Direct vs Traditional Publishing: Another Good News Story

JOE KONRATH is a phenomenal testimony to the move from traditional publishing to direct publishing. Since 2004, he sold 126,366 of his 8 legacy novels, earning him $130,916 (before his agent’s 15%).

Since 2009, he sold 632,501 self-published books, earning him $912,138 (before deductions for collaborators).

Six of his novels—The List, Origin, Disturb, Shot of Tequila, Endurance, and Trapped—have sold 362,783 copies for $600,501 in earnings. All were rejected by traditional publishers!

Then Amazon became Konrath’s publisher and sold more ebook copies of Shaken and Stirred in three years than his eight legacy titles sold in ebooks in eight years.

All stats from “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Konrath’s Sales”

Traditional Publishing vs. Direct Publishing

Q. What are the relative pros and cons of traditional publishing vs direct publishing via Story Merchant Books:


Traditional Publishing:

3-12 months response time.

All publishing rights to publisher in perpetuity.

You retain dramatic rights.

Print and ebook.

1-2 year time lag between start and publication.

0-Low advance, unless 4-5 publishers are bidding.

All marketing dependent on you.

You lose control of cover design.

You have no control over you book's epage.

No ability to revise or alter once published.

No control of retail pricing.

After 2 years, royalties reported/paid every 6 months.

No interaction between you & publisher on marketing.

You need to work through a publicist to market.

Direct Publishing from Story Merchant Books:

1 month maximum response time.

You retain all publishing rights.

You retain dramatic rights.

Print and ebook.

1-4 month time lag between start and publication.

No advance.

All marketing dependent on you (with SM advice).

You retain control of cover design.

SM's special relationship with the estores allows us to add enhancements to your page.

Full ability to rise or alter once published.

Full control of retail pricing.

After 90 days, royalties reported/paid every three months and update on request.

SM advises you on marketing.

SM Book Marketing Service eliminate the need for a publicist.

Ken Atchity Author and Story Merchant with Host Yi Tian on ActorsE Chat

Ken Atchity Author and Story Merchant with Host Yi Tian on ActorsE Chat

The Messiah Matrix Website

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Clients tell me now and them, “I’m disappointed” in this or that. What a waste of time and energy! Don’t invest your spirit in disappointment. It’s simply counterproductive. I “send out” so many things—books, notes, emails,  proposals, faxes, calls—and invest all my energy in DOING. Sooner or later the sheer momentum of this approach creates days in which all kinds of wonderful things happen that I’d even forgotten I’d started (and had no time to think or feel about). Thinking is bad. Feeling is bad. Being in the moment—and DOING--is all. “Action,” said Shakespeare, “is eloquence.” Or, Sinatra: DO BE DO BE DO….Read and Review MESSIAH MATRIX!


I shared a few pages of criticism with a writer, and he wanted to know if I no longer wanted to pursue his project. I wrote back, “Of course I want to go forward! Criticism always surrounds every project that’s ever been made. Some of it is useful and can improve the project. Some of it is to be ignored. Vision prevails.” The truth is that getting hard criticism, forthright and direct, is the most precious gift a writer can get. Most people in the industry don’t bother to share their critical thoughts. They just pass or move forward without comment. You can only LEARN from criticism, and the rule is “take what you like, and ignore the rest.” Even the greatest films—measured by box office or awards—are surrounded with criticism. Why shouldn’t yours be too? Criticism, used wisely, is the fertilizer of creative growth.