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Joe Konrath: Indie Publishing's Indomitable Voice
As any indie author who’s been around for a little while will tell you, the indie publishing freeway is fraught with all kinds of perils and detours that are beyond an indie author’s control. Changes in e-retailer policies, e-retailer algorithms or changes in acceptable moral or ethical standards for books (resulting in the much-hyped Kobo Cleanse) can have a devastating effect on an indie author’s visibility – not to mention his or her fiscal health. And very few indie authors know the ins and outs of indie publishing better than, or are as vocal on the subject, as Joe Konrath.
Anyone trolling around on the Internet searching for information on indie publishing will eventually stumble upon Joe’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing at http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca. Joe’s blog has many followers, both traditional as well as indie-published authors. According to Konrath himself, his blog gets anywhere from 4,000 to 30,000 hits per day and he also has 14,000+ Twitter followers. His blog contains a wealth of information not only on indie publishing, but also on Joe’s long publishing journey as both a traditionally published author and as an indie author. What makes Joe’s blog so entertaining is Joe’s unapologetic and acerbic attitude which is pretty much, “I don’t give a crap whether you like me or not; I just tell it like it is.” And make no mistake about it, Joe most certainly does tell it like it is and he doesn’t sugar coat it or mince any words in the process. Even more important for indie authors, Joe is transparent – meaning that he shares everything with his readers – including his book sales. His numbers are impressive, to say the least. However, he quickly offsets these impressive stats by reminding his readers that he wrote a million words before he ever made a dime and under Joe’s “take the world by the balls” attitude, there’s an underlying message that the man does not take his success for granted.
However, what is quite impressive about Konrath is that he is also a savvy businessman who’s managed to utilize the freedom afforded to indie writers and use it to his own advantage. In other words, he’s become savvy at marketing the Konrath brand by doing book collaborations with other authors (à la James Patterson) as well as licensing his intellectual property (ie. the characters in his books) to other authors. Konrath’s name, along with the other authors, appears on the books and they split the profits. Tongue in cheek, Konrath calls this his road to “world domination.” Others simply call it ingenious.
Konrath has also been known to use the power of his name to help a good cause. A while back, Tess Gerritsen, the author of the famous Rizzoli & Isles characters which have been spun off into a successful television show, lost her mother to Alzheimer’s and had announced on her blog that she was declaring a war on Alzheimer’s by starting an Alzheimer’s Research Fund Drive. Joe Konrath heard about it and invited his readers to donate $100.00 to Tess’s fund. In exchange, they could write a guest post on his blog on any subject they wanted. Some might call Joe’s gesture one more step towards “world domination”. Many others, like Tess herself, probably think Joe’s just a really nice guy…
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Marta Tandori