Towse: views from the hill

May 21, 2010

Amazon Encore news …

Filed under: publishers — Tags: , , — Towse @ 12:19 pm

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

April 24, 2009

This Is Your Wake-up Call: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing

Filed under: publishers,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 8:34 pm

This Is Your Wake-up Call: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing


The underlying problem facing the industry is twofold: there are too many books, and too many of them are derivative of each other. You’ve heard of Gresham’s Law—the idea that bad money drives out good. Our industry has long suffered from Grisham’s Law, where opportunistic authors and publishers try to imitate John Grisham and other category leaders with books modeled on someone else’s commercial success. That strategy might make sense if there were great demand for these imitators, but in today’s overcrowded, competitive marketplace, this kind of thinking is dangerous, because it devalues the environment into which we present our work.


[link via Dystel & Goderich Management blog]

April 10, 2009

a fountain pen of good repute

Filed under: history,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:49 pm

Letter from Joseph Conrad to his agent, J.B. Pinker

Hotel Continental
place de la Comedie
21st Febr ’06

My dear Pinker.

    I send you the first 13 pp of Verloc partly that you should see what the story is going to be like and partly as evidence that the Capri fatality is not likely to overcome me this year. After all, considering that we have been just a week here and that it takes some time to feel settled I haven’t done so badly. There is a good bit more MS actually written but I can’t part with it yet. I’ve also worked at the text of the M of the Sea. That and the balance of Verloc you’ll get in the course of a week. Meantime I hope you won’t think I am stretching the point unduly if I ask you to send me £20 on the day you receive this — which I imagine will be Friday — either in English notes or by draft on the Credit Lyonnais who have a house here — whichever is less trouble.
    Don’t imagine that the story’ll be unduly long. It may be longer than the Brute but not very much so. What has delayed me was just trying to put a short turn into it. I think I’ve got it. I haven’t done anything to Chance of course. I imagine it would go easiest at the Pent. But that or some other MS you are sure to have from here. I feel well and have a few ideas.

Yours always

PS Would you have the extreme kindness to buy for me and send out by parcel post a fountain pen of good repute — even if it has to cost 10/6. I am doing much of my writing in the gardens of Peyron under a sunny wall and the horrible stylo I’ve got with me is a nuisance.


n.b. Verloc became The Secret Agent

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