Myself: Hey. How's it goin'?
Me: Same old same old. You know....
Myself: I do, actually.
Me: So did you see the news about the Joe Konrath thing?
Myself: You know I did.
Me: Going to Kindle with a novel first, then to print via AmazonEncore months later.
Me: Cutting out the New York publishers entirely.
Myself: Yeah. I know.
Me: Banking everything on Amazon.
Myself: Yeah. I know.
Me: No middleman. Straight to the consumers.
Myself: I said I know already! Geez!
Me: [nods surreptitiously at online audience] That was more for them.
Myself: Oh. Got it.
Me: So...what do you think?
Myself: I'm not sure. What do you think?
Me: I'm not sure, either. That's why I'm asking you.
Myself: Well, if you don't know, I don't know why I should.
Me: I think he's gonna make pretty good money off it.
Myself: Me, too.
Me: The question is, though --
Myself: -- would anyone else?
Me: Yes! Exactly ! It's like you read my mind! Is Joe Konrath the only writer on earth who could make this kind of thing work?
Myself: Stephen King could.
Me: Yeah, yeah -- you know what I mean. Is he the only non-Stephen King, non-J.K. Rowling, non-James Patterson, non-hoop-ti-do-mega-bestselling superstar who could do it?
Myself: By which you really mean could we do it?
Myself: Or our non-hoop-ti-do-writer friends.
Myself: I have my doubts.
Me: Me, too. I mean, Mr. Konrath has a pretty big following online. He's got a popular blog, he --
Myself: Wait. Did you just call him "Mr. Konrath"?
Myself: [dubious look]
Me: Hey, I don't know the guy. It'd be presumptuous to call him "Joe."
Myself: So call him "Konrath."
Me: That seems rude.
Myself: I thought you'd met him.
Me: Oh, only kinda. He was handing out cards at a Bouchercon, years ago. I was just another hand to shake. If I'd had a baby with me, he'd have kissed it.
Myself: But didn't you get into an argument with him once?
Me: That was online. It doesn't count.
Myself: It doesn't?
Me: Look, the point is...it's like that thing at Bouchercon. He was workin' the room. That's what he does, that's his magic mojo -- only now he's workin' all the intrawebs. He's got a blog that gets, like, a thousand times the traffic this one does, he's got cheap e-books up the ying-yang on Amazon, the Kindleholics seem to worship him. Why would he not do this?
Myself: Well, he might not have if he could've sold the book to a traditional publisher.
Me: Ooo. Yeah. There is that. He admits everyone passed on it. I wish we didn't know that part, actually. Because now no matter how good the book might be --
Myself: -- there's still going to be the perception in certain circles that there's a reason no one would buy it.
Me: Right. Bingo again. Some people could dismiss it as a glorified self-publishing arrangement. So there'd still be a stigma on going straight-to-Amazon. It'd be all, "Oh, you're putting your book out on Kindle...guess it wasn't strong enough for the big boys." Which might be b.s., but it's b.s. that would make me think twice about going that route myself.
Myself: You're thinking about that thingie of yours?
Me: Yeah. That supposedly uncommercial thingie of mine.
Myself: [sighs, rolls eyes] And you still think people would love it, I suppose.
Me: They would! Or at least a lot might. Enough, anyway. If they could buy it for $1.99 on Amazon.
Myself: Wait...I thought you were pissed at Amazon. A few months back, you were bitching and moaning that they were The Man out to crush --
Me: Let's not get mired in the past. This is the future we're talking about. And this Joe Konrath thing...it might be the future.
Myself: Or it might not. It might just be the right now. Joe Konrath can pull this off because there's only one Joe Konrath. But if everyone started offering cheap e-books on Amazon --
Me: -- then we might end up right back where we started, except without the publishers for support. A huge glut of product in a chaotic marketplace. A futile scramble for even a teeny slice of the pie.
Myself: Now you're reading my mind.
Me: It doesn't make for pleasant reading.
Myself: Don't be so negative. Think how liberating it would be to write books for no one but yourself and your audience. The chain stores, the bean counters -- they wouldn't matter anymore. Not if you could connect directly with enough readers.
Me: Wow, just listen to you. You're starting to sound like Mr. K-...oh, god. Look who's coming.
Myself: [muttering] Geez, not him again. Why does he have to follow us around everywhere?
I: Yo, playas! Whazzup in the hizzyouse!
Me: Nothing. We were...uh...we were just going, actually.
Myself: Yeah. I've got to...see a guy about...a thing. Bye.
Me: Me, too. I've got some guy-thing seeing to do. Bye.
I: Bye! Catch ya on the flip-side, homies! [long, long pause] I don't think they like me very much.
May 18, 2010