john locke

John Locke Wants to Set the Record Straight

What’s so special about today?  That’s the day my self-published novel, Wish List, becomes available in book stores and retail outlets across the nation!

For the past five months indie authors, book bloggers, journalists, readers, and even close friends have asked for details about “The Simon & Schuster Distribution Deal.” Last August when it was first announced, indie and Kindle boards were buzzing about whether or not I’d “sold out.”

Frankly, I don’t get the whole “selling out” notion. Ninety-nine percent of the self-published authors with whom I’ve conversed would give anything to get a book deal with a major publisher. Had I secured one, why should indie authors be upset with me? And how would my getting a huge book deal hurt other indie authors? Wouldn’t it help?

If there’s a battle raging between indie and trad publishing, I’ve never been in it. I don’t wake up each day with a chip on my shoulder, thinking up ways to bring down the establishment! I’m just another indie author trying to build a reader base. I happen to prefer being independent, but that’s just me. When indie authors get big publishing deals, I’m very happy for them, and that’s the truth.


From the day I completed my first novel I believed a bridge could be built between indie authors and traditional publishers, a bridge that would lead to retail outlets and newspaper book reviews. Thanks to Simon & Schuster, a forward-thinking company that understands the power, mindset, and value of indie authors, it’s about to happen.

I believe there will eventually be several lanes of traffic crossing this bridge into retail sales, and each lane will have their own risk-reward toll booths. In the lane I’ve chosen, Simon & Schuster did not pay me for distribution rights. The way it works, they receive a fee to distribute my books under my imprint, John Locke Books. That sounds stark, but here’s the kicker: S&S has gone out of their way to help me succeed in this endeavor. They’ve provided sales and marketing, accounting and tracking services, valuable advice and insight, and they’re overseeing all facets of production from printing to warehousing to shipping, and more.

I retain all rights to my books and ebooks.  Let me say that again: I retain all rights to my books and S&S is helping me reach an audience I would never be able to reach on my own. To my knowledge, this type of arrangement has never been done before, but if it works, I expect some form of what we’re doing to become commonplace.

Simon & Schuster is a perfect example of a traditional publisher not only embracing the new publishing paradigm, but leading the way into the future of what publishing can be. In every phase of our dealings they’ve shown nothing but complete respect for me, and I’m happy to report they’re interested in helping other self-published authors make the transition to retail outlets.

Are you rolling your eyes at me? I can already hear some of you saying Simon & Schuster has got me drinking the corporate Kool-Aid!

Well let me tell you something. I’m not some wide-eyed novice when it comes to dealing with major players in the business world. I’ve been around the block. Simon & Schuster is not a stodgy old group of fat cats who don’t get it. This is a first-class company with cutting-edge ideas. This is a company in motion!

I owe so much to S&S, and especially their sales team. See, I’m an old sales guy. When I was in the field, I owned the field. Ask around, if you don’t believe me. The point is I know a great sales force when I see it. And the sales force at S&S is amazing. These are my kind of people! I’ve seen first-hand what they can do. They’re a dynamic bunch, and without their enthusiasm, belief, and commitment, none of this would have happened.

If I’m being completely honest, before our first conversation, I expected management to be condescending. But I was wrong. From day one they’ve been completely supportive. They’re not afraid I might succeed and upset the publishing apple cart. They actually want me to succeed!

What I’m saying, we’ve become a team, working toward the same goal. I believe in this company, Simon & Schuster. I like them, and…I trust them. As I said, they are earnestly seeking best selling indie ebook authors for distribution deals. It’s pretty cool to see these changes taking place in the world of publishing, don’t you think?

Simon & Schuster believes in us. But others are taking a “wait-and-see” attitude.

I hope you’ll help me sell the retail world on the idea that self-published authors belong on bookstore shelves. One way is to swing by Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, or one of the many airport bookstores and other book retailers this week. Go to the mass-market paperback section and pick up a copy of Wish List. It’s a wild ride, Wish List, but you can handle it! How much will it set you back? $4.99. Even less, in some places. In other words, about the price of a cup of coffee! Why so little? Because I get to set the price! Of course S&S could make more if I charged more, and so could I. But in my experience, when you put the reader first, great things happen.

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