J.A. (Joe) Konrath announced May 17th that he had signed a contract with AmazonEncore, Amazon’s publishing imprint, to publish his latest mystery, Shaken, the 7th in his Jack Daniels series.
Big news? You bet! The news flew around the Web. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter updates, Publishers Weekly and the Wall Street Journal covered the news. Why? Although AmazonEncore is now a year old, Konrath’s latest is the first time AmazonEncore has signed a contract for a new book from a popular series by a known author. (AmazonEncore publishes, they note on their site, “exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate.”)
Konrath reported that the Kindle edition will be available for $2.99 in October, 2010, and the paperback edition version will be available next February.
Why did Konrath go with AmazonEncore rather than a traditional print publisher? Hyperion published his first six books in the Jack Daniels series, but when his agents, Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich, pitched Shaken to traditional publishers, they were unsuccessful. Amazon made an offer, and, as Konrath put it on his blog: “I signed a print deal with a company that can email every single person who has ever bought one of my books through their website, plus millions of potential new customers. I’ve never had that kind of marketing power behind one of my novels. I’d be an idiot not to do this.” His agents, he reports, were with him all the way and negotiated a contract he’s happy with.
As for those traditional publishers? Konrath writes, “They passed on it. Their loss. Their big loss. Their big, huge, monumental, epic fail.”
Konrath has been making serious hay with Kindle editions of his works. (Read his blog to find out how.) Amazon was happy to snag him.
MWA member Jason Pinter wrote about the deal and what it means to other writers in his column at Huffington Post. Pinter’s conclusion? What Konrath is able to do with AmazonEncore and with Kindle books is definitely not what everyone is able to do. Joe also has “Whoa There” advice on his blog.
Read the transcript of the live internet chat hosted by HWA’s Nick Mamatas in October 2003, after Konrath had a contract for his first three Jack Daniels books. (Last item here.) If you do, you’ll understand what everyone who reads his blog, his Facebook updates or his Twitterfeed knows. Konrath is a self-promoter extraordinaire, works hard at what he does, has put in the time to master his craft, and doesn’t take no for an answer.
For a humorous take on the Konrath news see this post from ireaderreview.com.