Friday, January 10, 2014
WOLFPACK PUBLISHING LLC BY L. J. MARTIN
Twenty eight years ago I sold my first book, a western. I'd like to report that I made lots of money, but the fact was for seven more years I found myself staying in the real estate sales/appraisal/contracting biz so we could eat. My wife, Kat, sold her first book six weeks or so before I sold mine. She wrote what she read, which I recommend to any reader/writer, and was smart enough (or sexy enough) to read romance, which was selling 55% of all mass market books at the time, and I'm sure still is. She was able to write full time after a few years, and I'm thrilled she was.
And I was smart enough to spend half my time promoting her career. She's now two dozen times on the NYT, the last eight on the top 15 published portion. But that's now. She had a webpage, thanks to my writing one longhand before there were programs to do so, at the inception of that discipline, as did I, and she had a opt-in mailing list before it was the norm, and on and on. We tried to stay ahead of the curve, and still do.
Back then, 27 years ago, brick and mortar publishers were the only way to go if you wanted to make a living in the biz, and having both been salespeople most our lives, we jumped right into promoting our work, mostly via the 1,200 independent distributors who were then in the biz, each with their own in-house book-buyers. We watched that change to about 20 bookbuyers who made a difference over the next 20 years.
As radical a change as that was, it didn't hold the proverbial candle to the inception of eBooks. WOW! Now, almost overnight, you could get in front of millions of bookbuyers, not those who bought thousands of books, but those who bought only one at a time...but there were and are so many more of them. Not only 20, but 20 times a hundred million. And you don't have to go to a 5:00 AM meeting of delivery drivers and buy the donuts to win their favor. All you have to do is get a book in front of them that they want to buy.
As a western writer who drifted in and out of mysteries and other genres, I had no great tie to the legacy publishers in NY, so I embraced the internet opportunity.
Oops, but how to you do that, get a book in front of them, when millions, that's MILLIONS of other authors want to do the same thing?
That's the question.
I started selling on the web several years ago, and never made more than beer money, until I partnered up with a guy who'd been selling on the web since it's inception. But he'd never sold books. He'd sold poker parlors, tools, politicians, etc., etc. But never books. When asked if he could sell books, he shrugged his shoulders and asked me, "what's special about books?" The fact is, not much. Yes, you have to target a market who likes to read, but then he'd been targeting specific markets for years. After tying up with him I was, almost immediately, selling hundreds more books per month than I had been on my own, and making forty times as much dough. I'm not buying a yacht or airplane, but I've got some spare dough I didn't have before, and I've put those old Bantam, Avon and Pinnacle books back to work, as well as anything I care to write currently.
And he and I are Wolfpack Publishing LLC.
We worked my books for a year or so, selling many thousands per year which we're still doing, then decided to entertain selling other writers as well...and we're doing well, very well, doing so. So far this month we have two writers with over 2,000 books sold, and that's for less than a third of a month. Some old friends of mine are again making money in the book biz, money they deserve after years of writing, and I LOVE that fact. WOW, is my only response, and we're still learning the book selling biz on the net.
The end of December we had 16 of the top 100 action adventure novels on Amazon's action adventure lists, and that's up against the big boys in the biz. To be frank, I'm astounded, and you can't wipe the kakaeatin' grin off my face.
I spent a lot of valuable writing time on the internet trying to learn the ins and outs of selling on that venue...and I'd been a hell of a good, no great, salesman in real estate before I started writing, having sold over a hundred million in product my last year in that biz, but this was different. It wasn't face to face interaction, but my partner, Mike Bray, had been at it for years. Did I want to go through the several year learning curve he went through? No, I wanted to write. However, I also love designing covers, and so far they've been pretty damn successful...however as you well know, a good book is a good book, no matter the cover. But you've got to have the cover and great cover copy to get them to pick it up, unless you've got great word of mouth, and great exposure brings great word of mouth to a good book, and that's where exposure to the market comes to the forefront. Somebody's got to read it in order to recommend it.
We'll entertain your single title, but if you have multiple titles in your blacklist, you're the writer we want to run with.
And we don't give a hoot who else is selling your book. There will be a time when we want exclusivity, but that time will come when you see that you'd be foolish to choose someone else.
Yeah, we're confident. Give us a try.
These went up yesterday: