Jon F. Merz, author of the Lawson Vampire series, is joining us today to promote his new release, The Kensei, published this week by St. Martin's Press. Okay, so I know what you are saying...Hey, that's a traditionally published book! Well yeah, but Jon is also self-published and has agreed to give us a little insight into his experience being both a traditionally published and self-published author. He also has a cool contest too so check out the details at the end of this post. Without further ado...here's Jon!
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Let me state from the start that New York has its problems. I know this. And I'll also gladly tell you that I've been mistreated in the past by the corporate machine that is publishing - my series was dropped back in 2003 due to personal problems between the editor and me and poor sales and a lack of publicity. So I'm not any sort of cheerleader for the traditional model. My belief has always been if I can cut out the middlemen and get my work into the hands of those that matter - the readers, then all is good.
But I didn't stop pursuing traditional publishing deals. And here's why: I wasn't seeing enough evidence to convince me that turning my back on New York was a sound move. While I know that others sell thousands of dollars worth of ebooks each month, I don't. That's the simple truth. For me, the business model isn't yet at the point where I can look and state that I can make X number of dollars each year pursuing indie publishing. But if I keep my hand in traditional publishing, I can definitely tell you what I'll make. And that security, such as it is, is the main reason I haven't abandoned New York just yet.
Now, that said, if someone can tell me the formula for selling gobs and gobs of ebooks, and I put it to the test and suddenly see my sales exponentially increasing and staying at that rate, then I'll certainly reconsider. At that point I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong, let me tell you.
But for right now, I'm happy to straddle both realms. I have an array of stuff for sale that I do independently via Amazon and Smashwords. I also have traditional publishing deals. My most recent novel, THE KENSEI, just came out this past week from St. Martin's Press. I write installments in the bestselling Rogue Angel series from Harlequin/Gold Eagle. And my agent is shopping around a YA series.
Meanwhile, I carefully monitor the indie publishing trends. As time permits, I want to experiment and see if I can get my own sales numbers to the point where I am more closely aligned with what others are making. But for all the cheering that a lot of blogs and forums espouse, the reality of my situation is not ready to go 100% indie. That may be due to factors I can control - such as cover design and descriptions - or it may simply be that this indie thing works for some people and not for others.
Until such time as I can determine that I can rely on the indie model, I'll continue to pursue traditional deals. And I'm happy to be playing in both arenas right now. Publishing is most definitely changing and I get front row seats to both extremes. If New York ends up going the way of the dinosaur, then I won't be a complete newbie in the indie world. And if New York figures out how to play in this new world of publishing, then I set there as well. Yep, I'm hedging my bets. It's my career, after all.
At the end of the day, we're all content creators. And our end user is consuming that content in different ways. As long as I can deliver it on whatever platform they want, I'm happy and so are they. Would I like to make more money at it? Absolutely. And when I find a new formula that works for me, I'll do just that.
For now, I'm both an indie and a traditional.
As a writer, Jon has published over a dozen novels including four Lawson Vampire adventures (2002-2003) with Kensington's Pinnacle Books, the Jake Thunder mystery/thriller DANGER-CLOSE (2004) with Five Star Mystery/Thorndike Press, and eight installments in the internationally bestselling adventure series Rogue Angel (2006-present) with Harlequin's Gold Eagle line. His latest thriller PARALLAX debuted in March 2009 as an exclusive ebook. His short fiction story "Prisoner 392" (appeared alongside Stephen King in FROM THE BORDERLANDS, 2004, Warner Books) earned him an Honorable Mention in 2004's Year's Best Fantasy & Horror edited by Ellen Datlow. Jon has also co-authored two non-fiction books: LEARNING LATER, LIVING GREATER with Nancy Merz Nordstrom (2006, Sentient Publications) and THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO ULTIMATE FIGHTING with Rich "Ace" Franklin (2007, Alpha Books/Penguin/Putnam). Jon's next Lawson vampire novel, THE KENSEI, debuts in January 2011 from St. Martin's Press
Find Jon on the web:
Find Jon's indie titles:
Smashwords / Amazon / B&N
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The Kensei (Lawson the Fixer, #5)
by Jon F. Merz
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Saint Martin's Press
Saint Martin's Press
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The Kensei Contest Details:
Send Jon proof-of-purchase (or a copy of your receipt if you bought online) that you’ve bought a copy of THE KENSEI and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the sword used by actor Brandon Stumpf in the official book trailer for THE KENSEI. Brandon will be starring in the TV series based on the novels, THE FIXER. If you win, not only will you get the sword, but a certificate of authenticity, and you can even have it autographed by Brandon and Jon. Each copy of the book counts as one entry, so if you buy three copies of THE KENSEI to give as gifts to friends and family, then you have three chances to win the sword. And yes, ebook sales count as entries, too... One winner will be drawn on May 28th, 2011.
You can send your entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks for joining us today Jon!