In June 2011, Louisville, Kentucky, author John Locke became the 8th writer to join bestselling authors Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and crime writer Michael Connelly in the Kindle Million Club. That is, he sold a million copies of his 9 titles via Amazon’s online publishing programme and bookstore, Kindle Direct Publishing. (KDP)
Locke, 60, writes part-time as he has his own insurance agency – but he only needs to write part-time given that he was still able to produce nine titles and sell a million copies via KDP.
His downloadable crime thrillers and Westerns are priced at between 80 cents and just over a dollar and rapidly achieved sales of hundreds of thousands of copies. He earns around 40 cents from each sale.
Now Locke has, understandably, written an ebook, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, to add to his catalogue of ebooks.
Kindle Direct Publishing has turned into a huge bookselling success,with self-published authors like Locke able to sell a million ebook copies with no big publisher or marketing campaign to promote them. So successful is Kindle that Amazon announced in May 2011 that Kindle e-books were outselling physical paperbacks and hardbacks combined.
Seven of Amazon’s bestselling Kindle ebook titles cost less than a dollar. For the moment, Kindle creates a level playing field for authors in the sense that there is no elite group promoted at the expense of others. This is clearly not the case in bookshops where publishers pay to promote certain authors and titles in prime positions and to hold book launches, author signings and readings.
Commercial publishers will look on the success of self-publishing writers like Locke with dismay. Their business does not welcome readers buying self-published ebooks online for under a dollar. Paradoxically this means that publishers will try to pick up Kindle’s best-selling self-published authors and make a deal with them to take them out of the self-publishing process.
This happened with writer, Amanda Hocking, a young writer of self-published e-books from Minnesota, in 2011. She was offered a 2 million dollar deal bySt Martin’s Press in New York to write four books for young adults. Rather than stay independently published online, she accepted.
Locke’s most popular fictional character is a former CIA assassin, Donovan Creed. Creed first appeared in Lethal People, published as an ebook in March 2010. Saving Rachel, which also features Creed, was Kindle’s bestselling title for three weeks and Locke has had three other titles in Kindle’s Top 10 bestselling ebook list. June and July 2010 see the publication of Locke’s 8th Creed book and his 3rd Western – Emmett & Gentry.
Personally, I have one title for sale on Kindle – Present Tense – agentle story of midlife set in southern France. I can’t say I’ve sold a million copies yet. But every copy counts.
Present Tense is at: http://www.amazon.com/Present-Tense-ebook/dp/B004CFAS7O