J.A. Konrath blog: Questions From Steve Zacharius, CEO and President of Kensington
The first question:
Steve: I’d like to ask some questions of all of you self-published authors. For those of you that are starting out and even those that have a few books under their belt, how do you promote your book online? How do you distinguish it from the other 1,000,000 books on Amazon and other ebook retailers? Do you sell your books on all of the ebook stores or only Kindle?
Joe: I’m not starting out, Steve. I signed my first book deal in 2001, and had eight novels published by large legacy publishers.
Konrath did not actually answer Steve’s question regarding how a new author (one who is not a “name author” like Joe Konrath) can promote their book online. Konrath goes on to say,
So huge names will self-publish, banking on their brand to bring in 70% royalties.
This doesn’t help the authors whose self-published novels get lost in the primordial online soup. It’s the new and mid-list author that really benefit from the team assistance that a publisher offers. The problem is, New York no longer has the power or the initiative to get new authors the physical book store shelf space they need to break out. Under these conditions, the new and mid-list authors are better off signing with a small press, in every respect. Higher royalties and a dedication to preserving the authors’ creative visions are just a few of the many important reasons why a small press is superior to the “Big Five”. When a new author cannot be guaranteed any shelf space by the Big Five, why would they halve their royalties as compared to a small press?
The small press helps the author build their brand and name, more than being on the Big Five will.
What will happen when a “name author” signs to a larger small press that has the same basic paper book distributors as the majors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.)? This name author would get 50% royalties, less creative interference and full “New York grade” distribution for their paper books.
As Joe Konrath points out later in the post:
(New York publishing’s) most valuable resource is your ability to get paper books onto shelves.
So what will happen to the Big Five if a larger small press breaks New York’s paradigm and gets a paper book onto the New York Times best-seller list? In many ways, this will be far greater bellwether of change than all of the #1 New York Times best-selling e-books combined. Paper books are the Big Five’s last bastion of strength. Amazon, for all their online might, cannot break New York’s monopoly on paper best-sellers. Sure, Amazon can start paper imprints, but (as we have seen) NO major brick and mortar retailer will touch them. These same retailers would see the burgeoning small press as a friend, not an enemy. A New York Times best-selling paper book, produced entirely outside of the New York publishing realm, will be the crack that finally breaks the Big Five’s dam.