Konrath’s Amazon Encore book deal points toward new level of publishing
May 25, 2010 | 4:18 pm
Publishers Weekly has a piece looking at literary agents’ thoughts on J.A. Konrath’s decision to publish his next book through Amazon Encore. (We mentioned Konrath’s decision here.) Under the deal, the book will be released as a Kindle e-book this summer, then a paperback next year.
Update: Konrath himself responds here.
A number of agents seemed skeptical about whether this move has implications for the publishing as a whole. PW points out that Konrath’s sales had been steadily declining, which is why no publishers were interested in the latest book in his series. (Though Konrath explains in his response, mentioned above, that this is not true and the figures PW cites don’t tell the whole story.) In that light, they say, Amazon Encore was simply an alternative to self-publishing.
In his response on his blog, Konrath notes that his participation with AmazonEncore was far from “settling”, and indeed if they had been around in 2008 when he first shopped the book around to other publishers, they would have been his first choice, not his last.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon is going to do a helluva lot more than simply emailing people who downloaded my last book, but my NDA won’t allow me to discuss it. I can say it is more than ANY of my other publishers have done for any of my books, and I’m thrilled to be working with them.
Back in the PW article, some agents see the deal as pointing to a new, possibly lucrative opportunity for the midlist writers who are getting squeezed out of the blockbuster-hungry mainstream publishers to publish their works at a level between the big houses and self-publishing. Scott Waxman’s new publishing house, Diversion Books, is based on this model. It offers publishing in both e-book and print-on-demand forms, with an emphasis on e-books.
Waxman said Diversion Books will take on authors who cannot sell books in numbers that make financial sense for the major houses. "If you have an author with a platform who can sell books, we’re happy selling 5,000 to 10,000 copies," he said. While Diversion isn’t paying advances, it’s not taking everyone who comes in with a manuscript. "This isn’t self-publishing," he went on. "[With us] you get real publishing support. I know you don’t get that with self-publishing. This lives in between."
It’s interesting to see just how much the Internet has changed the nature of publishing, and is changing it more year by year. Before the advent of the web and, more recently, social networking, smaller companies simply couldn’t hope to reach as many consumers as the companies with the large advertising budgets. But the ‘net has leveled the playing field and made it possible for these companies to find their audience.