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Be the Monkey - Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath by [Kilborn, Jack, Konrath, J.A., Eisler, Barry]
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Be the Monkey - Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Length: 145 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 410 KB
  • Print Length: 145 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 18, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SV2IPC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,088 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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"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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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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The idea of a e-stributors is one of the best ideas I've heard. I think you guys should be the pioneers and start one. Writing is a specific task. The marketing aspect is difficult part of self publishing that us indies would give up for a % of sales. It's a great idea from two pioneers. Read it , it's great info for 99 cents.
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Extraordinary!

This is easily the best book on writing and publishing that I've read in a long time. Eisler and Konrath were both successful authors within the traditional publishing track when they each decided to pursue self-publishing instead. Barry Eisler made headlines earlier this year when he turned down a $500,000 contract with St. Martin's Press to pursue indie publishing. The rest is, to coin a cliche, history.

The authors, in a standard friendly conversation format (not an interview), cover a lot of ground from what is legacy publishing to why monkeys like mouth raping frogs. And, trust me, everything in between. Except crazy ex-wives.

It's important, though, to keep in mind that they don't whitewash self-publishing and they don't throw unearned stones at the major publishing houses. Both talk from experience, not theory. Their ideas are similar, but they disagree on a few minor points. The really interesting parts of the book are where they get prescient and talk about the future of e-books. Near the end it tends to sag as they spend a little bit too much time throwing darts at traditional publishers (within the context of trying to define Amazon's imprints).

I highly recommend this book for every published author and every struggling published author as well as every agent and editor in the publishing industry.

I'm going to read it again.
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