My horror ebook Endurance, written under my pen name Jack Kilborn, launched on Kindle on June 19th.
Amazon is working the bugs out of their new software, so my sales numbers for the 19th aren't currently showing up. I only have sales numbers for the last 60 hours.
So how have these last 60 hours been?
In the last 60 hours, at the new 70% royalty rate, Endurance has earned $1346 on Kindle.
Trapped, another Kilborn novel, went live today, joining the 15 other self-published ebooks I have currently available on Amazon.
In less than three days, I've earned over $2300. This is net, not gross. Money in my pocket.
I certainly don't expect these numbers to stay this strong. Eventually the sales of my two new books will slow down.
But my prediction from several months ago seems to be coming true. If I can sell 5000 ebooks a month (which I've already been doing without Trapped and Endurance) I'll make over $120,000 per year.
Now that I've learned that readers are interested in my new titles, I can continue to write ebooks for Kindle (and other ebook readers) as a full time job. But unlike the traditional print industry, which only wanted a book a year from me and then took 18 months to publish that book, I can now release several titles per year, as soon as they're ready to go.
Can every writer do the same thing I'm doing?
The Internet doesn't seem to think so. Everywhere I see people talking about this, they say I'm an exception, and no one else will have this same success.
As my friend Barry Eisler says, "The first-mover is, by definition, an exception." And there is a compelling school of thought about first-mover advantage.
But I'm not a company, and I'm not competing for dollars. I'm not cornering the Kindle market, or preventing others from succeeding. I'm not doing this in a supply-and-demand, limited resource business model.
In fact, I'm not the only self-pubbed writer in the Kindle Top 100. Others are doing the same things I am, and in some cases, doing better.
People believe I'm an exception because they don't know (or don't want to hear) about others doing the same thing. I'm the only one they've heard about, so I'm a fluke. I must be. I have to be. Otherwise, it doesn't fit their preconceptions.
Here's what I think is going to happen:
Those with closed minds are going to keep calling me an exception, because that will make them feel better.
Those with lofty dreams will try to do the same thing I'm doing, and the majority won't do nearly as well. Some may fail miserably.
But some won't fail. Some will follow my example, and do even better than I'm doing.
In the meantime, NY Publishing will continue to alienate both authors and customers with low royalties and high ebook prices and their dedication to print.
By the end of this year, we'll see $99 ereading devices. This technology is going to take over, just like mp3 players replaced the traditional stereo.
Some writers will understand this, take a shot, and make some money.
Some will wait around and see what happens.
Now, I certainly don't want to be responsible for a bunch of crummy writers flooding the Kindle market with crap. And I certainly don't want to take the blame if a writer voids his print contract in order to self-publish, and then sells poorly.
In fact, I don't want to tell any writer what they should or shouldn't do.
You need to set your own goals, learn as much as you can, and weigh the pros and cons. Don't blindly follow me, or blindly follow anyone. Don't think you can do as well as me, or as well as anyone else. You should never compare yourself to other writers.
There are no easy paths to success. It's always about hard work and getting lucky.
That said, I just rechecked my numbers. In the forty minutes it has taken me to write this blog post, I made $43 on Kindle.
It would take a great deal of money before I ever signed a print deal again. And that liberation is easily the most wonderful feeling I've ever had in my career.
Your mileage may vary.