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Unreproduceable Phenomenon

I spoke at a writers club in Geneva while ago, and prior to it one of the organizers took me out for a bite. Over paninis, I tried to articulate my belief that no one in publishing knows what they're doing.

"Books," I said, "are like a science experiment without a control. If a book is successful, everyone is quick to take credit for it, and when a book fails, everyone scratches their heads, but no one can explain why either happens because publishers can do the exact same things for two different books and get two very different results."

My friend said, "I get it. Publishing a book is an unreproduceable phenomenon."

I liked that term so much I wrote it down.

Every book is released into the world under unique circumstances. Some of the things that factor into a book being published are:
  • Type of book
  • How it's written
  • Who the author is
  • Date of release
  • Amount of advertising
  • Amount of publicity
  • Amount of marketing
  • Publisher enthusiasm
  • Bookseller enthusiasm
  • Fan enthusiasm
  • Library enthusiasm
  • Cover art
  • Print run
  • Catalog placement
  • Size of advance
  • Foreign sales
  • Movie sales
  • Coop budget
  • Distribution
  • Similar releases
  • Market saturation
  • Price
  • Word of mouth

There are many other factors as well.

Now common sense would say that many of these factors are within a publisher's control, so the more that they do, the better off the book will be. But there are so many factors that even a big book with huge expectations can, and often does, flop.

So the current publishing model is to do the bare minimum, and see if magic happens on its own. And magic happens often enough to keep everyone in the game, trying to figure out how to reproduce it.

But that's the problem. Publishing is an unreproduceable phenomenon.

I once compared publishers to those Skinner pigeons who pecked a lever that offered a treat at random intervals. The pigeons kept pecking, even though their efforts didn't yield any direct, controllable results.

If we add to this situation the poor business model of booksellers having no accountability for sales (because of the return system) then the amount of risk a publisher must take goes up, along with the amount of money needed to be spent to earn money.

Suddenly we see why a 50% sell through has become acceptable, and why authors who follow their publisher's advice to the letter---or even do more than their publishers require---often find themselves without another contract.

If it's true that no one really knows what they're doing, and that luck is ultimately responsible for a book's success, then it really shouldn't matter what the author does because fate will decide what happens. Just write the best book possible and cross your fingers, right?

Well, sometimes that works. Sometimes you buy a single lottery ticket and win. Sometimes you buy ten tickets a week for thirty years before you win. But most of the time you never win.

Which begs the question: what should authors be doing is no one really knows what to do?

The answer is easy. You have to do everything you can to become your own unreproduceable phenomenon.

You'll do some things that work, and other things that won't, and when success comes you'll hopefully be smart enough to know that it wasn't any specific thing you did that made you a hit, but more likely a combination of things plus luck.

Luck doesn't mean you can stop trying. Luck means you have to keep trying until luck happens.

Internet Real Estate

The reason people visit any site on the world wide web is for content. They're looking for entertainment, information, or both.

Creating sticky Internet real estate is hard. You must have an idea of what people want, and have the talent to give it to them. But it doesn't end there.

For sites to be visited frequently, you have to keep up a steady supply of new content. That's the reason most blogs fail. That's the reason most author websites get updated once a year. Coming up with new, interesting, and different information and entertainment on a regular basis makes most authors dizzy.

But don't worry; you can work around this dilemma. If you look closely at successful Internet sites, you'll see there are some secrets to providing regular new content.

1. Aggregate the content. The web has become so overwhelmingly huge, you can't possibly look at everything you find interesting. Neither can anyone else. This is a good thing, because once you find something interesting, you can share it.

Providing links to interesting sites, excerpts from interesting sites, or even media form interesting sites, has become easier than ever. You can share things with your fans that you didn't have to create yourself, because it already exists on the net.



This saves you time, and can bring fans back day after day, to see what you've compiled.

2. Help from friends. No one said your site had to be a solo effort. The multi-author blog means less individual posts for you, but higher overall traffic because each author has her own fan base.

You can also interview people, which creates content. Or have guest bloggers. When a stranger is on your blog, he'll point people in your direction. Some of those people will like what they see and come back on their own.

3. Let the surfers do the work. When I came up with a workable concept for Vent Club I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. (And thanks to author Melanie Lynne Hauser for her input and brainstorming on that idea.) The problem was, I don't have the time to devote to another blog.

So I set it up in a way where I don't need to devote much time to it. The visitors are the bloggers. They're the ones who write the posts, not me. All I do is make sure the queue keeps going, which is only a minute or two of work every day.

If you host a message board or a forum, you can keep people coming back to your site with minimal effort on your part. Plus, when people have input in something, they develop a sense of ownership and community, which accounts for longer surfing times and multiple daily visits.

4. Analyzing feedback. I'm guessing you use www.statcounter.com or a similar program to see where your visitors are coming from, what they look at, and how long they stay. This information should be used for more than just ego stroking. If you have pages on your site that aren't sticky (few visits, short views) then you need to replace them with something better. That's like buying land and not developing it.

You should also listen to personal feedback in the form of email, messages, and comments. People will tell you what they like, and they're even more anxious to tell you what they don't like. Listen to their comments. It's a poor performer who ignores his audience. Make sure your audience is heard.

5. Size matters. Every page on your website has the potential to last forever. Google and the other search engines crawl these pages, looking for content. The bigger you are, the more roads that lead to you. I still get hits on pages I wrote years ago, because people are finding them. The more hits, the better.

That's why it's also a good idea to exchange links with similar sites. First, because it leads people to you, and second because the more links you have going in/coming out, the higher you're ranked on the search engines. The first few dozen links will be the result of you emailing site owners, asking to trade. But when you get big enough, you'll have people asking to link to you.

6. Being innovative. Don't be afraid to try something new or different. Innovation is what spearheads Internet success, not copying what was done last week. Experiment. Get crazy. Analyze what works on you, then try to make that work for other people on your site. If it flops, you can always delete it with no residual effects. In this age of uber technology, you're only limited by your imagination. Think big.

Welcome to Vent Club

I've created a new blog called The Anonymous Publishing Vent Club. Here's the low down:

You're a writer. Or an editor. Or an agent. Or a publicist. Or a bookseller. Or someone who works in the publishing industry in some capacity.

And you're angry about something. You've been wronged, lied to, gotten a bad deal, had to put up with some unbelievable bullshit, dealt with a real brain donor, or have experienced something unfair or ridiculous.

You need to vent. But you can't complain about it, because you don't want to get fired, or have your contract cancelled, or you believe it could come back to haunt you, or you think that your peers will hate you, or you're worried that it will hurt your career.

This blog is for you.

Here you can vent, rant, and rage against injustice, and do it anonymously. There's no way to find out who you are, no way for your diatribe to come back and bite you in the butt.

Curious? Interested? Can't wait to try it?

Here are the rules:

1. Vent Club is anonymous, even from JA Konrath, its creator. NO REAL PEOPLE/PLACES/COMPANIES SHALL BE NAMED! Use Publisher X, Author X, Bookstore X, etc. when telling your story. Keep the specifics (dates, places, details) vague. Vent Club is not about pointing fingers and/or punishing those who have wronged you. Vent Club is about anonymous venting.

2. If you want to post on Vent Club, create a free, anonymous email account at http://www.hotmail.com. Then send an email to JA Konrath at haknort@comcast.net through that account with "I WANT TO POST ON VENT CLUB" in the heading.

DO NOT tell JA who you are, or anything specific about you, even if you know Joe and like Joe. KEEP IT ANONYMOUS! But in your email you must mention what type of publishing person you are (agent editor, writer, bookseller, publicist, etc) along a few sentences about what you want to use Vent Club for.

If you are accepted, JA will send you the username and password to post your words on Vent Club.

3. NO changing passwords, changing other people's posts, or deleting comments. The password will be changed by JA after every post, and he alone has the right to delete inappropriate content. Respect Vent Club, for it respects you.

4. NO swearing, trolling, or flaming. We work in the publishing industry. We're more creative than that.

5. If you post on Vent Club, keep your mouth shut. NEVER tell anyone you posted here, and never take credit for a post. If asked, deny your involvement. Vent Club isn't about marketing yourself, or gaining fame or notoriety.

6. Comments on posts are encouraged. These can be signed using your real name. But there will be NO speculation or guessing who the posts belong to, or who they are talking about. If you try to match names with events, YOU WILL BE BANNED FROM VENT CLUB.

Vent Club is located at http://ventclub.blogspot.com. Bookmark it. Add it to your RSS feed. Link to it. And spread the word. I have a feeling this could get interesting...

It's Viral

An experiment (don't you love experiments?)

I'm trying out some new software for this blog called Snap Preview which opens a window when you hover your mouse pointer over hyperlinks.

My curiosity is twofold.

1. Does this make my blog more fun/easier to navigate/cooler/better? Or does it add to the page loading times, become quickly annoying, and not work on all browsers?

2. If you think it is cool, are you going to put it on your site? Especially since it's free and super easy to install?

How quickly do good ideas spread? Do you adopt them once you're aware of them? Or are you more cautious? What makes something a good idea?

Let me know what you think of Snap Preview, and why you installed it or why you didn't.

I wonder if, within a few weeks, the blogs I visit will have Snap ability, or if it won't spread virally and die a quiet death. And by "viral" I mean viral ideas that spread through word of mouth, not trojan worms that eat your hard drive.

Attention All Booksellers!

Would you like to write a blurb for Dirty Martini, the fourth Jack Daniels book?

My publisher is sending out a small number of bound manuscripts to booksellers, to get their opinions. If you enjoy the book, we'd love to print your words in the ARC for other booksellers to read.

Email me at haknort@comcast.net with your name, bookstore, and address, if you're interested.

Booksellers rock.

My Speech at Google

I just returned from the Unbound conference in New York. Google flew me in first class, set me up at a nice hotel, and plied me with liquor, all so I could deliver eight minutes of my thoughts on the internet and the future of publishing to more than five hundred publishers.

I didn't pull punches.

Other speakers included Tim O'Reilly, who was smart, Cory Doctorow, who was great, and Seth Godin, who was both smart and great. Another big name was also there, but I missed his speech. It may have had to do with a chat we had backstage, where I revealed that I visited 612 bookstores last summer and he replied, "Apparently you place a zero value on your time." I smiled and explained that my time spent touring was an investment in my future career, and that I was a recruiting a nation wide sales force.

"Talk to booksellers?" he replied. "I never considered that."

Some people don't get it. Or they don't want to get it, because it implies they might be doing less. No biggie. I wish him much success.

The speakers on my panel were the delightful Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and the surprisingly down-to-earth Stephen J. Dubner, who--even though he's got to be a gazillionaire from Freakonomics--still signs 5000 bookplates for fans every month. He is now my new hero.

Here's what I said to the publishing world, fleshed out a little bit (I had to make some cuts for time) and minus the jokes (which involved the NY subway, Powerpoint pie graphs, and Hollywood---trust me, you aren't missing anything.)

-------------------------------------------

--JA's Speech to the Publishing World--

I write about a police officer named Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. The books are a cross between the scares of Patterson and the laughs of Evanovich. But most of my professional time isn't spend writing, it's spent trying to spread the word about what I write to potential readers.

Publishers try to do this by advertising. Two generally accepted ways to approach advertising are top down and bottom up.

Top down advertising includes billboards, print ads, TV commercials, and internet banner ads. It's casting a wide net, hoping that a potential customer will see the ad and seek out the product. It works, but isn't cost-effective;the amount of time and money spent doesn't justify the few sales the ads generate.

Plus, no one enjoys being sold. And people natural distrust ads. Readers already have a pretty good idea of what they like and don't like. And they seek out what they like, and are constantly looking for information about things that might fit their tastes.

Bottom up advertising uses a different approach. Instead of treating customers like a huge group and hoping the ad reaches some specific people, it targets specific people.

Advertisers crow about the importance of name recognition, but how many authors do you know by name? Does that mean you buy their books? I can name a few hundred, but only buy a few dozen of them.

That's because name recognition doesn't mean anything, unless it has a positive experience attached to it.

Last summer, for my book Rusty Nail, I visited 612 bookstores. I met over 1400 booksellers, gave them free books, and signed coasters, and told them about my series. I also thanked them--every one of them--in the acknowledgments of my fourth book, Dirty Martini, coming out this summer.

Basically, I recruited a sales force by trying to turn the people selling my books into fans, or at least make them knowledgeable about my brand, which is significant considering there are 150k titles in an average bookstore.

That's bottom up; targeting individuals, providing them with entertainment and information so they can decide if my books are right for them, or in this case, their customers. So when someone comes into a bookstore looking for a specific type of book, these booksellers can pass along the information and make recommendations. I gave them more than a free signed book. I gave them a positive experience. And that, plus name recognition, equals branding.

How can this be applied to the world wide web?

The Internet, like those booksellers, can make recommendations. It can inform, and entertain, and be a positive experience that reinforces a brand. .

I've used the net to target my audience. When you're targeting potential customers, it isn't about what you have to sell. It's about what you have to offer. And if you have a smart web presence, you don't even have to target individuals---they'll find you.

I recently got on MySpace, and realized it is a publisher's wet dream. People with MySpace pages list the things that they like, to tell others about themselves. Many people list books. Think about this--books are so important to these people that they use author names and titles to define who they are. It's very easy to find fans of Evanovich, Patterson, and Coben. And it's very easy to invite fans of those authors to be MySpace friends, if you write similar books.

I have a blog called A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. It's based on the principal that it isn't what you have to sell, it's what you have to offer. I offer content, in the form of information and opinion about the publishing industry. I've had over two hundred blog posts, and each one of them becomes a permanent road on the net that leads to me. I get Google hits on posts I made 2 years ago, and the threads don't die--people keep adding comments.

My website isn't set up to be an ad for my books. It's set up to be entertaining, and informative. You can download free novels, short stories, and book and audio excerpts, along with an ebook about how to find an agent. I have over a hundred pages of content for fans and newbie authors looking for advice, and even though I don't update as often as I should, I still get close to 1000 unique visitors a day.

On my website, I make it easy for people to stay in touch. I have a newsletter that more than 10,000 people have signed up for, and one click Paypal buying so people who can't find autographed copies of my books can get them from me directly, inscribed and with free shipping.

While publishers worry about finding readers, and go about it as effecsledgehammering a sledgehamemr to kill a gnat, readers are actively looking for books to read. But they need more than slick ads to persuade them. They need a positive experience to link with a name. That's 99% of what I'm trying to do--provide a positive experience, for the people looking for me, and the people discovering me by surfing.

The bigger web presence you have, the more people will discover you.

How does this apply to the future of publishing?

An entire generation is learning how to read by using computers. More and more people are getting their information and entertainment on the web. And they arenĂ‚’t being passive about it--they're seeking it out.

On the subway today, I counted 7 people with PDAs, Blackberrys, and Palms, and two more with mp3 players. People need their media so much they're taking it with them when they leave their desks. Only three people on that train were reading newspapers. What does that say about the future of print media?

People read online all the time. It's up to the publishers to teach them how to read books online.

There's no reason why books can't be packaged with a CD. It could contain various downloadable text AND audio formats, so people can read it on their PDA or listen to it on their mp3 player. It can include pictures, video interviews, deleted chapters and extra short stories. It could be popped into a computer and take the reader to a webpage where they can chat with other fans, and the author, and leave messages and comments and questions.

And publishers should also approach it from the other end. Each book could have a dedicated website, just like movies. And it could offer the same things; downloads, previews, screen savers, and forums for fans to meet. It should also provide links to buying the book, both as a download, and as a print copy.

Why stop there? Take a cue from the DVD and music industries, that package whole season sets of shows and full discographies of bands. Do you want people to embrace ebooks? (You should--no shipping, no returns, no printing, no distributor, no waste, higher profit margin.) Then package 20 Stephen King books on a Sandisk card for $40. Steve gets the 60 cent per book royalty he would have gotten from a paperback sale, and the buyer changes his reading habits.

We switched from LPs to CDs, and VHS to DVD. We can convert some people from print to online leisure reading---especially since everyone reads online anyway.

You can spend a fortune hunting mice. You can mount expeditions, buy expensive mouse hunting equipment, tour the world, and devote all of your time to tracking those little suckers down.

Or you can toss some cheese in the corner and wait.

The choice yours.

Communication

I once heard someone say that the opposite of talking is waiting.

Wise words. How many times do we find ourselves in conversations where we're waiting to say what's on our mind, rather than fully appreciating the words coming at us?

But things are different on the world wide web.

I did a little MySpace experiment three days ago, sending a bulletin to my 1700 friends and asking them to reply.

Three hundred people have replied so far.

Now I'm in the awkward position of responding to their replies, which is taking me forever. Be careful what you ask for...

While I've beenreplying, I took a look at the 800 other emails in my inbox, and realized these people deserved responses as well. Especially since some of them are from July.

Here's my deal with email; if I receive something from someone close to me, I always respond immediately.

If I receive fan mail, I try to respond within a reasonable amount of time---usually within a week.

But a portion of the emails I get are from people who want something. A blurb. A critique. An answer to a detailed question. And I let these accrue, because I always have something else I could be doing other than answering email.

It doesn't take Seth Godin to understand that this isn't very good customer service.

The future of marketing has less to do with finding new customers and more to do with enthralling the customers we already have. As a public figure, and a personal selling a product, I have a responsibility to reply to those who want my attention. Communication is the single most important form of branding.

So why am I slacking?

I have a friend who describes herself as Type A. She keeps a file of interview questions, and has cut and paste responses for every possible question she could be asked online.

I dismissed her method as impersonal. Now I applaud her genius. She's giving great customer service, at very little cost to her. Sure, the answers are canned. But that beats the sendee waiting five months for a reply. And the sendee doesn't know the answers have been given many times before. It's win-win.

So my goal for 2007 is to make sure I keep my inbox empty. I'm delighted to be in a position where people contact me, and I owe it to them to respond.

At least until it becomes so overwhelming that my addy must go dark and I have to hire a web maven to screen my emails. Or a bot. But I hate those bots, don't you? Why can't I email Stephen King or Dan Brown and ask them to blurb me?

Oh. That's why.

INDEX

Click a category below to read my past entries.

  • Some posts appear in more than one category
  • Some categories have sub-categories (they're marked with a "»")
  • All posts are listed newest to oldest

Agents, Publishing, and Distribution
Publishing Myths8 mistaken mantras about the publishing business.
Odds and EndsUpdates galore!
Worry By Numbers5 hard facts every writer must know about book sales.
JA Konrath Saves Publishing6 things I'd do to cure what ails our business.
The Great Bookstore ExperimentTesting: What makes books fly off shelves?
Rusty Nail, Street Dates, Jacket Copy & Book CoversJudging my book by its cover.
RemaindersHere's what happens when your book goes out-of-print.
A Discouraging WordMy story could be your story, so keep going.
Property Values and WritingI build my brand to make permanent shelfspace.
The Importance of Being YouWhat happens when writing and the publishing biz collide.
Being EditedThe 5 stages of editing acceptance.
Jim Crow PublishingIs the publishing world racist?
Thinking POD? Think Again…I crunched the numbers and it ain't pretty.
Driving Miss SASEStop making it easy for agents to say "No."
Four CountriesUniting the corners of your publishing world.
Important Stuff: Disregard at Your Peril11 ways to get your contest story read.
E-Book vs Paper: Which Will Win?Return of the digital.
The Truth About Publishers46 things you need to know about your publisher.
Writing ScamsNever let shady characters prey on your insecurities.
Sandy Tooley Part DeuxSelf–publishing redux.
"Self–Publish" Isn't Always a Bad WordSandy Tooley talks about publishing's red–headed stepchild.
BEA!How I survived my first Book Expo America convention.
DistributionHow I signed 3000 books in one afternoon.
Judging a Book by its CoverLesson learned: I write and my publisher does the cover art.
About PublishersMaking your publisher your partner.
Announcements
Blogging Isn't TemporaryYour Weblog is a legacy. Make it count.
Storm FrontRead BLOODY MARY or get body slammed. Your choice, punk.
Thanks, Graham!Read Crimespot.net… Read Crimespot.net…
Phone InterviewJust call me "Phone–it–in–Joe."
Formula 209There's a sucker from Denver born every minute.
Support the InfrastructureGiving back to the community helps us all.
Time to Make Time6 sure–fire tactics that keep me organized… usually. Plus, THESE GUNS FOR HIRE.
Books for TroopsWanna do something great? Send ’em something to read.
Rusty Nail, Street Dates, Jacket Copy & Book CoversJudging my book by its cover.
Chat with JA TonightJust don't ask me what I'm wearing.
Parlez vous French?Jack in French is totally hot!
Wine Me, Dine Me, 69 MeMy entry in a 69–word story competition. (expired)
35 DaysAnother Jack is in the can.
Rusty Nail 500 Tour InfoEverything great starts with a plan.
Short Story and Audiobook Contest WinnersThe lucky ones who took home the prizes.
Massive Website UpdateFresh stuff at JAKonrath.com!
Super Holiday Super ContestAnswer a question. Get free stuff. (expired)
Cinderella BoyHow Marcus Sakey wrote a thriller.
Jack Until '09Make mine a double… 3-book deal #2!
TourageThe Official BLOODY MARY Tour Itinerary
Celebrating AlcoholHyperion's BLOODY MARY contest (expired)
Booklaunch Party June 18How to make them a big hit with fans and peers alike.
An Award Nomination is its Own RewardTasty. But I like the cake more.
Website RelaunchI've revamped JAKonrath.com. Come see what's new.
Who am I and why should you care?Gotta start somewhere. My inagural post.
Awards
2006 Genny Award Winner!Woohoo! First, I'd like to thank my wife…
Are Awards Their Own Reward?I worry about what I control. Awards ain't one of them.
An Award Nomination is its Own RewardTasty. But I like the cake more.
Blogging
Blogging Isn't TemporaryYour Weblog is a legacy. Make it count.
Thanks, Graham!Read Crimespot.net… Read Crimespot.net…
MySpace Redux3 strategies for making lots of MySpace friends.
Internet StuffSix degrees of JA Konrath. Interwebs style!
Driving Traffic6 tried–and–true ways to drive more traffic to your website.
Responsible BloggingYour blog is a powerful platform. Use it wisely.
Tess Gerritsen's BlogMy friend leaps into the vortex.
2006 Genny Award Winner!Woohoo! First, I'd like to thank my wife…
Whose Space? My Space!Tapping in to more than 80 million potential new fans.
Another Link in the ChainHow high-quality links make for great search engine rank.
Barry Eisler Naked!Made you look! Now go read my buddy's blog.
Blogging 201Alphabeter's Guide to Internet Syndication.
What Makes a Good BlogJAK's 12 dos and don'ts for a killer Weblog
On Blogging8 tips for surfing blogs and 9 tips for making one.
Is Blogging Incestuous?Friend or lurker? Tell me who you are.
Buzz, Balls, and Self-PromotionBarry Eisler drops his marketing Zen.
The 24 Hour Advertisement12 ways to make your brand work non-stop.
With a Little Help from My FriendsHere's why other writers are the greatest friends.
And the Hits Keep Coming…Do author blogs and websites sell books?
Who am I and why should you care?Gotta start somewhere. My inagural post.
Contracts and Royalities
How the Hell Am I Doing?!?What do to when attaboys are few and far between.
RoyaltiesKeeping your books in print is like finding free money.
Money Money Money9 things to remember about contracts, advances, and self–promotion.
Fair UseGoogle my books. I want to be read.
You Have the Rights to Remain in PrintDeconstructing the fine print.
Critics and Reviews
Reader ExpectationsWhat do we do when we disappoint our fans?
HatersWe can't please ’em all, so let it roll.
The New Zoo ReviewI read all my reviews. I just don't listen to them.
Am I Evil? Yes I Am.My business is JA Konrath and I'm the CEO.
Everyone is the hero in their own movieNobody wins when we go negative.
Still Life with Hate MailGLBA Con. Plus, my first hate e-mail.
Views on ReviewsEven the bad ones are great.
Amazon.comEveryone's got an opinion. Especially me.
Motivation
Self ImageLooking for success? Fake it until you make it.
Crush Your Hope5 things writers can learn from marathon runners.
New Year's Resolutions Part 26 new promises for 2007.
How Good Am I?3 things to always remember about success.
Neurotic Author MomentYou done whining yet? Good. This job ain't for sissies.
How the Hell Am I Doing?!?What do to when attaboys are few and far between.
Thanksgiving for WritersA Turkey Day Primer: Here's why I'm thankful.
DistractionsWhat part of "Writer" don't you understand? Now get back to work!
The Rusty Nail 600A quick tour re-cap. Also, pushing past your limits.
How to Handle Success (Everyone Else's)6 tips for fighting off wrong–headed thinking.
Community and CommitmentGive and take with friends to become a better writer.
This is Your Career Wake Up CallKeep on dreaming big.
Work EthicsJAK's 12 Steps to Success
Today's MotivationalStop reacting… your career needs you to do something.
A Discouraging WordMy story could be your story, so keep going.
Excuses, ExcusesWho's in charge here? Turns out it's you.
Writing Full Time: The Good and the BadThe pros and cons of going pro.
Damning You With Praise9 tricks to help you stay grounded.
Submit to Submission"No" is just another word for "Next."
True Grit QuizDo you have what it takes to realize the dream?
Talent and Craft, Luck and PersistenceMaking it means having a little of all four.
For the Children (and the Adults)16 tips for beginning writers of all ages.
Outlines, Writer's Block, and MotivationHow I use 1 to master 2 and 3.
Relax, Don't Do ItNo time? Poppycock! There's always time to write.
Why?I ask the eternal question. What's your answer?
Potential7 self–evident writing truths.
Hope is a Four Letter WordHow your attitude makes all the difference.
IntangiblesGood word–of–mouth now, equals great things later.
Get Off Your Ass and Do Something6 things all writers should do every day.
Mantra for '066 affirmations for the new year.
New Years Resolutions for WritersThe year ahead for pros and noobs.
QuittingThe odds are against you. Got what it takes?
Eggs in Baskets and Hatched ChickensHow to manage your promo-plan expectations.
Cinderella BoyHow Marcus Sakey wrote a thriller.
A Word From My Better HalfMy wife keeps me real.
Self-Doubting Thomas13 insecurities that affect us all.
Promotion and Marketing

January 2007

My Speech at GoogleSoapbox Warning!
CommunicationAnswer your email. Right now.

December 2006

Rant Against Advertising Part 3Books purchased: 10. Ads seen: Zero.
Rant Against Advertising Part 2That's it. The gloves are coming off.
Rant Against AdvertisingOh no… don't get me started.
MySpace Redux3 strategies for making lots of MySpace friends.

November 2006

Internet StuffSix degrees of JA Konrath. Interwebs style!
Why Do You Do What You Do?Clear Goals + Standards = Promo Success

October 2006

Publishing Myths8 mistaken mantras about the publishing business.
RoyaltiesKeeping your books in print is like finding free money.

September 2006

Driving Traffic6 tried–and–true ways to drive more traffic to your website.

August 2006

The Great Bookstore ExperimentTesting: What makes books fly off shelves?
Do SomethingThe most important part of your marketing plan is the "plan" part.

July 2006

Internet HappeningsMJ Rose takes on her own 500 challenge.

June 2006

Booksignings: Everything you Need to KnowUm, yeah… you're gonna want to print this.
Press ReleasesI'm a writer, so I do these myself. Here's how…
Business Cards and Computer SavvyHow I maximize these tools to amp up my promotions.
Newsletter #6A half–dozen tips for knockout newsletters.
Interviewing 1019 common interview mistakes and how to avoid them.
AdsHave I mentioned that I don't think they work?
2006 Genny Award Winner!Woohoo! First, I'd like to thank my wife…

May 2006

Promotion: A Biased Account of Cost vs. BenefitFiguring the promo numbers in time and money.
Whose Space? My Space!Tapping in to more than 80 million potential new fans.
Another Link in the ChainHow high-quality links make for great search engine rank.

April 2006

Self-Promote or DieAlways be stoking the self–promo furnace fire.
Property Values and WritingI build my brand to make permanent shelfspace.

March 2006

What Makes a Good BlogJAK's 12 dos and don'ts for a killer Weblog

February 2006

Future TacticsYou can't afford to "seat of your pants" your career.
The Secret World of BlurbingIt's dirty and little. The secret, that is.
Writers, Start Your Sales PitchSelling it starts with you.

January 2006

Get Your Hands on my Shorts5 reasons this Amazon program rocks!
The Best Kind of MarketingSelling your writing sells readers on you.
On Blogging8 tips for surfing blogs and 9 tips for making one.
IntangiblesGood word–of–mouth now, equals great things later.
Four CountriesUniting the corners of your publishing world.
Get Off Your Ass and Do Something6 things all writers should do every day.

December 2005

The Truth About Publishers46 things you need to know about your publisher.

November 2005

On Beyond GoogleHow to use niche search engines to find your Web saturation.
Library ReduxUpdate on the library promo blitz.
Fair UseGoogle my books. I want to be read.
Eggs in Baskets and Hatched ChickensHow to manage your promo-plan expectations.
AmazonymousHow to get proactive with Amazon.
Conference CulturePublic speaking and well-rehearsed anecdotes are your friends.
What I've Learned So Far14 things I didn't know then.

October 2005

Calling the Guinness Folks…Laying groundwork for the big tour.
The Stuff They Don't Teach YouThe 11 things you won't find in books.

September 2005

Libraries #2Here's how Julia Spencer-Fleming and I blitzed ’em
LibrariesThe secret in my promo toolbox.

August 2005

David Morrell Part Deux: The Publicist SpeaksAnd now… a word from his publicist.
David Morrell on Book Marketing and PublicityCovering 30 years of publishing.
Radio DazeNope. Radio doesn't work.
A Face Made for Radio (Again)Testing: Do radio appearances work?
Drinks are on EdGreat industries begin with great people.
Buzz, Balls, and Self-PromotionBarry Eisler drops his marketing Zen.
Back From Vacation… Sort Of24/7/365: The machine's always on.

July 2005

Damnazon.comHow do you use the world's biggest store?
The 24 Hour Advertisement12 ways to make your brand work non-stop.
Celebrating AlcoholHyperion's BLOODY MARY contest (expired)

June 2005

A Face Made for RadioGood looks sell books but they're not all that matters.
I'm Certain that I'm UncertainFocus on what you can control and don't sweat the rest.
The Ups and Downs of USPSThe undeniable power of swag. Or "Why my postage costs are through the roof!"
Booklaunch Party June 18How to make them a big hit with fans and peers alike.
And the Hits Keep Coming…Do author blogs and websites sell books?
Of Dark and Stormy NightsMake your mark: give away free stuff.
An Award Nomination is its Own RewardTasty. But I like the cake more.
BEA!How I survived my first Book Expo America convention.

May 2005

Newsletter BluesHow e-mail can shake hands with fans.
DistributionHow I signed 3000 books in one afternoon.
Views on ReviewsEven the bad ones are great.
The value of self-promotionSell yourself before you sell your books.
Rants
Rant Against Advertising Part 3Books purchased: 10. Ads seen: Zero.
Rant Against Advertising Part 2That's it. The gloves are coming off.
Rant Against AdvertisingOh no… don't get me started.
Reader ExpectationsWhat do we do when we disappoint our fans?
DistractionsWhat part of "Writer" don't you understand? Now get back to work!
Responsible BloggingYour blog is a powerful platform. Use it wisely.
AdsHave I mentioned that I don't think they work?
Excuses, ExcusesWho's in charge here? Turns out it's you.
Holy Sense of Entitlement, Batman!Getting lucky is damn hard work.
Am I Evil? Yes I Am.My business is JA Konrath and I'm the CEO.
Driving Miss SASEStop making it easy for agents to say "No."
Time Management
Treading WaterDoes the self–promotion ride ever slow down?
Time to Make Time6 sure–fire tactics that keep me organized… usually. Plus, THESE GUNS FOR HIRE.
WeaknessesEverybody's got ’em. What are you doing to overcome yours?
Relax, Don't Do ItNo time? Poppycock! There's always time to write.
DeadlinesWhen it comes to getting things done, know thyself.
No Vacation for YouSacrifices: Are you ready for them?
A Word From My Better HalfMy wife keeps me real.
Not Enough Time in the DayFalling behind sucks. A lot.
Conference ChecklistB'con ’05: It pays to be prepared.
A Weekend in the LifeMinute–by–minute: My event-weekend journal.
Tour Stuff
Writers
Thanks, Graham!Read Crimespot.net… Read Crimespot.net…
MySpace Redux3 strategies for making lots of MySpace friends.
PimpingHow to get your fans to read your friends' books.
Community and CommitmentGive and take with friends to become a better writer.
Support the InfrastructureGiving back to the community helps us all.
Peerfest17 authors—and their books—that I highly recommend.
Hero Worship and MoneyF. Paul Wilson gives away $1000. (expired)
Internet HappeningsMJ Rose takes on her own 500 challenge.
Tess Gerritsen's BlogMy friend leaps into the vortex.
CopycattingNothing wrong with showing influences, even when you've never read one.
Promotion: A Biased Account of Cost vs. BenefitFiguring the promo numbers in time and money.
Whose Space? My Space!Tapping in to more than 80 million potential new fans.
Holy Sense of Entitlement, Batman!Getting lucky is damn hard work.
Barry Eisler Naked!Ha! Made you look. Now go read my buddy's blog.
Twelve Things Writers Won't Ever Admit ToBlowing the lid off these insider secrets.
Conventions, Panels, & YouBarry Eisler's 14–point plan for giving good panel.
Jim Crow PublishingIs the publishing world racist?
Are Awards Their Own Reward?I worry about what I control. Awards ain't one of them.
The "Are You a Hack?" Quiz!The Newbie's Guide goes Cosmo!
Be the BraGiving back: We're all in this together.
Library ReduxUpdate on the library promo blitz.
Everyone is the hero in their own movieNobody wins when we go negative.
Cinderella BoyHow Marcus Sakey wrote a thriller.
Sandy Tooley Part DeuxSelf–publishing redux.
"Self–Publish" Isn't Always a Bad WordSandy Tooley talks about publishing's red–headed stepchild.
Still Life with Hate MailGLBA Con. Plus, my first hate e-mail.
Libraries #2Here's how Julia Spencer-Fleming and I blitzed ’em
Long WeekendAn event wrap-up… covered in karma.
David Morrell Part Deux: The Publicist SpeaksAnd now… a word from his publicist.
David Morrell on Book Marketing and PublicityCovering 30 years of publishing.
Buzz, Balls, and Self-PromotionBarry Eisler drops his marketing Zen.
To the ProsAn open letter to my peers.
Self-Doubting Thomas13 insecurities that affect us all.
With a Little Help from My FriendsHere's why other writers are the greatest friends.
Writers Conferences, Festivals, and Events

» The Low Down

Drinks are on EdGreat industries begin with great people.
Long WeekendAn event wrap-up… covered in karma.
Final ThoughtsB'con ’05: Not so fast, Joe.
How Much is Too Much?B'con ’05: Did I cross the line?
Back From Vacation… Sort Of24/7/365: The machine's always on.

» A Survival Guide

PimpingHow to get your fans to read your friends' books.
Library Events 1016 rock–solid tips for great library meet–n–greets.
Conference TipsThe Newbie's Guide to Bouchercon… plus Barry Eisler's Panelist Manifesto.
3… 2… 1… ContactsHow to work the room and boost your career.
A Newbie's Guide to Writing Conferences13 things every writer must know.
Conventions, Panels, & YouThe Panelist's Manifesto.
Love is Murder in Chicago7 ways to stretch your conference promo dollar.
Conference CulturePublic speaking and well-rehearsed anecdotes are your friends.
Conference ChecklistB'con ’05: It pays to be prepared.
A Weekend in the LifeMinute–by–minute: My event–weekend journal.
Of Dark and Stormy NightsMake your mark: give away free stuff.
BEA!How I survived my first Book Expo America convention.
The value of self-promotionSell yourself before you sell your books.
Writing

» The Business of…

December 2006

Rant Against Advertising Part 3Books purchased: 10. Ads seen: Zero.
Rant Against Advertising Part 2That's it. The gloves are coming off.
Rant Against AdvertisingOh no… don't get me started.

November 2006

HatersWe can't please ’em all, so let it roll.
How the Hell Am I Doing?!?What do to when attaboys are few and far between.

October 2006

Treading WaterDoes the self–promotion ride ever slow down?
RoyaltiesKeeping your books in print is like finding free money.

September 2006

The Five Habits of Highly Neurotic AuthorsAnd here's how I handle them.
Time to Make Time6 sure–fire tactics that keep me organized… usually. Plus, THESE GUNS FOR HIRE.
Worry By Numbers5 hard facts every writer must know about book sales.

June 2006

To Be a NYT Bestseller5 things all authors on the NYT have in common.
RemaindersHere's what happens when your book goes out-of-print.
Business Cards and Computer SavvyHow I maximize these tools to amp up my promotions.
Newsletter #6A half–dozen tips for knockout newsletters.

May 2006

Interviewing 1019 common interview mistakes and how to avoid them.
CopycattingNothing wrong with showing influences, even when you've never read one.
Promotion: A Biased Account of Cost vs. BenefitFiguring the promo numbers in time and money.

April 2006

3… 2… 1… ContactsHow to work the room and boost your career.
Self-Promote or DieAlways be stoking the self–promo furnace fire.
Writing Full Time: The Good and the BadThe pros and cons of going pro.
Damning You With Praise9 tricks to help you stay grounded.
The Importance of Being YouWhat happens when writing and the publishing biz collide.

March 2006

Twelve Things Writers Won't Ever Admit ToBlowing the lid off these insider secrets.
Money Money Money9 things to remember about contracts, advances, and self–promotion.

February 2006

DeadlinesWhen it comes to getting things done, know thyself.
Future TacticsYou can't afford to "seat of your pants" your career.
Talking 'Bout Your ReputationYour 3 reps: With fans, with publishers, with peers.
The Secret World of BlurbingIt's dirty and little. The secret, that is.

January 2006

Thinking POD? Think Again…I crunched the numbers and it ain't pretty.
The Best Kind of MarketingSelling your writing sells readers on you.
Driving Miss SASEStop making it easy for agents to say "No."
IntangiblesGood word–of–mouth now, equals great things later.
Four CountriesUniting the corners of your publishing world.

December 2005

E-Book vs Paper: Which Will Win?Return of the digital.
New Years Resolutions for WritersThe year ahead for pros and noobs.
The Truth About Publishers46 things you need to know about your publisher.
QuittingThe odds are against you. Got what it takes?
Size Does MatterOn word counts, paragraph breaks, and chapter lengths.
Have a Safe and Secure Holiday Season12 ways to keep your computer—and writing—safe.

November 2005

On Beyond GoogleHow to use niche search engines to find your Web saturation.
Library ReduxUpdate on the library promo blitz.
Eggs in Baskets and Hatched ChickensHow to manage your promo-plan expectations.
AmazonymousHow to get proactive with Amazon.
Everyone is the hero in their own movieNobody wins when we go negative.
Cleaning HouseStarting fresh for the holidays.
What I've Learned So Far14 things I didn't know then.

October 2005

Writing ScamsNever let shady characters prey on your insecurities.
The Stuff They Don't Teach YouThe 11 things you won't find in books.
Still Life with Hate MailGLBA Con. Plus, my first hate e-mail.

September 2005

Not Enough Time in the DayFalling behind sucks. A lot.
Libraries #2Here's how Julia Spencer-Fleming and I blitzed ’em
LibrariesThe secret in my promo toolbox.
Long WeekendAn event wrap-up… covered in karma.

August 2005

Conference ChecklistB'con ’05: It pays to be prepared.
Trekking the AmazonMy trips up and down the rankings.
Radio DazeNope. Radio doesn't work.
A Face Made for Radio (Again)Testing: Do radio appearances work?
You Have the Rights to Remain in PrintDeconstructing the fine print.

July 2005

The 24 Hour Advertisement12 ways to make your brand work non-stop.
Positively PositiveI must not think bad thoughts…

June 2005

A Face Made for RadioGood looks sell books but they're not all that matters.
I'm Certain that I'm UncertainFocus on what you can control and don't sweat the rest.
The Ups and Downs of USPSThe undeniable power of swag. Or "Why my postage costs are through the roof!"
Booklaunch Party June 18How to make them a big hit with fans and peers alike.
A Weekend in the LifeMinute–by–minute: My event-weekend journal.

March 2005

Who am I and why should you care?Gotta start somewhere. My inagural post.

» Craft and Process

Neurotic Author MomentYou done whining yet? Good. This job ain't for sissies.
DistractionsWhat part of "Writer" don't you understand? Now get back to work!
The Five Habits of Highly Neurotic AuthorsAnd here's how I handle them.
Create-A-StoryHelp me waste time.
Work EthicsJAK's 12 Steps to Success
Theme?Give your characters life by finding a compelling theme.
Villainy6 characteristics that make your bad guys unforgettable.
So You Wanna Write About HandgunsEverything you ever wanted to know about sidearms.
Humor MeHow I find the funny.
The Elements of DialogJAK's 9 rules for letting 'em tell it like it is.
The Importance of Being YouWhat happens when writing and the publishing biz collide.
Submit to Submission"No" is just another word for "Next."
Being EditedThe 5 stages of editing acceptance.
Talent and Craft, Luck and PersistenceMaking it means having a little of all four.
For the Children (and the Adults)16 tips for beginning writers of all ages.
Wine Me, Dine Me, 69 MeMy entry in a 69–word story competition. (expired)
Liability and ResponsibilityHow to handle taboos in your writing.
Outlines, Writer's Block, and MotivationHow I use 1 to master 2 and 3.
DeadlinesWhen it comes to getting things done, know thyself.
Your Own Personal CensorLet your market tell you how far is too far.
Ask but don't AnswerWanna keep readers in suspense?
Down in the Infodumps5 sneaky ways to keep readers engaged.
Writer's BlockWhy I think it's a bunch of hooey.
More IntimidationContest Tip: To win, you've gotta shine.
Important Stuff: Disregard at Your Peril11 ways to get your contest story read.
Size Does MatterOn word counts, paragraph breaks, and chapter lengths.
Creating Dynamic Characters7 steps to creating three-dimensional characters.
Avoiding Plodding PlottingHow to build killer plots the Konrath way.
First Lines… are crucial. Here are some of mine.
Cleaning HouseStarting fresh for the holidays.

» Goals and Success

Self ImageLooking for success? Fake it until you make it.
Crush Your Hope5 things writers can learn from marathon runners.
How Good Am I?3 things to always remember about success.
The Rusty Nail 600A quick tour re-cap. Also, pushing past your limits.
Why Do You Do What You Do?Clear Goals + Standards = Promo Success
How to Handle Success (Everyone Else's)6 tips for fighting off wrong–headed thinking.
Community and CommitmentGive and take with friends to become a better writer.
Do SomethingThe most important part of your marketing plan is the "plan" part.
To Be a NYT Bestseller5 things all authors on the NYT have in common.
Work EthicsJAK's 12 Steps to Success
Holy Sense of Entitlement, Batman!Getting lucky is damn hard work.
True Grit QuizDo you have what it takes to realize the dream?
Money Money Money9 things to remember about contracts, advances, and self–promotion.
Why?I ask the eternal question. What's your answer?
Future TacticsYou can't afford to "seat of your pants" your career.
Potential7 self–evident writing truths.
Goals1. Be entertaining. 2. Get people to read you.
More IntimidationContest Tip: To win, you've gotta shine.
Get Off Your Ass and Do Something6 things all writers should do every day.
Mantra for '066 affirmations for the new year.
No Vacation for YouSacrifices: Are you ready for them?
When Did You Know?Tell me how you got here from there.
QuittingThe odds are against you. Got what it takes?
Stacking NumbersMaking sense of them is a tall, tall order.
Cleaning HouseStarting fresh for the holidays.
At What Point Success?Catching its ever-elusive meaning.

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