Thriller writer and Hint Fiction contributor Blake Crouch is one of those doing quite well in self-publishing his e-books. He co-authored Serial and Draculas with Joe Konrath (as well as F. Paul Wilson and Jeff Strand), and has released his thrillers Desert Places and Locked Doors (which were originally published by St. Martin's Press) as e-books. Now his latest e-book, Run, is available.
Picture this: A landscape of American genocide...
5 D A Y S A G O
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.
4 D A Y S A G O
The murders increased ten-fold…
3 D A Y S A G O
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…
2 D A Y S A G O
The killers began to mobilize…
Y E S T E R D A Y
All the power went out…
T O N I G H T
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.
You only have time to….
R U N
* * * *
There's an interesting story behind this e-book and so I asked Blake a few questions and here are his answers.
RS: The last we talked, you had signed with a new agent who was shopping your new novel around -- the one you're now self-publishing. With all the success you've recently had with your e-books, what is it about major publishers that appeals to you?
BC: I guess it’s that old ingrained dream that dies hard ... a major publisher releasing your book and doing everything right. When publishers do it right, there is no better way to reach the masses and break out. And they certainly have the ability to do that when they set their mind to it. I’m still holding out for that scenario, only my definition of “holding out” no longer entails sitting on my best work while it’s on submission.
RS: How long was this new novel being shopped around before you decided to make it available yourself? Were there any offers? How does your agent feel about you self-publishing this new novel while he's still shopping it around?
BC: About four months. We got very close with a couple of dream editors that might have produced the dream scenario above, but it’s just a brutal market out there right now. My agent was behind my decision. We consulted and he knows what I’ve been doing on the e-book front, saw it as a smart move.
RS: What do you think major publishers need to do to hold on to their authors? As the Authors Guild recently showed, the current 25% royalty on e-books is a major loss for authors, a major gain for publishers. Do you think that royalty will ever near 50%?
BC: Stop being so goddamn greedy. Unless you’re receiving a massive advance, the 25% royalty rate, in light of the fact that e-books are fast becoming the preferred way to read, is a slap in the face and hugely unfair. Authors are the content provider.
RS: What kind of advance and terms would a publisher need to offer you to sway you to sign away your e-rights?
BC: (smiles) You think I’m going to bid against myself in public, Rob?
RS: Run's original title was American Genocide. Usually titles are changed because of publishers' marketing departments and a variety of other reasons, but as you are publishing this yourself you have final approval on everything, including the title. What made you decide to change it?
BC: I always had a suspicion that American Genocide was a bit of a downer for a title. I shared this with my agent and he suggested The Run ... I looked at the product description again and realized that it flowed right into the perfect title ... Run.
P.S. Another great novel with the title Run is by Douglas E. Winter, a thriller about gunrunning in Washington, D.C. and New York published originally by Knopf. The book has since gone out of print, but if you do happen to find it, definitely check it out.