Paper Mama Photo Challenge ~ A Hint of Color

What a fun Challenge to enter. I love photos with "A HINT OF COLOR" I have so many so this was hard to choose from. This has to be my favorite one for this challenge. She had so much fun with her 5 year photo shoot and I gave her permission to get silly. As she always is and of course those made the best shots.  Hope you enjoy my entry.

Make sure you click on the button below to enter your Hint of Color Photo and to see all the other great entries.
The Paper Mama

Some more of my favorites that I wanted to share...



♥ Personal Post ~ Camping ♥

I wanted to share with everyone our recent family fun. CAMPING. My Aunt and Uncle have a claim up in the mountains that they camp at. They have asked us often if we  would like to go and we just never could find the time. Well we made time this year and let me say, we loved it! I can't wait to go back next year.

This particular trip we had planned on going up for the day and hiking around, playing cards and just visiting. I packed up the car with snacks for the day and swimsuits for the kids just in case they wanted to swim in the creek. Well as we pulled in to the camp, we got a flat tire. Just our luck. But I was so glad we did because we ended up staying over night. We had to sleep in the back of our car, but it was worth the aches in the morning. LOL The girls slept in the trailer with my aunt and uncle while Keith, Cordell and I slept in the car.

We had so much fun. We got there, settled in and decided to take a hike. We hiked up a logging road, then back down the other side where we could go down to the creek. The kids loved it. Oh and I forgot to have them change into their suits, so we got a little wet. LOL It was warm enough to dry off by evening so I wasn't worried. My Uncle Pat showed Cordell and I how to pan for gold while My Aunt Dawn and Keith played in the water with the girls. No Gold. :-( but we had fun looking for it.

Oh and I have to share this photo below. The girls and I found a heart shaped rock in the water. I told them to gather up some white rocks so we could outline it. It turned out to be a really cute picture.

After our hike we headed back to camp for some cards. The little girls don't know how to play so Aunt Dawn set up a movie in the trailer for them. The rest of us played cards. It was fun teaching Cordell and Charleigh how to play Rummy. They really enjoyed it. And I was happy because Keith is not usually a card player and he had a really good time too. We had a great BBQ dinner and enjoyed our time around the campfire that evening. Looking at the stars and just visiting. The stars were beautiful that night. We have a lot of stars to look at at home but this was so many more. The kids pointed out some constellations that they had recently learned in school. 

Then it was off to bed in the back of our car. LOL Interesting. Luckily Aunt Dawn and Uncle Pat come prepared with extra sleeping gear. We weren't bad off at all. The next morning we took another long hike, about 2 1/2 miles, then played more cards before we headed back down the hill. The drive home was interesting with a donut for a tire but we made it in good time. 

Going to the claim was a blast and we look forward to another trip soon. We actually were there again last weekend for another 1 night trip but we plan on going longer next summer. My hubby is working on a custom camper for the back of our truck. So hopefully it will be ready for us to use. It will. Hubby's fast. I'll have to share photos when its complete.

Some of the treasures they found~we made bird feeders out of the pine cones.

What are some of your fun camping stories? I'd love to hear about them!

♥ Shutter Love Tuesdays ♥

Check out last weeks winners of our "Cake" theme HERE!

This weeks theme is "BLUE"
Share with us your interpretation of BLUE! Have fun!!!

Be sure to check the sidebar for up coming themes!
AND don't forget to vote for your favorite photo too! No Anonymous Voting!
Tara & Jamie will be picking the Top Ten as well as some of our FAVORITES too!
Have Fun!
Shutter Love Tuesdays Button
To see all rules for this party & our other link parties, please visit HERE! You can grab the Shutter Love Tuesdays button HERE!
To allow more time to view all the entrie
s, we will be posting the winners on Saturdays at3 p.m.

Tara's "BLUE" Photo
I loved the blue bow on my daughters tutu, so I just had to share this in our Blue theme. My mom found these cute tutu's at Costco recently and knew my girls would love them. They each got a different color.

Jamie's "BLUE" Photo

Don't forget to grab the blog hop so others can enter their photos too!

Make sure you vote for your favorite photo in the comment section!

♥ Shutter Love Winners ♥

We had a fun theme this week "CAKES"
All your entries were so cute. Thanks for making this week great!

Our #1 pick goes to....
Mommy's Cake
Doesn't that just look delish! I could take a bite right now!

#2 - Pieces of Me

#3 - Beach Cake

#4 - Sunflower Cake

#5 - 525,600 Minutes

#6 - Bethany Sherrard Photography

#7 - Modeling Chocolate Monster Cake

#8 - The Great Umbrella Heist

#9 - My Take on Photography

#10 - Piggy Cupcakes

We had another tie this week for Viewer Choice and had to do a random draw.
The winner is...
The Paper Mama~Congrats!

Some of Tara & Jamie's Favorites that didn't make this weeks top 10 are...

Thanks to everyone who entered in our fun "CAKES" week.
Don't forget to go grab your award buttons if you see your photo above.

Make sure you get your photos ready for next weeks "BLUE" theme.
Remember to share this {Party} with friends so more can join in.
If you are a winner, go pick up your 
{Prize Button}

What's your guess?

Well, I've made it to 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
I've only got 18 days to go.
I really thought I was going to have this baby yesterday...
but that did not happen.

So, here are some recent photos of the baby belly for you!

The top view makes it look much bigger don't you think?

I've been busy crafting, sewing and cleaning.
The nesting bug has hit me hard...and my home thanks me!
Although my house is far from clean many things that
haven't been cleaned in a while are now clean.

I love to make things for my kids.
So I thought it would be great to make some shirts for them to wear.
I'm almost done with them
(still have to do a little sewing on the boys shirts)
and plan to have them done before the baby comes.
Here they are.
I used a little steam-a-seam 2
which is a double sided fusible interfacing.
That stuff is amazing!!!!
Once ironed on it's permanent, but I chose to sew the letters down too,
to add a little more character and stability.

So, here's my question...
will we need THIS combination of shirts...

or THIS combination of shirts?

Let's have a little contest!!! Shall we???
Leave a comment with your guess as to the gender of the baby
and when the baby will make its appearance.

I obviously have two kids already, a girl and a boy.
They were both born a week before their due date.
My actual due date for this baby is October 13th.
I do not know the gender of the baby.

Whoever guesses the closest to the actual birthday
and time of day (approximate) and gender
will get a small prize from me!
And when I say small I mean it, I have something fun,
but it's nothing huge or elaborate...
I will have just had a baby so you gotta cut me some slack!

Oh and whichever onesie we don't end up needing will be in my etsy store later!
Check out my blog for some photos from our maternity session!!
Guess away!!!

The Acquisitions Editor

INT. MORNING - Fourth Floor of the Hip Happening Building, New York

(Writer is escorted by an Assistant to the Editor's office)

Editor: Good morning! Assistant, can you bring me a cappuccino, skim milk, two Stevias? Writer, would you like something?

Writer: No, thank you.

Editor: Please, have a seat.

(Writer sits across the Editor's desk)

Editor: I'm excited to tell you we're epublishing your new novel. Aren't you thrilled?

Writer: I'm flattered. But there are still some things I don't understand. I was hoping you'd make them clear for me.

Editor: Of course. I'm here for you. We're partners now. Exciting times.

Writer: Yeah. Well, first of all, I'm trying to understand the royalty structure.

Editor: That's boilerplate. You get 25% of the net sales receipts.

Writer: With the agency model, that means I earn 17.5% of the list price.

Editor: (beaming) Not bad, huh? If it was one of those old-fashioned paperback books, you'd only be earning 8%.

Writer: But paperbacks cost $7.99. You want to publish my ebook for $9.99.

Editor: We've determined that's the best price.

Writer: How?

Editor: Pardon me?

Writer: How have you determined that's the best price? Have you done studies? Polled readers? Experimented with different prices?

Editor: We arrived at $9.99 by comparing it to the prices of paper books.

Writer: But paper books cost money to create. There's printing and shipping. And even with that, paperbacks are still cheaper than $9.99.

Editor: We're just following the market.

Writer: Actually, you're not. You determine the selling price. You're setting the market, not following it. And $9.99 seems high.

Editor: You should just let us worry about that. That's why we're partners. You concentrate on the writing, we'll handle the business end. It's part of the service we provide.

Writer: What exactly is that service, again? I mean, there's no printing or shipping...

Editor: Do you think those are the only costs involved in bringing a book to market? (forced chuckle) You writers are so naive.

Writer: Please. Enlighten me.

Editor: Well, we edit. Books need editing. We also create the cover art. Books, even ebooks, need covers.

Writer: Go on.

Editor: The list is so extensive, I have a hard time remembering it all. There's, um, catalog copy.

Writer: You feature ebooks in catalogs?

Editor: Well, no. But we do a lot of marketing.

Writer: How exactly to you market ebooks?

Editor: Because it's all so new, we're still trying to figure that out. But we just flew the whole office to Seattle to have meetings on how to market ebooks. We were there for two weeks. I think we're making some real headway.

Writer: (under his breath) Maybe you should have a meeting on how to better budget your money.

Editor: That meeting will be in Florida, next month. It's at the Ritz Carlton. We're paying Warren Buffett to be our guest speaker.

Writer: (sighing) Are there any other costs involved in bringing an ebook to market?

Editor: There's advertising.

Writer: You advertise ebooks?

Editor: We're planning to, eventually. Maybe on that Facebook thingy. The kids seem to love it. We also use Twitter.

Writer: Facebook and Twitter are free.

Editor: Facebook ads cost money.

Writer: How many Facebook ads have you personally clicked on?

Editor: None. Those stupid things annoy me.

Writer: So, let's be clear on this. There are no printing costs, shipping costs, or warehousing costs, and you don't do catalogs or advertising or marketing...

Editor: (snapping his fingers as if remembering something) We also format and upload the ebooks to retailers.

Writer: How long does all of that take?

Editor: Excuse me?

Writer: To edit a book and make cover art and format it?

Editor: Well, we could spend two or three weeks working on a single title in order to get it ready.

Writer: Nine months.

Editor: What?

Writer: Nine months, working 60 hour weeks. That's how long it took me to write my novel. That seems a bit longer and more labor-intensive than your three weeks. Yet I'm only getting 17.5% of the price that you set. Do you know what your percentage is?

Editor: Off the top of my head, no.

Writer: You get 52.5%.

Editor: Really? Huh.

Writer: To me, that doesn't seem fair.

Editor: You don't seem to understand that you need us. Without editing or cover art...

Writer: (interrupting) Let's say the ebook sells ten thousand copies. Which, at your inflated price of $9.99, seems unlikely. But let's say it does. That means I earn $17,500...

Editor: A respectable figure...

Writer: ...and you earn $52,500. Even though you only worked on it for three weeks.

Editor: But you gotta admit, we made a terrific cover for it.

Writer: True. But for fifty thousand dollars, I bet I could buy some pretty nice cover art on my own. I bet I could pay a doctor to raise Pablo Picasso from the dead and have him do the cover.

Editor: Don't forget editing.

Writer: How long does it take to edit a manuscript?

Editor: Excuse me?

Writer: In hours. How many are we talking? Ten? Twenty?

Editor: It might go as high as fifty hours, with multiple read-throughs and the line edit.

Writer: How much do editors earn an hour?

Editor: Excuse me?

Writer: Let's say fifty bucks an hour. I think that's high, and I also think your fifty hour estimate is high, but even if we go with both, that's only $2500. And according to the Artist & Graphic Designer's Market, book cover art should cost around $2000.

Editor: Don't forget formatting and uploading.

Writer: I can pay a guy $200 to format and upload the book. In fact, I can also pay a guy $300 to create a cover, and an editor $500 to do both content and copy editing. But you're not charging me $1000, or even $4500. You're taking $52,500. And that number can get even bigger. If I hire my own editor and artist, those costs are fixed. You continue to take your 52.5% forever.

Editor: You don't seem to understand. Do you know how much it costs to rent this office? We're paying $25k a month, and that doesn't even include utilities. I've got three assistants. We all have health insurance and 401k. Expense accounts. Do you have any idea what it costs to take agents out to lunch?

Writer: My agent didn't broker this deal.

Editor: You're missing the point!

(Assistant enters, with coffee)

Assistant: Here's your cappuccino, Editor.

Editor: There's another cost! We paid five grand for this cappuccino machine! How are we supposed to stay in business unless we take 52.5%?

Writer: (standing up) I think we're done here.

Editor: Wait a second! You need us! Without us to validate your work, you'll never be considered legitimate! You'll just be some unknown, satisfied rich guy!

(Writer turns to leave)

Editor: Think about what you're missing out on! When we do cover art, we do it without any kind of focus group, and we don't pay any attention to your wishes! We arbitrarily change your title to something we think is better, without any proof! We take twelve months to release a book after you turn in the manuscript when it would only take you a week! We pay twice a year instead of the monthly check you'd get doing it yourself, and our accounting practices are hard to understand and quite possibly shifty! Also, we'll drop you for no particular reason! You can't turn your back on all that!

(Writer pauses, then turns around)

Writer: Look, it's true that I do need a good editor.

Editor: See! I told you!

(Writer hands Editor his business card)

Writer: When your company goes bankrupt, and you're unemployed, I want you to look me up. Send me a letter. One page, double spaced. List your qualifications for editing my book, and your rates. Also include a SASE. If you don't hear from me in six months, no need for you to follow up--it means I'm not interested...

Ebook Pricing

In my last post, we had a long comment thread where many folks chimed in about the price of ebooks.

I thought I would distill my thoughts into a new blog entry, and explain why I believe $2.99 is the new ebook standard.

There are a few ways to support this claim, but before I begin, we need some background.

It all starts with print.

Currently, the majority of authors are offered boilerplate contracts with fixed rates for print books.

Mass market paperback is 8% of the cover price (though some houses offer 6% or even less), After a certain number of books are sold, it can escalate to 10%.

Trade paperback is 7.5%.

Hardcover is 10% for the first 5000, 12.5% for the next 5000, and 15% for everything after that.

So, for a $7.99 paperback, the author earns 64 cents per copy sold.

For a $13 trade paperback, the author earns 75 cents.

For a $25 hardcover, the author earns $2.50 to start out, though it can get to $3.75 if it sells well.

It is worth noting that these royalty rates are low because there are a lot of costs built into a book sale. Besides the costs absorbed by the publisher (editing, cover art, marketing, advertising, factoring the the cost of returns, plus overhead from salaries, rent, utilities, etc.), there are also printing and shipping costs. The distributor gets a cut. The bookseller gets a cut as well.

But the time the writer gets their cut, there isn't very much left. That's why hardcovers are priced as luxury items. You spend twenty-five bucks to be entertained by something for eight hours--something that I spent months of my life working on--and I get $2.50.

Now let's take a small detour and discuss ebooks.

Ebooks are a tricky product. Their costs are much lower than their print counterparts. No printing or shipping, no distributor, and the bookseller cut is smaller. There is no need to inflate the cost to factor in returns, because returns don't require shipping, warehousing, or printing.

I'll also put forth that the marketing and advertising costs for ebooks are much lower, and fewer people are required to create an ebook, which means less overhead.

Bottom line: Ebooks cost less to produce.

This is a Good Thing. Especially because customers want ebooks to cost less.

There is an acknowledged bias against the worth of downloadable content. This bias is partly emotional, and partly fact-based.

Facts include:

Ebooks cost nothing to distribute or produce.

Ebooks are intangible--they don't exist in a hard copy.

Ebooks have restrictions like DRM and proprietary format, which makes them worth less because they can't be shared, copied, or transferred.

Emotional response to downloads include:

I get a lot of stuff for free on the internet, which must mean it is worth less.

If something can be copied, it has no tangible value.

Copyright is not enforceable in a digital world, so everything should be free, and intellectual property is worthless.

Bottom line: Ebooks cost less, customers know this, and customers want to pay less.

Ebooks should be a bonanza for publishers. They cost less, they require fewer people to produce, and entire wings of their business could be downsized or eliminated, saving a lot of overhead.

But I believe publishers have seen ebooks as a threat to their long-entrenched print book business. I've I've said before: publishers should be connecting writers and readers, but they seem more concerned about selling paper.

That means protecting their paper-selling business. They've done many things to ensure this.

-Push the agency model so they control the selling price of ebooks
-Window ebook releases until after the print version is released
-Keep ebook prices artificially high
-Refuse to release ebook versions of some books, or in certain markets, or for certain platforms
-Demand DRM, which consumers hate (iTunes no longer uses it for that very reason)
-Devote time and energy and money to combating piracy, which is a waste of time and energy and money

None of this embraces the future and prepares them for making fat ebook profits. Instead, it alienates their customers, angers their authors, and leaves them even farther behind as ebook domination draws closer and closer.

Bottom line: Ebooks cost less, customers want to pay less, publishers don't care.

So where are the authors in this?

The boilerplate for ebooks was 25% of the net sales receipts. Instead of basing it on the cover price, it is based on what the publisher receives from the seller.

So on a $9.99 ebook on Amazon (price set by the publisher) is sold to them for $7, which means the author earns $1.75.

Now compared to hardcovers and paperbacks, a buck seventy-five is a pretty good royalty.

At least, on the surface it is. But not when some other things are taken into account.

On a hardcover, and on a paperback, there are so many costs that the publisher earns very close to what the author earns--three bucks on a hardcover, about a buck on a paperback.

But on a $9.99 ebook, the publisher earns $5.25.

$5.25 for simply uploading it to Amazon? Sorry, that's way too much.

Not only that, but they do a lot less to bring an ebook to market, and pay a lot less to get it to market. Lower costs, lower overhead, but jack up the profit? I think not. A world where a publisher earns three times what the artist earns is simply messed up.

If I wrote the damn thing, I deserve the lion's share. A 25% royalty rate isn't fair. Especially compared to print.

It gets worse, though. We've established that ebooks should be cheaper, and customers want to pay less. They certainly don't want to pay ten bucks. So when a publisher prices a book that high, they're losing potential sales. No wonder there's a $9.99 boycott by readers.

My own sales have confirmed this, numerous times. The lower the price, the more money a book earns. This is because value has nothing to do with the list price, and everything to do with how much the author earns.

But it gets worse, still.

By working with a publisher, an author gets 17.5% royalty of whatever price that publisher sets the book at.

By self publishing, the author can get 70% royalty, plus set their own price.

I price my ebooks at $2.99, because I've found that to be the sweet spot. If I price them higher, I make more per sale, but have fewer sales so I lose money.

On a $2.99 ebook, I earn $2.04.

In other words, I earn three times more than I do on a $8 paperback, and almost as much as I do on a $25 hardcover.

And guess what? Ebooks are easier to buy and sell than paper books. Kindle owners can buy my ebooks and get them instantly, without going to the store, or without even turning on their computers. No hassle, no wait.

I like the $2.99 price for other reasons as well. A hardcover requires thought before buying. In this economy it's a big purchase.

$2.99 is an impulse buy. It's no-guilt. It's a bargain. It encourages people to buy, rather than discourages.

Bottom line: I can make more money selling $2.99 ebooks on my own than I can selling $7.99 paperbacks or $25 hardcovers with a publisher.

The fact that I keep the rights, control cover art and titles, and can release the book as fast as I can write it rather than waiting 12 to 18 months, is all icing on the cake.

So let's hear from the opposition:

1. Joe, don't you think books are worth more than $2.99? People have always paid more than that.

Joe sez: A book is worth what it earns the author. Selling a bunch of $2.99 books is more profitable than selling almost as many $25 hardcovers. The public believes downloads should cost less, and the author makes more than they would in print. I think $2.99 is a perfect price to satisfy everyone.

2. Joe, don't you think part of the reason you're selling so well is you're undercutting other authors with your low price?

Joe sez: This isn't a zero sum game. Kindle owners don't buy just one book. They read more than they did before buying their ereader, and if they seem happy to buy more ebooks if they cost less. It isn't a choice between my book or your book. Readers can afford both.

3. Joe, but what happens when publishers start selling at $2.99? Won't you lose sales?

Joe sez: I don't believe publishers are going to go that route for a while. But if/when it happens, I can easily see my sales going up. When people can buy the new James Patterson for $2.99 instead of $9.99, they'll have money left over to spend on me.

4. Joe, ebooks have been around for ten years, and they've always been priced higher than $2.99.

Joe sez: The past is the past. Currently, people want to pay less. I say, give the customer what they want.

5. Joe, books shouldn't be an impulse purchase. Many writers spend years toiling over their manuscripts. Books have integrity and gravitas, and people are willing to pay more for that.

Joe sez: Books are entertainment. We can spend a lot of money to be entertained, and we can also be entertained for free. If you feel your ebook should be priced comparably to a hardcover, or a Broadway show, or a Picasso, knock yourself out. As I said, it isn't a zero sum game. You're free to price however you desire.

6. But if I price my book high when everyone else listens to you and prices their books low, I won't sell very many.

Joe sez: Then write a Broadway show, or take up painting. Then you'll get paid what your masterpiece is truly worth.

7. Your books suck, and the only reason you sell so many is because they're cheap.

Joe sez: I've long stopped caring about what people think of my writing, good or bad. I get enough fan mail, and make enough money, to no longer be concerned about bad reviews, negative people, or the obviously envious. My ego and bank account are satisfied, and I'm lucky I can find an audience while doing something I love. Also, you're an asshat.

8. Aren't you worried about piracy?

Joe sez: No. I'll eventually post long term results to my piracy experiment, but so far I've concluded that piracy hasn't hurt my sales. The way to fight piracy is with cost and convenience. Three dollar ebooks that can be purchased and delivered with the press of a button are the ultimate in cost and convenience.

9. Don't you think publishers will eventually figure out what you have? Some smaller, independent publishers already have.

Joe sez: I erroneously group all publishers together under the "Big 6" banner. If anyone can adapt and survive in this brave new world, smaller publishers are much better suited for it. But if the brand is the author, all publishers, small and big, need to figure out what they can offer their authors to justify taking a percentage of royalties forever. It has to be more than a cover and editing, because authors can get those on their own, and pay one-time costs for them.

10. What happens when Amazon lowers the royalty rate for authors?

Joe sez: What happens when it starts raining acid and aliens invade our planet and the crickets stage a coup and win the majority of the seats in Congress? I'll worry about it when it happens. But if it does happen, we live in a capitalist society. Other businesses will spring up and offer authors more... which is why Amazon is currently taking authors away from Big 6 publishing.

11. The only reason this works for you is because you already have a platform and a lot of books. Other authors can't follow your example.

Joe sez: How many authors get rich, whatever path they take? Very few. A fraction of a fraction are able to make big money selling fiction.

It isn't a question of either selling 100,000 ebooks or selling zero. Everyone falls somewhere in between. This isn't a competition, or a sprint. It's a marathon, and the race is with yourself.

Set realistic goals, experiment, learn from mistakes, keep and open mind, and most of all, write a lot of good books. I believe 99.9% of writers have a better chance to make more money in this new market than they did in the old one.

If you do get offered a print deal, congratulations. But make sure that there is a clear reversion of rights clause if the publisher goes bankrupt before the book comes out (or during its shelf life.) Make sure there is clear language about what "out of print" means. Make sure you get a decent ebook royalty rate. And above all, crunch the numbers and compare what you could potentially make on your own, especially in the long term.

Also you have to remember that I'm just one man following my own path. Your results may vary. You can, and should, form your own conclusions based on your own experience.

I'm sure this is my future. You need to figure out what your future is, and act accordingly.

Konrath Ebooks Sales Top 100k

I haven't posted my sales numbers in a while, and was going to hold off on this until I got my latest royalty statements. But I've reached a milestone, and decided it is worth sharing.

As of today, Sept 21, 2010, I've sold 103,864 ebooks.

Here's how it breaks down:

My six Hyperion ebooks, from June 2004 until December 2009: 7865

Afraid from Grand Central, from May 2009 until December 2009: 13,973

Self-pubbed titles on Kobo from May 2010 until July 2010: 132

Self-pubbed titles on Smashwords since July 2009: 372

Self-pubbed titles on iPad from May 2010 until August 2010: 390

Self-pubbed titles on iTunes from Jan 2010 until July 2010: 508

Self-pubbed titles on Barnes & Noble from June 2010 until August 2010: 2212

Self pubbed titles on Amazon from April 2009 until Sept 20, 2010: 78,412

So what does all of this mean to the home viewer?

Currently, I'm selling an average of 7000 self-pubbed ebooks a month on Kindle. Those numbers are for 19 self-pubbed titles, though the top 6 account for more than 75% of my sales, roughly 5000 per month.

That means those six are averaging 833 sales, or $1700, per month, each. That equals $20,400 per year, per ebook, for my top sellers.

Those six are my top sellers because they're novels. My other 13 ebooks are novellas and short story collections, which don't sell as well.

Considering the average advance for a new novel is still $5,000, each of these ebook novels is quadrupling that, annually. And these numbers are rising, not falling.

Compare that to the ebook novels my print publishers are controlling. (These numbers are going to be low, because I haven't gotten my latest royalty statements for Jan-June 2010 yet.)

My best selling Hyperion ebook, Whiskey Sour, has sold 2631 ebooks since 2004. That's earned me about $2200, or $34 a month since it was released.

$34 a month per ebook is a far cry from the $1700 a month per ebook I'm making on my own.

Why are my self-pubbed ebooks earning more than Whiskey Sour, which remains my bestselling print title with over 80,000 books sold in various formats?

Because Hyperion has priced Whiskey Sour at $4.69 on Amazon, and I price my ebooks at $2.99.

For each $4.69 ebook they sell, I earn $1.17.

For each $2.99 ebook I sell, I earn $2.04.

So I'm basically losing money hand over fist because Hyperion is pricing my ebooks too high, and giving me too low a royalty rate.

Even the print sales (Whiskey Sour just went into a fifth printing) don't come close to making up the money I'm losing.

If we assume I could sell 833 copies per month of Whiskey Sour, I'd be earning $17,000 per year on it, rather than $5616 per year. (I'm guessing my numbers have gone up recently, and am estimating 400 Whiskey Sour sales per month.)

Let's multiply that times the six books Hyperion controls.

I'm estimating I currently earn $33,696 annually in ebook royalties on those six.

If I had the rights, I estimate I'd earn $102,000.

Do I want my books to go out of print?

Hell yeah.

Now allow me to address the other ebook venues, on a case-by-case basis.

Through, I've sold 3106 ebooks, but the majority of these have been within the last three months or so.

Smashwords allows authors to sell ebooks through their site, and also supplies ebooks to Kobo, iPad, B&N, Sony, and Diesel. (I haven't gotten Sony or Diesel numbers yet.)

My Kobo numbers are low, because I opted out of Kobo. They discounted my ebooks, which isn't fair to other retailers. But I'm currently working on a deal with Kobo to have my ebooks back up very soon. Kobo supplies books to, so I anticipate a bump this holiday season.

iPad has proven disappointing, and I blame the iBookstore interface, which is very user unfriendly. I assume it will get the kinks worked out eventually, but it is currently torture to navigate and browse the iBookstore. Still, almost 400 sales in just a few months is better than nothing.

Of course, compared Kindle sales, I'm selling 70 to 1 on Amazon over iPad.

Barnes and Noble fares a bit better. I'm averaging 663 ebooks per month, which is substantial. It's still about 10.5 to 1 compared to Kindle, but I'm pleased with it.

For iTunes, I use IndianNIC. The 508 sales figure is incomplete, and doesn't count the last 2 and a half months, because their user interface isn't the best. But they're now supplying ebooks to Android, so I'm hoping to get a piece of that growing market.

Actually, I'm hoping to get a piece of all the growing markets, and every market seems to be growing. By the end of the year, my self pubbed books will be on all the major ebook platforms, including:

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Do you know what that is? That's distribution. The very thing print publishers have had a lock on for a hundred years. Except now, authors control their own distribution.

By comparison, the ebook rights my print publishers control are missing from many of these key markets. On a daily basis I get emails from fans who want Whiskey Sour or Afraid for their device or in their country, but my publishers aren't exploiting these rights.

Am I angry?

Hell yeah.

And to add insult to injury, Hyperion recently packaged my six Jack Daniels ebooks together as a compendium. At first, I was thrilled with this, thinking they finally understood what I've been saying for months. Then they told me the price.


Even with Amazon's discount, that comes to $28.80, for ebooks that are several years old.

That's insane. And yet, a few poor souls are buying it, because it's still cheaper than buying the books separately.

I sent Hyperion several emails, explaining my reasoning for wanting this price lowered.

They haven't responded.

Now the anomaly here is Grand Central. They've sold 13,973 ebooks. Isn't that odd, compared to Hyperion?

Not when you realize that 10,253 of those ebooks were sold during the first month of Afraid's release, at the intro price of $1.99.

Consider that. In one month we sold 10,253 ebooks, just because it was cheap.

Now try to contemplate why publishers continue to charge $5 to $13 for ebooks.

Are you scratching your head like I am, wondering why they don't sell ebooks at lower prices?

Since that promo (and probably because of it), Afraid has been averaging around 465 ebook sales a month. Respectable, but still below my average, and only earning me $1.75 per ebook instead of $2.05.

But that's not a big deal, right?

Let's look at it over a three year period.

If I had the rights to Afraid and priced it at $2.99, I'd earn $51,000.

With Grand Central, pricing it at $6.99, I'll earn $29,295.


Do I want my rights back?

Hell yeah.

I wrote Afraid under the name Jack Kilborn, and received a $20,000 advance. It was released in the US, the UK, and Australia simultaneously. In nine months, combining the ebooks, trade paper, hardcover, and two paperback versions, Afraid sold 53,623 copies and earned $26,839.

On June 18, I self-published Endurance and Trapped, two more novels by Jack Kilborn. I released them in ebook format only, for $2.99 each.

In three months, Endurance and Trapped have each earned $11,424.

So, in other words, I'm earning $35,785 per year on Afraid, in all formats.

Endurance is on its way to earn $45,696 per year, in ebook only. So is Trapped.

And unlike Afraid, where I made the majority of my royalties on the print versions, which will sell fewer and fewer copies, Endurance and Trapped will continue to sell well for years as ebooks.

With Afraid, I went on tour and signed at 200 bookstores. I did a blog tour the month before, appearing on 100 blogs in 31 days. I worked my ass off promoting that book.

With Endurance and Trapped, I announced them on and did a few tweets on Twitter. That's it.

Does anyone else see this as a wake-up call?

When I began this ebook odyssey, back in April 2009, I had no idea the market would get so big so fast, or that I'd make so much money.

Since then, a lot of folks have done their best to dismiss what I've been preaching. They say I'm an outlier. An exception.

But I'm not an exception anymore.

New writers like Zoe Winters, Rex Kusler, Vicki Tyley, Karen McQuestion, John Rector, Aaron Patterson, B.V. Larson, Stacey Cochran, Amanda Hocking, D.B. Henson, Eric Christopherson, Debbi Mack, Karen Cantwell, Jonny Tangerine, Stephen Davison, Charles Shea, Joe Humphrey, Gary Hansen, M.H. Sargent, R.J. Keller, David McAfee, David Derrico, David Dalglish, Brendan Carroll, Alan Hutcheson, Paul Clayton, Imogen Rose, Tonya Plank, David H. Burton, Tina Folsom, Maria Rachel Hooley, Maria E. Schneider, Anna Murray, Ellen O'Connell, Edward C. Patterson, Caroyln Kephart, Lynda Hillburn, Robert Burton Robinson, Joseph Rhea, C.S. Marks, K.A. Thompson, J.R. Rain, John Pearson, Tonya Plank, Linda Welch, Ruth Francisco, Sibel Hodge, T.C. Beacham, Ricky Sides, Chance Valentine, Nancy C. Johnson, and many, many others are selling thousands of ebooks and getting on the bestseller lists. Many of them have even cracked the Top 100.

Then there are established pros like Robert W. Walker, Scott Nicholson, William Meikle, James Swain, Paul Levine, Selena Kitt, Richard S. Wheeler, Jon Merz, Simon Wood, F. Paul Wilson, Libby Fischer Hellman, Lee Goldberg, Casey Moreton, Raymond Benson, Blake Crouch, David Morrell, Mark Terry, Marcus Sakey, Ellen Fisher, Christine Merrill, Dean Wesley Smith, Kathryn Rusch, Joe Nassise, Gordon Ryan, Harry Shannon, and me, among others, who are releasing their backlists themselves, along with putting original works directly on Kindle.

I'm not the exception anymore. New writers and seasoned veterans are seeing the future and acting on it.

Publishers, however, are not.

Now allow me to draw some conclusions, make some predictions, and offer a bit of advice.

1. Think twice, and think again, before allowing anyone to buy your erights. I doubt I'll ever have another traditional print deal. I can earn more on my own, especially in the long run. With print losing ground to ebooks on a day-to-day basis, I'd hate to sign with a big house, and then 18 months from now they'll go bankrupt before releasing my book, taking my rights with them.

2. Amazon Kindle is where you want to be, but you should also check out and That extra bit of income can turn out to be pretty substantial, and I expect some of these platforms to begin picking up speed.

3. Writing good books is essential. Having a bunch of them is a plus. The more ebooks you have available, the easier you'll be to find, the more you'll sell. By the end of this year, I'll have 28 ebooks available on Amazon. By the end of next year, I'll have at least 34.

4. I've been very lucky. I have a popular blog, and have gotten some good press. The scads of promotion I've done in the past certainly helps. But others are doing just as well, without my platform. And let me tell you, ebooks and Kindle are a much easier route than getting 500 rejections, mailing out 7000 letters to libraries, and visiting 1200 bookstores.

The ebook market hasn't even hit its stride yet. Here are some things I'm looking forward to in the upcoming months and years:

Selling my Kindle ebooks on international Amazon websites (with translations in German, French, Chinese, and Japanese)
Selling my ebooks on Kobo and Borders
Selling my ebooks on Android
Google Editions
$99 Ereaders
Kindle being sold at Best Buy
Getting my numbers from Sony and Diesel
Releasing DRACULAS on October 19
Releasing SHAKEN on October 26

This ride has only just begun. I'll end 2010 having earned over $100k on my self-pubbed ebooks, and that's nothing compared to what I expect to make in 2011. And I'm doing it without touring, without promoting non-stop, without spending a lot of money, and without relying on anyone.

I don't expect the publishing industry to acknowledge this post. You won't read about my ebook sales in Publisher's Weekly. Agents won't mention it on their blogs. If you go to conferences and ask the editors you meet about J.A. Konrath and ebooks, you'll get blank stares, dismissals, or outright hostility.

I'll be at the Novels Inc. Conference in Florida, October 7-10, and that will be the last time I speak in public for at least a year. In the past few months I've turned down dozens of speaking engagements and interviews, and I will continue to turn them down. The amount of email I get from folks wanting ebook advice is daunting and impossible to wade through, so I'm not even bothering to try.

I spent 12 years trying to break into publishing, and 8 years doing everything I could to succeed. Now I'm finally able to write full time, which is what I've wanted to do all along. No more tours. No more appearances. No more accessibility to the entire world.

I'm not a motivational speaker. I'm not a teacher. I'm not a salesman. I'm not a dog and pony show. I'm not an outlier.

I'm a just a writer, dammit. And that's all I'm gonna be.

Don't you want to be just a writer, too?