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Be the Monkey - Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath [Kindle Edition]

Jack Kilborn , J.A. Konrath , Barry Eisler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

Sure, the advent of digital books is the most significant development in publishing since Gutenberg. But what does digital mean really, for agents, publishers, and most of all, for authors? What will the industry look like tomorrow, and what should authors be doing to properly position themselves today?

Examining the history and mechanics of the publishing industry as it exists today, the way the digital revolution reflects recent events in Egypt and the Maghreb, and a completely inappropriate YouTube video featuring a randy monkey and an unlucky frog, bestselling authors (and friends) J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler show in this 35,000 word online discussion that digital isn't just the future, it's right now.

Konrath, a pioneer in self-publishing, is now making over a half-million dollars a year through his self-published books, and Eisler just turned down a half-million dollar deal from one of the Big 6 NYC publishers to self-publish his latest novel. To find out why and what it all means for you, read on.

Please feel free to repost all or any portion of this discussion with attribution and a link back to the authors.

About the authors

Joe Konrath is the author of more than twenty novels and hundreds of short stories, written under the names J.A. Konrath (the Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series), Jack Kilborn (Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, Draculas), and Joe Kimball (Timecaster.) Joe has a lot of names, apparently. He began self-publishing on Kindle in April, 2009. As of March, 2011, he's sold over 200,000 ebooks. On his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, he has chronicled his writing journey.

Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. The first book in Eisler's John Rain series, Rain Fall, is now a minor motion picture (kidding, it’s reasonably major) starring Gary Oldman. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law. You can find out more on his website, friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter. He was also in the movie Freakonomics, which he forgot to tell Joe.

Product Details

  • File Size: 253 KB
  • Print Length: 145 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SV2IPC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this speed read of a dialogue between two successful writers who, over beers, make the case that all writers should cut out the "legacy publishers" who control paper-based book distribution that leaves authors with a mere 14.9% royalty. Joe and Barry make the case for self-publishing your $2.99 ebook, which turns it into an impulse buy that gives the writer an astounding 70 percent royalty. The impetus for this dialogue appears to be Eisler's much ballyhooed decision to turn down a $500k advance from St. Martins' Press to self publish his next book.

The authors make a compelling case here that legacy publishers overprice their digital offings to protect their antiquated power structure, but are as clueless as the record industry was until Apple changed the dynamic forever. Seems lthat Joe and Barry are having a great time, not just hanging out with each other and tossing out inside jokes, but they're absolutely certain of their convictions.

All of it is highly engaging to writers, especially those whose works have fallen out of print, but what's left unexplored is how the hell a digital-only writer can stand out amidst the ever growing whitte noise, especially if the mainstream media is disincentivized to promote digital books. It's a small complaint, since the rest of the information is so valuable. The fact that they actually get paid for this conversation (99 cents!) makes it a profitable experience for both sides . . . it's self-evident proof that the business model works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not a monkey, it's an ape. January 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Be the monkey" in the title refers to a youtube video linked in the text of a chimp (a type of ape, NOT a monkey) forcing a bullfrog to perform an unnatural act on him. The point is that self-publishing through venues like Amazon, Smashwords, et cetera is superior to publishing through "legacy" publishers. In the business relationship between author and publisher, the publisher is the monkey and the author is the bullfrog. As authors, we are told to regard ourselves as businesses creating a product, and the publisher's job is to market and distribute our product. They're your business partners, just as your local supermarket is a partner for the businesses that make the goods stocked on the shelves. The legacy publishers have had too much power in the relationship, and this has resulted in the usual monopolistic abuses. With the invention of eBooks and the rapid sale of eBook readers, the power is swinging back towards the author as small business owner - and the dinosaurs' days are numbered. Perhaps like the dinosaurs they will learn to fly and evolve into birds. One thing is for sure, the revolution is upon us and the monopoly power of the legacy publishers is rapidly eroding.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for aspiring self-publishers December 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
"Be The Monkey" makes sense after you read this eBook, but "EBooks and Self-Publishing: A Conversation Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath" describes this eBook much better. When reading, you must remember that this is a conversation between two authors, who are also friends, so you find some kidding and joking around, a little self-promotion, and a lot of practical and motivating advice for anyone wanting to enter the world of self-publishing, especially self-publishing electronic books.

No, this won't teach you "how to" self-publish, you will need different resources for that. However, this book will tell you "why" you might want to go the self-published route, and provide some publishing knowledge, some facts and figures, and a healthy dose of motivation to go the indie route.

I actually talked with Barry last summer about a lot of the information covered here, and just now finally purchased an e-reader so I can more easily read electronic books. I liked what both Barry and Joe said here. Some reminded me of Barry an my conversation, and other stuff just motivated me more, and reassured me, that my choice to enter the indie self-publishing realm is the right choice.

There are three main parts to this eBook, each being a separate conversation. The first is a conversation about the rise of eBooks and self-publishing. The two of them make a lot of sense and have a grasp of the publishing industry. Part two addresses some questions that came up from the first conversation, and the third part discusses the deal Eisler made with Amazon's new imprint after turning down a deal with SMP and announcing he was going to self-publish his newest novel "The Detachment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy Publishing? What's that? October 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a straight from the hip, behind the scenes, account of the experiences of two very successful Authors, both of whom sampled the rocky road of Legacy Publishing. They decided that there just had to be a better way.
The book is in the form of a recorded interview and conversation and contains plenty of "Quips `n Quotes" which are both entertaining and informative.
While it's no doubt an essential prerequisite when publishing a non fiction "this is my story, warts an' all" type of book, to be factual and economical on fluff, the injection of real life humour is what makes a book inspirational and thought provoking. Of course if you are a serial procrastinator (hint), the thought provoking elements of this book might not lead to any action ...on the other hand, where there's a will there is always hope, if not a crystal clear pathway.
This treatise (for it's a mammoth read!) on the do's and don'ts of self publishing and the why's and wherefores, is totally compelling reading for the "about to publish my Book on Kindle" writer. It's a very long and absorbing read, rather like a text book on steroids written by two comedians! (Try working that one out!).
Joe turned down what appeared at the outset to be an awesomely lucrative deal from a Legacy Publisher, in favour of self publishing. Not a few heads were turned in the process like a scene from the exorcist. A bold move in the face of the Traditional Publishing cognoscenti. One he won't regret I am sure. Those of you out there in the Kindle Kosmos won't regret Joe's move either, since it very clearly marks the beginning of the end of Legacy domination. Let's have three resounding cheers for the pioneers Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler.
Altogether a most illuminating read (for which read Great Polar Exploration).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Two well-known authors talk about publishing
Very funny off the cuff book that I believe answers the question, “As an author, should I sign with a traditional (they call it Legacy) publishing house or should I self-publish? Read more
Published 4 months ago by Denniger Bolton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight
A quick overview of how book publishing has changed and how and why it will continue to change
The advice and arguments in this discussion are worth ten times the cost of the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tony Mullen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Eisler and Konrath combine for a look at ebook publishing
Published 6 months ago by Don S Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars Sophomoric egotism that will waste your time!
This is nothing more than a high school-level dialogue between two buddies who are into each other and their own egos as successful writers. Read more
Published 7 months ago by '44 Knucklehead
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it
Excellent. I loved it.
Published 7 months ago by Joanne Clancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read!!!
If there is one books you need to read about self publishing, this should be the first!
Published 7 months ago by Brio
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this and still do.
One of my favorites for inspiration and motivation.
Published 8 months ago by Dana
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Waiting for 'Be The Monkey 2' !
This dialogue between two indie publishing authors provides a surprising amount of information in a great format. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Stephen J. Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Vulgar, but funny. Very interesting observations on publishing.
Published 9 months ago by Ellen
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I might not be the target audience for this book. I'd already been self-pubbing for about a year (and an avid reader of JA Konrath) so I had already heard a lot of the arguments... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
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