Dean Koontz Devoted to Amazon Publishing as it spends big again in ‘rejuvenating’ five-book deal

Amazon Publishing has signed up smash-hit horror best-seller Dean Koontz in a deal which the author says has ‘creatively rejuvenated’ him.

The deal is for five books and a collection of six short thrillers. The thriller collection, called Nameless, will be published in November this year through Amazon Original Stories and will be available ‘free’ to members of Amazon Prime and/or Kindle Unlimited in a move that could see J K Rowling’s Harry Potter dominance of Amazon’s Most Read Charts seriously threatened.

The first novel in the Amazon/Koontz contract is called Devoted and will be published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint in spring 2019.

Koontz, a long-time Penguin Random House author, says, ‘Although there were numerous options for the future, it was most natural to sign with the team at Amazon Publishing, which presented a marketing and publicity plan smarter and more ambitious than anything I’d ever seen before.

‘This new arrangement is so exciting, I’ve been creatively rejuvenated. The times are changing, and it’s invigorating to be where change is understood and embraced.’

Amazon Publishing Editorial Director Grace Doyle acquired North American rights in the five-book deal for the mystery, thriller, and true crime imprint, Thomas & Mercer, and Editorial Director Julia Sommerfeld acquired World English in the collection deal for the digital and audio-only imprint, Amazon Original Stories.

Devoted is described as an epic thriller and introduces readers to Megan Bookman, an artist and widow whose every adversity has made her stronger, a golden retriever named Kipp — one of a community of self-aware, strangely gifted dogs living secretly among us — and Megan’s son Woody, a brilliant but unspeaking autistic boy who seeks vengeance against his father’s killers. Kipp, Woody, Megan, and their extended family confront a terrifying threat to all humanity.

The Nameless collection features six short thrillers following a mysterious amnesiac vigilante called Nameless, who travels from town to town, dispensing justice when the law fails. Directed by a shadowy, powerful organization and driven by splintered visions of the past and future, he’s headed toward the ultimate confrontation with his own past.

Koontz’s book have sold over 500 million copies to date and he has hit the top spot on the New York Times hardcover best-seller list 14 times, making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback.

It looks like Koontz has been lured by Amazon’s marketing might in the digital book world where they reign in the ebook and audiobook markets. Most traditional publishers offer authors around 25% for ebook royalties while Amazon Publishing pays around 50%, and perhaps even more in the case of Koontz.

It’s difficult to say what the deal will be in terms of payment for Kindle Unlimited borrows as Koontz won’t be going through the KDP Select Fund route, but it is generally accepted that Amazon pays trad authors in KU at around the same rate per borrow that they would be paid for a sale.

If that’s the case, as it’s also believed to be with J K Rowling’s Harry Potter titles, then Amazon could be paying out very substantial sums but they are a company that’s not reluctant to spend big to build up market share. As the video streaming market is discovering, content really is king.

There’s no cash details in the announcement of the Koontz coup but Amazon Publishing’s Montlake Romance imprint did reveal in April this year that they were paying ‘a seven-figure sum’ for erotica author Sylvia Day’s new book, Butterfly in Frost, which is being published in August.

Seven figures is somewhere between $1 million and $9 million and that appears to be for just the one book, so it’s no wonder that Koontz is feeling rejuvenated as the Amazon link-up will bring a whole new life to his bank account.

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