Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


"Shaken" Conventional Publishing Economics

This post will give us a peek inside the eBook publishing numbers and authors’ royalties!

J. A. Konrath, author of the popular Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels female cop series, has just contracted with AmazonEncore, the publishing imprint of Amazon, to publish his latest entry Shaken in a Kindle edition for $2.99 and a paperback edition for $14.95.

Mind you, this all happened AFTER major New York publishing houses turned Shaken down! Does this show you just how much these traditional publishers DON”T know?

Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The IdeaLogical Publishing Consultant Company and author of The Shatzkin Files Blog, had the most incisive report on this happening:

Author J. A. Konrath, who has been self-publishing on Kindle and reporting about it for quite some time, just contracted to have the latest in his series of novels featuring female cop Jack Daniels published by the new Amazon Encore imprint. Encore was originally announced as Amazon’s way to pick up and feature already self-published books. They apparently bent the guidelines a bit to include Konrath’s yet-unpublished book, Shaken. Amazon will publish the Kindle edition at $2.99 in October and release a paperback at $14.95 next February.

Although Konrath is a media- and tech-savvy author who has published with major New York houses (the Jack Daniels series was previously published by Hyperion), he is not a regular NY Times Bestseller brand. Not only is he not a multi-million dollar advance recipient, he makes it clear that the novel he just signed with Encore was rejected by the New York publishing houses. So Amazon had a low bar to jump to secure him for its Encore line.

Nonetheless, this is a significant jolt to conventional publishing economics. Sales of Konrath’s $2.99 ebook will deliver him about $2.10 a copy (Konrath says $2.04; not sure where the other six cents is going…), as much or more as he would make on a $14.95 paperback from a trade publisher, and significantly more than he’d make on a $9.99 ebook distributed under “Agency” terms and current major publisher royalty conventions. And, however one feels about the degree to which pricing is a barrier to ebook sales, one must assume that the $2.99 price will result in a lot more ebook sales than a $9.99 price would. Many times the sales!


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