< An Early Success From Amazon Publishing

Transcript

Friday, August 19, 2011

BOB GARFIELD:

Amazon publishing could be the answer to some authors’ prayers. Take, for example, Deborah  Reed. Today she's the author both of the bestselling thriller A Small Fortune, which she wrote under the pen name Audrey Braun,  and the forthcoming literary novel Carry Yourself Back to Me. Both are published by Amazon.

But a year ago when she was pitching Carry Yourself Back to Me to traditional publishers, she was collecting rejection slips. Sensing that her agent was about to give up, Reed took matters into her own hands.

DEBORAH REED:

And so, I went behind her back and I entered it into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. And I didn't win that contest, but Amazon Publishing’s editors had access to the manuscripts, and they pulled Carry Yourself Back to Me out of the pile, and the editor contacted me about the possibility of publishing it.

BOB GARFIELD:

Meanwhile, you and your husband had a funny dinner conversation that turned into - a different project.

DEBORAH REED:

I had read an article in The New York Times about genre books weathering the recession pretty well. And so, as a joke my husband and I came up with this genre book, a mystery thriller. We just batted it back and forth over dinner one night and came up this entire story. And it was just a joke.

And the – and the next day though I couldn't get these scenes out of my head. And so, I put some down and just kept writing and writing and within four months I had this entire manuscript.

BOB GARFIELD:

And you go to traditional publishers with that. What did they say to you?

DEBORAH REED:

All of them rejected it. One of them said that she read it cover to cover, couldn't put it down, but it was too much like one of the bestselling authors on their list, and she couldn't have us both competing for the same shelf space at Barnes & Noble.

I ended up self publishing - a small fortune - under a pen name of Audrey Braun, as an e-book on Amazon's web site, as well as a pub— publish-on-demand paperback. And the book started selling like crazy as an e-book.

BOB GARFIELD:

Now, let's carry ourselves back to Carry Yourself Back to Me. [LAUGHS]

[DEBORAH LAUGHS]

You get an email from an editor at Amazon Encore, one of its publishing imprints. And he says, I am very impressed with your writing, let's talk about publishing. And you said to him, well, that's great. Oh and, by the way:

DEBORAH REED:

I'm also Audrey Braun, who has written A Small Fortune [BOB LAUGHS] which is selling really well right now on – on Amazon. This is over email.

And he immediately emailed back and said, I’m – I’m absolutely stunned because I have Audrey’s book on my Kindle and was intending to get in touch with Audrey also about a book contract. [BOB LAUGHS] So.

BOB GARFIELD:

So the next thing you know you have a three-book among Amazon, you and Audrey, who is also you.

DEBORAH REED:

That's correct. [LAUGHING] That’s correct.

BOB GARFIELD:

Sales for A Small Fortune have been phenomenal. Give me the numbers.

DEBORAH REED:

It came in on the very first day – A Small Fortune hit the top ten in e-books, and it’s remained in the top twenty in fiction, genre fiction and - and mystery thrillers.

BOB GARFIELD:

Some of this you can attribute to the quality of the manuscript, but there's a whole lot of other stuff going on. What's the other stuff that's going on? What has Amazon done for you?

DEBORAH REED:

They have the advantage of all of that advertising real estate online. They have the advantage of being in touch with all of their customers who have purchased mystery books before or other books that might be similar to mine. They have such an advantage when it comes to contacting readers, basically one on one.

I’m an Amazon customer and I actually received an email about new mystery books coming out and, lo and behold, there was my own book in the email. So it's that's sort of thing that does give them [BOB LAUGHING] an edge. [LAUGHING]

BOB GARFIELD:

You got spammed with an ad for you.

DEBORAH REED:

[LAUGHS] For myself, yeah. And, you know, they used my book in a Kindle ad, on the front of Amazon.com.

And don't forget, it's kind of a worldwide venture that's going on right now. My U.K. sales are also very good in the e-book at the moment.

BOB GARFIELD:

Which personality is going to survive this? Is it going to be Audrey, the genre writer, or Deborah, the literary novelist?

DEBORAH REED:

Long term, I will just carry on – on both tracks.

BOB GARFIELD:

Have you set aside in your household budget any money for therapy sessions to deal with your nascent case of multiple personality disorder?

DEBORAH REED:

I actually think that Audrey Braun has released Deborah Reed from a lot of her neurosis. She sort of has this no nonsense get over yourself attitude. She will sit down and she will get the work done, and she doesn't self edit. She's not insecure or self critical, she just writes. And she just has a ball.

BOB GARFIELD:

Deborah, thank you for joining us.

DEBORAH REED:

Oh, thank you so much for having me.

BOB GARFIELD:

Deborah Reed is the author of Carry Yourself Back to Me. She is also the author, as Audrey Braun, of A Small Fortune.