J.A. Conrath - a successful paper author who is now an even more successful electronic author - gives a no-holds-barred opinion of the place of traditional publishers. And he has been in both camps. I assume there is a place of co-existence for pBooks and eBooks and, personally, I would rather have a traditional publisher look after my needs. I would, in truth, prefer a paper book. But folks, I would also have liked to have seen a dinosaur.
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"Focusing on paper sales is like selling drinks on the Titanic."
J.A. Konrath Responds to Our Interview with Jamie RaabBy Dianna Dilworth
Below, we have reprinted the response from the self-publishing champion in its entirety. Konrath also wrote a response to the leaked Hachette memo with author Barry Eisler.
Konrath began: “I have nothing but respect for Jamie Raab, and for the most part I enjoyed working with Grand Central. They’re a group of dedicated, talented professionals. But they’re dedicated, talented professionals in a broken, outdated, and increasingly irrelevant business model.”
Curation is no longer important. Readers are very capable of finding ebooks that interest them (the same way they can find YouTube videos, websites, and TV shows that interest them.) They no longer need to be told by a publisher, “This is worthy.” They can make that call on their own.
Publishers vet books, and they do a good job keeping out the low quality. But they also miss some good quality. Grand Central published my horror novelAFRAID (under the pen name Jack Kilborn) in 2009, and it was simultaneously released in the UK and Australia. The combined print/ebook sales in all three countries has netted me over $60k in three years.
They passed on my books TRAPPED and ENDURANCE, so I didn’t benefit from the “nurturing talent” that Raab says is one of Grand Central’s beliefs. I released those titles on my own.
Those ebooks have netted me $240k in two years.
Grand Central did some marketing for AFRAID, and I’m grateful for that. But I toured for twenty-three consecutive days and signed at 206 bookstores in 12 states to promote AFRAID. I also did a blog tour, providing exclusive content to one hundred different blogs in a month. Grand Central no doubt worked hard to promote AFRAID. But I put in more hours than all those who worked on it, combined.
With TRAPPED and ENDURANCE I did no touring, no advertising, and a very tiny bit of internet marketing. So Ms. Raab’s comment “If, as a writer, you want to spend the time going to the different distribution channels and marketing and doing publicity yourself, that’s less time you have to write” really amuses me. I spent a lot more time promoting my Grand Central title than any of my self-pubbed titles, and even with Grand Central’s marketing machine behind me, I was able to make a lot more money in less time on my own."