazon. They’re at the mercy of Hachette.
Self-pubbed authors aren’t at the mercy of Amazon, either. If you’re concerned about Amazon, can you show me their history of squeezing and mistreating writers? Why worry about being eaten by wolves, when there is currently a lion feasting on your legs?

Hachette authors are getting screwed because they signed away their rights to Hachette, trusting that publisher to make business deals that best serve them. If Hachette can’t make a deal with the biggest retailer of books in the world, Hachette is the problem.

I sympathize with Hachette authors, and with all legacy pubbed authors. But they need to accept that they signed the deal. I signed four legacy deals. I felt I had no choice, and no negotiating power. They were the only game in town, and I had to take it or leave it. So I took it, and I accepted full responsibility for my publishers’ many mistakes.

Now that there IS a choice, authors must accept even more responsibility. Signing away your rights, when you’re now able to keep them and self-publish, is a huge gamble. Because if your publisher screws the pooch, you’re stuck. Forever.

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath

I Understand and Sympathize

8 June 2014

From Joe Konrath:

So I fell into the trap of becoming too involved in the Amazon/Hachette dispute, and I’ve been openly wondering where all the stupid is coming from, and if I could somehow cork the stupid so it stopped splashing all over the Internet.

Whenever I recognize I’m grinding an ax, I try to take a step back and walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins to gain some perspective. I did, and it chilled me out. Because I remember walking that same path, years ago.

I’ve been preaching since 2010 that self-publishing is not only a viable alternative to the legacy industry, but it can indeed be a preferable one. I’ll do a quick recap.

1. You own your rights, rather than a publisher owning them for your lifetime plus seventy years.

2. You can control your cover art and product description.

3. You can set your own price, and change it almost instantly.

4. You don’t have to deal with unconscionable contract terms like non-compete clauses.

5. You can get your work to readers faster, and you have the same reach (perhaps even more reach) as publishers do when it comes to digital distribution.

6. You get 70% of list rather than 12.5%.

7. You can run you own ads like on BookBub and Booksense because you can put your work on sale.

Any writer looking at these advantages has got to be thinking, “That’s pretty sweet.”

But not every writer looking at these advantages can actually take advantage of them.

If you’re locked into a legacy contract, you can’t self-pub any of your books. You either owe them your next book, or aren’t allowed to release any on your own. Or maybe you’re a slower writer and can only write a book a year.

You can see the high prices your publisher is selling your ebooks for, and you are powerless to do anything about it.

If you get a bad cover, you’re stuck with it.

. . . .

All of you legacy authors who hate me; I know you played by the rules, and are angry that your sales are diminishing, and that your advances are shrinking. I played by the rules, too. I did more signings than any of you–over 1200. I busted my ass to make my legacy career work. And I took a chance on self-publishing, and was lucky that it paid off.

I can see why you don’t want to take a chance. Or why you feel you don’t even have a choice. You worked within the system, got the keys to the kingdom, and it was supposed to be smooth sailing for you. Then, somehow, the rules changed, and you got screwed.

I get it. I really do.

But your answer isn’t hoping for the old system to return. It isn’t going to.

Your answer isn’t blaming Amazon for your problems. They are here to stay.

Your answer isn’t blaming me, or other indie authors, or the self-publishing revolution. We’re not trying to rub your nose in our success. We’re trying to help you to share the wealth.

. . . .

I’m not an advocate of self-publishing because I know better than anyone else. I’m an advocate of self-publishing because I’ve been on both sides of that fence, and my experience isn’t unique. Many authors got screwed by the legacy system like I did. Many authors have benefited from self-publishing like I have.

Maybe this Hachette/Amazon dispute isn’t bringing out the stupid in people. Maybe it is forcing authors to defend themselves, because they’re scared. And when you’re scared, you lash out without thinking. You defend yourself rather than consider new ideas. You find scapegoats. You rally with others who feel the same way because there is safety in numbers. You defend your oppressors. You fight the future because it’s either that or risking everything.

. . . .

Authors need to stop thinking of Amazon as the bad guy, because they feel bad about the contracts they’re stuck in.

Worrying Amazon is a monopoly that might someday lower royalties makes no sense, when the Big 5 alreadyfunction as a monopoly and have low royalties.

The old ways aren’t going to return. The new ways aren’t going away.

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath and thanks to Margaret for the tip.

Konrants

20 May 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Had a few thoughts over the past few days, none of which are worthy of a whole blog post. But I’ve strung a few together and I’m putting them out there as both personal observations and advice for authors and the publishing industry.

First, the legacy industry seems to be keen to keep reassuring itself that ebooks sales growth has slowed or plateaued.

Frankly, I don’t care what the legacy industry believes. If it sleeps better at night thinking that paper sales will still be hearty in the year 2020, that’s fine by me. Whatever gets you through the night. 

. . . .

If the Big 5 think that ebook sales aren’t continuing to eat away at paper sales, or that more and more authors aren’t choosing to self-publish, or that Barnes & Noble will be around forever, or that they can relax because the tech revolution is over, they are whistling past the graveyard.

. . . .

Legacy publishers NEED authors to feel that they’re the only way to succeed. Because without authors, the Ponzi scheme of publishing (the few successful writers supporting the entire infrastructure, including authors who aren’t successful) collapses.

. . . .

If you happen to be a huge bestseller, and legacy publishers come knocking, worry about signing with them when that happens. And find an agent first. And also try to find ANY author who went from indie to legacy and has nice things to say about the experience. If you do find any who says nice things in public, try to talk to them privately and witness the completely-warranted bitchfest that commences.

Publishers keep looking at indie success as a slush pile where they can scoop up the best. They’ll keep doing that until indies learn better. But very few indies who sign with a legacy publisher and hate the experience will speak publicly about it, because their books are being held hostage and playing nice with their new corporate masters is essential if they want to continue to make money. Because legacy publishers do enough to unintentionally hurt book sales–making them angry so they intentionally hurt sales is not wise.

So you won’t see many authors bashing their publishers. But how many who signed indie deals sing their publishers’ praises? Isn’t it odd we don’t see a lot of that?

. . . .

Now, what Hugh and Data Guy are doing–quite brilliantly I may add–is shedding light on something that legacy publishers would prefer everyone remain in the dark about: how authors don’t need them.

. . . .

Newsflash:

We’re adults. We’re now allowed to label ourselves rather than live with the labels others assign us. 

And when others label us something we don’t agree with, we can choose not to waste any more of our time, money, and emotion on them. 

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

Tend Your Garden

11 May 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Your ebooks function much like a garden.

One rare occassions, a plant will thrive with little help from you.

Others may whither and die no matter how much help you give them.

But the majority need to be constantly tended. Planted, watered, fertilized, weeded, pruned, mulched, replanted, harvested. In other words, lots of work.

Ebooks aren’t a Mr. Popeill invention where you can set it and forget it. Quite the opposite. You need to pay attention, and keep active, or your garden won’t thrive.

Everyone experiences slow downs in sales. It’s inevitable, and it seems to be cyclical, but not in any sort of way I’ve been able to project. Sales seem to rise and fall for reasons unknown.

. . . .

Here are some tricks to tend to your garden.

1. Change prices. As an indie, this is one of the biggest advantages you have over the legacy industry. You decide what the customer pays, and this is powerful. Don’t be afraid to weild that power by experimenting with prices, both lower and higher.

2. Newsletter. There is no excuse why you don’t have a newsletter. People who sign up are actively looking for your titles. Make them aware a new title exists.

3. Sales. Unlike a change in price, a sale only lasts for a short time. KDP Countdown is what I’m currently using, because it offers 70% royalties when I drop the price. I’ve been pleased with my results.

. . . .

Which brings us to the last tip:

11. Stop complaining. Writing and self-publishing is your choice. No one is forcing you to do this. If you went into this business thinking it would be easy, you were wrong. It would be awesome if every ebook written became a huge bestseller, but only a small fraction will. You should be thinking about the long game–amassing a backlist ten years from now, and cultivating that backlist so it constantly has new eyeballs discovering it.

Link to the rest at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and thanks to Julie and several others for the tip.

Identity and the Writer

12 March 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Identity is a very important, and terribly difficult, concept to grasp. What makes us who we are is fodder for philosophers, and perhaps biologists, not for this blog.

This blog is about publishing, and it is written for writers. But I’m going to take a stab at discussing identity anyway.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of stuff on the internet that falls under the umbrella of what I call “identity issues.” There are a lot of writers, and a lot of people in the publishing industry, who believe they have clearly defined identities, and who believe they have the ability to understand the identities of others. Identities that may be embraced and accepted, or dismissed and derided.

Let’s take a look at some of the things I’m referring to.

Years ago, Barry Eisler used the word legacy to describe traditional publishers. This word is apt because publishing fits the definition of a legacy system. Since Barry began using this, it has fallen into the common vernacular, but only in the shadow industry of self-publishing, used by self-published authors. Legacy publishers don’t like to be thought of as “previous” or “outdated”, even though they indeed are by any definition, so they reject the term because it conflicts with their personal identities. They believe they are relevant, forward-thinking, guardians of culture. They are wrong, but their identities are so entangled in these labels it may prevent them from doing things that could improve their bottom line, like treating authors better, innovating, and using new technology to reach more readers.

The media often uses the word legacy, but puts quotes around it. “So called ‘legacy’ publishers.” The media sides with the publishers, so when they report, they want to downplay the growing usage of the term legacy.

The idea of “I am X, so I cannot be Y” is a powerful idea, and it is one of the reasons we won’t see as many legacy publishers in the future. If any. At least, not in their current state. Because they don’t recognize themselves as legacy publisher, because they choose to believe their identity is something different than legacy, they won’t be able to fix themselves.

. . . .

Amazon has done a whole lot to cause legacy publishing to question its identity of itself, and to cause writers to question their own identities.

This shadow industry of self-publishing is both threatening to the status quo, and empowering to anyone who wants to call themselves a writer.

Well, almost anyone.

Consider legacy pubbed authors who are openly pro-legacy. Many of them believe they deserve success, or earned their right to sit at the legacy table. It’s natural to disparage self-published authors who didn’t have to jump through the same hoops in order to be accepted. Admitting self-pub is a real, viable alternative to legacy publishing means admitting they were wrong to put so much faith, time, and effort into getting a legacy deal. To feel secure about their own identity, some authors have to belittle others.

Now I believe a writer is someone who writes. Maybe you get paid. Maybe you don’t. Maybe people agree. Maybe they don’t. You don’t need anyone’s approval or acceptance or imprimatur or validation to consider yourself a writer. But legacy pundits like agents and publishers don’t want you to believe that. They want you to feel that the only way you can call yourself a writer is if they agree. And their approval comes at a high cost.

The legacy world doesn’t want you to feel like you’re a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need you to make money.

Your peers may not consider you a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need to protect their own identities, and that means dismissing yours.

You may not feel like a writer until you meet certain criteria. But consider this: who sets those criteria? You? Or an industry that wants to make money off of you?

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

Two indie authors are making 8 figures annually

27 February 2014

From Joe Konrath and another commenter via the comments on Joe’s blog:

Joe Konrath said…

I think media generally will be microscopically fragmented.

I agree. And it’s a smart prediction.

But while we’ll have fewer blockbusters, and more of the niche artists sharing that pie, there will still be 80/20 rules and bell curves and occasional big hits.

And we do have some self-pub authors making 8 figures. I’m on the low end of the KDP bestselling author lists.

. . . .

Anonymous said…

Anon BB here again:

Joe said, “And we do have some self-pub authors making 8 figures.”

With the greatest respect (and you know we’ve known each other for years) … really? Plural? My ear is as close to the ground as anyone’s, and I know this business backward, and I have dozens of clued-in friends in the KDP community, and I have as many – or more – friends in certain Seattle offices as you, and that’s the first such claim I have ever heard.

The thrust of the OP was all about how authors should have accurate information. Is that really accurate? If you can’t provide links, have the person or people e-mail me privately, and I’ll retract right here in bold capitals.

. . . .

Joe Konrath said…

really? Plural?

Two is plural. So yes. :)

Keep in mind that while you’re privy to what the best of the best NYT bestsellers are making, I’m privy to what many of the top self-pubbers are doing. Many of them have contacted me directly.

But it isn’t my business to reveal their names, any more than I’d reveal your name.

It’s also fine if you don’t believe me. Prior to www.authorearnings.com, there were a lot of people that didn’t believe how big this shadow industry was. Some see the figures and still don’t believe.

Link to the rest at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and thanks to Tony for the tip.

Konrath on Patterson Deux

24 February 2014

From Joe Konrath:

James Patterson, in an unprecedented act of good will, is giving $1,000,000 to more than 50 indie bookstores.

It’s a generous act.

It’s also a misguided one.

Last year, Patterson committed another misguided act, buying an ad in the NYT asking who will save our books, our bookstores, and our libraries, and then suggesting the government needed to step in.

. . . .

I’m going to quote Patterson from the recent NYT article, and from things he said on NPR, and show why he’s wrong once again.

Patterson: We’re in a juncture right now where bookstores as we have known them are at risk. Libraries as we’ve known them are at risk, publishers are at risk, American literature is at risk, as we’ve known it, and getting kids reading is at risk.

Joe: I agree legacy bookstores are at risk. They’re at risk because people are buying their books online, and in different formats than paper. That doesn’t equate to books becoming extinct. It indicates a change in customer preference, both where people buy their reading material, and what format they buy it in.

. . . .

Patterson: (Via CBS Good Morning) If we don’t have good publishers, who is going to find the next Infinite Jest or To Kill a Mockingbird?

Joe: The readers, Jim. You know, the ones who have embraced those books and made them bestsellers.

. . . .

Patterson: I just want to get people more aware and involved in what’s going on here, which is that, with the advent of e-books, we either have a great opportunity or a great problem.

Joe: If you consider ebooks a problem and are truly concerned about the future of bookstores, you could always refuse to release your work in ebook format, Jim. I’m guessing you earn more on ebooks annually than the $1M you’re giving to bookstores.

If you consider ebooks an opportunity, and want to help children learn to read, I bet www.firstbook.org would accept a donation of 100,000 Kindles from you, loaded with all of your children and YA work. I bet that will get kids reading.

Link to the rest at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and thanks to Dan for the tip.

Legacy John Fisks Hugh Howey

20 February 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Joe sez: There is a new www.authorearnings.com report by Hugh Howey and Anonymous Data Guy. This time they looked at the rankings of over 54,000 Amazon titles.

The data blew me away. But my imaginary Big 5 Pundit, Legacy John, wasn’t impressed.

Legacy John: His data is all full of lies and nonsense and nonsensical lies. I want to do one of those fisting things that you do.

Joe: You mean fisking?

Legacy John: Where you take someone’s post and insult him, line-by-line.

Joe: Actually, the sarcasm is only a by-product of debating poor arguments, faulty logic, and bad data. I use it to accentuate how shoddy and worthy of ridicule their points are.

Legacy John: Whatever. You say you’ll let traditional publishers have their say on your blog, so will you let me fask Howey or what?

Joe: Sure. Have at it. I’m all about contrary opinions.

Hugh: One week ago, we released our initial Author Earnings report on the prevalence and breakdown of nearly 7,000 genre e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists. We only looked at three categories of genre fiction. Since that time, our spider has been hard at work gathering data on a wider variety of titles as it probes deeper into the lists. This time, over 54,000 titles were collected, practically every book on every Amazon bestseller list.

Legacy John: It is widely known by those who know things that the Amazon bestseller lists represent less than 2% of all book sales. This data is all bullshit, and I’ve heard that Hugh steals cars from the poor and tries to run over the elderly and military veterans and the disabled. Also, he invaded Peru.

Joe: Do you have any sort of evidence to back up these claims?

Legacy John: The truth needs no evidence.

. . . .

Legacy John: I’m pretty sure you lie about your sales, and are only popular because you got your start with the Big 6. You’re just angry they kicked you out because your writing sucks.

Joe: That’s actually not how it happened. If you read my blog–

Legacy John: No one reads your stupid blog, loser. Don’t cry sour grapes to me because no one wants to publish you.

Joe: I sense a little hostility.

Legacy John: Can you sense me flipping you off? Because that’s what I’m doing, right now, Konrath. And I’m going to Tweet that, too, and my six Twitter followers are going to RT and we’re all going to laugh and laugh like a cool high school clique who laughs at others. Then we’re going to take selfies combing our hair.

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

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