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Be the Monkey: A Conversation About the New World of Publishing Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Sure, the advent of digital books is the most significant development in publishing since Gutenberg. But what does digital mean really, for agents, publishers, and most of all, for authors? What will the industry look like tomorrow, and what should authors be doing to properly position themselves today?

Examining the history and mechanics of the publishing industry as it ex
Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published (first published March 18th 2011)
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Alain Burrese
"Be The Monkey" makes sense after you read this eBook, but "EBooks and Self-Publishing: A Conversation Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath" describes this eBook much better. When reading, you must remember that this is a conversation between two authors, who are also friends, so you find some kidding and joking around, a little self-promotion, and a lot of practical and motivating advice for anyone wanting to enter the world of self-publishing, especially self-publishing electronic book ...more
Susan Peterson
I didn’t want to like this book. The authors are confident to the point of arrogance. The humor is sometimes crude. I don’t really read the kinds of books they write. But about a third of the way through the book, one fact kept asserting itself: these guys know the business. They know what it takes to make a decent living self publishing. And the more they talked about traditional publishing companies, or “legacy publishing” as they call it, the more I recognized my own experience. It’s frustrat ...more
Bojan Tunguz
The publishing world is going through, to use an overused cliché, a tectonic change. The advent of online and electronic publishing are changing the way that we consume and promote published words in the greatest such shift since Gutenberg.

“Be the Monkey” is a book-length conversation (or in fact a series of conversations) between the best-selling authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath on several topics relating to the current state of the publishing industry, and all the advantages of publishing
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Electronic publishing is still a new-enough enterprise that – as screenwriter William Goldman famously said of Hollywood – “nobody knows anything” about the how to reliably succeed. That said, Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath know more than most. Both are successful writers of electronically published novels, and Eisler – who began his career writing traditionally published thrillers – famously turned down a lucrative offer from St. Martins to write two more, because he saw electronic publishing as ...more
Miguel Pulido
He disfrutado bastante con la conversación entre Joe Konrath y Barry Eisler. No solo ambos son unos autores experimentados de los que se puede aprender mucho sino que los temas sobre los que dialogan son muy interesantes. Partiendo del rechazo de Barry Eisler de un contrato editorial de medio millón de dólares para autopublicarse, Be the Monkey es un diálogo muy instructivo sobre los pros y los contras de la publicación tradicional y la autopublicación, con la cantidad justa de bromas de mal gus ...more
W.E. Linde
Feb 08, 2012 W.E. Linde rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all writers
Recommended to W.E. by: Crutnacker
Insightful and quite educational. This ebook is actually a series of conversations between Eisler and Konrath as they discuss the merits of self publishing and the problems of what they've dubbed "legacy publishing."

This is not so much a "how to" book as it a "why to" book. These two writers articulate exceedingly well the reasons for all authors, new and established, to consider self publishing. The fact that both are established (and commercially successful) authors gives them a great deal of
Becca Mills
If you're an indie author, you likely know about Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath.

Eisler is famous (in the publishing world, anyway) for having turned down a half-million-dollar contract with St. Martin's in favor of self-publishing. Konrath is the granddaddy of self-publishing. Reading his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, from Day 1 to the present is highly recommended for anyone thinking of going indie. For such folks, hearing Eisler and Konrath chew the fat is not to be missed. And the book
A.C. James
I will preface this by saying I don’t typically write reviews. I simply click the yellow star to rate it but after reading this I feel compelled to say something. It’s not that I don’t believe in myself as a writer or that I’m not patient enough to wait for an agent to read my manuscript and get back to me. Well… maybe that’s not entirely true. I’ve been waiting for an agent to get back to me. They seemed enthusiastic to my premise when I met them at a conference. The self-proclaimed turnaround ...more
B.D. Crowell
This book was so wrong... and yet so right. It was a quick read, packed full of good content. This fine book follows the conversation between two authors who have found success in traditional and self-publishing. Through the conversation, we get to share their experiences, ideas, wisdom, and laugh-out-loud humor (if you're into that sort of dry, twisted humor). I'm grateful that these two very intelligent, successful writers have been generous enough to share with the rest of us what they're lea ...more
This little book is a must-read for authors. It's a conversation between two best-selling legacy authors who decided to go the self-publishing route.

What was interesting to me is how little of the discussion had to do with money (Eisler turned down a $500K contract to self-publish) and how much of it had to do with control and keeping a back catalog available. This, to me, is a major advantage over going with an independent press or self-publishing by comparison to legacy publishers.

It was also
Joy Farrington
An satiric version of APE: Authors Publishers Entrepreneurs. Good book. Good Tips. Funny Book. But in my opinion, APE will serve you better in the long run.
I was pleasantly surprised (though I shouldn't have been) at how enjoyable this book was to read. I expected to learn a lot, and I wasn't disappointed, but I did't expect to be so entertained while these guys were teaching. The discussion format works well, allowing the authors to clarify their own and each other's points as needed, or to disagree. the arguments are persuasive and backed up with facts and numbers. They're not the only opinions I'll listen to on the subject, but this was a very w ...more
Ann Busbey
As a recent entrant into the world of self-publishing, I am eager to learn as much as possible. This book, by two authors who have found success in both legacy and eBook publishing, offered insights that greatly benefit those of us who are just starting out. It is packed with information and resources to assist in making smart decisions as an aspiring author. I felt they belabored the negatives of the Big Six publishers just a bit, but overall, I think this is a must-read for the well-informed w ...more
I downloaded a free copy of this book from
I got this as a free Kindle book and skimmed a fair amount of it. The section headlines are nice as they allowed me to pick and choose what was the most interesting. The conversational nature of the ebook was nice at first, but got a little tedious by the end.

However, I like it because it's a good snapshot of the state of book publishing from two authors who have published through Amazon, legacy publishers and on their own. If you want to know where the industry is heading, this isn't a bad plac
A couple of guys who are making a mint writing what looks like the world's worst genre fiction in ebook sit around trading compliments. They can't decide which one is most brilliant between the two of them. One thing they can agree on is that "legacy publishers" are a buncha FN idiots. It's a wonder they don't get run over by a car or something on the way to their swanky offices! These guys may be right, but they don't do their argument any favor coming off as salty as they do.
Tasha Turner
Interesting read. Seeing where both authors came from and their changes in directions and why is helpful in understanding them and their blogs and followers better. I love the conversational back and forth as they tackle each topic. Their sense of humor can be a bit warped. The book is not full of tips on self-publishing but more on why they went from traditional to self-publishing to a mix of self-publishing/publishing under Amazon imprint.
Susan Visser
I got this book for free and am enjoying it very much. I'm only 10% into the book so far but I am convinced that ebooks / self-publishing are the way to go, even for top tier authors.

I liked the book and the messages very much. It was done in a conversational manner, which made it fun, but very repetitive. I think anyone who is considering writing a book should read this.
Wendy Bertsch
This dialogue between two successful authors is a must-read for any author trying to find their way in the current publishing chaos.

They have a businesslike, pragmatic approach to the options that make sense as the options available shift.

Their solutions make sense...for them. The rest of us have to make our own way...but the facts and opinions they present are compelling.
B.K. Birch
This book poses a great argument of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. I hated the source of the title though. If the other content wasn't so applicable to my situation, I would have returned the book.
Christine Edison
This book echoes much of what I've been hearing recently about the publishing industry and the shift to digital publishing. Konrath and Eisler have been at the forefront of the movement toward self-publishing online, and here they give lots of reasons why authors should consider doing the same. An essential resource for writers looking at the changing landscape of publishing.
Mars Dorian
Good conversation between two bestselling authors who switched from traditional to self-publishing.
They talk about the advantages of indie publishing, why the traditional model is busted, and various price ideas, strategies and tips on thriving as a self-published author in the digital age.

Learned a lot !
Suzie Quint
Though this is a bit dated, everything in it is still valid. Some of what they talk about has even come to pass. (That's the dated part but it just gives veracity to everything else.) Absolutely worth reading by anyone who is considering how they want to be published.
Adam Pepper
You can agree or disagree with their views and their career moves. You can call these two trailblazers with balls of steel, or blowhards with gargantuan egos. But if you’re in the industry, or circling its periphery, you must read this.
Apr 13, 2012 Adrian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers, aspiring writers, anyone interested in an inside look at the trade
Shelves: read-2012
If you're a writer I'd say definitely be the monkey. If you're in any way easily shocked/horrified/sickened...don't click the monkey video link! :)

A very entertaining look into indie publishing on the Kindle and other formats.
Devin Lind
As someone who's interested in writing, I've begun to look into various ways to reach potential readers. I picked this up, and found it to be an interesting, fun - and not to mention, educational - read.
James Tuck
Alright. It was a good, frank discussion with a lot of good points. I came away with the feeling that I need to write more.

Worth reading if you are debating back and forth on your writing career.
This book is a fantastic back-and-forth between Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath; two publishing mid-listers that struck out on their own and became publishing giants. Every author should read this!
Maria (Ri)
Wow, this certainly was an education for me about the world of self publishing! I am so glad that I came across this one! I feel like it is the harbinger of the world to come. :)
I like the snarky writing style, and the information provided should make every author consider indie publishing. Legacy publishers take too much for what they provide.
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Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous " ...more
More about Barry Eisler...
A Clean Kill in Tokyo (John Rain, #1) A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain, #2) Redemption Games (John Rain, #4) Extremis (John Rain, #5) Winner Take All (John Rain, #3)

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