E-self-publishing evangelist Joe Konrath has posted again to his blog about his sales figures for last month and his predictions for e-books in 2011. He sold 266 self-published print books in November (though as he notes, most of them weren’t available until the middle of the month) for total royalties of $1,000, but he sold 300 e-books per day for royalties of over $26,000. And his new title Shaken, published by Amazon Encore, reportedly “puts my self-pubbed sales for November to shame,” though he isn’t allowed to go into specifics by his contract.

Konrath expects sales to increase in 2011 as Kindle sales increase, and believes the Kindle 3 will fall to below $99 as the era of the early adopter ends and more mainstream consumers start e-reading.

I’ve also noted before how ebooks are like a pyramid scheme. Once they’re live, they keep earning money, and more people review them and tell others about them, growing their fanbase. As an author, I add fuel to this fire by writing even more titles, biggering my potential for discovery and for new readers.

(“Biggering”? Really, Joe?)

And in response to those who call him an “anomaly,” Konrath insists that he might be one of the first, but he will be far from the last author to go into self-publishing of backlist and even new titles. He expects a number of pros to start following suit in 2011 as the greater number of Kindles at large makes the potential audience larger and more lucrative.

He also expects publishers to have a hard time adapting to the changes, as they cling to the idea that they are still the main gatekeepers of the literary world and authors have to accede to their wishes instead of the other way around.

As Konrath notes at the end, he is making enough money from his independent e-book sales to consider himself “probably one of the better-paid authors working today.” The question some of his critics raise, however, is will he continue to stay that way? Is Konrath’s prediction of a rosy future for himself and the rest of e-book self-publishing a valid one, or will his popularity wane in a year or so once the novelty has worn off?

Konrath’s e-publishing efforts are still too new to tell whether he can parlay them into an extended success. But it sure will be interesting to see where he is by next December.


  1. I’m thinking publishers aren’t going to die off totally, that the ability of an author to create his or her own ebook doesn’t mean it’s going to be produced well or look professional (or be edited clearly). Just as anyone can make their own webpage or dabble in graphic design but it’s never going to look as good or professional. DIY is great but it will never fully replace expertise, which I think still has value and always will.

    – Derek Oscarson

  2. I think this article is right on! Good stuff. In my experience, many of the publishers we work with are very resistant – at least the ones that are not open minded to the change. Fortunately, many of our smaller publishers are excited about the e-publishing boom and this alone will give many of them an edge over the big publishing houses that have had a strong hold on the publishing market for far to long.

    We also love how it gives our authors the opportunity to compete with the market and actually sell some books!

    We look forward to 2011 and the e-publishing boom Joe is predicting. Bring it on!

  3. On Self Publishing, and as a Publishing outsider, I would say that this depends on what is meant by self publishing.
    If Self Publishing means there is no 3rd party editing and filter, and the author self edits and reviews and then uploads his own eBook – then I don’t see this rosy future. I see a massive cloud of unfiltered eBooks of mostly dodgy quality that will be a huge turn off for readers, except for the established well known authors who have a reputation with the public and probably an ability, based on experience, of self editing. Not only that but I see the market in these unfiltered eBooks deteriorating with each sale of a poorly edited eBook to a point where the whole market could collapse – driving the public back to the Publisher eRetailing sites where the reader has some confidence in what they buy, even if the prices are higher.
    The wider reading public have only so much time in their lives to read. It is a huge investment in the modern day where there are so many competing demands on us. They need filters, whether that be best selling listings, book shops, Publishers etc etc. They need some way of gaining confidence that their eBook is not a complete waste of their time.

    On A Boom in ePublishing ? That’s news ?

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.