Wednesday, May 02, 2012
E-Books Will Not Make a Shitty Novel Good
By OFW Member: Audrey Lenore
Published: February 20, 2012

I recently read an article in LitReactor by Rob Hart, which realistically dissected self-published author, Joe Konrath’s sales. When I first saw the article, I groaned, thinking that it was yet another “Joe is great” article. I almost didn’t read, but I love LitReactor and usually, the articles explore both sides of any given fence, so I clicked the link.
Here’s the thing that pisses me off most about Mr. Konrath; he’s an arrogant man who’s been sucked into his own fantasy about his awesomeness, and he encourages new authors to do something that could potentially end their career by feeding them misinformation about the reality of self-publishing.
I’m not against self-publishing. It’s a great option for authors who don’t want to go the traditional route and it may be the way many authors go before we’re done. However, I am against perpetuating an idealistic mentality that lulls authors into a false sense of opportunity.
Mr. Konrath first published traditionally. Before he ventured into this self-publishing gig, he had readers. Lots of readers. He’s also a killer marketer. I’m curious to know, as Rob Hart pointed out, how much the man spends in marketing. Do most self-published authors have the resources to spend what is necessary to ensure the same sales Konrath has achieved? In short, no.
Actually, immediately following LitReactor’s article, Konrath posted about the misconceptions that he’s a genius marketer. It’s only fair you get to read his side of the story. In this post he says about his traditional publishing reader base:
“Some keep perpetuating that false meme that it was my legacy books responsible for my success. I'm tired of debunking that one. It is 100% false.”
Really? If you keep reading, you’d see that it is not 100 percent false. Jesus, man, if you sold out your advance, then what the hell do you call that? It’s a reader base. These readers are coming back for more. They’ll read your work because they liked what they saw and they aren’t caring if it’s self-published. You have an advantage that most others do not.
He goes on to say:
“I was never a successful legacy author. I was midlist, eking out a living, struggling from check to check, never making more than $50k in a year and spending a lot of that on travel.”
Sorry, but is anyone else making 50K a year at their day jobs? What about your writing?
Have you sold that much? No? Most authors, even traditionally published authors, have to keep a day job because figures like this just don’t happen very often.
He’s said in this post that he has never said people can get rich publishing e-books. I beg to differ. Just two days before, this post definitely implies the potential of getting rich. Sure, he doesn’t come right out and say it, but come on, Mr. Konrath. We are all workers of the pen. We know how to read the white space. You’ve never said it perhaps, but you’ve alluded to it many times and allowed your readers to make the necessary connections to believe that they can get rich.
I’ve read Mr. Konrath’s books. Not all of them, because his writing style is not my thing, but I read a few. I did this because I wanted to see if perhaps his success was due to stellar writing. Perhaps it wasn’t his “legacy” books or his marketing, maybe he was really good. He writes passably. If you like cliché plots and characters or mediocre dialogue you’ll like his work. He’s solid, but not exceptional.
I guess my point is, don’t believe everything you read. Don’t believe this article. Go and read his blog, then read articles discussing Konrath (both for and against), but don’t just go publish your novel simply because you think you’re going to achieve his level of success. Mr. Konrath does not tell his readers about the many other factors working in his favor. In fact, he often denies that these factors exist. He’s not telling you the whole story. If you’re happy believing half of the story, then you deserve everything that comes your way…or that doesn’t.
Wait, I have a better idea. Why not write well? Why not edit thoroughly? Why not stop using other people’s success as your excuse to cop out of the hard work that’s necessary to publish?

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