There’s something to the trend of Amazon both publishing and selling books, particularly fiction. My debut novel is doing okay, and apparently making waves now, but I’m not in the league of Amazon’s latest super author, Dean Koontz.
When Dean Koontz’s book contract expired last year, his stature as one of the country’s top-selling authors made him a hot target for several major publishing houses. He chose Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -1.16%
It was a surprising move because it means his new books likely won’t appear in retail stores, which generally boycott Amazon AMZN -1.16% -published titles. But Mr. Koontz is banking on Amazon’s vast retail machine to get his work to readers, whether in physical or digital formats.
“Maybe I won’t be in some stores or make the New York Times best-seller list, but I’m willing to take that risk and I think we’ll sell more books in all formats,” Mr. Koontz said.
Amazon dominates the U.S. book-retail market—accounting for over half of all new books sold in October, according to research firm Codex Group—but it is also a force as a book publisher. Signing up blue-chip authors like Mr. Koontz could make the tech giant an even more formidable threat to the traditional industry, led by publishing houses such as Penguin Random House, which is controlled by Germany’s Bertelsmann SE, ViacomCBS Inc.’s Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins Publishers, which is owned by Wall Street Journal parent News Corp.
Mr. Koontz’s first novel for Amazon is expected to publish March 31. He already has published a collection of short stories, “Nameless,” that generated over a million downloads in the first month after its debut last November. The stories are available only as e-books and audiobooks.
Mr. Koontz, whose over 100 books include hits like “Odd Thomas” and “Watchers,” isn’t the only high-profile writer Amazon Publishing has snared. In 2018, Patricia Cornwell signed a two-book deal; the first novel, “Quantum,” was published last October and enjoyed brisk downloads despite poor reviews. Both Mr. Koontz and Ms. Cornwell are in the top 25 of all currently published U.S. adult fiction writers, as measured by the size of their most dedicated fan bases, according to consumer surveys by Codex.
I am not in the, uh, top 20. But, getting there! (?) A million sales in the first month; I think I could handle that. Go Koontz!