I Wanna Get You Hooked…

0316 Goldberg ecover JUDGEMENT …so, for a very limited time, JUDGMENT, the first book in the four-book JURY SERIES, is now just 99 cents

This is an ALL-NEW edition, completely reformatted and repackaged for 2011.

JUDGMENT is the classic action/adventure novel that was a runaway paperback sensation under the title ".357 Vigilante" back in the 1980s…and was immediately snatched up by New World Pictures for a feature film (that, sadly, never happened).

But that screenplay adaptation launched my partnership with William Rabkin and our careers as screenwriters, so this book will always hold a very, very special place in my heart.

This is the ultimate JUDGMENT, as it was originally meant to be, taken from the original, first-draft manuscript. 

Brett Macklin was a freewheeling son of sunny California, a collector of vintage cars and a connoisseur of beautiful women. But when his father is murdered by a street gang, Macklin becomes something else–a deadly weapon against crime, a relentless vigilante who won't stop until he's wiped out the killers who have turned Los Angeles into a war zone. 

And here are the other reformatted and repackaged books in the JURY series…


0317 Goldberg ecover ADJOURNED

0318 Goldberg ecover PAYBACK


0319 Goldberg ecover GUILTY

And all four books in one:

0298 Goldberg ecover The Jury Series

The Jury Is In

0298 Goldberg ecover The Jury Series (1) New for 2011! The Jury Series

From Lee Goldberg, the bestselling author of  THE WALK, comes all four of his acclaimed JURY novels..collected into one totally reformatted, repackaged, mega-sized, pulse-pounding, thrill-ride that will leave you breathless:


The JURY SERIES is the complete saga of Brett Macklin, a one-man judge, jury, and executioner, fighting a war on terror on the streets of Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. Over 160,000 words/550 pages of non-stop action, wildly erotic sex, and wicked humor.

"As stunning as the report of a .357 Magnum, a dynamic premiere effort […] The Best New Paperback Series of the year!" West Coast Review of Books

The series, published in 1985, under the title ".357 Vigilante," was written by Ian Ludlow… a pseudonym for Lee Goldberg, who wrote the books while he was a UCLA student, under the supervision of his professor, novelist Lewis Perdue ("The DaVinci Legacy," "The Queensgate Reckoning," "Daughter of God," etc). Goldberg would later go on to write and/or produce such TV shows as "Monk," "Diagnosis Murder," "SeaQuest," and "The Glades" and write many more novels, including THE WALK and the best-selling "Monk" series of original mysteries. 


"A high-octane mystery that moves like a bullet-train!" New York Times Bestselling author Janet Evanovich

"Can books be better than television? You bet they can — when Lee Goldberg's writing them," New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

"Leaves you guessing right up until the heart-stopping ending," New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner

"Lee Goldberg can plot and write with the best of them," Mystery Scene Magazine

"Entertaining and ruefully funny," Honolulu Star Bulletin

"THE WALK is a magnificent novel — by turns hilarious, scary, sad, witty and ultimately wise on its judgments about the way so many of us live these days. And it's one hell of a page-turner, too," Author Ed Gorman, founder of Mystery Scene Magazine

"Harrowing and funny…" -Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 

"With books this good, who needs TV?" Chicago Sun Times

"You'd be hard-pressed to find another recent work that provides so many hip and humorous moments," Bookgasm

Important Warning for Smashwords Authors

If you are using Smashwords to distribute your ebooks to online retailers, go there right now and OPT OUT of having your books distributed to Kobo.

Today Kobo, without my prior knowledge or consent, has slashed the prices on a bunch of my ebooks from $2.99 to as low 99 cents….and Amazon has followed suit. This is going to cost me thousands of dollars in lost royalties this month if I don't resolve this situation fast.

I don't know how long it takes for Kobo to remove books after an author has opted-out of distributing to them through Smashwords, so I have contacted Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, to see what he can do before I lose a lot of money.

In the mean time, get your books off of Kobo now before they do the same thing to you…if they haven't already.

I am furious about this. It's as if they've hacked into my checking account and started making unauthorized withdrawals. I am assuming there is some language buried somewhere in the Smashwords agreement that allows Kobo to charge whatever the hell they want for my books. The problem is, Amazon matches the lowest price out there…and adjusts your royalty accordingly.

So now on Amazon, instead of making $2.06 each sale of  THE WALK, I am making 70 cents. And instead of making $2.06 a sale on THREE WAYS TO DIE, I am making 35 cents. This is a major blow for me, since those two books are my bestsellers…

I really hope I can get my books off of Kobo quickly…and then convince Amazon to restore my original prices immediately thereafter.

UPDATE: 4/12/11, 8:37 pm: I got an email from Mark Coker, who tells me this is a big technical glitch at Kobo and that they are working on fixing the problem.  He hopes to have it resolved by Thursday. Even if they do, I don't know how long it will take Amazon to restore the original pricing…and I still will have lost money in the interim. I doubt I'll be posting my books on Kobo again…my pitiful sales on their platform are not worth the risk of future accidental or intentional price cuts.  

UPDATE 4/14/2011 – My books are off of Kobo and, from what I am hearing from other authors, the prices have been restored. I appreciate Kobo and Smashwords resolving this problem quickly…but I won't be back on Kobo any time soon. Now I've got to get Amazon to jack my prices back up to where they were before….

Giddy-up to Rancho Diablo

Rancho Diabloe Dead Man's Revenge 2 copyNovelists Mel Odom, James Reasoner and Bill Crider, under the pen name "Colby Jackson," have teamed up on RANCHO DIABLO, an original series of western ebooks. The third book in the series, DEAD MAN'S REVENGE, is now live on Amazon…and a steal at $2.99.

The three authors are experienced western writers and lovers of the genre…one that's seeing hard times in print but is ripe for revitalization on the Kindle. 

They're trying to do for traditional westerns what I'm trying to do… with their help, in fact…. for the men's action-adventure series with THE DEAD MAN.

And if anyone can do it, they can. Don't miss RANCHO DIABLO #1 SHOOTERS CROSS or RANCHO DIABLO #2: HANGMAN'S ROPE

UK Agents Declaring War over E-Rights

The Bookseller reports that UK agents are refusing to accept the line from publishers that 25% is a fair rate for e-royalties. They insist that print and e-deals be seperate.  Agent Sonia Land got so frustrated that she and her client Catherine Cookson are e-publishing her backlist themselves.

Land has warned book publishers they will lose control over authors’ digital backlists unless they improve their royalty offer.

Land this week announced her decision to publish 100 of Catherine Cookson’s novels as e-books through her company Peach Publishing, bypassing Cookson’s physical publishers Transworld. Other agents warned against the move, one calling it "tantamount to a declaration of war".

In a column in this week’s Bookseller, Land called on publishers to up their rates from 25% to 50% of net proceeds from e-books to secure digital rights.

Land said the publisher forced her hand by not showing an interest in Cookson’s digital rights. She said: "I’ve been thinking about this for a year and a half. They never approached me with a deal, but I think they knew I wanted a better offer."

Speaking about publishers in general, Land said: "The thing that really annoys me is that they won’t even negotiate a decent rate . . . They say ‘25% is perfectly reasonable’. They need to stop pretending it’s so expensive. I’ve just done it. I can do my sums."



The Game Has Changed

P3090025 My friend, the huggable spy, Barry Eisler has announced that he's walking away from a $500,000 advance from St. Martin's Press  to self-publish his books.  Eisler explains his thinking in a long and fascinating interview with — who else? — his buddy Joe Konrath:  

I know it’ll seem crazy to a lot of people, but based on what’s happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers like you are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own.[…]I’m not the first example, though I might be a noteworthy one because of the numbers I’m walking away from. But there will be others, more and more of them.

He's right. Just a few weeks ago, Terrill Lee Lankford made headlines by rejecting a high, five-figure deal. By now, the publishers must be doing so much head-scratching that they have no scalps left.  

But the reason established authors are doing the previously unthinkable — saying no to big-money advances —  is simple. In exchange for that advance, the publisher is, essentially, buying the book out-right and forever (since it's unlikely to ever go "out of print"  with the advent of ebooks) and yet are only offering a 25% royalty on ebooks. 

But ebooks cost almost nothing to produce. There's no printing, no warehousing, no distribution. The only costs are editing, formatting, and cover art. So why give authors so little? The truth is, what the author will get is even less than 25%, as Barry and Joe explain:

Barry: […] a 25% royalty on the net revenue produced by an ebook equals 17.5% of the retail price after Amazon takes its 30% cut, and 14.9% after the agent takes 15% of the 17.5%. 

Joe: Yeah, that 25% figure you see in contracts is really misleading. Amazing, when you consider that there’s virtually no cost to creating ebooks–no cost for paper, no shipping charges, no warehousing. No cut for Ingram or Baker & Taylor. Yet they're keeping 52.5% of the list price and offering only 17.5% to the author. It’s not fair and it’s not sustainable.

Which is why we are going to see more and more A, B and certainly C-list writers opting to forgo publishing contracts in favor of self-publishing.

Where does this leave print publishers? Domestic print publication will become for an authors a nice ancillary market, much the way audio and foreign editions are now, where limited rights are sold for a negotiated fee. The benefits would be distribution to brick-and-mortar stores (those that are still left). Or perhaps, as one blogger predicted, a retailer like WalMart or B&N might make exclusive deals with authors to sell the print editions in their stores.Berry_Eisler_Lee_Goldberg_jeffsherratt_MofM_112109

But even in that negotiation, authors will have strong, self-publishing alternatives to help them leverage the best possible deal.

I found that out for myself this weekend. I was astonished to find the CreateSpace print editions of my self-published ebooks available for sale at the Virginia Festival of the Book alongside my Penguin-published MONK books…and being gobbled up by readers.

The readers saw no difference between my self-published novels and my published ones (granted, I hired a professional cover artist and formatters, so they looked very slick). But I am seeing a difference: much higher royalties and more money in my pocket. And if I, a mere mid-list author, is seeing that, imagine how much better a guy like Barry could do.

But you won't have to imagine it. Soon you will be able to see it for yourself.  Barry's new John Rain novel, The Detachment, will be self-published by Father’s Day. My prediction — it will be a huge Kindle bestseller.


Floored and Flattered

Bruce Grossman at Bookgasm praised THE DEAD MAN today, saying, in part:

THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL, a short novella from the very prolific authors Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, is the first step in an intriguing series, for which this lays the groundwork. […] I've not seen a writing tandem like this since the glory days of Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. 

We are extremely flattered by the review. The comparison to Sapir & Murphy means a lot to us. We were not only big fans of the "Destroyer" novels, but we had the good fortune of working with Warren Murphy many years ago on the TV series "Murphy's Law," which was loosely based on his "Trace" and "Digger" novels. We have remained friends, and admirers, of Warren's ever since.


TOP SUSPENSE Free Advance Reading Copies

0300 Top Suspense_'13'_10 Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of  Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers at the peak of their
powers in thirteen unforgettable tales…Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Joel Goldman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Naomi Hirahara, Vicki Hendricks, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, Dave Zeltserman, and yours truly.

This unforgettable anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is coming out on APRIL 1 and is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at www.topsuspensegroup.com.

But you can get a FREE ADVANCE READING COPY...in your e-format of choice.

Here’s all you have to do:

1. Send me an email at lee@leegoldberg.com with the subject FREE TOP SUSPENSE BOOK and give me your name and the address of your website or blog (don’t have one? That’s okay. Read on).

2. Agree to post a review, positive or negative (but with no spoilers!) on your blog, website, Goodreads page, Facebook page, or the Amazon listing for TOP SUSPENSE in the next 60 days. (You don't have to buy the book on Amazon to review it there, you only need to have an account). 

3. Email me a copy of the review or a link to the post.

Each Top Suspense author has been alotted just 25 copies to giveaway, so if you're interested, you'd better hurry. And once you get your book,  sit back, bite down on a piece of strong leather, and prepare to get hit by some gale-force suspense and writing so sharp it will draw blood.

The Man with the Lousy Title

GOLDBERG_Iron_On_Badge_FINAL THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE  is by far my most critically-acclaimed book, but the ebook sales aren't as good as I think they could be. My theory is that the clunky title is to blame. So I'm seriously considering retitling the book and coming up with a new cover. The stage play version of the book was called MAPES FOR HIRE, but I'm not wild about that title, either. 

If you've read the book, and have some ideas for a new title, please let me know!



Publishing Leprosy Cured

Honeymoon-for-One-E-book Mid-list novelist Beth Orsoff talks on her blog about how she turned a disappointing (and all too familiar) experience at a big six publisher into success as a self-published author:

My first book, “Romantically Challenged” was published in April 2006, approximately six months after the chick lit markettanked.  I had a small print run, no publisher support, and, not surprisingly, my book was not a huge success (massive understatement)[…]While I was waiting for “Romantically Challenged” to be published I wrote another book, also chick lit.  NAL elected not to option it and my agent started sending it to other publishers.  

When that book, and a couple of others, failed to sell, she got the rights back to "Romantically Challenged" and put it,along with several of her unsold manuscripts, on the Kindle and the Nook. 

Thanksgiving weekend I uploaded all three books to B&N via their PubIt program.  I sold 9 books at B&N in November.  In December I sold 500 books at B&N.  In January 2011 I sold almost 7000 books at B&N.  Between Amazon and B&N, I sold over 13,000 books in January.  Will I continue to sell books at that rate?  I don’t know.  But I’ve already had much more success as a self-published author than I ever did as a traditionally published author, plus I get to write the books I want to write, choose my own covers, and publish on my schedule, not someone else’s.

I am hearing stories like hers every day…especially in the wake of my first "Midlist to E-List" post… and its inspiring. It used to be that when a midlist author was dropped, it was a living hell getting published again because your lukewarm sales figures would follow you wherever you went. Reinventing yourself with a new novel and a new voice was also a steep, uphill climb.

But now, for the first time ever, midlist authors not only have an alternative, but one that could actually be more lucrative and perhaps more creatively fullfilling, than sticking with their publishers. For the first time, a midlist author doesn't have to take a crappy deal just to stay in print…or feel like a literary leper when they have been dropped.

These are exciting times.