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Friday, 13 July 2012

The pen is mightier than the sword


An almighty row has broken out between writers Joe Konrath and Joseph Day - the row has resulted in insults being slung back and forth and now Konrath's banned Jo Day from commenting on his blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing.

Konrath, who is known for criticising traditional publishing took offence when Joseph Day had the temerity to criticise Konrath himself - Day wrote -  "The Nonsense About Book Prices
Is a book judged by it's price? Would you forgo buying one of Janet Evanovich's books for five dollars, and instead buy one of Joe Konrath's books for 99 cents because the price is lower?

That's what someone named Joe Konrath seems to be claiming. Who is Joe Konrath? A mediocre writer who for 12 or 20 years, I forget which, tried to break into the publishing business. After succeeding with a half ass police detective series, his publisher dropped him after a few books.

Though Knorath tirelessly sings the praises about self publishing through ebooks, he recently did a deal with Ace books, which is owned by Penguin publishers, for a science fiction book. According to Konrath himself, the book flopped in sales. Of course, also according to Joe Konrath, this is because the book price was too high. Could it ever occur to Konrath that maybe his fans are tired of his junk?"

To which Konrath replied -  "kudos to signing your name to your post. You are an idiot, but at least you aren't a coward.Allow me the honor of pointing out your bullshit.A mediocre writer who for 12 or 20 years, I forget which, tried to break into the publishing business.12 years. And I self published most of those books that were rejected. They helped me earn $600k last year. After succeeding with a half ass police detective series, his publisher dropped him after a few books."

From there it got really amusing as the authors slung insults back and forth, but what seemed obvious was that Konrath, who is fond of calling traditional publishers pinheads and idiots couldn't take any criticism himself, and when his claimed sale figures were called into question it seemed that a raw nerve had been struck. Whilst it is difficult to be precise regarding sales Konrath's rankings on Amazon do seem to suggest that his sales are nowhere near the figures he is claiming.

Konrath called Joseph Day a idiot and a pinhead but Day wasn't the type to back down and he hit back with -

"Okay fatso, you want to start calling people names, fine.First, I only skimmed through two of your Jack Daniels novels, and read the first four pages of Whiskey Sour before I became very bored. "It was raining...they called it lasagna". Oh Jesus,lol, please no more.

The books I skimmed were Dirty Martini and Cherry Bomb. Essentially they were the same story, with your hero Jack always running around and acting like an ass. Come on, Joe, the girls of Chicago are a lot nicer than that.

Btw, what makes you such an expert on police procedure and police departments. Certainly, you never were a policeman, because you'd never make the weight requirement. Let me guess -you treated some loud mouth cops to some beers, so they would reveal all the inner stuff of the Chicago PD. There's an old saying in the cop biz, and in the CIA - Those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know."

Konrath then decided that he didn't want to fight no more and posted the following - "Mr. Day: Go play elsewhere. You have worn out your welcome. Future posts will be deleted."

The argument is showing no signs of cooling off and any level headed reader will see that Mr Day did make some valid points, but was shot down  seemingly because he dared to question Konrath's words. After that it all got a bit silly but it does seem strange that given Konrath's claimed sales figures he isn't sitting higher in the Amazon rankings. One person who understands something of how the Amazon rankings work told the Archive that,

 "My guess is Konrath is currently selling around 200 copies of each his Kindle books.  Maybe even a lot less."

I've tried to interview Konrath several times for the Archive but none of my requests have met with a response. And whilst I'm not sure what to think about his sales figures it would be nice to hear from the man himself. And in the interests of impartiality it would be nice to also interview Joseph Day for the Archive.

So come on guys -if you agree to be interviewed say so in the comments of this post.


Joseph Day said...

Hi Gary

This is Joe Day and I want to thank you for the impartial observations.

Sure, I'll be interviewed. And if Konrath refuses to let you interview him, I'll play straw man for him.

Just don't ask me to dress up like him. I don't think I can make the weight requirement.

Anonymous said...

Konrath blocked the Anonymous posters too.

That is just too bad, and very short sighted.

I don't agree with everything Konrath says about publishing and I and some of the other Anonymous posters and some non-Anonymous posters were the handful of dissenters on his blog.

Now you have to sign in to post on his blog which will filter out many dissenters and leave his blog with a bunch of Konrath fans posting.

Konrath isn't going to learn squat if everyone agrees with him all the time.

I was making some headway with the fact that if you take down the traditional publishers, it would release a FLOOD OF TALENTED BIG NAME AUTHORS into the indie field. Then all the mediocre indie authors would have to compete with them on price. Many people disagreed with me but I kept making solid arguments and soon nobody disagreed anymore.

Now that I can't post, the baloney about consumers hoarding books is probably going to take root on that blog again. Money isn't infinite and consumers reach a saturation level. It was in the best interest of all indie authors to keep the gravy train running as long as possible. Taking down the traditional publishers adds more price competition.

Lets see... buy a big name famous mystery author who recently turned indie, or buy the no name indie? It's a no brainer if both are the same price or if the famous author is cheaper.

Thanks a lot Konrath.

Brian Drake said...

I read through the whole thread on Konrath's blog and I have to say...if Mr. Day has proof that Konrath has inflated his sales numbers, he better be able to prove it. Otherwise it was just a spat between two people that quickly deteriorated into a cat fight and they both lost. As a journalist, if there's proof of fraud, I'm interested in seeing the details and I'll be happy to help with the expose'. If it's all empty talk, well....don't waste my time. And I'll be happy to tell everybody it's a waste of time, too.

So, Mr. Day, do you have proof?

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

It looked to me that unless everyone held the same opinion as Konrath then they were shot down. And as for the name calling and all that nonsense, it was absolutely stupid but it was, at least, fun. I'm a follower of Konrath and like a lot of what he has to say but he does need to take some of that bile he keeps throwing at the publishing industry.

Someone else commented that there was a lot of crap being published by self publishers and they were attacked by a horde of rabid Konrath fans. Now there is crap in traditional publishing and music and TV and film and self publishing is no different. There is also a heck of a lot of great work being produced.

On the subject of Mr Day - yes he did resort to name calling but only after being dubbed a pinhead and an idiot.

I found it all great fun and it is telling that Mr Day has agreed to be interviewed here.

And you know I've actually enjoyed the Konrath books I've read, but if the the guy is going to set himself up as a self publishing guru he really needs to address the negatives instead of shouting out, "pinhead" all the time.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I commented myself on the Newbies guide with a link to this post and the challenge to debate the self publishing world on the Archive, and that too has now been deleted. The Archive has always supported eBooks and self publishing and gives publicity to as many new voices as it can. I don't want to play devil's advocate but I feel that this argument quickly escalated to a war because a raw nerve or two were exposed. But then what do I know? I'm just a pinhead - ask Mr Konrath.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Anon - I agree with many of your comments but I think posting anonymously is not really the thing to do. Though I've suspected for a long time that many of the anonymous comments are from Konrath himself hoping to stir up debate and then coming in as himself and calling the anonymous dissenters pinheads.

The Archive is a fully open blog - if you want to call me a Welsh, sheep loving, tosspot then please feel free to do so. You can't have free speech just as long as we like what you are saying. Free speech must be absolute.

So come on Joe show the pineads up by arguing your point here. Or is your wrath just a con?

Davieboy said...

I just want to muscle-in and say I don't know squat about the sales figures of Konrath's books but I hope he's making tons of dough. His Jack Daniels novels are fab as far as I'm concerned and highly recommended.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

And I agree with Davyboy on the Jack Daniels series.

Mack said...

I hope Konrath agrees to be interviewed. It would be nice to read a discussion about the issues without the name-calling, school yard insults. I read Newbies Guide... because ebooks and ebook marketing interests me. I stopped reading Konrath's Jack Daniels series after the 3rd or 4th. Gary, I have much respect for you and you are seeing something in the books I don't but for me there were one too many "throw the book across the room" scenes and I found myself rooting for the serial killer to take Jack out.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Mack- I've read several of the Daniels books and enjoyed them. I also liked the horror novels in a brainless slasher kind of way.

Konrath has entered a debate with me but warned me about insults, which I do not do. He opened on his own blog with - " I didn't kick Day off for his opinion. I kicked him off for being an ass.

Contrary opinion is fine. Contrary opinion backed up with logic and fact is better. He didn't use logic or fact. He used lies and insults, and then didn't respond to any of my counter-points.

If you also want to be disruptive, insulting, and lie, you too can play elsewhere.

I say - then let's debate.

Do you know how? It involves taking something I said and refuting it by constructing a counter-argument using facts and logic.

Ready when you are. Find something I said you believe is wrong, and try to prove it. But watch out for cherry picking, taking quotes out of context, confusing opinion with fact, straw men, and ad hominem attacks. Being sarcastic, and even insulting, is fine, if you can catch me in a lie or acting stupidly. But name calling without provocation is juvenile and pointless

To which I responded,

"OK Joe - first I don't do name calling. The point I am trying to make is that a well reasoned argument is a better defense then banning people from the comments on this otherwise excellent blog.

Now there are claims that you are inflating your sales figures so what do you say about this?

Also the poster who said there was more crap being published indie style than traditionally, was shot down unfairly. There is rubbish in all forms of publishing but with no constraints it stands to reason that more crap will slip through the indie net. Now I may be a pinhead but I don't think you answered these points in any valid fashion.

My final point is that whlst Jo Day did resort to name calling, you did call him a pinhead and an idiot.

And lastly is it true you did a deal with Ace Books for the SF novel? If so this would seem strange given all you have said about the gatekeepers etc.

None of these questions are intended to offend - I like your writing a lot, but I do sense some BS here.

UN-anonymously Gary of The Tainted Archive."

Now I really do hope Joe answers my questions, and agrees to a debate on the Archive but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

And Mack thanks for your comment and I would like to return my respect for yourself and your excellent work on your blog.

G. B. Miller said...

It sounds like Mr. Konrath and the guv'nor of my state have a lot in common, in that they can't take legitimate criticism or questioning of whatever statements they choose to inflict on anyone beyond the choir that they perpetually preach to.

There are pluses and minuses to self-publishing, but it does boil down to having a good product.

I can name a few others who are having success in self-publishing because they have a good product.

Does Mr. Konrath have a good product? Damned if I know, but I think that price has absolutely nothing to do with the issue.

If a product is good (in this case, a writer), I'm more than willing to shell out the dollars for it. If the product isn't, I won't, no matter how cheap it may be.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

The following comment came from Facebook and the author OK'd posting it here -

MontiLee Stormer said

I've been saying that for years. Konrath inflates his numbers and makes more money (such that it is) telling people to forgo trad publishing and strike out on their own than he ever did writing fiction.

I used to believe in Konrath, I used to think his message about promoting yourself and visiting bookstores and clicking with booksellers was the way to go. It's what I wanted to do. Then his books were dropped and he got bitter, and started railing on trad publishing for ignoring his words and not selling his books - he blamed promotion, when he should have blamed his own writing.

MontiLee Stormer said...

Thanks, Gary;

Trashing the side that didn't work for you as if there's some vast conspiracy sound like a lot of paranoid bunk perpetrated by people too afraid to try. You want to go big with self-publishing, that's fine. You decide that trad publishing is for you, way to go.

But what you don't do is deride an entire industry because *you* didn't sell, and then proceed to build a following based on half-truths, vague numbers, and bravado.

You don't delete opposing viewpoints or call names, because it proves what people say about the self-published author: unpolished, unprofessional and not worth anyone's time.

Joseph Day said...

To Brian Drake -

Brian, please show me where I specifically stated that Konrath "inflated his sales figures".

I'm not aware of making that statement. So if you find some place where I did, please tell me. And I mean some place where I actually made the statement, not some stooge of Konrath claiming I did.

So Brian, where's your proof?

Joseph Day said...

To Mack -

I agree with you, Mack. Unlike Gary, I thought Konrath's Jack Daniels novels mediocre.

The first, Whiskey Sour, I started reading with an open mind, but couldn't take any more after the first four pages.

But like I told Gary, there's no disputing taste.

Gee, it's so nice to be on a blog, making intelligent comments with intelligent ppl.

Joseph Day said...

To Ms Stormer -

"You don't delete opposing viewpoints or call names, because it proves what people say about the self-published author: unpolished, unprofessional and not worth anyone's time."

Yes, I think that pretty much describes Konrath.

I wish I had your gift for brevity.

Brian Drake said...

Joe, Unlike some I'm willing to admit when I've made a mistake. You made no direct statement (I think I got it confused with MontiLee Stormer who specifically mention "inflates his numbers") but you did say this:

"According to Konrath, he is extremely successful as an ebook writer. I think I read him saying he makes half a million dollars or more a year from his books. Now I will be the first to admit, this is quite an accomplishment, considering the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made only 500000 in ebook sales out of total world wide distribution of 50 million books sold. But, really, it begs a question. If Joe's novels sell so well, why hasn't some large publisher picked him up? After all, with marketing muscle like Doubleday, or Simon & Schuster, the sales should be phenomenal with such a poplar writer.

I'll let you be the judge of that."

To me, the above infers that you think he's not telling the truth about his numbers. If you don't have actual proof of that, why do you think he's not telling the truth?

Joseph Day said...

Brian Drake -

"To me, the above infers that you think he's not telling the truth about his numbers. If you don't have actual proof of that, why do you think he's not telling the truth?"

Mr. Drake, infer what you like, I'm not responsible for what you think. If you've read my writing, you'll see that it's very clear and explicit, unlike some writers on Konrath's blog, including Konrath himself.

From your unfounded inference you assume is correct, you then ask me to prove something I never said to begin with.

Fyi, there's an email to someone dated before your first comment here, where I state Konrath's income figures could be correct for a certain amount of book sales during a year, and why based on his total books for sale and other factors, this is no big deal anyway.

But that's not the point. You demanded proof about something I didn't say, and then when you can't prove I said it, demand I justify myself.

Incidentally, before you start demanding someone "better be able to prove it", you better get your own facts straight, and not make vague threats of retribution as a journalist.

I've never met a legitimate newsman that's acted that way, and I've been friends with some pretty obnoxious ones.

Enough said. Compare my reply to what Konrath would have said to you.

The best defense is not to be like your enemy. - Marcus Aurelius.

Brian Drake said...

This is becoming an exercise in futility.

What you wrote above is why I asked my question. Instead of calling names, of course, you have become defensive. That's nothing new there as I've done plenty of defensive interviews but I also know when there isn't any there there. You clearly have your own agenda and only you know what that is.

Joseph Day said...

Mr. Drake, I never called you names. Like your first comment here, you seem to be imagining things that never happened.

As for being defensive, you want me to reply to something you made up in your mind. I'm sorry, but I'm not clairvoyant.

You claim that I "think he's not telling the truth". How do you know what I'm thinking? Then your next sentence asks me to explain why I "think he's not telling the truth".

First you accuse me of things I never said, then you want me to answer your claims to what I'm suppose to think lol.

You're making everything up. It's fatuous.

Btw, when did you ever start interviewing me? All you've done is make up a bunch of accusations that have no basis in fact. How can I be defensive about something there's nothing to defend.

And also btw, what is this name you're calling yourself? A journalist? Who are you a journalist for? Your bio on this blog lists no media organization employing you.

Now I will tell you what that makes me think. You're a journalist for yourself. If you wanted to find out something, you'd know how to ask the right questions. Since I don't know what you want to know, I can't make up the questions for you. Nor is it my responsibility to do so.

The only futility here is the fact you don't know how to ask a question. And I'm sorry if you might consider that name calling. Like I said, I can't be responsible for what you think.

It reminds me of what a news bureau chief once told me good naturedly - "Come on, boy. I send you out for the story and you only come back with half of it."

In your case, Mr. Drake, you don't even have a story.

Brian Drake said...

Joe, I think I asked an honest question based on your own comments even after admitting I made a mistake on the original quote. You still have cast doubt on Konrath's claims, and I'd like to know why. But instead of responding with something concrete, you nitpick and attack me.

Joe, I think you're jealous that he's doing better than you and instead of improving your own work you've decided to attack him.

That's not very productive.

I look forward to your interview with Gary!

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I do wish Konrath would come on this blog so we can all debate the self pubbing V traditional pubbing, but I don't think he will. In all fairness though I was annoyed that he did a deal with Ace books after spouting so much bile against trad pubbing, but the deal with Ace, it turns out was signed before Joe stared self pubbing so I was wrong there and I apologies on Joe's own site. There are however a lot who think Joe is inflating his sales figures but he produced a pretty impressive screen shot on his blog that listed sales figures that are pretty darn good.

Still I can see no reason for Joe not to take part in an Archive interview and as of yet he's declined to accept. I will be interviewing Jo Day soon, though.

Joseph Day said...

To Brian Drake -

You didn't ask an honest question because you don't know how to ask any question.

All you did was make a accusation that was false. Then you claim to know what I think, and ask me why I think it.

Now once again you make the amorphous accusation "You still have cast doubt on Konrath's claims." What claims are you talking about? For a guy that says he's a "journalist", you continue to be vague.

I'm not going to guess what you might want to know, nor am I going to compose a set of questions for you. It's really very simple to do, but then you've never been a professional writer or newsman, have you.

" Joe, I think you're jealous that he's doing better than you and instead of improving your own work you've decided to attack him."

How do you know how well I'm doing? For that matter, how do you know how well Konrath's doing? All we know is what he gives out in dribbles of information.

In what sense do you mean better? Quality of life, net worth, experience with ladies which sometimes he seems obsessed about?

Btw I took a look at a couple of your novels. The writing is as mediocre as Konrath's. In fact, I think it might be worse. But then all I've seen of Konrath's writing was stuff that went through publishing editors. Maybe the stuff he's done on his own is worse than you.

As for my writing, the readers here can go to Amazon and check out samples of my work. I appreciate constructive criticism by people that know what they're doing.

Be aware however, that literary agents and publishing editors have never criticized my ability to write well. The only comments, if made, were admiration. Of course other indications, are when they want to read the full manuscript, or for you to do a manuscript for them.

As for calling names, the only name calling was by you. You called yourself a journalist. According to Websters Dictionary, you're not. You call yourself a writer, according to me you're not.

But again enough. A retired radio announcer told me he thinks you're a Konrath "apologist".

Maybe so.

But in the future why don't you just go to Konrath's blog and make a fool of yourself there. You'll be in good company.

Joseph Day said...

A quick note-

You can tell how busy a writer is by how much time he spends on the internet blogging and commenting.

It also tells you whether they are a professional or just a wannabe amaeuter.

In the past few days I've been an amaeuter arguing with fools like Konrath and Brian Drake.

It was nice break, but really I have to get back to writing a new novel and promoting my other three novels available as ebooks. Not mention details in certain distribution channels.

So I guess I'll be doing an interview with Gary here, and possibly some articles on my own blog and web site.

As for spending any more time with ppl like Brian Drake, it's going to be very minimal and abrupt.

This is a nice blog site, and I will be following it in the future. I feel like I'm sitting by a pond in countryside, discussing topics with a nice, intelligent ppl.. That also includes you Brian.

Have a nice week everyone.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Cool off period. I do think that to cast doubts on Konrath's sales figures (which I suspect are exaggerated) we need real proof though otherwise it is futile.

Anyway let's not argue and see if Joe egress to an interview here. I'll also be arranging to interview Joseph here later this week, but this argument is going away from the issues.

I'd really like a Indie Writer Weekend on the Archive and interveiw many indie writers, and I hope Konrath agrees to an interview.

So come on - we're all friends here./

Anonymous said...

There is a certain author who promotes the benefits of self-publishing and criticizes traditional publishing.

This author has some books still controlled by the traditional publishers, so this author would benefit from the collapse of the traditional publishers by recieving the rights to those books back.

What this author fails to realize is that the collapse of the traditional publishers would release all the famous big name authors who wrote for the traditional publishers into the self-publishing arena.

These famous big name authors would then be free to set their own prices for their ebooks.

So does price competition really matter?

Lets imagine two ebooks, both of which are priced at the same price, but one ebook is by a famous big name author and the other is by a no name author. Which book is the average consumer going to buy?

But a certain proponent of self-publishing would say that consumers would buy both because that person says that comsumers hoard books. Oh Really?

Governments can print money endlessly but they don't. Do you know why? Because infinite money creates infinite inflation. There is only a finite amount of money to go around. Therefore not every consumer is going to have the ability to hoard books. Also even for the consumers wealthy enough to be able to hoard books, there comes a time when too much is just tooooooo much--a saturation level. You don't believe me? Imagine having 100 books on your iPad, now imagine 1000, now imagine 10,000, now imagine 100,000, now imagine 1,000,000, etc. etc. etc. The saturation point is going to be different for each individual, do you think there are enough of these "hoarders of books" to make every author rich? How come every author isn't rich already--what with all these "hoarders of books" everywhere just waiting to gobble up the latest ebook written by a no name self-publisher.

Imagine two self-publishers: one a newbie self-publisher, and the other one an average no name self-publisher who has been around a while but has not become rich and famous.

Now imagine that these two self-publishers now have to compete on price with all the famous big name authors because the traditional publishers collapsed. Lets say there are 20 big name famous authors who each have 3 new ebooks out, reaching a total of 60 new ebooks by big name famous authors. Lets say all the ebooks are in the same genre as 6 ebooks wriiten by our orginal newbie self-publisher and our no name self-publisher (3 books a each). Lets also say that all 66 ebooks are the same price. Which ebooks do you think the average consumer is going to buy--the ebooks by the famous big name authors or the newbie and no name authors? Now imagine if the ebooks by the famous big name authors were actually cheaper than the ebooks by the newbie and no name authors. Which ebooks are the average consumers likely going to buy then?

Joseph Day said...

To Anonymous -

Actually, I think that's already happening.

My guess is that a significant number of ebook sales are from publishers and their well known authors.

It's very rough out there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hear you Joe Day.

The problem is that we hear about all the success stories on Konrath's blog. All the people who aren't quite so succesful aren't going to embarrass themselves by coming and talking about how poorly they're doing. And if someone posts Anonymously, then they're motives are questioned.

I debated Konrath on his blog, starting with the Anonymous comment posted at 11:10 PM on the second page of comments.

I know I won, my arguments were logically sound.

But a couple of his fan boys started in--one with confrontational AD HOMINEM, and the other with a STRAW MAN ARGUMENT.

It's just too tedious to deal with it all so I said I would ignore them.

I wish Konrath hadn't banned you as I'm sure your presence would have taken some of the heat off, at least by distracting some of the fan boys.

Good luck with your writing Joe Day.

Joseph Day said...

Thank you Anonymous. That's very nice of you.

As for Konrath, I quote Castiglione - "It is better to pass over in silence, that which we can not recall without sorrow."

Anonymous said...

I posted the following on Kontath's blog:

Anonymous said...
1.) You said you write this blog so you have an opportunity to learn things by having people come to you, instead of you going to them, because it's easier that way.

2.) You say publicity doesn't matter. So the millions of hits per year this blog gets doesn't matter.

3.) Your blog fans aren't wht drive you sales numbers.

4.) Skill, luck, distribution, and pricing are what sells books.

So Mr. I-Like-To-Learn, why don't you try an experiment...

An experiment that will settle the controversy...

SHUT DOWN THIS BLOG FOR A FEW MONTHS, take the blog completely off line so your blog fans can't access it.

Zero traffic, and zero views.

Then see how well your sales do without this blog as a promotion tool.

Walk the walk, or is it all just talk?