You Can Become a Kindle Millionaire, Part 20

I've got a new guest post up on Joe Konrath's blog charting my Kindle experience…and the complete change in my thinking about ebooks. A lot of what I'm saying there you've already read about here, so let's cut to the chase:

This January, if sales continue at the current pace, I will sell about 3100 books this month and earn $6600 in royalties.

That’s a 166% increase in sales and a whopping 751% jump in royalties.

In just one year.

On out-of-print books that I wrote years ago that were earning me nothing before June 2009.

If those sales hold for the rest of the year, I will earn $77,615 in Kindle royalties, and that’s not counting the far less substantial royalties coming in from Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace.

Even if my sales plummet tomorrow by fifty percent, I’ll still earn about $38,000 in royalties this year…and I’d be very, very happy with that.

My most profitable title, in terms of hours worked and pages written, is THREE WAYS TO DIE, a collection of three previously published short stories. In print, it’s a mere fifty-six pages long, but it’s selling 24 copies-a-day on the Kindle, earning me about $1500-a-month. That means I could potentially earn $18,000 this year just from those three short stories alone.

That is insane.

But what would be more insane is if I took my next, standalone, non-MONK book to a publisher instead of “publishing” it myself on the Kindle.

That’s right. I’d rather self-publish. This from a guy who for years has been an out-spoken, and much-reviled, critic of self-publishing. But that was before the Kindle came along and changed everything. I was absolutely right then…but I’d be wrong now.

Yes, it's happened. I have become a complete convert to self-publishing and the Kindle. But do I recommend it for you? It depends. I go into more detail in the post on Joe's blog, so check it out.

A Harvest of Broken Promises

I've written a lot over the years about Brien Jones and his sleazy vanity press Jones Harvest (most recently, I blogged about his hilarious offer to turn your book into a screenplay). Now Bonnie Kaye's Jones Harvest Victims Blog has posted an open letter from Donna Hamilton, one of Brien's former employees, to the poor suckers who paid him to publish their books. It reads, in part:

Please know that it was always my intention to do an honest job for the authors that I worked with. I know how much your hard work means to you. I also know how hard you worked for the money that you invested to receive publishing and promotional services that you expected to be provided—especially when I promised you that the work you paid for would be done. At the time I sold you these services, I truly believed that you were paying for legitimate services that were being provided by the owners of the company. When I realized this wasn’t the case, I made the decision to leave.

Donna provided the authors with her email and phone number if they would like to talk some more with her. I applaud her honesty and I hope she is also talking to the Indiana Attorney General, who shut down the infamous Airleaf/Bookman vanity press, where Brien worked for years and acquired all of his valuable  "publishing experience" before starting Jones Harvest.


Edgar Award Nominations Announced

Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce on the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, its Nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2010. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 65th Gala Banquet, April 28, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


Caught by Harlan Coben (Penguin Group USA – Dutton)
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Faithful Place by Tana French (Penguin Group USA – Viking)
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books)
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)


Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)
The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books)
The Serialist: A Novel by David Gordon (Simon & Schuster)
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Snow Angels by James Thompson (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)


Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard (Random House – Bantam)
The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn (Henry Holt)
Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski (Minotaur Books)
Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis (Random House Trade Paperbacks)
Ten Little Herrings by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)


Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity 
by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (University of Nebraska Press – Bison Original)
The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in Jim Crow South by Alex Heard (HarperCollins)
Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr and the International Hunt for his Assassin by Hampton Sides (Random House – Doubleday)
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr (Alfred A. Knopf)


The Wire: Truth Be Told by Rafael Alvarez (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran (HarperCollins)
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by Steven Doyle and David A. Crowder (Wiley)
Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendevouz with American History by Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton)
Thrillers: 100 Must Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner (Oceanview Publishing)


"The Scent of Lilacs" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
"The Plot" – First Thrills by Jeffery Deaver (Tom Doherty – Forge Books)
"A Good Safe Place” – Thin Ice by Judith Green (Level Best Books)
"Monsieur Alice is Absent" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine 
by Stephen Ross (Dell Magazines)
"The Creative Writing Murders" – Dark End of the Street by Edmund White (Bloomsbury)


Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (Candlewick Press)
The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler (Albert Whitman & Co.)
The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee (Feiwel & Friends)
Griff Carver: Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg (Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill)
The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters (HarperCollins Children’s Books)


The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)
7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price (Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers)
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill)


The Psychic by Sam Bobrick (Falcon Theatre – Burbank, CA)
The Tangled Skirt by Steve Braunstein (New Jersey Repertory Company)
The Fall of the House by Robert Ford (Alabama Shakespeare Festival)


“Episode 1” – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America)
“Episode 4” – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America)
“Full Measure” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony)
“No Mas” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony)
“The Next One’s Gonna Go In Your Throat” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)


"Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Evan Lewis (Dell Magazines)


Sara Paretsky


Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, Illinois
Once Upon A Crime Bookstore, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 27, 2010)

Wild Penance by Sandi Ault (Penguin Group – Berkley Prime Crime)
Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Down River by Karen Harper (MIRA Books)
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins – Avon)

Dead Tree Books

Irononbadgepod_3-001 Those of you without Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, iPads, or Smartphones with e-reader aps can now get your hands on trade paperback editions of my books  THE WALK, THE MAN WITH THE IRON ON BADGE, DEAD SPACE (aka "Beyond the Beyond") and THREE WAYS TO DIE.  

MY GUN HAS BULLETS has been out in trade paperback for six or seven years through the Author's Guild/Back-in-Print program…but I am yanking that edition and will be releasing a new, cheaper edition in a few weeks.

I am also toying with the idea of releasing a trade paperback of THE JURY SERIES, all four of my early "vigilante" novels combined into one edition. 

With all the attention being given to ebooks lately, I am surprised that I have been able to sell 100 copies a month of THE WALK in trade paperback. I will be curious to see if the other books do nearly as well.

Confidentially Speaking

If you haven't already had your fill of me blathering on about TV and ebooks, I will be a guest tonight on Ed Robertson's podcast TV Confidential, blathering some more.  You can catch it at 7 pm on and again on Tuesday at 9 pm. on, Friday at 5 & 8 pm on, Saturday at 9 pm on KWDJ-AM in Ridgecrest, and it will be broadcast directly into your brain while you are sleeping tonight. If they still fail to reach you, the program will be archived at

Take a Hint

The print ads for the awful new TVLand sitcom RETIRED AT 35 feature the three stars of the show under the headline "When Your Career Goes South." I couldn't help noticing what's missing from the picture. See if you can spot it (click on the photo for a larger view):

The show's three stars are pictured, but only two are identified — George Segal and Jessica Walter. The poor guy who is at the center of the sitcom and the advertisement isn't mentioned at all. Apparently, his career has already gone south. If I was him, whoever the hell he is, I'd start looking for a new agent. 

Fatal Beauty


My Uncle Burl Barer's latest true crime book, FATAL BEAUTY, explores yet another bizarre and compelling homicide with a cast of outrageous characters straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel:

Jimmy Joste was a powerhouse in the oil and gas industry, but he was a weakling when it came to his gorgeous, athletic, longtime lover, Rhonda Glover. Addicted to her sexual prowess and madly in love, Joste gave her homes, cars, cash, and a $350,000 engagement ring. Their fifteen years of passion and excess ended the day Rhonda drove directly from a shooting range to the Austin home they once shared. After pumping ten bullets into him from a Glock 9mm, she stood over Joste's blood-splattered body and shot him six more times – twice below the waist..

How can you resist reading more? Uncle Burl is already getting rave reviews from the crime writing community, including this one from Kevin Sullivan, author of THE BUNDY MURDERS.

Anyone familiar with Burl Barer, understands what they're getting in a book written by him long before they turn that first page: In-depth research, exceedingly revealing interviews, and straight-forward answers as to what exactly occurred in each case. And with FATAL BEAUTY he does just that. It's a quick paced narrative that keeps one on the edge of their seat, and sparks that unmistakable feeling that it's all happening right before their eyes. I highly recommend FATAL BEAUTY for anyone who wants to know what a body can do when a mind is in turmoil.

And he got a rave from the True Crime Book Review blog.  They say, in part:

While the book may be more focused on how to prosecute (or not) a person suffering obvious mental disorders, it’s very interesting. Also mind-boggling, so don’t expect to read it in a couple of days – give yourself time to savor each chapter like a fine wine

If you like colorful and unusual tales of true crime, this book is for you.