Joe Konrath writes novels in the thriller, mystery, and horror genres. He’s written under the name J.A. Konrath and Jack Kilborn.
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Speaker 1: 00:00 Hey slingers today I'm talking to Joe j, a con Raf about the transition from traditional to MD, maybe even back again. So stick around and find out what we chat about that. Hey, you looking for a jump on your own indie author career, but kinda confused about where to start. I've got the place for you. Check out draft two digital. That's where you're going to be able to convert your manuscript, distributed worldwide, online, and get help the whole way from the best author support there is. Trust me on this one. So go check out drafted email@example.com slash word slinger.
Speaker 2: 00:37 It's the word slinger podcast where story matters. Build your brand, right, your book. Redefine who you are. It's all about this story here. What's yours? Now here's the guy who invented pants, optional cabin Tomlinson. No words. Slinger.
Speaker 1: 01:00 What? Slinger. Well, I am Kevin Thompson, the word slinger. Uh, I am, uh, I'm thrilled that you're here today. This has been a little bit hectic week for me, man. I yesterday, me, Mark Lafave and Dan would all, did the D Two d ask us anything, uh, on Facebook? Primarily, but it's going to be showing up on our blog. Uh, I still got a couple of things I got to do as far as blog posts, uh, transcripts, that sort of thing. Uh, but that is going to be available for everyone to, to check checkout and listening on. Uh, there was some great advice in that thing. You're going to want to definitely tune into that. And we were giving away, now this is gonna by the time you hear this, uh, the, this is going to be closed, but we were giving away free author consultations, 30 minute author consultations with either me, mark or Dan, um, assigned randomly by the way.
Speaker 1: 01:58 Yeah. And Yeah, somehow I ended up with the lion's share. I've got like, uh, it's something like four to one. It for these things like I get four, they get one. Uh, but uh, we ended up, um, having a great time with that. It, it was a very effective, a a you a webinar thing. We're going to be doing more of those. We're aiming to do one of those a month, I think, uh, still pulling some things together. We learned some lessons on this. Uh, can't wait to apply those, but, uh, heck man, I may do my own. Ask me anything at some point in the future. Let me know if you'd be interested in that. Uh, and maybe even the author consulting thing too. We'll see. Um, but, uh, let me know if you would have an interest in anything like that. Word slinger themed, uh, pop on over to words on your podcast.com.
Speaker 1: 02:46 Uh, hit the contact button or a lead me something on the, uh, comments for this show, which is by the way, uh, episode one 91. Just go search for one 91 in little search, hit thinker, podcast.com a having a little glitch right now with that, by the way. So it may be directing you to my homepage, and if it does, just click on words like your podcast in the, in the menu up top, and you can use the search box from there. So, sorry about that. Uh, I did something I thought was clever and somehow I redirected all my links, so I gotta I gotta hop in and fix that. Uh, among all the other things that I'm doing. So, uh, so today we're chatting with Joe Conrad. You may know him as j a con wrath or half a dozen other Om nom de Plume Rooms, pinned names.
Speaker 1: 03:38 Um, but, uh, I had a great conversation with him about, you know, he's transitioned from the traditional world to s to self publishing. Uh, why he's doing that. I had a chance to participate in a promotion he did, uh, last last week. It kinda ran through the weekend. Um, and it was a f it was a Freebie thing, you know, we were giving, it was me in like 29 other authors, him included giving away free copies of a book in our catalog. And, uh, you know, uh, it was interesting the way he handled it cause uh, there was a button there that would allow you to click and, uh, put every single one of those books in your cart on Amazon, which I thought was very clever. Um, there were some glitches. There were some hangups, uh, more people jumped in on this than he had expected. You know, most of the people participating had lists in the like 25 to 40,000 range.
Speaker 1: 04:34 Um, I, me included. And so he got like, you know, he was, there was enough bandwidth on that page to accommodate I think, 100,000 visits and he got 500,000 in the first like hour of the, uh, of the Promo. And it just kept happening. And it kept, basically it was a like a denial of service attack on his site orchestrated by those of us participating. Uh, cause we all sent out our emails around the same time. So, uh, that was interesting. And it Kinda like he had to manually watch that every hour or something. It reset is reset the site, make sure everything reappeared. So, uh, lots of lessons learned from that too, apparently. So that that'll change next time. But the, the promotion went great. I mean, all of us ended up in the top, uh, like top 100, top 50 of Amazon's free list. Um, you know, on the, that's Amazon store by the way. And we all like ended up number one in our categories. Um, and our various categories. So that was a, so really a great promotion. I'm going to, I'm looking forward to see what happens, what the sort of play through is gonna be for that. Um, because it was 30 novels, uh, people were just grabbing, you know, so the chances of someone reading my novel out of the
Speaker 3: 05:58 30, uh, might be a little slim. You never know. Um, but it still, it was interesting to get it out there. Uh, I'm, I'm intrigued by that. We talk just a little bit about that in this interview. So, um, but I'm going to go ahead and let's just roll us right in. I want to make sure you get the full blast thing here and then stick around afterwards. We'll have, uh, a couple of news bites for Ya. Uh, and I'll see you on
Speaker 4: 06:25 your side.
Speaker 3: 06:28 Hey, welcome to another week of the word slinger podcast. This is one of our, our infamous interview episodes. I love bringing on guests who, uh, wanted to, uh, bringing on guests who know what they're talking about. And this guy certainly does. I'm talking to Joe Conrad. You may know him as Jay Conrad, he's a thriller writer. We get a lot of those around here. Joe. Um, and a lot of us, there are a lot of us and surprisingly we, we all seem to do pretty well. Um, that must mean there's a big enough pie to go around. But welcome to the show.
Speaker 5: 06:58 Hey, thank you for having me Kevin.
Speaker 3: 07:00 Man. Uh, I've been looking forward to having you on the show for a while now. You kind of, you held me at arms length for awhile. I ghosted you. You didn't go. It's because you actually reached back out to me. So you saved me the trouble of a followup begging or any of those, unlike every girl I dated in high school who did not save me that trouble. Um, so you've got something new and I, I'm, I'm excited to talk about it cause I, you know, you have a blog post on this. I read through that. Uh, some of it's intriguing. One thing in particular, it's really intriguing me and it may be a non event for you. What we'll see. Uh, but why don't you tell us a little bit about what you got coming up?
Speaker 5: 07:41 Well, I've got a couple cool things coming up for anybody watching or listening to this who doesn't know who I am. My name is Joe Konrath. I ran into the name of j a con wrath. I've also written under the name Jack Kilborne. I got started in the legacy publishing world, which is way way back in the 90s and naughties when you actually had to send out snail mail to agents and publishers to try to get them to read your query letter. And I did that for a decade and I wrote over a million words and I wrote 10 novels and I got over 500 rejections. And then finally I got an agent in about 1999 and I wrote a few more books with her that she couldn't sell. Finally she sold one called whiskey sour in 2003 and then from 2003 up to 2009 I was a legacy published author.
Speaker 5: 08:41 I was a having hardcovers put out worldwide and paperbacks and I was making, you know, a decent living, meaning about 30 to 40 grand a year. Whites still worked. But uh, you know, for all intents and purposes I'd made it because that's what all the writing books and magazines told you is making it. You finally get your book in bookstores. Right. Well then the Kendall came along Amazon with his picks, Pesky ebook reader and what they did was they opened up an opportunity for authors to self-publish. Right now I first heard about this because I had website still do Jay Counter F. Dot com contracted with a k and I had free PDFs on my website of the books that had been rejected by hundreds of publishers. Yeah. And I thought, you know, I'm not not selling, I'm never going to sell them. Why don't I, uh, just make them free on the webpage.
Speaker 5: 09:44 Right. What happened was I got a lot of fans reading my paper stuff that they were finding in bookstores wanting to put these on their new kindle device and can't I sell them in the kindle store? And back then it was called DTP, not Caitlin, it was digital text platform. So I was one of the first authors to say, all right, I'm not selling these anyway. Why the hell not and throw them up there for 99 cents. And this is back in 2009 April of 2009 and the first month I made enough to cover my mortgage. Nice. Now it's always a completely unexpected. I mean I thought this was going to be like a pathway drug. Oh read this book for cheap and then go and buy my real books that are in bookstores. Uh, I started uploading more of these rejected books and started making more money and by the next year I was suing my publishers to get my rights back from the books that had already been published. And then I was able to launch 10 books at once and that was the first month I made $100,000. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 3: 10:56 Your story by the way. And I, I made a bit of an error cause I kinda left into this like everybody is going to know your story. Uh, but it is hard for some of us. There's a circle of us who follow everything you're doing and say thank you. You know, you're, your journey and adventure, uh, is very informative.
Speaker 5: 11:18 It was, I made a lot of mistakes and took a lot of chances and I blogged about it. I started my blog, a newbie's guide to publishing back in 2005. Right? So I was very pro traditional publishing and pro self promotion and marketing and I shared a lot of my experiences. I did a book tour that, you know, I spent 60 days on the road. I had 500 bookstores, we called it the j Konrath no six tour. Okay. Uh, which my nor I will ever do again. Ah, I, I blogged a lot about book signings and doing book events and going to conferences and doing all these things that we were told that we had to do as authors. And then the kindle was invented and my blog shifted focus from this is how to self promote as a legacy published author too. Well, you know what?
Speaker 5: 12:20 You really don't need these gatekeepers and you can make a couple of bucks yourself and maybe pay your electric bill, maybe pay your rent, maybe buy yourself a car or house. And uh, that's, that's how it turned out for me. I was completely right place right time because I had a back list of crap that nobody wanted and I didn't think it was crap. I knew what they were good books and Amazon just opened up and I was able to release a lot at once, early on in the game and I sold millions of books. Yeah. And that's the bulk of your career then has been India at this point since then. Yes and no. I think I'm what's called a hybrid. I think so, yeah. It makes sense. Well, what happened was there was an Amazon program called Amazon encore, right? That got started right after KTP got started or DDP got started and this was a small publishing wing of Amazon that looked at independently published books from self focused authors and said, you know what, why don't you let us publish them and we can give you a little boost.
Speaker 5: 13:36 Right. And they reached out to me because one of my books and said, hey, we're interested in this. I said, well, I'm not like a Newbie. Can you Google me and learn who I learn who I am before we continue this conversation? And I, at this point, I'd sold a couple hundred thousand regular paper books. And they got back to me pretty quick and said, oh, we're sorry for bothering you. And I said, no, no, no, no, you're not bothering me at all. Uh, the first series I wrote was for a publisher called Hyperion and there were all books about a cop named Jack Daniels. They were all named after drinks, whiskey, sour, bloody Mary, Rusty Nail and so on. You're catching the theme. So Amazon wanted to publish one of my new books and I said Hyperion, who had published the first six Jack Daniel's books dropped their mystery line after I signed to the second three book deal.
Speaker 5: 14:36 So those books got no promo. They got no advertising, they got no co-op, they were very poorly released. And once your sales declined, once they're on the downward downward, a trek in the publishing. Nobody else wants to pick up a series or an off like that. Right. So I could not sell a seventh Jack Daniel's novel, but Amazon encore approached me and I said, hey, how about I give you another Jack Daniel's book that the publishers don't want? And they said, great. So I was the first traditionally published author published by Amazon, and the book has sold a couple hundred thousand copies. It turned out really well. I did a CQL for them. I did three more books for them with a co-writer of mine, a good friend and boss Peterson the Chandler series. And those have sold very well on Amazon. And then I was the first German published Amazon author too because Amazon realized encore was working with me.
Speaker 5: 15:36 And then they started other imprints like Thomas and Mercer and Montlake for different genres. And then they went into different countries and they looked at the properties they already own. And they contacted me and said, well, you know this first book we did with you shake and you want to do this in Germany. And I said, absolutely. Do you have a translator? And they said no. And I said, well, I do, because I had a fan from Germany email me and say, I love your books. I'd love to translate one. And I say, I don't know anything about that. I wouldn't even know how to correct that. Is that right? Did he just write gibberish? I don't know. Right. Uh, but he talked me into doing it for very cheap at and I did it and he turned out to be a very good translators. Names Peter's me. And I told him I was on low.
Speaker 6: 16:24 All right. Uh, I've already got that relationship with him. He already knows my work fast. We can throw that up. So I became the first Amazon crossing published author because of that. And I'm very proud of this as you could. I loved being at the beginning of something. Right. And now I'm at tortoise. Now I had a dinosaur in the middle of something and it's evolved way beyond what I even understand at this point. Right. Yeah, go ahead. I'm sorry. Can I say something?
Speaker 3: 16:57 I was just going to interject. I was going to say a, you know, we, after, after having followed you for, for all this time, um, I, I get what you're saying cause I, I, you know, I Kinda, I kind of regret that because I started publishing with Amazon in 2008 somehow managed to miss out on the whole explosion of authors getting picked up and getting deals and all that. I, I somehow manage to avoid all that. So, uh, listen to your story. I'm like, I get to hear what the, what could have been kind of deal.
Speaker 6: 17:29 Those are the, what could have been is you could have signed an unconscionable contract for your life plus 70 years noncompete clauses and next option clauses, which would have kept your hands tied, prevented you from self publishing anything. Right. And ultimately they would have tanked your career just like they very much to take mine and we wouldn't even be talking right now. It's a good thing that you never got an offer because there are no good offers unless it's what I call money. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. If you money is when the publisher comes in and says, we're going to give you six or seven figures. Right. And you're saying, well fine, that's, it's fun because you can do whatever you want with it. You can just grow up my career. You can put swastikas all over the cover. Doesn't matter to me. I wouldn't recommend that, but it doesn't matter to me because you just gave me enough money that I no longer care about if the book succeeds. But usually authors care.
Speaker 3: 18:32 Yeah. I think I would care. Um, and clearly you cared. I mean you've, you fought pretty hard to get, you know, the books that were out there, you know, you fought hard to get those, the rights back, right?
Speaker 6: 18:43 Yes, it was. It was difficult. It was, yeah. They did not want to give them up, especially when the ebook boom started. But uh, so I do not recommend lawsuits on either side of, well them, it allows me to work from home and spend all day wearing a bathrobe.
Speaker 3: 19:03 Yeah. Yeah. That's hard to, it's hard to beat. That's worth it. In the end.
Speaker 6: 19:08 I've got my bathing suit on and I just periodically go into the hot tub and get out of that tub and the hot tub and it's beautiful.
Speaker 3: 19:16 Those are, those are good days. I mean, I do enjoy the freedom. Uh, I have, you know, I do want to work wherever I feel like doing it, whatever. I feel like doing it, you know? That's, that's pretty handy.
Speaker 6: 19:29 It is. But is your boss a jerk?
Speaker 3: 19:32 My boss can be a complete jerk. Yeah. That's my wife. She hates my boss. Sometimes.
Speaker 6: 19:39 Me, I'm, I'm my, my wife is a different sort of boss. My wife's, my wife runs the family and runs everything right. But when I met, when I met my boss is because I'm self employed. I my boss.
Speaker 3: 19:54 That's what I mean. I, I mean me, I'm the big jerk in this scenario. Yeah. No, I'm not the wife. I'm just the big jerk boss. My wife, my wife is much better. Boston. I am, she gets things done. She's that one. She's the one that gets the trains to the station on time. You know, you use the, uh, the aphorism. What's that? No, she doesn't see now we've had this, she and I've had this conversation. I, uh, when I first started doing this, I felt somewhat offended that she would read maybe one book, you know, but she's, she's not really a, that's not her, her role in this. Like she's the one who facilitates me writing. I have other readers.
Speaker 6: 20:37 No, it's good. It's good. Have some,
Speaker 3: 20:39 it is good to have some. Yeah. Uh, so your, I want to talk a little bit about your sort of pro, I want to get to the new stuff that's coming out. I've got new stuff coming up. Yeah. It's interesting. Uh, but I know there are people out there listening who are probably going to be interested in, in sort of your process because especially since you are coming over, you've come over from the traditional world. Like what changed between traditional still in Indy a for you as far as your work work in progress or process?
Speaker 6: 21:10 Well, yeah. Okay. First of all is, uh, the difference in speed and um, a rush to market is night and day. It's glacial the legacy public. Soon you have a deadline that's usually a year or 18 months away. You turn in what you think is a polished manuscript, but it turns out to be a first draft. Yeah. And then you go through an editing process, which can last a couple of weeks to a couple of months. They actually mail you your manuscript back. There's no, you know, Microsoft word doc where they have the review but not, and you can accept or or reject suggestions. It is actual red line ink that if you don't like something you write stat, which means Nope, I don't want, I don't want to use that. And you send that back to them and you may have to go back and forth a couple of times mailing it, snail mail, snail mail again.
Speaker 6: 22:15 And then you go through a proofing process and then you go through another person process where they send you what the pages look like after they've been typeset. You don't have to read your book for the 80th time, which is always a joy. Yeah. Because you'll catch it the 80th time, the 79 times you missed that title, but 80 oh by that point you don't, you'll catch that type of immediately and then once they accept it, it's another 12 months to publication. So you're talking a two year, sometimes longer process from a, you having a book too. The book actually getting out there, right. Uh, with shaken, which was the first book I did with Amazon. I wrote you taking the nine days. Yeah, I had a deadline. I had other things going on. I still have some legacy deals at this point. I was still writing under the name Jack Kilborne so I couldn't devote the time to shaking that I wanted to.
Speaker 6: 23:12 And I asked Amazon for more time and they said, well, we really got the machine rolling. We can't do that. I'm like, all right, well a lot of coffee and no sleep and I can knock out 70,000 words in a, in a week and some change. And I did Amazon publishing like Thomas and Mercer and Mountlake and all of their imprints, they don't, yeah, edit. Right. They'll proof. They'll help you with typos? Well, they don't give you suggestions. They don't say, well you know what, your protagonist is kind of a jerk. Maybe can you give him a dog or something to make them more likable? Nope. They pretty much let you let you do what you want to. Yeah. By the time I'd gotten to that point, I had already written 18 novels. So, uh, I have a pretty good idea if a book is working or not.
Speaker 6: 24:03 And my wife is my first reader and she'll usually read it while I am in the process of it. So she's reading it as I write it and if I do anything wrong, she immediately lets me know and I can fix it before I even get to the end. And she usually reads the end about 20 seconds after I write the end and she's already caught up to that point. So these days I don't have to deal with an editor. I still of course use a proof reader who is excellent, who takes about a week to really go through it and fines just damn near everything. She's really good. Uh, her name is Sharice graves' grammar rules is her website. There is a link to it on the sidebar of my blog and she's terrific, really fast, really professional. So in this new improved self publishing world, you can get a book from idea to for sale. Okay. In a month, six weeks. Uh, and that's a huge difference. Plus of course keeping 70% as opposed to six to 8%. Right. That you would get of covered price with paperback books, 10 12.5 to 15% of a hardcover book. But even that ease $20 hardcover book, if you've sold over 15,000 copies, you get the 15%, you're making three bucks, six, five, four 50. It's four 50. I don't know, I was an art major,
Speaker 6: 25:44 four 50 for a $20 book as opposed to, uh, five bucks for a $6 book. Right. It's a no brainer.
Speaker 7: 25:52 Yeah. Yeah. One of the things that attracted me to big difference. Yeah. That's um, you look riveted by the way. I am. I am riveted. I'm hanging on every syllable of what you're saying. Check your messages. A little while ago, I went looking for your, uh, the link you said was there for your copy editor is what you were looking for? Yes. Yes. I've never understood. That's why I don't understand. Okay. I should get into it. Is there a head to head version of candy crush there? Kevin?
Speaker 3: 26:44 This, this is why I do, I come up with being big ideas and I just throw them out there like chump change. Just you take it, you take, so let's, we're kind of combing up on time so I want to make sure we're talking about the new stuff. So what's, what's in the Pike right now? Cause it, and you've got, there's some interesting little things happening with it. Not just, it's not just that you've got a new series or something like you're doing something kind of experimental.
Speaker 6: 27:12 I'm, I'm doing two things that are experimental, uh, and again, cut me off. Yes, if I rent it along or don't cut me off, let me go and just some of the earlier boring shit I said. And then you'll still be, you'll still be under under your time time limit. Okay.
Speaker 3: 27:28 I got a whole dog eating ice section
Speaker 6: 27:34 right above my head. I'm surprised you didn't hear it. And that's a great snack for dogs, dogs and eating ice low-calorie and it gives them that chewing satisfaction. Yup. And I'm all for it normally, but not right above my head during a podcast. Kind of like two experimental things that I'm trying and I love experiments. I just love them. I love piracy. Yeah. Uh, I, I used to get on my blog and say, steal it, steal it, put it on pirate. I put it on pirate bay myself and I would host my own Dorrance uh, demon oid and uh, I would, I'd be like, yeah, go ahead, pirate it. I don't see how it could possibly hurt my sales and it doesn't. Right. Something a lot of authors are worried about and I love doing experiments. So I got two experiments going on right now.
Speaker 6: 28:23 One is last year I decided to write a big book. And by big books, the sucker wound up being about 180,000 words. Right. By comparison, my first books were maybe 65,000 words. So this is free books wrote a big book, spent a year on it and I thought this has blockbuster potential. This is a big idea. It's called what happened to Lori? And it's about what happened to Lori. Is she dead or is it a lot worse and it's a lot worse. And I've got a phone call I'm going to, I shouldn't even have my phone here, let's put it over there.
Speaker 6: 29:04 So what happened to Lori? And it was a big book and I gave it to my agent and I said, what did you, what do you think of it? And she said, I don't know, it's experiment until I invented some punctuation with this. Yeah. I put a lot of clothes hangers in it and I basically tried to write it like clickbait, meaning keep posing more questions to keep the readers turning the pages. Yeah, to get the answers and then trickle out the answers like crumbs. But then hit them with even more intriguing questions. We'll shoot dye, find out on page 70 not that bad, but that's page 27 will blow your mind. That kind of crap. A fun. It was fun. It was fun to write and hopefully it's fun to read. Well, my agent was lukewarm on it. She sent it out. Every publisher she sent it to do is look warm on it, right.
Speaker 6: 29:57 Nobody thought it was a big book. And I said, well shit, okay, fine. Nobody thinks it's a big book. Let's do what I can do with it. So when I did this, I split it into two books, book one and book two and I do bude book one for free. Right. So I've never premiered a novel. I've made novels free all the time after they've been available for awhile. But I never premiered a novel free. And I got a permafree on Amazon by going through the steps that you need to do in order to do that.
Speaker 7: 30:31 The process.
Speaker 6: 30:33 Yep. And got a permafree everywhere. And it launched a, I think on the SIF, so about 10 days ago. 11 days ago. Two weeks ago. Yeah. And I've gotten rid of a couple of 10,000 copies, which is great. Been in the top hundred pretty consistently on the Amazon free list. And I'm getting a lot of good reviews and I'm getting a lot of shitty reviews which I expected because it's a very polarizing book and the idea is giveaway part one for free and then part two I'm only charging 99 cents for it so it's essentially 180,000 word. Super novel for a buck.
Speaker 7: 31:13 Yeah, it, it happens. It's massive. Yup. I hear that all the time from my wife with my writing. Yes. Not what she likes. She likes, she likes them big. Yeah, like some big in this book right now is currently like number three in crime thrillers and numbers, conspiracy thrillers. I like it. It is doing very well. What did you do to promote it? I mean being free has to help but I know that that's not going to get you to the top 10 all time.
Speaker 6: 31:53 No, no. He usually does and usually bookbub is what pushes you up to the number one spot. I've had the lucky experience of being one and free and paid a couple of times in the last couple of years on on Amazon and it's lovely when it happens. In this case, it was first of all making an announcement. If you're a writer, you have to have a newsletter and you need to um, be actively trying to get more people to sign up for your newsletter, have a link on your website, have a link in the back of all of your ebooks for people to sign up. So first was an announcement and that got me in the top hundred and then I would, social media is some Facebook posts, some, some blog posts, Twitter posts. Yeah. And then I started using some of the non bookbub advertisers. Yeah. Uh, and there are a lot of them, you know, free submit for free or 25 bucks or 100 bucks I think makes sense.
Speaker 6: 32:53 Was 200 bucks that when it hasn't gone yet. And uh, then it's just been, you know, be active in social media, let people know about it, respond to emails and, and people on Facebook and Twitter and ask kindly, can you review it? Even if you hated it. I'm, I'm all about the hate. And it's consistently stayed in the, in the top hundred and it's doing pretty well. And book too. I've got a blog called what happened to laurie.com with a countdown clock on it and book two will be released on August 30th for the bargain price of 99 cents. And we'll see if this is enough buzz to get both of them on the lists and uh, you know, maybe actually get it talked about and get people discussing it and get people really interested in reading what happened already.
Speaker 7: 33:47 Yeah. So, um, you're debuting that and I and says that's not going to be its permanent price though, right?
Speaker 6: 33:52 Uh, well I'm devaluing the first book is free. The second book. Yes. It will be tribute at 99 cents. I don't know,
Speaker 7: 34:02 to start off a lot of book four. That's the two of those volumes together. That's a lot of book for 99 cents, man.
Speaker 6: 34:10 Here's the, here's the mentality, and it may sound weird, but I've experimented with price a lot. Yeah. And I found that four 99 five 99 is a good price for an average size thriller, which is what I write. And that's the sweet spot in between how many sales you get versus how much you make per book. 99 cents you will sell more books, but you're making 35% rather than 70% so you're making 32 cents a book, 33 cents a book for a 99 cent book as opposed to if you bumped it up to two 99 you'd make 70% of that. Right. Which is, you know, but almost two bucks, right? Uh, I didn't want this to be about the money. I've tried so hard to make money and I made some money. I've been extremely lucky. Everything. The one, the one takeaway from my entire story is I got lucky. I got really, really lucky with a couple of times. I got really lucky in this case. I spent a year on this book. I thought it would be big. My agent and publishers did not think it would be big. And now I just want to see how many people I can get to read it. Right. Okay. And that would mean, go ahead.
Speaker 7: 35:33 Oh, I was going to ask, is that, is that at least in part about sort of an, I told you so. Yeah, maybe I'm not a petty man, but maybe, maybe there's some of that. It's proof. It's not Petty's proof of concept, proof of concepts. There's that, that there's all,
Speaker 6: 35:55 I've never done it before. I'm always releasing books at four bucks, five bucks, six bucks. Let's try to release one for free and 99 cents and, and see actually what it does and see if it can take off. And if this fails, it's real easy on publish both parts. I stick it together as one big book and I make it exclusive on kindle unlimited and it's a reset. You know, all the reviews are gone. Uh, all of the other platforms it's on are gone. And now it's just a brand new, 180,000 word book, uh, with, with no reviews for five 99 and then I can do that the normal way, but why not play with it for a couple of months and see what it does.
Speaker 7: 36:40 Yeah. And you've got a third book in progress.
Speaker 6: 36:45 If this goes well, I'll do a third book. I'd be foolish not to you. You of course you want to, you want to follow success with, with more of the same until people get sick of you. Um, but the, the other interesting thing I'm doing right now if we have some time
Speaker 7: 37:01 is do we have some time? Yeah. I've got about three minutes to ask my wife. Three minutes is all I need. Go ahead.
Speaker 6: 37:12 Last year I did a newsletter swap, which I organized and I got a couple best selling author buddies and said, look, you promote my free book in your newsletter to your subscribers, upper vote, promote your free book in my newsletter. And those work really well because you're reaching a lot of people
Speaker 6: 37:32 and these people aren't necessarily aware of you, but they are engaged readers. People who sign up for newsletters are engaged. They want to know about deals, right? And if it's a writer who's writing in a similar genre, then why not tell your fans, hey, you know, there's this, this Guy Kevin and I really love to stuff and he's got a free book. Why not try it out? So I tried this last year and it worked well. You know, we all got on that path 106 sales lists for, for both paid and for free. And then I wrote, Lorena took a year of my life and I didn't do anything. I kind of disappeared into my little writer's cave. And then this year came around and I'm thinking about how to promote Laurie and I thought, there's gotta be a way to do this better. Then doing a swap. So I've got about 20 big authors together and I said to them, you want to all do a swap, but we can't do individual books because if you, or a subscriber to my newsletter and you got an email and it had 20 separate book covers in it with 20 in it, right?
Speaker 6: 38:36 You're going to, you're not gonna even get to the last one. You're going to be like, okay, I'll try that one. Maybe I'll try that one. I'll try that one. I don't know. I don't think that'd be very effective because if you're going to do a swap to keep it under five Walters, but in this case I thought, what if there's a landing page? Right? So I bought the URLs, www.free thriller books that come and free thriller, ebooks.com and I made a page for that and I've got, it's still in Beta stage. You've got all the book covers listed on the site and then you've got a button that says add all to Amazon cart.
Speaker 7: 39:16 Nice.
Speaker 6: 39:18 Okay, so now I send out a newsletter and I don't have to put 20 links in it. I put one link free thriller, ebooks.com and I sent it out to my fans and say, I've got a free book around here. And so to 19 other authors and they're awesome. Check them out. And then they go and rather than shop, they been just press the button, buy them all. And you've got them all. Of course, every other author also was sending out to their newsletter lists. Yeah. So if you've got a, a good newsletter list of 10 or 20 or 30,000 people, and then you have other authors who have 10 or 20 or 30,000 people that subscribed to their list and you get 20 of them together. Yeah. You're reaching a lot of people. You're reaching no whole bunch of people. Yeah. So that's what I'm trying on the 21st of June.
Speaker 7: 40:09 It's a novel approach. Uh, Joe, I've seen approaches similar to this and in fact I've participated in some that put everything on a landing page. That part is not new, but this idea of add them all to the cart. That is a, that is pretty impressive.
Speaker 6: 40:27 Smart. What was wonderful about the landing page too is it's not just we're promoting it in our newsletters. It's great if you and I did a swap, your newsletter readers get to see me, my newsletter readers get to see you lead. We've maybe doubled our, our, our views in this case with 20 people you've got 20 times, but also because there is a URL for the landing page, there's free thriller, ebooks.com we can all promote it online, Twitter, uh, Facebook on blogs. Okay. Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, tumbler, you can do this and all of that. And it just doesn't have to be the authors doing that. I've got 15,000 Twitter followers when I say, hey, a thriller, ebooks.com some of them are going to retweet and to their followers and maybe some of them will retweet. So it's more than just a newsletter. It's also the potential of reaching a lot more people than just our newsletters. Right,
Speaker 7: 41:31 right. Yeah. Then you extend your reach. They extend their rehab. Now that's very smart, man. I'm a, I'm fully on board and we'll be hitting you up, uh, directly after we stop recording. Absolutely. You should. And not leave that.
Speaker 6: 41:47 The website is changeable. Yeah. So it can be cheap. Thriller, ebooks.com where all the books are on sale for 99 cents during a promo. It could be cheap horror, ebooks free or books free romance books.
Speaker 7: 42:03 I like, I like where you're going with all of it
Speaker 6: 42:07 and we all have it under controlling. It's free, it's free. You don't have to pay hundreds of dollars to a service to send it out. And I love those services, but I have to be picked for them. Sometimes. You're not.
Speaker 7: 42:18 I, I have a, I have a real hangup with having to beg somebody to take my money. It just doesn't sit well with me. So bookbub, I love bookbub. I can, I can attribute a lot of my success to bookbub. Sure. But I avoid it if I can, because I, I'd rather get, I'd rather get more organic traffic so that I'm not begging somebody to take my dollars.
Speaker 6: 42:41 When when you have that power, you have the ability to pick and choose and ultimately that's better for everybody. Yeah. Uh, it's unfortunate. Yeah. It's exclusive. Exclusionary. Yeah. No, don't get me wrong, but it's better because they're getting the Creme de la creme of the books that have already been vetted. And so their readers, the people who subscribe to their list, of which I'm one of them, I know that I'm getting vetted books. They're like a gatekeeper, right. Become a gatekeeper.
Speaker 7: 43:08 Well, W but we specifically got into this business to avoid gatekeepers. There's nothing wrong with vetting, and it really is about the readers and the biggest benefit of a book funnel and a book funnel. Bookbub and services like that, um, is that book funnel. I love brick wall too. I've had Damon on the show. He lives about a mile away from me. He's a great guy. Um,
Speaker 6: 43:38 he comes over to drink all the time.
Speaker 7: 43:40 No, he doesn't drink. He's, he's a freak of nature in the, in the writing world.
Speaker 6: 43:47 This is, this is 30 year old macallan
Speaker 7: 43:49 right here I have a I and it's not 30 year old Avalon, 18 year old macallan in the other room. Not as good. But uh,
Speaker 6: 43:56 oh I can't even remember the last time I had an 18 year old in my mouth.
Speaker 7: 43:59 Yeah. And on that note we're going to go ahead. This is coffee. It's cold brew coffee. I just looked at your old macallan. Jesus. Is that, is that Conrad Money? I to spend it on bookbub. Ended up throwing back 30 years. He's got the life bathroom. We
Speaker 6: 44:29 can make this a two part or Kevin, I'm having fun.
Speaker 7: 44:32 Uh, what, that's very tempting but I got to, I got something else coming up, but I would love to have you on again. No, no, nope. I knew, I knew I was going to blow my one. I'm not even gonna promote this when this goes live. You wouldn't be the first. Um, so, all right man. We're going to go and wrap it up though. So tell, tell everybody where they can find out all this glory that you've talked about online.
Speaker 6: 45:03 The easiest thing is to just Google Jack Daniels
Speaker 7: 45:08 and you'll eventually get a link to me. Is that true?
Speaker 6: 45:13 Yeah. Write a series about Jack Daniel's and Jack Daniel's books to make it a little,
Speaker 7: 45:17 there you go. A little bit more specific and you don't have to remember who I am. By the way, have they ever asked you, have they ever talked to you at all? Okay, we got that. Go ahead. So way back when I first
Speaker 6: 45:29 got it, got my first deal, I got a letter from the Jack Daniels P oh, their legal team that said, we are, uh, we have just heard that you have a series featuring or a character named Jack Daniels. Uh, we are very honored by that, but we would like to make sure there's a brand distinction. So if you wouldn't mind, can you please put a disclaimer in the book saying that we're not affiliated? It was the nicest legal letter ever written by, by anybody because it was polite. It asked, it didn't make demands. There was no, we're going to sue you. So I was like, yeah, I'm, you know, I'm a fan of the brand. Obviously it's a damn good Tennessee sip and whiskey. And of course I did that. No problem. My publisher had no problem doing that too. Still couple years later, somebody else wrote a book with Jack Daniel's in the title and they got the exact same letter I got, but at this point the Internet and social media was in full swing. You know, back in 2003 when I got this letter and now it's now it's the 2000 tens and they posted this letter and it went viral and they sell eight. They sold a shit ton of their book because they posted this letter, this Genteel, beautiful, can you please do this for us? A demand. And it was a demand from Jack gainers and I'm thinking, Shit, why did I post that letter? Hundreds of thousands,
Speaker 7: 47:07 that stupid letter, it's not too late, I believe. I don't know. I was just thinking, you know, I would do the disclaimer, but I would word it as a, the fine people at Jack Daniels, I disclaim this. Basically, it's just an endorsement at that point. Hardly endorsed Jack Daniel's. Terrific. I'm big fan of gentleman, Jack. I like a gentleman. Jack's nice and smooth. That's my try to Sinatra select. Yes, I have seen it. I didn't know if it was going to be worth the hundred bucks. You've twisted my arm. It wasn't hard. Anyway, drink more. You and I need to do that together. I know I got other guests coming, man. I had a respect for them. I have, I'm going to, I'm sitting here thinking, can I, can I text them now? Now they're all good. They're all begging for more. All right man. Stick around for a second
Speaker 3: 48:24 there. You're probably hearing the Groovy Burbage music you made dancing place at will and if you stick around I'll share something fascinating on the other side of the break. Uh, but Joe, thank you so much for being a part of the show, man. Thank you Brandon. All right, see you later everybody. Hey, how are you doing on money? I know it's a touchy subject, but uh, I got some that may help you out. See I'm using an app called acorns and it helps me manage some investing. Uh, put some money back, get a little interest. It's Kinda nice to watch my money grow. So I want to share that with you. Go to Kevin tumlinson.com/acorns and you'll get some free money. See you there. Oh, I hope you got a lot out of the interview with Joe Conrad. I know I did. Uh, uh, not only did I, uh, learn a few things, things
Speaker 1: 49:21 from his talk, I managed to a kind of a pickup, a promotion that was very useful to me and hopefully a relationship that's going to benefit me and Joe going forward. So a green interview. So let's jump into this week's news. I got a couple of items I think you'll find interesting. This first one comes from scripts blog. Uh, headline is introducing scripts, snapshots, a new way to discover the best nonfiction books. Uh, this is an interesting thing. It's been popping up all over the place and, uh, I'm only kind of just learning about it and figuring it out, but, uh, it is intriguing. Uh, from there post it says we're excited to introduce new, uh, introduced snapshots and new content offering that helps readers discover nonfiction books on Scribd. The literary literary equivalent of a movie trailer snapshots are created by script and designed to offer key insights of a book in about 15 minutes to spark subscriber's interest in reading the book in its entirety.
Speaker 1: 50:22 Snapshots are available exclusively on Scribd in both text and audio format. And with the script membership, this is an interesting kind of thing. I mean, I, I know what they're going for here. Um, I don't know if this is going to apply to like everything in there, a nonfiction library. I kind of doubt it. Uh, they're probably gonna pick some, uh, bestsellers that are out there. Um, but I, I am interested to see where they go with this, uh, moving forward now. Right now. Um, you know, the only way to do this I believe is if you are going to script directly. I, I don't really have a lot of details on how long it takes to get into the program, but I think it's something that all of us should start paying attention to. Um, and uh, you know, there, it's meant to help the readers, honestly, um, as a nonfiction reader.
Speaker 1: 51:14 So you're going into nonfiction to learn something and this would be a great way to sort of, you know, help a reader to sign on what to read next, especially if you're, you know, you're going to typically be pretty busy. Um, this is a way to get a little preview of a nonfiction book so that you can, uh, determine whether or not that's going to be, it's going to work for what your objectives are. So pretty impressive. Um, I'm going to be looking into that a little further, um, down the road. So just kind of see how it shapes up and it's giving me some ideas, by the way, for some, uh, something similar.
Speaker 1: 51:52 What can I say? That's just a, the way things work. Uh, next up, a p calls for closer regulation of Amazon and Google. Uh, now this is, this is something, frankly, it's interesting that this is even necessary, but in today's world, uh, social media sites, big tech sites, they are, um, kind of imposing their will on people. Now, this kind of follows on the heels of a, some things that are happening with like youtube content creators of all kinds, really, uh, where the big tech companies may be clamping down a on them. But let me read, let me read from the article. The Association of American publishers, AAP is calling on US authorities to more closely regulate dominant online firms such as Amazon warning, they risk causing quote, irreparable damage unquote to creative industries. Um, I'll read the next set to, cause this is this, this will help explain this a little better, but you know, filing with the federal trade commission over, it's recent, it's recent on, well, they've missed a word or something here on competition and consumer protection.
Speaker 1: 52:59 The AAP stressed big tech platforms exercise extraordinary market power in the markets for books, book distribution and Internet search. Um, so what's happening is, you know, these, these tech companies are, uh, kind of using their muscle and might as private platforms to dictate what content can be promoted, what, you know, what content appears to people. Um, and uh, and also with, in the case of like Amazon, you know, they're, they kinda dictate terms as well. Um, this list line who will help blue 12 page filing highlighted the market power of Amazon and Google threats to competition, non transparency of algorithms and the linking of distribution services to advertising. Uh, the, uh, the AAP actually stays, no publisher can avoid distributing through Amazon. And for all intents and purposes, Amazon dictates the economic terms with publishers paying more for Amazon services each year and receiving less in return.
Speaker 1: 54:03 This is, uh, an ongoing problem and this is not just, it's not just limited to Amazon and Google. I mean, this is happening a on basically every big tech platform. They are starting to, um, basically control the content and control how that content can be marketed and control how much money can flow through, you know, the control, what you can charge for things. Uh, this is a little bit of an unfair system all around, especially for content creators. I mentioned the whole youtube thing. Uh, you know, Youtube and Twitter and, uh, a lot of companies out there, youtube basically, there was an email leaked recently, um, in which they were, and I'm not gonna get political about this, I'm just letting you know this happened. Um, but they were discussing internally how to block content from certain conservative content creators, ways to tweak the algorithm so that, that those conservatives and any controversial youtubers that they didn't, you know, care for their content wouldn't appear as often in searches.
Speaker 1: 55:06 Um, it would still be there. It could, it still could appear, but it would get less promotion, less attention, and basically, you know, they're using their platform to suppress speech. Um, now you, whatever your beliefs are about, um, you know, this is, these are privately owned companies. They have the right to do whatever they want with, uh, with their services block, whatever content they want or whatever. Uh, this suit from the AAP or this nice suit, this, this plea from the AAP to us, law makers ties in with this idea. Um, how, how much control should these companies have over the content that goes onto their sites. Now, there are already laws in place that, that are supposed to protect these companies from the content itself. So if someone says something controversial, uh, says something inflammatory uses, he says something that incites violence. For example, on a youtube video, uh, Google can't be sued for that content.
Speaker 1: 56:03 Um, but the sort of flip side of this is Google may say, uh, we're not going to allow anybody that has an opinion different than ours to post content. And that sounds extreme, but it's happening. Uh, that sort of thing is happening. Um, now what the, this AAP plea is all about a to you as law makers is more about controlling the costs and of doing business with the services, the prices, you know, Amazon may dictate prices to these people. Uh, the book industry kind of went through this already. Traditional publishing sued, uh, Amazon for the right to keep their prices. At what they wanted them to be. Amazon was more than happy by the way, to let this go, to let them control their prices. Uh, because they started pricing themselves out of certain categories basically. I mean, they, they're, they're uh, they went crazy and started charging like, you know, $20 for an ebook or something or charging more for ebooks than they charged for print books.
Speaker 1: 57:07 Um, and then pointing to that, that data to say that, you know, ebook sales are on the decline and that this trend is finally over and what they're proving by that is anybody's guess. But these are the things that have been happening. So, um, so a lot of this, this is all big stuff. This is all stuff we need to be paying attention to. Cause there, there are real world consequences to consider in all of this that go well beyond just making money by selling books. There are connotations, uh, that you know, is in terms of our, uh, freedoms in the u s especially a freedom of speech in particular a constitutional rights or civil rights, that sort of thing. So this is a, this is all, all this stuff, this time together and the right to do business, you know, the right to control our business, uh, is tied with this.
Speaker 1: 57:58 You know, Amazon in particular has a lot of control over our lives and a lot of control over our businesses and that they shut you down. You know, if Amazon and Google decide they're not gonna allow you to do business on their platforms anymore, what can you do? And there goes, most of most of the world, there goes your business worldwide. So anyway, those are the things that are happening in the news right now. You can find links to all of that in the show notes. This episode, uh, episode one 91. It works on your podcast.com. Go check it out and let me know what you think. Maybe I'm wrong and stuff. Tell me, tell me how wrong I am popping the comments and letting me know. But, um, anyway, beyond that, hope you're enjoying the word, your podcast. Remember to subscribe, go to iTunes, stitcher, Google play anywhere you're finding this podcast.
Speaker 1: 58:47 Make sure you subscribe to the show, tell your friends about it. Tell everyone you know about it, share it on social media and let them know what, uh, what the benefits of listening to the words on your podcast are. A and a, make sure you check out our sponsors. Those well recorded, uh, sponsor, uh, bites. These are meant to be useful to you as much as to me, by the way, that whole acorns thing. You can get a few bucks and when you go sign up using my link. So go, go check that out. That is gonna do it for this, this episode of the word slinger podcast. Hope you
Speaker 3: 59:22 got something truly useful, inspirational, something inspirational, informative, educational, or entertaining out of this episode. And, uh, hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead. God bless you. I'll see you all next time.
Speaker 4: 59:40 [inaudible]
Speaker 3: 59:43 what.