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Get Rich Self-Pubbing

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 28, 2010

Get Rich Self-Pubbing Your E-books with J.A. Konrath


“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.

Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.            Konrath (800x600)


Self-publishing eBook guru J.A. Konrath shared his experiences with us at the Ninc conference in St. Pete Beach. His sales figures are impressive and I’m not going to repeat them here. You can follow him on his blog,

Joe suggests making your website “sticky”, i.e. give people a reason to stick around. Content should be informative and entertaining. For example, you might offer an unsold book online for free as a pdf download. Joe calls this a “gateway drug” because these readers will go on to buy your print books.

Publishing houses still provide editorial services, cover design, and distribution, plus they serve as  gatekeepers between the author and readers via bookstores. But should we pay for these services forever, or one time only?

If you are self-publishing, the cover art should be professional, even if you have to hire your own artist. Be sure to get the rights to use your cover design for any promotional purposes and also possibly if your book goes into print someday. Make sure your work is edited, error free, and correctly formatted so it looks professional. You’ll need to write the blurbs and back cover copy and get reviews and quotes. You’ll want the free preview option and no DRM.

Joe suggests doing a Kindle Nation ad but not necessarily a Facebook ad to attract readers. Participate in the kindleboards and social networks.

When self-pubbing, if you start out at Smashwords, you’ll get an ISBN there. You can opt out of the Kindle and Pubit (for B&N) and do those yourselves.

If you have an agent, think above having him sell the subrights to your eBooks, i.e. audio, foreign, film.

Books no longer have a shelf life. “This is infinite. It is forever…It’s a buffet mentality. We’re not going to have a saturation.”


4 Responses to “Get Rich Self-Pubbing”

  1. Konrath is definitely a marketing master. Putting books on Kindle doesn’t mean people will automatically buy them. You have to spend time (and money) marketing them. His newest project is an anthology, where he points out huge numbers of reviews on Amazon. What he doesn’t point out is that he offered the book for free to people in return for posting a review.

    The big difference in marketing effort for e-books is a larger chunk of change when people do buy them. I’ve got short stories and a full-length novel at both Smashwords and Kindle, but have yet to find the magic magnet to get people to fork over cash. I have over 1000 downloads of my free short stories at Smashwords, and yet hardly any downloads of the FREE samples of the works which will entail forking over actual money, despite the low cost. Konrath has a name and a huge backlist. I’d be happy to make enough money to cover a fraction of my chocolate habit.

    I will point out a new site, called Backlist Ebooks that serves as a kind of ‘catalog’ for authors who are putting backlisted books up at some digital store.

    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist–of Mystery

  2. Belgrave House also has backlist books by published authors.

    So Terry, based on your self-pubbing experience, would you decide next time to go the same route or with an ebook pub? The advantage of the latter, in exchange for a percentage, is the epub does the formatting, cover design, and collection of all the different revenues. Some of them do marketing; some do very little beyond a website.

  3. Nancy – tough question. Since I’m “new” enough to publishing, everything I’ve submitted has always been electronic, so formatting for the basic sites such as Kindle or Smashwords takes minutes. Smashwords likes word .doc files, and Kindle wants html, but I’ve found that if it’s formatted correctly in Word, ‘save as html’ does the trick.

    Cover art is another issue — I’ve found some free stock images and added title and my name (or asked my daughter to do it); I’ve also paid a nominal fee for cover art. My primarily digital publisher do all this, of course, but there’s little support on the marketing end, and the royalties, although higher than for the print versions, are still lower than the author’s cut at the Kindle Store or Smashwords.

    I think, and this is my ‘new to the game’ personal opinion, that it’s wise to cast a wide net these days. And I’m still hoping for that mass market contract, because there are still more folks who want to shop in bookstores, supermarkets, etc., and not having books there for people to browse doesn’t help sell books. Browsing in the e-stores, at least for me, is a much less rewarding process. If I could negotiate my own e-rights for a print book, I’d seriously consider it. However, I think the e-market is much stronger if you have a large back list, and I don’t.

    Everything is changing. As Bob Mayer put it recently (and he’s another proponent of e-publishing) “Nobody knows what’s happening in publishing, but it’s happening fast.”

    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist–of Mystery

  4. Terry, you’re so right with all your statements. I agree with the “Throw a lot of spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks” mentality.

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