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Member Spotlight: J.A. Konrath

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Jan 18, 2011 10:32:32 AM

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/images/Konrath_ShotofTequila_cover.jpgRecently, we asked prolific novelist J.A. Konrath to share with us the story of his publishing success. Below, in his own words, is the story of Konrath's journey and experience with digital publishing and CreateSpace.


J.A. Konrath

I've made nine of my self-published e-books available through CreateSpace. These include the thrillers Origin, The List, Shot of Tequila, and Disturb, along with the horror novels Trapped, Endurance, and Draculas, which I wrote under the pen name Jack Kilborn. I also have two short story collections.


After seven years in traditional publishing, I released some of my unpublished novels and previously published short stories onto Kindle, using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I expected to lightly supplement my writing income with e-book sales. But those e-books sold really well - in fact, I'm earning over $100,000 a year on them. So I more or less gave up traditional publishing, and focused on e-books, writing new material for Kindle distribution.


However, some of my fans asked if I could make these titles available in print. Since I had such a good experience with digital publishing through KDP, I chose CreateSpace to self-publish and print the titles on-demand.


My experience so far has been promising. I'm averaging $75 a day in royalties on these titles. I've priced the 6" x 9" trade paperbacks at $13.95 each, which gives me around a $4 royalty when the books are sold through Amazon. To compare that to a traditionally published book, I earn 68 cents on a paperback sale, or $2.50 on a hardcover sale.


I've found CreateSpace to be easy to work with, and its customer service is terrific. What other company calls you on the phone a few seconds after you tell them you have a problem? That boggles my mind. I opted for the Pro Plan for all of my titles, and quickly earned the $39 investment in the program back with higher royalties. It also allows me to buy my own author copies for less than $5 each, which I've found beats the heck out of any other POD service out there. The CreateSpace Community forum is also a good place to get advice from peers.


Industry statistics show that more than one million books have been published in the last 12 months, and it's tough to stand out among all of that competition. Overall, the top four things that are essential to finding (and keeping) an audience are:


1. Writing a good book. Join a critique group to help vet your manuscript and make sure it is perfect.

2. Making sure it is professionally edited and formatted, with a terrific cover. I always hire pros.

3. Having a smart product description. Read other books in your genre and emulate their style.

4. Keeping the price attractive. With e-books, I recommend $2.99. With trade paperbacks, a 300-page book shouldn't cost more than $15.


I've been lucky that I have a popular website and blog that get a lot of traffic, so I haven't done much in the way of marketing, promotion, or advertising. But I'm active on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and I've monetized my website, www.jakonrath.com, with the Amazon Associates program, along with having an online store through PayPal where fans can order signed books.


https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/images/Konrath%20Author%20Photo.jpgSelf-publishing has several advantages over traditional publishing, but one of the largest is the speed of which the author can make changes. If you find typos, or need to do a rewrite, you can upload a new version and turn it around much faster than the "Big 6" can. You should experiment with covers, prices, and descriptions. You can try various ads and marketing strategies, and learn from your successes and failures. Your book, and how you promote it, should be an ever-evolving process, and the more you absorb, the better you'll get at selling. It took me twenty years to get this far, and I still have a lot learn.


Above all, remember to have fun. It's always been my dream to be an author. Traditional publishing has done its best to squash that dream, but venues like Amazon KDP and CreateSpace have helped me reach more people, and make more money, than I ever could through the traditional methods. Your mileage may vary, but if you're taking pride in the process, and having a good time, you'll be a success no matter how many books you sell. Just remember to keep your expectations in check, keep trying and writing and experimenting and learning, and don't let the man grind you down.


Happy publishing!

J.A. Konrath, author of Shaken and Shot of Tequila

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