If you aren't sure whether to self-publish, ask yourself what you want.

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HapiSofi

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Talking down to me and calling me Sweetie doesn’t feel like you’re trying to help. I've been at this for a long time. I've been agented and I've published in the small press but I've yet to land a deal with a major publisher. I've seen many friends and colleagues succeed, and I've always been happy for their success, but that doesn’t mean I'll concede their work was "better" than mine. There is an alternative to this ecosystem, which you've admitted yourself is fragile. Of course I too am a lover of good books and want to see the literary landscape thrive. I'm just trying to decide for myself whether I want to explore self publishing. I don’t see why I'm being vilified for that.
If you're convinced that you're right, by all means go ahead and do as you think best.
 

scope

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I'm interested in why you assume that an ebook only publisher will automatically make you more profit, no questions asked. Especially in the light of what Sofi has been posting (which I totally appreciate and agree with) about the publicity and marketing that publishers do. Most of it is dealing with bookstores and review copies, which are both mostly irrelevant in the e-world.

I would probably go with a trade e-publisher, both for a good cover and and editor. But it would by no means be an automatic, obvious decision.

Now a regular trade publisher who produces actual, y'know, PAPER books? No question there.

I'm confused by your post. I never referred or meant to refer to an ebook only trade book publisher. By my saying trade house ebook publisher I am in no way referring to a trade house that only produces ebooks, only, that in addition to producing paper books, which we haven't been discussing, they of course produce ebooks. And as far as bookstore sales and book reviews, I said that trade houses will come up with additional and/or other ways to promote and market ebooks. And I happen to agree with everything Sofi has said.

Given the last sentence in your post I think we are of the same belief, but I'm not sure.
 

zegota

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I'm confused by your post. I never referred or meant to refer to an ebook only trade book publisher. By my saying trade house ebook publisher I am in no way referring to a trade house that only produces ebooks, only, that in addition to producing paper books, which we haven't been discussing, they of course produce ebooks. And as far as bookstore sales and book reviews, I said that trade houses will come up with additional and/or other ways to promote and market ebooks. And I happen to agree with everything Sofi has said.

Given the last sentence in your post I think we are of the same belief, but I'm not sure.

If you had the choice of self-publishing your work as an ebook or a trade publisher buying your work and putting it out as an ebook,

I misinterpreted this part to mean the trade publisher would only publish your work as an ebook. As that's not what you meant, then yes, I'm in agreement. Unless the publishing contract was abysmal *coughpublishamerciacough*, I would take the publisher. It's worth noting, though, that not everyone is of this opinion: Konrath and Eisler, to name two very famous examples.
 

Medievalist

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I dont see what threatens you. I'm just another writer trying to find my way doing something I love.

I think you need to do less posting and a lot more reading.
 

HapiSofi

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Without sounding too much like an Objectivist, each agent in the literary economy is going to do what benefits *them*.
Certainly. But a rich, complex publishing ecology benefits self-publishers as much as it does any other group. I'm not pressuring them into acting against their own self-interest; I'm telling them where their self-interest lies.
... while I've gotten more and more skeptical that $0.99 is a great price point for most people, it's clearly worked for a few, and I don't think people who choose to publish at a price lower than the accepted minimum should be made to feel guilty for "pushing starvation prices."
I wasn't talking about the prices they set on their books. They can do what they want with them. I was talking about the constant reiteration in public forums that conventional publishers are evil for wanting to maintain their right to charge higher prices for some of their own books. Whatever price the speaker randomly favors is declared the only appropriate one, which (they allege) everyone agrees on, and must eventually adopt. I wouldn't call that Objectivist at all.

Never mind that. I don't mind the guilt-lobbing nearly as much as I mind letting those assertions go unchallenged. There's a huge amount of value at stake, and I don't just mean revenue from ebook sales. Publishing could conceivably suffer a collapse of its intelligence, complexity, and diversity that would hurt us all.

Look at it this way: we're living in a long-cultivated drip-irrigated garden in a naturally arid land. Messing with the water system could wreck things faster than one might imagine, and turning the water back on afterward wouldn't fix the damage. I don't think it's inappropriate to point that out.

If that's still too heavy for you, I recommend John Scalzi's amusing Electronic Publishing Bingo Card instead. By my count, at least half of its squares have been played in this thread.
What about people who write stories for free and post them on the Internet?
I don't have a problem with fanfic, but I also don't see what it has to do with the issue. Fanfic doesn't compete with its parent narrative; it's written by people who love its parent narrative and want there to be more of it. I'd rather people gave their work away for free than for a pittance.
 

Medievalist

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I've been agented and I've published in the small press but I've yet to land a deal with a major publisher.

Honestly, it may have more to do with your query than with the work.

Did you get requests for fulls or partials?

Have you checked out the Query Letter Hell forum?
 

ResearchGuy

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. . . the constant reiteration in public forums that conventional publishers are evil for wanting to maintain their right to charge higher prices for some of their own books. . . . .
Folks have a choice. They can spend their money or they can keep it in their wallet (or checking account or whatever). They can substitute cheaper goods, or goods they feel have higher value for the price. Don't want to pay eight bucks for a new mass market paperback? Buy a used copy. Or borrow from a library. Ditto a $26 new hardback novel or $35 history book. Wait a year and buy it remaindered for $6. Or settle for the equivalent of 99-Cents-Only store facial tissue or packaged cookies. Cheap and not to be confused with Kleenex(TM) or Pepperidge Farm(TM). If no one is buying new hardbacks or eight-buck mass market paperbacks, the publishers will figure out alternatives.

Anyway, I gotta tell you, the way I see it (take it for what it is worth, but to an audience of writers, a lot I would think) one of the great bargains is the couple of (or several) hours spent engrossed in a good book, whether a nice mystery cozy or a historical novel or a newly translated Greek classic or the latest study of how the universe works. Sure, the dollars go only so far . . . so you pick and choose and make use of used book stores and libraries and e-books discounted from the printed-book prices.

A TRUCKLOAD of work goes into producing a commercial book, everything from the writing itself (and maybe years of research for nonfiction, and not trivial research even for a novel) through editing and design and typesetting and all the trade-channel stuff and a cut for everyone in the trade chain (hey, they all do their jobs) -- and the overhead just to run businesses day in and day out. It is hard to begrudge folks their due.

--Ken
 

ios

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Does it follow (for you) that you would rather spend $6.00 from a self-publshed, so-so ebook, versus $10.00 for an excellent ebook from a trade house?

I wouldn't buy a "not good" book period, no matter who wrote it and no matter how it was published. What about $6.00 from a self-published, good ebook vs $10.00 for a good ebook from a trade house? If quality is equal for the sake of the argument, which would you (general you) buy?

I'm not trying to say it is wrong to refuse to buy self-pub books, btw. For it is no more wrong to do that than it is for me to refuse to buy/read material I don't like, but I'm just wondering if writers in general are staying clear of self-pub works because they are indeed self-pub works.

Jodi
 

zegota

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I wasn't talking about the prices they set on their books. They can do what they want with them. I was talking about the constant reiteration in public forums that conventional publishers are evil for wanting to maintain their right to charge higher prices for some of their own books. Whatever price the speaker randomly favors is declared the only appropriate one, which (they allege) everyone agrees on, and must eventually adopt. I wouldn't call that Objectivist at all.

That makes sense to me. I interpreted your argument as "No one should sell for $0.99 because it's killing writers," (an argument I've heard from some agents/writers/publishers), and that line of thinking kind of irks me. But I also get angry at the people who insist "X < $12.99 is the IDEAL price, and selling above that is EVIL!"


I don't have a problem with fanfic, but I also don't see what it has to do with the issue. Fanfic doesn't compete with its parent narrative; it's written by people who love its parent narrative and want there to be more of it. I'd rather people gave their work away for free than for a pittance.

I wasn't specifically calling out fanfiction, actually. There is quite a lot of original fiction on the Interwebs for free (especially - ahem - Erotica). Like self-published books, most of it is awful, yes, but not all of it.

Anyway, my point in bringing up free works was because I thought you were trying to argue against anyone pricing their work at $0.99. But that strawman has been sufficiently picked apart.
 

zegota

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Anyway, I gotta tell you, the way I see it (take it for what it is worth, but to an audience of writers, a lot I would think) one of the great bargains is the couple of (or several) hours spent engrossed in a good book, whether a nice mystery cozy or a historical novel or a newly translated Greek classic or the latest study of how the universe works. Sure, the dollars go only so far . . . so you pick and choose and make use of used book stores and libraries and e-books discounted from the printed-book prices.

That's a really good point, actually. The existence of free libraries creates sort of a pressure-valve for pricing that doesn't normally exist for other markets. Yes, you can rent a movie or a game, but it's not free, and in many cases it's substandard (no bonus features, very limited time to view/play it). Libraries seem to allow writers to have the benefits of larger royalty checks via higher prices without sacrificing those readers who might not be able/willing to pay the price (since a higher readership has promotional benefits aside from just paying for the book).
 
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I'b be skeptical about any claim that reducing the price to 99 cents reduced your sales volume. First, because I do not believe sufficient data has been compiled - by anyone - to constitute a good sampling. We just don't have enough information yet. Second, because every single anecdotal incident of a book selling 100+ copies a month at $2.99 that was dropped to 99 cents resulted in at least tripling of sales volume.

Now, tripling volume means roughly halving profits, because of Amazon's 35%/70% setup. You need to sell about six times as many books at 99 cents as you did at $2.99 just to break even. But there's a number of examples of folks who did precisely that.

So no, I don't think people are avoiding the 99 cent price tag. I think the opposite is true, although I'd welcome anyone able to cite a study which showed differently.

That said - I personally would not sell a book at 99 cents (a few exceptions apply). Whole bunch of reasons. I think readers are willing to pay more for a good book. I think that the "type" of readers who buy 99 cent books are not necessarily the body of fans you want to build for yourself. And I think that while you might make more sales at 99 cents than you would priced higher, I'm not sure many writers will make *enough* more sales to make it worth their while.

I look around at the folks "doing it right", and most of them seem happy in the $2.99-5.99 range. Zoe Winters, Michael Stackpole, Dean Wesley Smith, Joe Konrath - all folks in self publishing whose methodology I admire in one way or another, all basically steering clear of 99 cents.

The exceptions? Short works, special promotions, and first of a series. If you wrote a 10k word short, I think 99 cents is a reasonable price for it (although Barry Eisler made enormous sales on his first self publishing short at $2.99). Running a special promotion, well advertised as an "experiment" or a special price (like Joe Konrath has been doing lately) can be highly effective too. At selling all your work, not just one marked down book (because people who like that one might buy others, and tell friends, etc.). And first of a series at 99 cents seems solid to me, too. I just bought Bob Mayer's Atlantis at 99 cents. I might have bought it without the low price, but the low price made it an easy purchase. He has like five more books in that series, all for sale at higher prices, so that low price helps reel in readers to his entire series - and from there, his other work too.

But those sorts of exceptions aside? Nah - can't see myself pricing that low. I just don't think it makes good financial sense to do so. I think readers are perfectly happy to pay five bucks for a book. I think they are shakier about ten, and often very upset if asked to pay fifteen dollars for an ebook - but five bucks? A lot of people pay that for their morning coffee. ;)
 

scope

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I wouldn't buy a "not good" book period, no matter who wrote it and no matter how it was published. What about $6.00 from a self-published, good ebook vs $10.00 for a good ebook from a trade house? If quality is equal for the sake of the argument, which would you (general you) buy?

I'm not trying to say it is wrong to refuse to buy self-pub books, btw. For it is no more wrong to do that than it is for me to refuse to buy/read material I don't like, but I'm just wondering if writers in general are staying clear of self-pub works because they are indeed self-pub works.

Jodi

Speaking for myself, a general yes. Like most here I love to read, and as Ken implied I savor the time I spend reading a terrific book, paper or ebook. Problem is, I know that terrific ebooks are very rare and those that exist are are too difficult for me to find. That said, I won't take the precious time I have to ferret out such an ebook. In most cases I'll buy a book (e or paper) in a bookstore or online. My buying pattern may change (I imagine it will) when trade houses REALLY get into the ebook market and make it easier for me.
 
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Unless the publishing contract was abysmal *coughpublishamerciacough*, I would take the publisher. It's worth noting, though, that not everyone is of this opinion: Konrath and Eisler, to name two very famous examples.

Eisler did turn down a trade contract in order to self publish; but as I understand it, Konrath's new books were turned down by his regular trade publisher after he'd self published several editions of his older works; he didn't turn down trade publishing.

I might be wrong and if so, I hope Mr Konrath will pop in and set me straight.
 

zegota

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Eisler did turn down a trade contract in order to self publish; but as I understand it, Konrath's new books were turned down by his regular trade publisher after he'd self published several editions of his older works; he didn't turn down trade publishing.

I might be wrong and if so, I hope Mr Konrath will pop in and set me straight.

I think you're right, but I've read several things recently where Konrath says he wouldn't take a publishing contract now even if offered one (and really, it's kind of understandable in his situation).
 

gothicangel

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I think you're right, but I've read several things recently where Konrath says he wouldn't take a publishing contract now even if offered one (and really, it's kind of understandable in his situation).

From what I heard, no-one was willing to offer him one anyway.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I think you're right, but I've read several things recently where Konrath says he wouldn't take a publishing contract now even if offered one (and really, it's kind of understandable in his situation).

Given his rantings and ravings online I'd be surprised if he ever gets offered any contracts ever again.

It's one thing to be done wrong by a publisher and Lord knows it happens way too often to good authors but he's taken whining and wailing to new levels.

IMO, of course.
 

mscelina

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Well, most authors considering self-publishing aren't in Konrath's situation--or Amanda Hocking's--which is why I'm always so skeptical when someone offers them up as an example. If Rowling, for example, decided to self-publish an eighth Harry Potter book in electronic format only, would anyone be silly enough to use those billions and gazillions of sales as an inducement to a writer who'd just finished their first book, who's never queried, been rejected, or even had a beta reader and say, "See? Self-publishing is the wave of the future!!! You can get rich quick too!!!!"

Well, probably some idiot would.

Regardless, it's accurate and only fair to point out to those first-time writers considering self-publishing the astronomical odds of finding themselves walking down the same path as Hocking. I don't put off making my mortgage payment every month until the super lotto numbers come out, and tossing out one of my novels into the anonymous morass of self-published books, sitting back and waiting for my millions to roll in would be a business decision on par with that.

Self-publishing right now is to new writers what Coke Classic was to the Coca-Cola company. Yes, it's a much-hyped change with a lot of visibility, but only one of hundred thousand people who tries it finds it palatable.
 

kaitie

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Does anyone else feel like the Konrath comments here are a little on the rude side? Dude's a member here, and even if he wasn't he's a writer, and that first rule is about respect (or maybe it was You do not talk about AW...I always forget. ;)) I don't know what the reasoning was (I've heard it before but forgot) but I didn't think it was anything all that nefarious. And publishers still offer contracts even to authors who have shown themselves to be incredibly difficult to work with if they think they can sell millions of copies. It just seems a little rude to presume that publishers are unhappy with what he's doing and sticking it to him and he'll never work in traditional publishing again, particularly when it sounds to me like speculation. Maybe I'm wrong, but it rubs me the wrong way.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Does anyone else feel like the Konrath comments here are a little on the rude side? Dude's a member here, and even if he wasn't he's a writer, and that first rule is about respect (or maybe it was You do not talk about AW...I always forget. ;)) I don't know what the reasoning was (I've heard it before but forgot) but I didn't think it was anything all that nefarious. And publishers still offer contracts even to authors who have shown themselves to be incredibly difficult to work with if they think they can sell millions of copies. It just seems a little rude to presume that publishers are unhappy with what he's doing and sticking it to him and he'll never work in traditional publishing again, particularly when it sounds to me like speculation. Maybe I'm wrong, but it rubs me the wrong way.

Well... I agree about the RYFW. I just think that he goes a bit far with his criticism about the commercial publishing industry and is a bit too pushy about the benefits of SP. I don't mind a decent conversation showing both sides but I do think that he's a bit extreme in his views.

But that's just me. And I'm sure a mod will smack me down if I've overstepped my boundaries here.

:)
 

HapiSofi

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Have you ever checked Konrath's famous Bedtime Story article against the Wikipedia article about him? I did, because so many of the details seemed unaccountably odd to me, and so few of them were checkable in their own right.

So: Konrath writes nine novels that don't sell, then sells the tenth for $33,000, which is pretty good for a first novel, and quite a breakthrough for him. In the bedtime story version, that's the only book he sells to his first publisher. He busts ass promoting it, and it sells okay, but it doesn't sell enough copies to make his publisher happy, so they dump him.

I have trouble bringing that picture into focus in my head.

A first novel means extra work for the publishing house. If you really believe in an author -- and $33,000 is a healthy amount of belief -- you want to continue publishing them, building audience and public awareness with each successive book. A first novel is unlikely to be terribly profitable all by itself. What you're aiming for is profitable sales levels on later books, and new readers going back to pick up that first novel they missed when it came out.
But now Joe needed to make sure his dream wouldn't whither and die on the vine. He knew he had to sell a lot of books, or else the Gatekeeper could become fickle and turn his back on Joe.

So Joe worked hard to make sure he sold as many books as he could. He visited forty states in the US, and signed books in over 1200 bookstores. He created a popular blog. He spoke at hundreds of libraries, book fairs, and conferences.

But even though Joe's books sold well, they didn't sell well enough for the Gatekeeper, and Joe was dropped.
No, I don't think so. Those are weird numbers. That's a weird story.

First novels don't have to sell all that many copies to achieve satisfactory sales levels. Profitability on the first book is not what it's all about. If Konrath's sales figures were the reason his publisher dropped him, his book didn't "sell well." It sold abysmally, and there were probably other problems.

The part about all the touring in support of the book is equally weird. That was a lot of traveling. It was expensive and time-consuming. It was also remarkably unsuccessful, given that Konrath says he hit at least 1,400 - 1,500 venues, and he still didn't sell enough copies to roll up respectable sales numbers for a first novel. At that rate, he's spending more money traveling than his readers are paying at the register for his book.

This led me to wonder whether he should have been putting more of that time into writing the second novel. On the other hand:
So Joe changed his name, and sold a book for $20,000.
Doesn't sound like it took long to sell it, and he got another nice advance for a first-time author, so the second book can't have been all that bad. The story's getting odder and odder.

This is the point at which I looked at his Wikipedia entry. Joe Konrath's first novel was published by Hyperion. So were his second, third, fourth, and fifth novels. They look like they were doing well.

(Here's a blue-sky guess: that $33,000 initial advance was actually one-third of a three-book contract. If you have thirty thousand dollars' worth of faith in a novel, you want more than one of them.)
He worked very hard to make that book a success, traveling to over 200 bookstores, appearing on over 100 blogs in a single month.

The Gatekeeper seemed happy, but wanted changes in Joe's next book. Joe didn't want to make these changes. After all, he was the writer, not the Gatekeeper. But the Gatekeeper insisted, so once again Joe found himself without a publisher.
I don't think that's his third published novel he's talking about. I think it's his fifth, Fuzzy Navel, which was the last one published by Hyperion. Konrath's novels always get dinged a little bit by reviewers for their cliches and implausibility. However, if you look at the one-star and two-star reviews on Amazon, what you see are readers who liked the earlier books just fine, but are complaining that this book is a complete dud: no plot, no characterization, no real ending; just the same damned things happening over and over again.

That makes sense to me. After four successful books, Konrath's editor wouldn't start demanding pointless and arbitrary changes. I can easily believe that Fuzzy Navel needed a major rewrite, because it still needs one today.

Why the sudden drop in quality? I don't know. I do have one theory: Konrath started putting a huge amount of effort into promoting his books. It has to have cut into his writing time. Here's Wikipedia's description of it:
In 2006, Konrath mailed out close to 7000 letters to libraries across the United States with fellow mystery author Julia Spencer-Fleming, touting their books to librarians. Later that year, Konrath signed books in 612 bookstores across 28 states.
Note, by the way, that Konrath's self-promotion jag started the year his third novel came out. The sales, marketing, and promotion that laid the foundation for his career was done by Hyperion.

Back to the bedtime story:
So Joe changed his name again, and sold another book... for $6000. He knew this was a small amount of money, but he also knew that he'd make it back very fast, because his other books had earned out their advances.
Even if I hadn't checked Wikipedia, at this point I'd have known the story wasn't accurate. If his first novel earned out its $33,000 advance, no way would his publisher have dropped him for having inadequate sales.
Joe didn't understand why the Gatekeeper was being so fickle and cheap, when his books were selling well and making money.
His advances weren't keeping up with his expectations. Dog bites man. Film at eleven. Et cetera.
But then, there were a lot of things about the Gatekeeper that didn't make sense. And it wasn't like Joe had a choice. If he wanted to make a living, he had to take whatever crumbs the Gatekeeper offered.
Nice big advances. Attractive unified-format packaging on his series. Miscellaneous evidence I won't go into that to me says "well-published books, well-published author."

As for his editor asking for rewrites, assuming that's what really happened? That's not mistreatment. The easiest thing to do with a bad book delivered under contract is to throw it into production and forget about it. It'll be bad, the readers will be unhappy, and the author's reputation will take a permanent hit, but it'll be the least amount of trouble for the in-house staff. Actually editing the book is a lot more work and bother.
In the meantime, Joe began selling some of his early, rejected books as ebooks on his website. When fans told Joe they couldn't read these on their new Kindle devices because the format was incompatible, Joe went to Amazon and uploaded the ebooks there.

Soon, Joe was making over $1000 a month on Kindle.

Joe was shocked by this. He thought the only way to make a living as a writer was with the Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper offered advances. The Gatekeeper did the editing and the cover art. And most importantly, the Gatekeeper controlled distribution. There was no way to reach readers without the Gatekeeper.

But ebooks didn't need to be distributed in the same way print books were. So the Gatekeeper wasn't needed.
False, misleading, and disingenuous. When Konrath started self-publishing, he already had a readership and a reputation because his publisher had put a lot of work into building them. If he'd started from scratch, he wouldn't have more than a fraction of whatever readership he enjoys today. He might still have mailed out 7,000 letters to libraries and bookstores -- self-published authors do that sort of thing all the time -- but few of the recipients would have been interested, because he wouldn't have had Hyperion to give him credibility.

I will now skip over a bunch of Konrath's alleged sales figures.
Joe realized he could make more money without the Gatekeeper. He could write the books he wanted to, and he could publish them when they were finished, rather than having to wait a year for the Gatekeeper to publish them.
I take this to mean he's skipping all that unnecessary stuff publishers do for the book while it's going through the pipeline.

Hoo boy.
He didn't have to rely on the Gatekeeper getting him reviews, or buying coop space in bookstores, or sending him on tour, or offering discounts.
You know -- all those things that really do help sell books.

The "sending him on tour" part is especially interesting. Is he saying that all that promotional touring was the publisher's idea, not his, and that the publisher paid for it? That's not how he preaches self-promotion to the newbies.
He didn't have to compete for shelf space with the bestselling authors the Gatekeeper pushed.
Hogwash. He's still competing with bestselling authors. He's just in a worse position to do it.

I suspect that the real point is that he's one of those writers who, deep down, believes that all their publisher's attention should be lavished on them and their books. It's a known syndrome.
For the first time ever, Joe had control.
Arguably, Joe Konrath has less control over his career now than he had when he was being published by Hyperion. A good publisher is an ally, not the enemy.
And a funny thing happened. Once Joe didn't have the Gatekeeper determining his future, he became more successful than he ever dreamed.
I'm really not sure I believe that.
Joe began to blog about what he was doing. He posted his sales figures. He encouraged other authors to self-publish. He got more publicity than he ever had in the past, all on his own.
Yeah. In the past, the publicity was all about his books. Now it's all about him -- and, as he's going to find out, he's a finite subject.
Joe was very happy. He no longer had to worry about appeasing the Gatekeeper in order to get another contract. He no longer got paid only twice a year. He no longer had to cut things out of his books he didn't want to cut, or change his titles, or have zero say in cover art.
See me laughing my head off. Have you seen his post-Hyperion covers?
Joe was selling more books, making more money, and reaching more people than he ever had in the past, and he didn't have to go on any crazy two-month-long book tours, or mail out 7000 letters to libraries.
So much for self-promotion.

I'd still like to know whose idea the tour was.
Best of all, Joe never worried about getting rejected ever again. Joe realized he was the brand, not the Gatekeeper. His fans would follow him, and retailers like Amazon and Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and Apple and Sony and Kobo and Borders and Android would allow Joe to find even more fans.
That's one of the most concise and perfect examples of Author Mind I've ever seen. Author Mind is a weird little flowchart that only has a few endstates. The single most important endstate goes something like "And then everyone will read and love *M*Y* *B*O*O*K*S*!!!" Other things you can find in that end-box include "I'll be rich beyond the dreams of avarice," "I'll never ever ever get rejected again," and "I want to be exactly who I am, do exactly what I want, and have it work." I thus regard this paragraph of his as an inset fantasia, not a description of real-world events.
But the story doesn't end there. The Gatekeeper is still controlling the industry. Still looking for new writers, offering them 17.5% ebook royalties while he takes 52.5%. Still treating authors badly, while claiming they should be grateful. Still playing by the old rules, even though there are now new ones. Still trying to stay relevant in a changing industry and a dying business model.
Some writers can function without an agent. Other writers seriously need one to act as a buffer between them and their publishers. Unfortunately, not all of the latter sort realize it.
But Joe knows that writers will eventually wise up. Why should authors live from advance to advance, hoping to get another contract? Why put up with heartache, depression, and abuse, when authors can, for the very first time, take control of their own career?
Tentative translation: "I've made a hash of my career, and I think you should do the same."

One more thing, because I wouldn't want you to get the wrong impression: Joe Konrath is far from being the most unreliable "authority on self-publishing" out there.
 
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