Joe Konrath Makes $20,000 Each Month Selling Ebooks…

…and I don’t.

I’ve blogged about this before. How a lot of people – professional, traditionally published authors and indie publishing phenoms – are saying that traditional publishing is dead, that the ebook revolution is here and this new model of doing business is all any writer needs to succeed in the 21st century. No longer do aspiring writers need to wait for the “gatekeepers” of traditional publishing to anoint them as worthy of a traditional deal. Some of them have even go so far as to state publicly that taking a traditional deal in this day and age is “stupid.”

I’m the first person to agree that traditional publishing has a lot of faults. I’ve seen firsthand examples of editorial idiocy, marketing departments shooting down promising novels only to have them become bestsellers, and a business model so out of whack, it’s crazy.

But here’s the thing: traditional publishing actually has a business model (in desperate need of overhaul, though it may be!) The ebook “revolution” does not yet have a business model; or at least not one that seems to be working for all writers. Certainly some, like Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking are making thousands upon thousands of dollars each month, but the vast majority of ebook writers are not. So when I see these rallying cries to abandon traditional publishing, I have to wonder who it benefits more: the would-be writer or the ebook writers already making money hand-over-fist?

Next week some time, Joe Konrath will post a guest post from me on his blog, explaining my own failures at ebook publishing. He will then take one of my novels and point out exactly what he thinks I’m doing wrong. I’ll then implement changes and a few months down the road, I’ll post again and let everyone know what my sales have been like since I made the advised changes.

In the meantime, I’ve gone ahead and uploaded my entire Lawson Vampire backlist to the Kindle. It will also be available on the Nook in the coming days (just need to sort out the formatting). I’ve had a series of brand new covers designed that I think are outstanding (and cover design is one of the key tenets that Konrath advocates) and once Amazon can manage to get my descriptions out there, I’ll be eager to see how well they all sell. Will I sell thousands of copies each month? Will these ebooks make me more money than what I’ve cumulatively made in traditional publishing? I’m not some stubborn holdout against change, by any means. If these books sell like wildfire, I’ll gladly change my opinion on the power of the “revolution.” But until such time as they do, I’ll keep one hand in the traditional publishing pool.

Take a look at the list of what I have out right now from my Lawson Vampire series – three more stories should finish processing today, but for now, Here’s the list!

The Lawson Vampire Series on Kindle

I’m happy to report that the first three Lawson vampire novels are now available for download in’s Kindle store (THE SYNDICATE is still processing). Simply click the thumbnails below to order them. By tomorrow, you’ll be able to read the first five novels on your Kindle (although I hope you’ll pick up a paperback copy of THE KENSEI since I really need your help selling that print run out – if you want more Lawson!)


Apparently this got missed in all the excitement of the book’s release, so I want to make sure everyone knows about it! We are giving away the sword we used in THE KENSEI official book trailer!

Send me proof-of-purchase (or a copy of your receipt if you bought online) that you’ve bought a copy of THE KENSEI and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the sword used by actor Brandon Stumpf in the official book trailer for THE KENSEI. Brandon will be starring in the TV series based on the novels, THE FIXER, and I’m certain he’s got a huge future. If you win, not only will you get the sword, but a certificate of authenticity, and you can even have it autographed by Brandon and me. Each copy of the book counts as one entry, so if you buy three copies of THE KENSEI to give as gifts to friends and family, then you have three chances to win the sword. And yes, ebook sales count as entries, too – ALTHOUGH, I REALLY want people to buy print copies so we can sell out that first print run! One winner will be drawn on May 28th, 2011. You can send your entries to:

thekenseicontest AT gmail DOT com

Good luck!

Buy THE KENSEI at Barnes & Noble | Buy THE KENSEI at

Looking For Some Lunchtime Reading?

I hear ya.

You’re bored at work.

Still haven’t been able to get to the nearest Barnes & Noble to grab that amazing book THE KENSEI by some schmoe named Jon F. Merz.

And you’re staring at a computer screen, trying to get excited about that microwavable meal you brought to work.

Well, I’m here to help. Just point your smart phone’s QR Code Reader app (tons of free ones around) at the image below and enjoy! INTERLUDE: A Lawson Vampire short story – my way of saying thanks to all of you who have purchased THE KENSEI and all of you who will. As soon as your camera takes the picture, it will download the .pdf file containing the story. I hope you enjoy it.

Rock on and rejoice in all things Lawson!

INTERLUDE: A Lawson Vampire Short Story

Grease covered my fingers. I had a mouthful of the steak-and-cheese sub and chewed very, very slowly. The barrel of a gun aimed at you can make everything slow down. Even when you can’t see it.

The man across from me in the red plastic laminate booth smiled like he’d just managed to win the lottery and bed Hollywood’s hottest starlet in the same afternoon. “Caught you with your pants down, Lawson. Imagine that.”

I swallowed. Outside, the mid-afternoon sun stabbed westward and as it did, I caught the glint off the scope atop what was no doubt a sniper rifle on a roof across the way.

I let my eyes track back to the man in front of me. “Whoever that is, he any good?”

“He won’t miss.” Stegman pointed at the sub. “Want to finish that? Your last meal and all.”

I frowned. Stegman was supposed to be in Helsinki right now. Not sitting across from me in a booth in a pizza joint in Allston. A first class ticket for a 5:30pm flight on Fin Air sat in my breast pocket, proof the Council wanted me to hunt Stegman down and execute him for laundering money for Moscow’s new power elite. Stegman’s activities would draw attention from Western intelligence agencies and could possibly expose the fact that a race of living vampires existed in secret alongside humanity.

Not cool.

I took a sip of the Pepsi and leaned back, keeping my hands on the table so One-Shot-One-Kill across the way didn’t get jumpy. “You know it won’t end with me. The Council will just send another Fixer after you.”

“Killing you like this will give them pause,” said Stegman. “And allow me to disappear from their radar.”

I smiled. “Not possible. The Council will find you. Eventually.”

“By then it won’t matter. Not once I have enough money to find the Cloak of Despar.”

I smirked. “You’re hunting folklore?”

“Laugh all you want, but you know as well as I what that cloak will enable me to do when I find it.”

I frowned. Every vampire child knew the Legend of Despar and how he’d supposedly worn a magical cloak that kept him safe from a wild pack of humans intent on hunting him down as he made his way through the Khyber Pass almost three centuries back. Given to him by the vampire monks of Tibet, the cloak allegedly made the wearer invisible and acted like amazing armor in case of battle.

But it was a fairy tale. And no one I knew actually believed it.

Correction: Stegman apparently did.

“You’re chasing a legend.”

He shrugged. “You think so? I don’t. I found Despar’s journal, written after he successfully made his way home to Florence. He left specific instructions for locating the cloak.”

“And you know where it is?”

Stegman frowned. “Almost. I have one or two things I need to acquire before the exact location can be discerned.”

“Hence the money laundering operation you’ve been running.”

“The collapse of the Soviet Union left a power vacuum. Now there are people coming to power with no knowledge of how to grow their money.”

“Or hide it.”

“Naturally.” Stegman grinned and looked out of the window. “Corruption is a natural by-product of chaos. The Russians need someone they can trust.”

I shook my head. “You’ll attract too much attention. You know the Council can’t allow that.”

Stegman eyed me. “You’re out of your league here, Lawson. The man on the roof will kill you the moment I give the signal.”

“He’ll need a bit of luck to take me down through the plate glass window here. I figure the distance is at least a thousand feet. Plus wind. He’d better know his stuff.”

“He does.”

The way Stegman said it didn’t fill me with much confidence. It was entirely possible he’d tracked down someone who knew how to make that shot easily. There are a lot of vampires who wouldn’t mind taking a Fixer out.

We’re so unappreciated.

I stared at Stegman. “So, you get the cloak and then what? You keep laundering money for other people?”

He shook his head. “I’ve been funneling most of it into an offshore account in Grand Cayman for months now. The money buys me the life I want. The cloak affords me the security I need.”

“Not much of a life always looking over your shoulder.”

Stegman glanced at his manicured nails and shrugged. “You manage.”

I smiled. “Most of the people I meet end up dead very quickly.”

“Except me.”

I hefted the large cup of Pepsi and shook my head. “Don’t count on it.”

As Stegman frowned, I jerked my right hand, launching the Pepsi all over the window even as I already started to slide out of the booth around to where Stegman sat.

The plate glass window shattered as the first round crashed through, scoring a line across the back of the seat and impacting the floor inches from my foot.

I yanked Stegman down and out of the booth, using his body to shield my own as another bullet slashed through the air. Those sniper bullets would fragment lignum vitae wood into my bloodstream and that would make for a real unpleasant day.
The two people behind the counter screamed and high-tailed it for the back door.

My exit.

“Let’s go.”

Stegman put up a fight until I drew my pistol and thunked him on the side of the head with it. His body went limp.

The sniper would need to break the rifle down and stow it before coming down. We made the back door and I risked a look outside. I’d only have a problem if Stegman had back-up.

But no bullets shattered the doorjamb and I eased us outside, keeping Stegman’s body in front of mine.

The wail of sirens told me my time was limited. Human cops would swarm all over the area, looking for the culprit who shot out the windows at the pizza joint. That meant the sniper would run.

Stegman started to come around. I jerked him up by his collar. “Who’s the shooter?”

He shook his head. “You’ll kill me if I tell you.”

“You’re dead either way, buddy.”

I could see the look in his eyes. Stegman had never impressed me as much of a big fish and the look of acceptance now confirmed it. Not all of the bad guys I chased were impressive.

“He washed out of a Specter unit for drug use.”

I frowned. Specter teams were the guys who didn’t make the cut to become Fixers and instead served as security for vampire towns and villages. Drug abuse wasn’t limited to humans, though.


Stegman looked up at me, but I wasn’t in the mood to talk anymore. I pressed the barrel of my pistol to his chest and squeezed the trigger. A single pop sounded and Stegman’s face contorted in agony as the wooden fragments exploded into his bloodstream. His fangs extended their full length and then began to retract as death came for him.

I let his body slide behind the dumpster and glanced around. The sirens were about ten seconds away and I needed to be anywhere else.

I hoofed it around front then slowed, finding my way to my car two blocks further down as the first cruisers screeched to a halt behind me. I gunned the engine and slid out and away from the commotion. Better for me to be elsewhere.

My cell purred in my pocket. Niles, my Control. I flipped it open. “Yeah?”

“You at the airport?”

“No need. Stegman found me.”


“He brought a friend. He got away.”

There was a pause. “That’s a bit unlike you.”

“Guy was a sniper. Had the drop on me from a thousand feet.”

“We know who he is?”

I smiled. “Not yet. That’s where you come in.”

“I assume you’ve got details.”

“Former Specter. Washed out for drugs.”

“We can work with that. What happens then?”

“Only so many holes a guy like that can climb into. Just a matter of me finding the right one.”

“Before he finds you.”

I smirked. “There is that small possibility.” I hung up the phone and cruised down Commonwealth Avenue toward the city. As the evening descended, one more shadow would slink across the city tonight.

At least until I found him.


Did you enjoy this? Leave me a comment! And please grab a copy of THE KENSEI – you can order it from any of the following links:

THE KENSEI at | THE KENSEI at Barnes &

Official Launch Day for THE KENSEI – 10 Ways to Build a Bestseller!

Welcome all, to the Official launch Day for THE KENSEI. This is the street date for the novel, meaning that it is now pretty much everywhere in the various distribution systems. You should be able to find it anywhere….

So first and foremost: please go buy a copy. If you need to find out if a Barnes & Noble near you has it on their shelves, use this link: Buying a copy is the single best way to support the book and help make sure we have more Lawson books in the future. And the paperback is better than the ebook, but if you’re only into ebooks, then by all means feel free.

Also, there are a number of ways you can help spread the word about THE KENSEI and I hope you participate in them. It makes today more of a party event and that -in my book – is always a good thing!

1. Change your profile picture to THE KENSEI cover art. (grab it out at Facebook Fan Page)
2. If you have a blog, write a blog post about THE KENSEI.
3. Take a picture of yourself holding a copy of THE KENSEI – preferably in a public space where others can see you. (Outside of the bookstore you bought it at is great!)
4. If you tweet, please tweet about today’s launch and use the hashtag #thekensei after your tweet
5. Make a point to tell four friends today – preferably in person about the book and ask them to buy a copy. if you can’t do it in person, then send out an email to some of your friends and let them know.
6. If you’re buying it online, please buy it at – and the print version of the book is better than ebooks. Remember: we’re trying to sell out the first print run.
7. Try to get others involved – have them talk to their friends about buying a copy. Word-of-mouth rules and can really make a book take off, so talk it up!
8. Post out any book forums, and sites (Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, etc.) and talk to people about the book.
9. Swing by the Facebook Fan Page and post away, try to create a party atmosphere and get people excited!
10. When you’re done reading the book, please post reviews on Amazon and any other sites. Reviews help spur new sales!

I truly hope you all enjoy THE KENSEI. It’s a special book to me for a number of reasons and I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think of it.

Thank you so much for your support!