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Saturday, 24 March 2018

Joe Konrath signs with Legacy Publishing House: Hypocrisy or shrewd business opportunity?

It will seem a strange move to his fans, but self publishing superstar Joe Konrath, who has spent many years crusading against traditional publishers, calling them unnecessary in the modern digital world, has signed with Kensington Books in a bid to bring out his bestselling eBooks in mass market paperback. Konrath's blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing contains countless posts in which the author hits out at traditional publishing, Legacy publishing as Konrath calls it and yet the author has now signed with Kensington to bring  his back list to the mass market.

It makes perfect sense but it does seem to make Konrath an hypocrite - he has made the claim that he doesn't need a traditional publisher many times, said he wouldn't want one and yet now that the opportunity to see his books in mass market paperback comes along Konrath's not hesitated to take the deal. This would seem to belie eveything he has ever written at his blog - A Newbies Guide to Publishing - and is a slap in the face to all the aspiring self pubbers who followed his every word, bought his books in large numbers. But then Konrath has always had his critics and those who who have over the years labelled him as CONrath, will take his latest move as vindication for all they have said about him. Many have called Konrath's claims of huge sale figures as false after checking his claims against his Amazon rankings. Don't forget Amazon don't publish actual sales figures so Konrath's claims have always been hard to check.

Back in 2012 Konrath wrote on his blog:

Legacy publishers are a cartel. I suppose it could be a coincidence that the Big 6 all have exactly the same (low) royalty structure, and shockingly similar contract terms. But collusion seems easier to believe, and this collusion is aimed at limiting the income and power of authors. Legacy publishing contracts are painfully one-sided.

Legacy publishers have zero transparency when it comes to things like sales, returns, print runs, and inventory, and keep authors in the dark.

Legacy publishers fix prices. That's what the agency model is. Even worse, these prices are too high and hurt authors' sales.

Legacy publishers sometimes fail to edit.

Legacy publishers abandon books, releasing them into the market without any push at all.

Legacy publishers pay royalties twice a year. Are you freaking kidding me?!? It's 2012! Why are their accounting and payroll departments stuck in 1943?

Legacy publishers embraced returns for full credit. This is the biggest fail in the history of retail, and the reserves against returns practice has screwed thousands of authors. Isn't it funny how whenever you hear about an author auditing a publisher, unreported sales are always discovered?

And in the same article, speaking about his move to self pubbing, Konrath said - I don't rant against legacy publishers because because they've wronged me. I rant against them to warn other authors, and show them better options. The path I'm on now is so much more rewarding, both monetarily and emotionally.

Kensignton's mass market publication of The List this May marks the start of a  partnership that both Konrath and the publishing house hope will be fruitful. Konrath, who is arguably the biggest self proclaimed success story in self-publishing, claims to have sold more than two million copies of his books throughout the world. But The List has never been available in bricks-and-mortar bookstores. That's about to change. And its release will be followed by two more of Konrath's Horror Collective books, with Origin coming in December 2018 and Endurance in May 2019.

There is no disputing the fact that Konrath did well as a self pubbing writer, (Though there are many who dispute the incredible sales figures he regularly posted on his blog) and that his blog in which he outspokenly attacked traditional publishing did a lot to help in his success - he tapped into a vast market of frustrated writers who couldn't get a book deal and they took Konrath as their guru, supported him by buying his books, making him a lot of money And now the man who once wrote - I've been preaching since 2010 that self-publishing is not only a viable alternative to the legacy industry, but it can indeed be a preferable one.- seems to have jumped into bed with the so called legacy publishers he once relentlessly attacked.

Check out Konrath's post on exploited writers HERE

It does though seem odd that a man who claims such huge sales figures through self publishing, with him keeping 100% of the royalties would need this deal with Kensington. Maybe his detractors are correct and his name should be spelt CONrath.

Konrath recently said of the Kensington deal - "Kensington has tremendous reach in the paper book market. To have my work available in bookstores, big-box stores, airports, drugstores, supermarkets, and the many other places books are sold is a wonderful opportunity."

'If you're offered less than six figures for a publishing deal, think long and hard. I believe you can sell more, and earn more, on your own.'  Joe Konrath writing on his blog in 2010. So did Kensignton pay Konrath more than six figures for the rights to his backlist? I somehow doubt that.

In short, it would seem that Kensignton have offered Konrath everything he once said he could do without.

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