Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Joe Konrath”

A Series of Books, A Line of Products

In the past few months, the writing world has been keenly watching the process of J. A Konrath and Amanda Hocking, two authors who are making a lot of money selling their e-books and harnessing the power of social media.

Amanda Hocking

Joe Konrath often sells his e-books for $1.99, a price that has been met with considerable disdain by writers who sweat years over their masterpiece and can’t imagine selling it for the price of a cup of drip coffee (not even an espresso drink).

Konrath, however, sees this as a business and his books essentially as a line of products. After someone buys one book and enjoys it, they will go back to the Kindle store and buy several in one go. They know they enjoy Konrath’s style and stories, so for $15-$20 why not get the set and know you will always have something accessible to read for the next few months?

Joe Konrath

What is interesting here is the difficulty of authors to view their books as products. Both authors attribute their success, in part, to having several books to sell. After all, it is easier to sell a second and third book to someone who has read and enjoyed one of your books, than to sell them the first one. Moreover, it is the need to look at our writing as a business. Both Konrath and Hocking are very clear: they work very hard at not only writing, but building their online platforms.

There will always be A-list authors, some of whom become richer than the Queen (I still have a problem with that one – it somehow seems unpatriotic, Ms. Rowling), but the new generation of successful ‘everyone-else’ will consist of those who see this as a business.

Last month, I heard an author tell a group that she is a full-time author. She paid tribute to her partner who has a job that can allow her to stay home and she then admitted that most of that time is spent raising two young children and that she doesn’t have a writing routine.

I’m not sure I would include her in the category of full-time writer. Her position is similar to mine, struggling to carve out time between a full-time job, family, and everything else life throws at us. For writers like us, there is always going to be a struggle to be marketing one book (or ourselves), editing a manuscript, and writing the next book (the law of thirds).

And this is what will separate us from the likes of Konrath and Hockings. Good luck to us all, and may The Readers have mercy on our souls!
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Five Blogs About Writing and The Business

Personally, I’ve never thought of my writer’s life as a lonely one. There are simply too many great people around who are authors or writers. There are writers groups, writers clubs, conferences, and almost always a wannabe writer at any family gathering.

There are also a lot of good people online, who take the time to share their knowledge and experience. Here are five that I refer to .

1. A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Thriller author Joe Konrath writes not only about his genre, but about how a struggling author can make money in this economic and business climate.

2. The Book Deal: I frequently refer to Alan Rinzler’s blog for information. He has a lifetime of experience in the business and I consulted with him on The Accidental Activist. He suggested on the phone that when I come to see him, that I have my questions prepared and in a logical order. I prepare fastidiously for meetings at my day job, so I took him on his advice and was ready. At the end of the hour, we had covered a ton of questions and I felt like I had just been to the gym for a particularly vigorous workout. I certainly felt as though I had received my money’s worth

3. The Rejecter: This blog is run by a literary assistant who offers blunt though excellent advice about the process of submissions and pitches, as well as other posts about the industry from an insider. Not for the faint-hearted!

4. Nathan Bransford: is a YA author. He spends a lot of time using his own work and those of his contemporaries in the YA world to focus on the creative process. This is a great blog to help YA writers understand their genre in the publishing world. Nathan is also a Bay Area author.


5. Bookends, LLC: This blog is written by members of the Bookends Literary Agency LLC. I think there is a certain richness in shared blogs, especially when they are in sync with their respective perspectives. They offer a rich array of advice for how to get your book published. I particularly enjoy the guest posts by authors who have survived.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 


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