Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

This is a live Google docs discussion. It examines the history and mechanics of the publishing industry as it exists today, analyzes the way the digital revolution reflects recent events in Egypt and the Maghreb, and considers a completely inappropriate YouTube video featuring a randy monkey and an unlucky frog. It clocks in at 13,000 words, and reveals some pretty startling things.

We encourage everyone reading the conversation to comment, and to tweet and otherwise link to it. You also have our permission to copy all or any part of it, provided you link back.

If you'd prefer to read this on your ereader, you can download various versions for free here. This zip file (you need WinZip to open it; a free trial is here) contains doc, pdf, epub, and mobi formats, so it can be uploaded to Kindles, Nooks, Sony Readers, Kobos, and pretty much any other device.

You can also go to Smashwords and get various formats for free, or to Amazon or B&N to get those formats for 99 cents (they wouldn't allow us to post for free.) It's also posted in full on Barry's blog.

Our goal is to get this information out there, because it benefits authors and could theoretically make legacy publishers smarter. Please help us spread the word. Thanks.

Joe: To the casual observer, you appear to be heavily invested in the legacy publishing system. They’ve been good to you, they helped you get onto the NYT bestseller list, made you wealthy with several large deals, and seem to have treated you fairly.


Zoe Winters Free Ebook - Kept

Greta is a werecat whose tribe plans to sacrifice her during the next full moon. Her only hope for survival is Dayne, a sorcerer who once massacred most of the tribe. What’s that thing they say about the enemy of your enemy?

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Self-Publishing Success Story

I may be late to the party for Amanda Hocking. Partly due to recently stumbling over her blog post from last August. While I have never been a proponent for self-publishing, her comments seem to lend some legitimacy to the trend. Her candor is refreshing as she describes how her success began and what she has learned during the process. Amanda shares her self-publishing success:
"Also on Monday, I released the fourth book in my vampire series. It peaked #25 in the entire Kindle store. If you're wondering how many sales it took the book to get that high: 150 in a two hour period. Also on Monday - in one 24-hour period - I made $1200. Working at my day job full time, the most I'd ever made in a month is $1000. I just made more in a day than I used to make in a month.

Things that should be noted: I just released a book people were excited for. That isn't my average sales. That fourth book is already about to slip out of the top #100 and it's only been in it for four days. So don't think that's usually how awesome my sales are. It's not. I know that. I don't expect days like that to happen very often. But it was still an awesome day."

While poking fun at her clich├ęd topics and characters, her self-publishing success is real. Yet, she tempers it with the knowledge that it isn't necessarily going to continue at the pace it has. Her use of Twitter, facebook, goodreads, Amazon and writer's blogs to spread the word of her e-books should read as book promotion 101.

Not bad when you consider she started with a love of writing, but her self-publishing success was spurred by the desire to earn a couple hundred dollars to go see the Jim Henson exhibit coming to Chicago.

Check out her article here, it is genuinely interesting and a good read.

Edit:  After reading more on Amanda, I found an informative article by Nathan Bransford (most of you should know him, if not bookmark his blog now!).  He talks about Amanda's success and the breakdown of traditional vs. agency e-book vs. self-published e-book.  You can read his appraisal here.


Using One Note in Fiction Writing

I like to research my ideas, flesh things out until I feel they are ready.  Yes I outline, I plan, I brainstorm, all before I finally sit down to write.  My ideas come in snippets.  A piece of dialogue, an interesting creature, a location, a scene.  I need somewhere to throw this jumble of ideas.  Before One Note these ideas filled napkins, the backs of receipts, notebooks of all sizes, whatever I could grab at the time.  I actually remember writing a scene around and around my paper coffee cup.  Truth be told, if in a bind that is where they still end up, at least until I get home.  Now every idea has its place, and if it doesn't it gets one.  I organize stories into the following:

  • Ideas
  • Outline
  • Characters
  • Locations
  • Chapters
  • Research
Many of these are subdivided into pages.  Chapters each get their own page, as do characters and locations.  I also keep different sections for Mythology, lore, fairy tales, legends and such. You can click the image for a closer look. Yes, I know if you look closely Baba Yaga is incorrectly placed under Celtic Mythology, but that's where she's staying. And that is because you can use this as you wish.  Revel in the order or disorder, whichever you are more comfortable with.  This is merely the template I use.  It is useful for me.  You may find a different method of organizing your ideas, and if you do I'd love to here about yours.  Whether it be with One Note, Excel, Word, or some other non-Microsoft software; or are you still like I was, using paper scraps and notebooks?

The screen shot to the left is a sample of what I use.  It is an older picture, but I still use the general ideas presented.  Mine has just grown larger over the past year.  I hope you find this useful to help organize your ideas and research.
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