Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Kindle and the (Ladies) Book Club

Guest post by Vincent Zandri, author of
Amazon: The Innocent

I was invited to be the guest author at a local ladies book club this past week. I don't mean "ladies" in a demeaning or male chauvinist sort of way. By "ladies" I just mean that no men are invited to this particular book club. And because no men are invited the ladies like to dress up the way they want, drink what they want (and a lot of it!), and chat loudly about whatever they want, whether it has to do with books or not.

This group of women were for the most part all married, 50ish with kids either graduated from or just about to graduate from college. They were college educated, funny, sincerely interested, seriously interesting, collegial and just plain nuts....in a good way.

The books for discussion were my latest, The Remains, and a not so oldie but a goodie, Moonlight Falls. We also discussed the transition of As Catch Can to The Innocent, which was just recently re-published by StoneGate Ink. We talked about the ending of Moonlight, the twist that no one has yet guessed and that has many people talking. We spoke about the haunting theme of The Remains and how, despite its scary plot, it's also a good read for Young Adults. We spoke about my spending a night and two days locked up in Sing Sing Prison back when I was researching The Innocent.

It was "all good," as people like to say nowadays. But then the topic of conversation shifted to something else.

The Kindle.

"I'm never buying one of those!" barked the host, a slim blond-haired energetic woman wearing leather pants.

"I prefer paper," said another, far quieter woman. "A kindle would hurt my eyes."

"What's a Kindle," said yet another.

And so the conversation began. And so I began a short tutorial about the Kindle. Not about how it offers up far more convenience for obtaining which books or stories you want when you want them, but it also offers relief for your wallet. Kindle books are, for the most part, far less expensive than paper books. Also, there are offerings on Kindle that you won't find in paper, such as my digital shorts and a new special combo edition put out by StoneHouse Ink of Aaron Patterson's "Sweet/Dreams" and my "The Remains ("Sweet Dreams/The Remains"), both No. 1 Amazon hard-Boiled Kindle Bestsellers. And when I commented that not only are Kindles far easier to read than many print books, but that when the old eyes get tired, you can set it to a mode that reads for you, the quiet woman almost fell out of her chair.

But at that point the conversation shifted yet again. I mentioned how difficult it is to make money in traditional publishing, how authors only make a fraction of book sales. And now that paper book sales are slowing to a crawl and bookstores like Borders going out of business, it's virtually impossible for an author to not only make up his or her advance, but to make a living from that point forward. Add into that how major publishers can hold onto your rights for up to a decade at a time, and your have a system that is seriously broke.

In a word, I had these woman staring at me with gaping mouths. And it wasn't because of my good looks. It was because I then went on to reveal that my publisher pays me 50% of the profits from E-Book sales which is far greater than I would ever receive in a traditional deal. Sure, my agent takes a portion of that, but it's still leaves a sizable chunk of change in the final accounting.

Am I against traditional publishing in NYC? Not at all. My first two books were the result of a major NYC contract. I believe all authors should pursue a mix of both indie and traditional publishing. Fact is, you can't beat the distribution powers of traditional publishers nor their ability to get you reviewed in the NY Times or Post or both. Plus its fun to party in NYC! The point here is that now we can do both and on top of that, if we feel so bold, we can also self publish. That adds a third money-making dimension for the author. And it's all because of the Kindle (which doesn't hurt your eyes!).

I can make a living again from my fiction, or so I revealed to these kind, fun-loving women. But only if I write great books, I added, and they wholeheartedly agreed, while inviting me back for another meeting at Halloween.

"By then," I said, "you will all be reading from Kindles."

At that they all sort of looked at one another, not wanting to be the first to admit it. Then the quiet one chimed in.

"Yes," she said, "I might buy a Kindle this weekend."

Party on Ladies!!!!!

Vincent Zandri is an essayist and freelance photojournalist, and the author of the recent bestsellers, The Remains, Moonlight Falls and The Innocent . His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT).

He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

You can visit his website at http://www.vincentzandri.com/ or his blog at http://www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com/.  Connect with Vincent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VincentZandri, on Facebook at www.facebooks.com/vincent.zandri?ref=profile and Myspace at www.myspace.com/vincentzandri.

Thank you Vincent!


  1. Ohhh, I wish I could find a book club like that. It sounds great (and I already have a Kindle.) Delightful post! Thanks!

  2. Hey thanks for having me ... I just wanted to shout out an FYI: StoneGate Ink is offering THE INNOCENT at $.99 for the duration of the virtual tour....Hope you take advantage of it...
    Cheers and thanks again!

  3. Hi Vincent! I just saw they were offering The Innocent for 99 Cents! BTW, wonderful guest post as usual - you put my own guest posts to shame. First I want to thank Tiffany for having you and second I want to thank you for being one in a million authors who actually thanks the blog host. You're a role model. I do have a question. You wrote:

    "We spoke about my spending a night and two days locked up in Sing Sing Prison back when I was researching The Innocent."

    Gotta know, lol...what was that about?

  4. Great post! I just finished The Innocent and have a post coming up tomorrow. His was actually the 1st book I read on my new Kindle. I wasn't going to get one for a long time either.

    Michelle V

  5. Lol, what a great post, Vincent! It sounds as though you had a lot of fun at the book club. You know my thoughts on The Remains - incredible - and I am now reading The Innocent on my Kindle app on my phone. I, myself, have a Nook, but am on my way to h*ll because I have crossed the line and purchased a Kindle (one of the faults is yours because I wanted to be able to easier read your ebooks, lol)My Kindle should be here tomorrow (as long as the 15" of snow we are suppose to get doesn't deter the UPS truck to much) and I am bouncing off the walls excited.
    In any case, Vincent you are a rockin author whose talent is spreading like wildfire! I can't wait to get further into The Innocent and read more of your works!

  6. Hey Vincent,

    Just got done reading The Innocent on my Kindle and am eager to read The Remains on it too. Let me tell you, my Kindle changed the way I read, and I love it.

    I have monovision, so one eye sees close up and the other distance. Well, that's made reading a a challenge; but with my Kindle, I can increase the font to a size I am comfortable with reading, glasses or no glasses.

    My first children's book came out in August in both formats, and I know exactly what you're saying about royalties. It's amazing how little we are left with when all is said and done. Let's just say, I'm not going to be retiring from my day job anytime soon.

    Best of luck,


  7. LOL, my daughter's book club sounds like that only a bit younger, 30s and 40s.

    I love my Kindle!

  8. Thanks Vincent! It is a pleasure having you! Feel free to send me a guest post anytime! I really enjoyed this one! I hope everyone takes advantage of the $.99 deal!! Can't beat that!Happy Reading!!

  9. Very interesting post about the Kindle and the book club.

  10. Great post and that club sounds like a lot of fun. I have an iPad and it's so great to read books on there. I can make the font as large as I want--no eye strain!

  11. Hey there,
    I'm re-posting this one for the new Kindle owners...also, The Innocent remains at $.99 for a few more days!!!!


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