Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


I’ve been thinking more about this whole self-publishing thing. Printing copies of Rumored and selling them wouldn’t be much of a paradigm shift over when I printed copies of Xenocide and sold them from my apartment. It would cost about a jillion times more – actually, it wouldn’t cost that much more, since Xenocide 5 had a color cover and was photocopied 50 issues at a time, it cost about $2 per copy. To print 1000 books with a softcover and a square binding would cost somewhere around $2-$5 depending on pages, shipping, etc etc etc. So it’s more money initially, but not more money per capita.

The main thing about selling books vs. selling the death metal zine was that there was a whole underground network to sell the zine. There are a lot of dedicated fans of extreme metal music, and they are all pen pals and write each other and send everyone’s fliers for zines, demos, CDS, shirts, etc to each other. And there are many zines who will trade ad space for nothing or sell you a back cover ad for only a few bucks. With Xenocide, I just printed the zines, printed a bunch of fliers, and pretty much waited for the checks to come rolling in. I wish there was such a fanatic group of book buyers out there. With this project, I’ll really have to scrape to find small bookshops that are willing to pick up books on consignment. That’s the real pain in the ass. My only relief is that if I do sell Rumored and just sell copy by copy in all of these mom and pop stores, I will have a good database compiled by the time I try to do the second book.

The editing of Rumored is going okay. I broke down a task list of what I want to accomplish over the next month or two. The first task, which is underway, is just a line-by-line read of the whole thing, to fix the obvious and remove the idiotic. As of last night, I am 1/3 through that. Then it goes to a harder edit, where I completely scrutinize each little piece and spend a lot of time finely molding each word. Then I make a pass where I arrange things (the current order is arbitrary) and cut things that I don’t like. Through these three steps, I might add more stuff as I’m going. If I feel like 100% new writing, I will do that.

And now that I’m thinking of the followup to Rumored, I wonder if this book should be all of the freak-out stuff, with more of the personal stuff in another book. I thought about writing a book that’s just 10 or 20 long, personal narratives – each like a 10,000 word short story or something. It would still have some experimental aspect of it – sort of like that Hubert Selby Jr. book where it was a bunch of short stories and each guy had the same name but otherwise they were radically different. I love that kind of thing. But I am thinking about the next book and how it will happen. Mostly, I just want to produce another great vehicle that people will love and that I can finish fast. I don’t want to do this Summer Rain meets War and Peace 12000 page monologue with nothing grabbing in it, just for the sake of remembering my past. I’d love to do that stuff someday, but I guess it’s something you belt out later in your career. I mean, Kiss spent a few years belting out these kick-ass stadium-destroying power albums before they started doing the weird experimental shit and the solo albums. You can’t hit off right away with a novel that’s about a bath towel or something. I want to start out with a roar and then work my way to a gentle glow. But who knows, I change my mind every 10 seconds with this shit…