Sunday, April 3, 2011


Back in January, John Locke played 5 questions with me here at Strong Scenes.  He's the author of the wildy successful Donovan Creed series of novels.  Back then he'd only had 3 Kindle  novels published at .99 cents each.  His latest at the time, "Saving Rachel," was #15 on the Kindle bestseller list.  Pretty amazing for a guy without a major publishing house or publicity campaign to support him.

Fast forward 3 months.  The guy is blowing up.  He currently has 4 novels in the top 20 of Kindle's bestseller list, hitting the top spot with regularity.  Even though he could easily price his books at a higher price, he maintains the .99 cents price and readers all over the world are discovering his talent for writing exciting thrillers with witty dialogue.  Now his seventh Donovan Creed novel, "Vegas Moon," has just come to market and already the buzz is deafening. 

Why is this important to writers and readers alike?  Because major publishing companies have been ignoring the John Locke's of the world for far too long.  Instead of discovering new talent, New York publishers have decided to stick their marketing money behind brand name authors and forget anything novel.  And when I say brand name authors I mean brand name period.  Because even though supermodel Tyra Banks is not exactly know for her literary skills, she's received a large chunk of money for a 3-book deal with Random House.  Really?  Tara Banks?  It's the same reason Hollywood is releasing no less than 27 sequels this summer. 

Does this mean big name authors aren't worth the money?  Of course not.  I just spent 17 bucks on Nelson Demille's latest novel, "The Lion," and it's worth every penny.  It's just that now I have more choices, that's all.

So where will readers find new talent?  Bingo!  The Kindles and Nooks of the world are gamechangers.  Big name authors can't afford to sell their books at .99 cents because they have agents and publishers and publicists and who knows who else with their hands out, they can't make a living at that price point.  So here comes John Locke with his ability to create fantastic thrillers with pitch-perfect dialogue.  Without Locke, readers might fall prey to lesser skilled indie authors and get a sour taste in their mouth.  They might not give other talented authors a chance and resort to paying 10 bucks for an author with a brand name--like Tyra Banks.  See what I mean?  John Locke, and Amanda Hocking, and J.A. Konrath are quite possibly the most important writers in the country right now.

Without them, we'd be forced to read the latest Sci-Fi thriller by first-time novelist, Charlie Sheen.  See?


  1. YAY, John! Excellent post, Gary! I hope this doesn't make me a criminal selling my e-books at $4! :)

  2. Gary, What a great Blog. John (and you) have brought a lot of pleasurable reading to us OOU's. It truly is like being able to take a breathe of fresh air vs. stale same ole same ole air. Not naming names, but how do some of the name Authors come out w/so dang many books? Quality or Quantity....Thank goodness John Locke gives us both. I am anxiously awaiting your follow up Nick Bracco Book. Maryruth

  3. Claude, at $4.00 your books are a bargain. The fact that John maintains that .99 cent price is amazing. I don't understand it, but it works for him. I guess you put terrific writing with inexpensive pricing and what you get is John Locke.

    Maryruth, it's people like John who are giving other indie authors a good name. Readers are taking a chance on them because of John's triumph on Kindle.

  4. Entertaining and informative post Gary, and so very true on many levels. As authors and readers the choice and opportunity have never been greater.

  5. I could not agree more. Hats off to John and the rest!

  6. Gary, great post...I am so glad that there are pioneers out there who are making it easier for indie authors to find a way to sell our books. Thanks to you, John Locke and many others for blazing the trail.



  7. Great post Gary. Truly an inspiration. I'm at the point where I don't want to spend more than .99 to 4.99 for any ebook, no matter who wrote it.

  8. Great post, Gary. To show how much I agree, I'd like to cut and paste the last few paragraphs of something I wrote about this a little while back...

    A very short time ago, books were very expensive to print and very difficult to distribute. The gatekeepers were firmly entrenched in a New York based business that had a strangle hold on the magic elixir (Distribution).

    Imagine that you have been guarding the same bridge for one hundred years, then the water in the river suddenly drains and there is no need for your bridge.

    “Oh my God,” some of you might say, “I LIVE on the other side of that bridge! Doesn’t this mean that there will be a flood of crap writing from every wannabe poet and novelist who couldn’t get by the Gatekeepers?”

    I’ve got two answers for that.

    First, in 1977 there was a movie that was even better than Stars Wars. But even Alan Ladd Jr. wasn’t interested. So I never saw it. You never saw it. Nobody will ever see it because it doesn’t exist. (I'm obviously just joking to make a point here because, as everybody knows, there has never been a movie better than Star Wars).

    And second, Yes. Yes, of course there will be tons of crap. But unless there is something terribly wrong with you, you ought to be able to recognize and easily side step crap.

    But keep your eyes open because there will be a lot of other things coming as well.

    There will be beautifully written stories in which nobody but the teller had a say in how much or how little sex and violence “needed” to be in it or not in it. Or in how long or short a book must be in order to save on printing costs. Or in who lives and dies in the end.

    There will be concepts that are so different from whatever was successful last year that they will shock and delight you. Rules will be broken for worse or for better. And readers who are not gatekeepers will find that there are books out there written, it will seem, just for them.

    And new things that work, new things that are good, new things that may surprise will be picked up by those for whom they were intended. Word will spread to others who like the same things, and before you know it, somewhere within the millions of diverse minds, tastes, and interests that exist in cyberspace, audiences will come together. Perhaps so small that they are barely a blip on the world wide web, but easily large enough for writers they enjoy, to write for.

    Oh, and I almost forgot. With little-to-no overhead costs, books can be incredibly cheap.

  9. Thank Sean. I appreciate your input.
    Stephen, you're quite the prognosticator. Any idea who's going to win the Kentucky Derby this year? I could use the money.

  10. Agreeable post Gary. Tweeted it out to my mob.

    PS. Did you know that the disagreeable character Oedipus Snark in 'Corduroy Mansions' (Alexander McCall Smith) ends every sentence with 'See?"


  11. That's funny, Jonathan I did not know that, but I will sure look it up. Also, thanks for the RT. The digital world is changing by the hour. Just think about our little exchange here. This wouldn't have happened a decade ago. A decade that's nothing.

  12. Great post, Gary.

    Having blown through 4 of JL's books, I can attest to their extreme readability, that quality that keeps me turning the page and then looking for the next book. AH's books did the same to me. There are all kinds of ways to judge fiction, but I think that quality ought to be what all commercial fiction writers strive to attain. But the old gatekeepers probably would have found fault with JL's work just like they did with AH's.

    I'm so glad the readers are the gatekeepers now.

    Kendall Swan

  13. My new favorite thing about Kindle: the SAMPLE button. After buying a few books (both indie and publishing house-backed) that weren't worth the money, I began previewing anything that had an interesting premise. In only one instance have I been disappointed after actually buying, and in several I figured out - for free - after a chapter or two that the book wasn't my cup of tea. This is SO much easier than standing in a bookstore trying to guess from a million spines which books I might like. I suspect John Locke is one of many authors who have and/or will benefit from the rise of the ebook and this new way to find great authors.

  14. I just got a kindle and have discovered the wonderful work and world of John Locke, and other indie authors. Over the years, I have read big named authors and mostly they come through for me in terms of enjoyment..But on occasion, I see that they have been pushed into publishing a book when it wasn't ready or they ran out of ideas and had a timeline to meet. And that is disappointing.

    The beauty of the indie authors is that they are not part of a big business machine and are only accountable to themselves and to their reading public who appreciates their talent.

    It is a wonderful experience for the authors who get direct feedback from their readers and the readers who get direct feedback from the authors. It is a great relationship and one I hope doesn't change.

    Hang in there - new talent is always appreciated. Kindle and other ereaders and indie authors have changed the Book publishing world and for the better.

    Thank you, Marjean

  15. My Kindle has opened a wide new world and it's name is Indie.

    I get to enjoy reading fantastic authors without sacrificing this months tuition payment.

    Keep it up, Please!!

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