Friday, May 28, 2010

Platform, Shmatform

We all know the "assume = ass + u & me" definition.

It's very (very, very) easy to assume that I'm selling a crapload of ebooks because I'm a midlist author with some books in print and a fanbase.

It's easy to take that assumption further, and predict that an unknown wouldn't do as well.

Quite a few people are assuming this. They're claiming it as truth, repeating it, agreeing with it, and accepting it.

But it just ain't true.

The only ones who seem to disagree with this assumption are me, and the authors who know better.

These authors are selling just as well--or better--than I am, on kindle.

As far as I know, none of them have previous print deals, or name recognition. Yet they're kicking butt. Here are their current overall ranking out of 500,000+ ebooks available on Kindle:

Primal Wound by Ruth Francisco, ranked #688

Thin Blood by Vicki Tyley, ranked #14

Deed to Death by D.B. Henson, ranked #42

Toe Popper
by Jonny Tangerine, ranked #1464

Kill & Cure by Steven Davison, ranked #72

The Shot to Die For by M.H. Sargent, ranked #231

The Elect by James Gilbert, ranked #756

Punctured by Rex Kusler, ranked #988

Final Price by J. Gregory Smith, ranked #3083

A Dirty Business by Joe Humphry, ranked #433

Moon Dance by J.R. Rain, ranked #52

Around Every Corner by Casey Moreton, ranked #3663

Defending Evil
by Charles Shea, ranked #1469

The Bum Magnet
by K.L. Brady ranked #836

Getting Rich by Steve Bensinger, ranked #838

Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel, ranked #1580

Faking It by Elisa Lorello, ranked #365

Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion, ranked #290

Waiting For Spring by R.J. Keller, ranked #788

Escaping Celia by T.C. Beacham, ranked #909

Okay, there's twenty. It took me about three minutes to find these folks, simply by surfing Amazon.

Guess what? There are HUNDREDS more. I'd wager that at least one out of every ten books in the Amazon Top 10,000 is a self-pubbed author. But I'm not going to spend my afternoon cutting and pasting links to prove to the world something I already know.

See for yourself. Click on one of the above books, then click on the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" and see how many new authors you find.

Lots, right?

So if these authors don't have platforms, how are they selling so well?

Good cover, good product description, low price.

It doesn't take a well-read blog, a print backlist, and an established fanbase to sell a lot of ebooks.

Please tweet this. Link to this. And in the comments section, add links to more new authors in the Kindle Top 10,000. If you're one of those authors doing well, please post your book here. If you know a Kindle author selling well, point them to this blog so they can chime in.

And if you're one of those types who loves to gather data, I've got an offer for you. Email me a list of forty new authors in the top 10,000 on Kindle, and I'll send you a free signed paperback of my horror novel Afraid.

That'll take about 20 minutes of work, cutting and pasting. Double-check to make sure these are new authors with no backlist or major print deals. Then send me the list (or post it in the comments) and I'll snail mail you a book. Author name, title, and ranking. HTML links would be great too, but if you don't know how to do that, it's okay.

Let's kill this assumption that I'm the only one who can make money on Kindle.


How many sales does it take per day to be in the top 10,000? My guess is around 10 per day.

"But that's not good!" you might be saying.

Really? Ten a day = 3650 per year. At Amazon's new royalty rate, that's $7300 per year on a single title. The average advance for a debut novelist in print is still $5000.

I'm selling 220 ebooks per day, and I'll make over $100,000 this year. But that's for 15 titles (soon to be 17).

Ten a day can add up rather dramatically...