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Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:47 am

Springfield author e-cstatic over e-publishing success

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Over the past 13 years, Springfield author Joseph Flynn has written 12 page-turning novels, most of them thrillers. He has been called a “master of high octane plotting” by the Chicago Tribune and compared to John Grisham by the Denver Post. He has been published by Signet and Bantam.  Originally from Chicago, Flynn has learned both the discipline of writing and the hard truths of traditional publishing.

Faced with the reality that his first novel, Digger, would fall out of publication, and other personal favorites, like Nailed, would not fit the mold established by New York publishing houses, Flynn launched his own imprint, Stray Dog Press, Inc. Initially, Flynn expected Stray Dog Press to offer Print on Demand (POD) editions of his books. However, while working with Variance Publishing on his 2009 novel, The President’s Henchman, Flynn learned that J.A. Konrath, successful author of the Jack Daniels thriller series, had not only begun to self-publish but was writing about the experience on a blog called “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.”

After reading Konrath’s blog, Flynn joined the e-book revolution. Enlisting the help of his wife, Catherine, a graphic designer, and his brother, a social media expert, Flynn more fully engaged social media resources such as Facebook and e-publishing resources available through Amazon.com. Copies of all of Flynn’s works, including Digger, first published by Bantam in 1998, are now available in e-book format for $2.99. Four of his most recent novels, all released on the Stray Dog Press, Inc., imprint over the past six months, are available only in electronic formats.

This year Flynn’s online sales have steadily risen from 400 total book sales in January to 3,860 in May. Within just a few hours of a Sunday morning promotion on Amazon’s Kindle Nation Daily, sales of Flynn’s most recent novel, Still Coming, rose from 8 copies to 31. In the first two weeks of June alone, online shoppers purchased 1,653 copies of Flynn’s novels. Altogether, Flynn’s books have sold more than 12,700 copies since January. Ironically, Nailed, the novel originally rejected by a New York publishing house, is enjoying brisk online sales.

The move to self-publishing represents a democratization of publishing. Authors choose what to publish and readers choose what to buy. No middleman. Flynn says today’s authors have to be savvy about the business of publishing. However, in return, they may be rewarded with greater control over the appearance of their novels and the niches to which their novels are marketed. They may also enjoy a larger sustained income over a longer period of time. Flynn is in good company. Alesa Valdes-Rodriquez, author of the Dirty Girls Social Club series, and Barry Eisler, author of the John Rain series and other thrillers, have both turned down deals with St. Martin’s Press in favor of self-publishing.

For readers, e-books offer flexibility. While large publishing houses continue to charge nearly the same price for e-books as for printed books, Flynn contends that there are thousands of high-quality free and low-cost e-books available online.  For those who have been able to resist the temptation to buy an e-reader, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook have all launched computer-friendly versions of their software, making it possible for people to read e-books on their laptop or home computer. At press time both Kindle and Nook software were available for free download.

For more information on Joseph Flynn’s novels, visit www.josephflynn.com or send e-mail to mail@josephflynn.com. Flynn’s e-books are available online at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

Contact Grace Sweatt at writtenbygrace@yahoo.com.
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