The Coming of the EBook Authors: Their Time is Finally Here
The Amazon Kindle
The Coming of the Ebook Author
You may not know the name of JA Konrath if you are a fan of horror fiction. That is, if you are the kind of person who still heads to the bookstore and looks on the bookshelves for your books. If you are a fan of the Amazon Kindle ereader or the Barnes and Noble Nook ereader, however, Konrath, and his pseudonym Jack Kilborn, are names you probably know all too well. If you are a fan of the increasingly popular digital readers then you probably also know the name Blake Crouch.
Both of these men write and publish their works of horror and suspense almost exclusively in a digital world. Both of them are also now achieving amazing financial success because of it. Almost all of it has come because of word-of-mouth and through digital media. What it amazing is that both of them have had some success publishing in the traditional methods, as well, but are finding their true audience through the world of digital books.
A Horror and Thriller Novelist
Konrath writes intense, fast-reading thrillers and some of the most terrifying books you are likely to read. He has a story that is very familiar, particularly for me. He has achieved success by publishing a series of books featuring a character called Jack Daniels via traditional publishing methods. However, he also writes nail-biting, gory and intense horror stories. His stories are so vicious and so intense that traditional publishers have all but ignore them. He began by releasing these books as free ebook downloads from his website. Then he moved to the Kindle and Nook publishing platforms. The rest is history.
Konrath lives in Skokie, Illinois, not far from myself. I, too, have begun to find an audience for my fiction via digital publishing. While I have also had more traditional publishing success with my historical, true crime and supernatural non-fiction books, my heart has always been in writing fiction. For some reason, however, the traditional fiction publishers of the world have chosen to ignore me. Whenever I would shop by books around, I got rejection after rejection, but I got positive reviews from fans and friends who I let read my books.
The Story of Kindle and Amazon
When Amazon first came out with the Kindle, I was all over it. My books sold better as digital books than they did when I tried to publish them via on-demand publishing systems. As the Kindle became more and more popular, my book sales just kept growing and growing.
Konrath and Crouch are now routinely on the bestseller lists for Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. When you consider how there are some 750,000 books available for Kindle, that is rather impressive. Konrath has stated, via his blog, that he is routinely making over $1,300 daily just from Kindle downloads. I am nowhere near that, but my readership is growing.
Who is Blake Crouch?
Blake Crouch also writes thrillers. His story of a world gone mad called “Run” is one of the best thrillers I have read in recent history. The family in it was believable to the point that I actually wept when things happened to them. I didn’t want the story to end. Where can you find this amazing and intense thriller? Only if you have a Kindle or Kindle app.
The time has come for the digital author. With the popularity of the Kindle, Nook, iPad and more, the audience seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. With things like Android phones, iPads and more there are also apps for the Kindle and Nook. That means if you have anything that is digital, you can be reading digital books. With the new Google eBookstore, you can now turn any computer into a reader.
Konrath’s books are not for the faint of heart. Too often he drifts a little too close to the kind of horror that I feel is called torture porn. These are the same kind of movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” and more. He does a little bit of set up for the characters and then sets them loose in a world were mutants and monsters are trying to viciously torture them to death. His novel “Endurance” has one of the most gruesome cast of villains that you are ever likely to find in modern fiction. His Jack Kilborn novel “Afraid” also has a cast of villains that would seem at home in a comic book.
What unites those of us who are by-passing the world of the standard publisher is that we are finding audiences where, before, we could not. For the longest time I felt that I was writing my fiction just for kicks and for a few friends. Now, I have actual fans and people who want to see what I produce next. The fan base for Kindle and Nook readers is intense and loyal.
Promoting that Ebook
Of course, promoting an ebook is vastly different than promoting a standard book. You cannot have a book signing when you have nothing that you can sign. But that means those of us who publish digitally have embraced social media. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have become the places where we go to connect with fans. If not there, then GoodReads and online forums for fans of Kindle novels also serve the purpose that the standard brick and mortar bookstores used to serve.
I recently gave away all of my books, in a digital format, via a USB drive for a charity event. Other authors give fans copies of their books through the Amazon.com system. We have conversations with fans on Facebook. Being a self-published Kindle and Nook author is much more social than being a standard author, I have to say. I regularly contact my fans and talk with them and I make myself as available to them as I can.
The time for the standard publishing world is coming to an end. I think there will always be a place for standard books. But now Amazon is launching a Kindle program that will work with various libraries and allow people to check out ebooks. So, even the libraries of the world are changing how they think about books.
I love books. I love bookstores. However, I am reaching an audience via the ebook. I am finding fans via the Kindle. Authors like Konrath and Crouch are paving the way for me and helping me find the audience I always knew was there for my books. And we are doing it without agents and without publishers and reaping the rewards.