An Open Challenge to JA Konrath


There’s no sense being coy about it; I think I can take him. 
For those who don’t know, Mr. J.A. Konrath is the author of thrillers such as Whiskey Sour, A Shot of Tequila, and his new release, Flee, which was co-written by the brilliant Ann Voss Peterson. 

He’s toured the nation, speaking at libraries and bookstores, conferences and conventions, and is one of the pioneers in electronic self-publishing, lending platform and legitimacy to the e-book revolution (even before it was cool). 

And this summer, if he accepts, I’m going to take him on.   

At the beginning of June, I challenge Mr. Konrath to make a post on his blog about our competition, and inform his readers that he and I are in a head to head sales duel.
Now, at first this may smell like a dirty ploy to increase sales, and it is. However, in a break from my traditionally rotten nature, I have something of an altruistic motive as well.  

Despite the scattered success stories of a few self-starters who hit the right chords at just the right times, we writers know that e-pubbing your manuscript without the explicit blessing of the Big Six irrelevants is likely a path to nowhere. Or rather, a path to single digit royalty statements and a muted, gray joy of knowing that six people read your book.

I’d like to show that’s not the case. I’d like to show that if you’re willing to put as much work into promotion as you did into writing, your horizons are vastly broader than the e-oblivion so many surrender themselves to out of a fear of hope.

Joe got where he is because he worked hard and had a good product to sell, not just because he was lucky. And because that work paid off, he’s now my target. I want to show that with a bit of help and a lot of work, even someone as “new” (to being published, anyway) and untested as me can compete with one of the greats, although perhaps for just a month.  

So, Joe, here are the particulars I suggest for the battle that I call “Beat Joe in June.” 

Time: June 1st, we both announce across the interweb (twitter, facebook, blog, etc.) that the duel is on. Whosoever gets the most sales for the month of June is declared the winner.

Weapon: 1 title of your choice. I’ve only got one at the moment, so I’ll obviously be going with that.

Stakes: (Apart from glory, of course) Should I win, you must write and eventually publish a short story called “Why Jonas is Great.” In the much more likely event of my downfall, I’ll write and publish a story called “The Day Chicago Joe Kicked My Ass.” 

Beneficiaries:(Apart from the competitors, the readers, and all self-pubbed or soon-to-be-so out there) Win or lose, I’d be willing to give 50% of my profits earned in June to Kickstarter programs and help keep the art cycle going.  You’ve already donated profits regularly to various causes; perhaps you’d be willing to match my 50% on the title you choose? 

And there it is, folks. Can a relative-unknown compete with a towering literary juggernaut? The challenge is made. Do you think he’ll show? Joe, if you’re out there, does this sound like something fun? You don’t strike me as the bashful type.After this, I fully intend to challenge Barry Eisler to a live Judo match at a writing conference. (Beware the  sankaku, my friend, even from a mere shodan)


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6 Responses to “An Open Challenge to JA Konrath”

  1. Barry Dashwood Says:

    Hi again.

    I don’t know if the mighty Joe will take you up on your challenge, but my suggestion is you start work on your story about now!!!

    No offence, but he’s got rather a large start on you, and you’re (lovely!) book is currently listed as free. Are you intending to charge for it on Jun 1 after it being free for a couple of months?

    Joe is the reason I came back to writing after being disillusioned, and he’s the reason I’m now reading and writing with a vengeance to get as much published as I can before the grim reaper harvests me.

    A writer I forget was once asked if he knew he only had a few hours to live, what would he do, and the answer was ‘type faster’. That’s about how I feel right now.

    Regards and good luck, hope you pull it off, Barry.

  2. Jonas Samuelle Says:

    @Barry- He’s an inspiration, alright. That’s why he’s perfect for this challenge. He can serve as further inspiration with the contest, and I can play a part in bringing folks such as yourself back to writing. Besides, why pick on a little guy?

    The book is free for the first month; I’ll start charging on May 25th. I announced the promotion all over the web, but may have (ironically) neglected to put it on the blog.

    Thanks for your well wishes and support, and keep writing with a vengence. Every second, a star dies somewhere in the universe. The way I see it, there’s no time to spare.

  3. Jonas Samuelle Says:

    I also don’t want it to seem like he’d be a bad guy for turning me down. As I said, he’s donated to various causes already. So, dear readers, don’t harass him should he decline.

  4. Richard Godwin Says:

    This is one I am really interested in following. Great idea Jonas nice place you have here.

  5. Selena Blake Says:

    Good luck on that. Has he taken up your challenge?

  6. Joan Hall Hovey Says:

    Hi, Jonas,
    I’m not self-published but with a small Canadian Publisher, BWLPP, and have 4 suspense novels out, the first 2 with a tradition NY publisher. So – I think taking Joe on is a very clever idea you have here to get your book noticed. And I think this is the key – not promoting more but promoting smarter. Many of my colleages have simply no idea how to market effectively, outside of the usual blogging,getting reviews and so on. Joe says have a good book (my latest has 17 wow reviews on amazon) so I’ve done that. I love my cover, and the blurb grabs the reader, I’ve been told. Doing okay, but would like to do better. Do you hear the chorus behind me? -:)
    Let’s have more ‘smart’ marketing ideas from the brilliant marketers among you.

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