Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Ebooks Sales Slowing? Yes and No

Joe sez: This blog originally appeared in 2010. It's extremely prescient about the future of ebooks, but that isn't the reason I'm reposting it.

I'm reposting because I got my very first DMCA Takedown notice.

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

Apparently my infringement, according to the website Lumen, was including an Amazon link to author Lexi Revellian.


Lexi was originally mentioned as one of the laundry list of authors below. I've since removed her name and Amazon link from this post, but this has brought up some interesting points.

1. Linking to an Amazon page is in no way a copyright infringement.

2. I'm pretty sure all authors want as many websites as possible to link to their books.

3. I don't think I know who Lexi is, but this was seven years ago and I may have forgotten. I have no idea why, seven years after the fact, she or someone working on her behalf, would complain to Blogger about a very old fair use post of mine that was supportive of her work.

I know that some authors hire companies to scour the Internet for examples of piracy. These companies dish out DMCA notices like drunks throw out beads at Mardi Gras.

As mentioned by Blogger in the email above, they remove posts regardless of merit. Which means anyone can accuse anyone of copyright infringement, and Blogger (along with many other Internet companies) err to the side of the accuser.

Certainly everyone can see what a bad thing this is. Guilty until proven innocent didn't work for the court system, and it shouldn't work for the Internet.

4. I have no idea if Lexi is using any services to protect her copyrights, because I have no idea why I got this notice. But I will offer some blanket advice to all authors who think about using one of these services:

Piracy doesn't harm authors. I have written ample posts about this topic.

Hiring companies to police the Internet, looking for evidence of copyright infringement and sending out DCMA notices, does hurt authors. Lexi had an Amazon link to her website, that even seven years later still gets traffic. Now her link is gone. That can't be helpful for an author. And I can guess I'm not the only blogger who is getting notices like this. How many writers, thinking they're combating piracy, are actually limiting their own reach?

Probably a lot. So I'll say it again:

It's a waste of time, and money, and also potentially career-damaging, to fight piracy. I say this as someone who has been pirated a lot for over a decade. People pirate me. And I don't care. And there is absolutely no verifiable evidence that ebook piracy harms authors.

If you're concerned about piracy, make sure your ebooks and audio are easily available and affordable.

But, as I said, you shouldn't be concerned. People are going to share files. It's part of the human condition. Anti-piracy laws are about as successful as anti-drug laws.

The enemy is obscurity, not people reading your work for free.

Now here's the original December 2010 blog post:

Am I the only one who noticed this from Publishers Weekly?

"Facing some harder comparisons, e-book sales posted their slowest growth rates in 2010 in October. Still, sales jumped 112.4%, to $40.7 million, from the 14 publishers who reported results to the AAP’s monthly sales program."

The article is HERE.

Now, a few things struck me when I read this.

First, probably because I'm a writer and have an overactive imagination, I pictured editors in NY clinking champagne glasses with the toast, "The ebook bubble is bursting, thank Gutenberg, and soon we'll be able to get back to what we do best; selling paper."

I realize that reporters and writers of the news have to attribute meaning to numbers, and that hooks and spin are necessary to make facts interesting. But the way PW prefaced these numbers, and called the article "E-Book Growth Slows" gives me a pretty good idea what their focus is. PW serves the publishing industry. The publishing industry is very uncomfortable about ebooks. Here's a nice fact to ease the publishing industry's collective mind.

Except it's a myopic, self-absorbed, and flat-out misleading fact.

This shows that ebook growth has slowed for 14 REPORTING PUBLISHERS.

That doesn't mean ebook growth is slowing for Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, or the tens of thousands of indie authors self-publishing.

My numbers have been steadily climbing for 21 months, and in the last six weeks I made $26,000.

Yesterday, I mentioned Amanda Hocking, who is selling 1200 ebooks a day.

In the past, this blog has mentioned Zoe Winters, Karen McQuestion, and Selena Kitt. Selena Kitt made $120,000 this year on her Kindle ebooks.

But these are all outliers, right?

No, they're not.

Mark Coker, who runs Smashwords, recently interviewed his star author Brian Pratt on HuffPo. Brian has earned $25,000 in three months.

If you check over on Kindleboards, Michael Sullivan sold 7500 ebooks in November. The thread also lists 14 other authors who sold more than 1000 ebooks last month.

Here are the names of these authors. Keep an eye on them. I only expect their sales to go up.

David McAfee
Nathan Lowell
Ellen Fisher
Valmore Daniels
David Dalglish
Terri Reid
Victorine Lieske
Richard Jackson
Karen Cantwell
Margaret Lake
HP Mallory
KA Thompson
Beth Orsoff
Tina Folsom
Bella Andre
Ty Johnson
Vicki Tyley
Marilyn Lee
Felicity Heaton
LJ Sellers
Jeremy Bishop

PW or AAP didn't poll any of these writers and ask if their growth was slowing down. They certainly didn't ask me.

And these authors I listed aren't the only ones with growing sales--I'm just too lazy to gather more info. If you're an indie author who sold more than 1000 ebooks in November, post in the comments section and I'll add you to the list.

But then, indie sales don't amount to much, right? After all, 1000 ebooks a month isn't a lot. Not compared to what Big NY Publishing does.


Whiskey Sour, by all counts my highest selling and most successful books, has sold 60,000 copies since 2004. That means it has averaged 770 copies a month since its debut.

1000 copies a month seems pretty damn good to me.

But then, these are indie authors. It's not like there are any professional authors jumping on this Kindle bandwagon. Except for maybe:

Robert W. Walker
David Morrell
Raymond Benson
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Blake Crouch
F. Paul Wilson
Marcus Sakey
James Swain
Paul Levine
William Meikle
Scott Nicholson
Simon Wood
Parnell Hall
Joseph Nassise
Tom Schreck
Henry Perez
Jeff Strand
Lee Goldberg
Mark Terry
Harry Shannon
Richard S. Wheeler
Ruth Harris
Don Pendleton
Jeremy Robinson

There are many more, but I'm tired off adding all the links.

However, I do want to post this final one, because I think it's pretty damn cool.

This is the latest book by bestselling author LA Banks.

I met Leslie at a writing convention in New Orleans, and we traded stories about how we'd gotten screwed in our careers, which lead to me talking about ebooks.

If you look at the cover (designed by my cover artist, Carl Graves at Extended Imagery), you'd think this is her newest Big NY Print Release.

Nope. Ms. Banks is self-pubbing this one, just in time for Xmas, for $3.99. You can buy it on Kindle HERE.

So... perhaps there is a reason ebook sales are slowing for those 14 publishers mentioned in PW.

Perhaps sales are slowing because more readers are buying indie books. Or because more professional writers are going indie. Or because publishers are too self-absorbed to notice anything happening outside of the insular world they've built for themselves.

But what do I know? I'm an outlier.

Here's a fun game, though. You know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meme? We can also play the Six Degrees of JA Konrath with self-pubbed Kindle authors.

Of the names I listed in the blog, I'm one degree of separation from at least 80% of them. The rest, I'm probably second degree.

You hear that, NY Publishing? You truly want to slow the growth of ebooks?

Shut me up.

I'm willing to be bought off. Pass around a collection envelope, like you do for employee birthdays. For a million bucks, I promise I'll never blog about ebooks, or help another writer, ever again.

Here's my Paypal button. Maybe we can do business.


Jude Hardin said...

Only 112.4%. Damn, that's pathetic. ;)

Unknown said...

I'm not quite at 1000, but I had over 700 sales of my book in November. :-)

Lexi said...

Hi, I'm a new indie author who sold 1,559 ecopies of my novel, Remix, in November, mostly on UK Amazon.

Remix has been in the UK Kindle top 100 for 58 days so far. As I write, it's at number 17.

I'm looking forward to everyone unwrapping their Christmas presents of Kindles and looking for a good read to download...

Unknown said...

I'm editing my first YA romance at the moment. I waffle about epublishing vs. trad publishing...until I read your latest blog posts. Keep 'em coming Joe! I hope to be on your epub success list by this time next year!

P.S. I hope the big guys never buy you out! We need you here.

DW said...

Joe said "Or because publishers are too self-absorbed to notice anything happening outside of the insular world they've built for themselves."

And to think that they just recently announced eliminating Narcissistic Personality Disorder for the forthcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-V in 2013 ;)


Annie Bellet said...

A million? Really? That low? :)

JA Konrath said...

I always knew my narcissism wasn't a disorder. :)

Mark Terry said...

I appreciate the link, and although I have--and still do--refer to you as an outlier, I am slowly stepping away from that, partially because my sales keep increasing and I have plans for at least--AT LEAST--2 more books to go to Kindle next year. One is a nonfiction book I'm working on, the other will be an anthology of short stories, and I wouldn't be surprised if I put up a couple others. Right now I'm in the process of making the Kindle books I have done available in paper via CreateSpace and I need to expand into the other e-publishing markets as well.

I don't know if print publishing will die out entirely, but I see that for a great many writers, professional or otherwise, the traditional publishing industry is going to have (and is having) problems with what exactly they're offering to writers that would appeal to writers.

Tina Folsom said...

My sales have not slowed down, on the contrary, I've seen quite a boost in the last few weeks.

I sell about 1500 copies a month on Amazon and about 2500 on Barnes and Noble - mostly on my three Vampire romances, even though I have a total of 12 titles out there.

Tina Folsom

Marie Simas said...

I just got an e-mail that someone is asking to download my book on a torrent site. I was so surprised by it. Not mad, just surprised. It's only been out a month.

Then I saw this-- the actual download link. I didn't try it to download it.

It kind of reinforces the fact that pirates won't pay for anything-- the ebook is currently discounted to 99 cents on Amazon, so it's not really a lost sale. Anyone who looks for a torrent version of the book when the actual book is 99 cents isn't going to buy anything. So I haven't really lost a sale, but maybe I've gained a reader. Who knows.

As for PW, they've been shilling for vanity publishers for years. Who gives a shit what they have to say. I cancelled my subscription eons ago. I come here for my publishing news.

Mark Feggeler said...

Like I said about your last post, companies focus too much on trending and not enough on overall success. Honestly, was anyone really budgeting for an increase greater than 112.4%?

Watcher said...

What I find particularly interesting is the comparison of 112.4% growth versus the flat to declining numbers they posted in their paper areas. Euclid notes that two lines which are not parallel must eventually cross.

Dodge Winston said...

"PW serves the publishing industry."

Exactly. If print numbers are declining and they haven't worked out a viable eBook distribution source yet... well it's like politics - you hear what those in power want you to hear. Better yet you read what the media is paid to put out there.

Anonymous said...


I'd prefer we pay you to never stop talking about ebooks.

Off the top of my head, I can add Jeremy Robinson to the list of professionals who have recently pubbed an ebook on their own.

Dave said...

I'd love to hear from Tina and anyone else who's having success on Barnes and Noble if there are any particular techniques they are using to pump up sales on that site. I have no complaints about my Amazon sales, but my B&N sales could use a boost.

jtplayer said...

Ahh, but Joe, you too are guilty of the very same type of manipulation of facts.

This from an earlier blog post of yours:

"Amazon put their Kindle 2 on sale for $89 on Black Friday. It sold out in four seconds."

Truth is, there's a back story there.

First off, if you'd spent any time at all on the Kindle message boards you'd know there was a firestorm of controversy after that "sale", with many, many people very pissed off about the way it was handled.

Second, no one knows exactly how many Kindles were actually offered for sale at that price. It could have 1 or 100 or 1,000, or more. The suspicion of posters at the Kindle boards is the number was very small. And from what I can tell, Amazon isn't saying, so it's left to the imagination as to the "impressiveness" of "selling out in 4 seconds".

Nevertheless, you didn't qualify your statement at all, you simply posted it in support of your assertion that the ebook bubble was not about to burst.

Teapot calling the kettle black perhaps?

JA Konrath said...

it's left to the imagination as to the "impressiveness" of "selling out in 4 seconds".

Which means it's impossible to qualify anything.

I am not PW. I am a blogger, with an opinion and an agenda.

PW happily touts numbers and positions them is a way to lead to conclusions, when there is more information out there that could dispute their numbers and conclusions.

There is no information out there that can dispute "Amazon sold out their $89 Kindles in four seconds."

Tina Folsom said...

"There is no information out there that can dispute "Amazon sold out their $89 Kindles in four seconds."


I tried to buy one of those cheap Kindle, hovering over the buy button and pressing it as soon as it became live. Didn't get it, but one of my readers told me that she did the same, and was able to buy one. Who knows how many Kindles there actually were? 10? 100?


jtplayer said...

Whatever you say Joe.

So just to clarify, it's ok for you to have an "agenda" but not PW?

Seems to me you are far from some rank & file blogger clogging up cyberspace.

On the contrary, you have positioned yourself as the poster boy for self publishing ebooks, in particular on Amazon & Kindle. You have a very high profile in this debate, if you will, and your words carry some weight. For many they carry a lot of weight.

And yes, the fact remains Amazon did sell out some number of units in 4 seconds.

But in my mind, you "positioned" your comment to "lead" to a "conclusion" when there was absolutely other information out there that could "dispute" your implied conclusion.

Just keeping it real man. Facts are facts, and the rest is simply propaganda.

JA Konrath said...

Who knows how many Kindles there actually were? 10? 100?

The truth of the matter is: who cares how many there were?

Even if there were ten available, I'd guess a lot of folks, me included, tried to get one. I'd also guess there's a demand for low priced Kindles, which is a good guess based on some factual and anecdotal evidence.

PW's reporting is skewed, and though it doesn't draw conclusions, it does seem to lead readers to a conclusion: ebook growth is slowing.

I believe that's myopic and irresponsible, because I see plenty of evidence that sales are growing. That's my point.

JA Konrath said...

So just to clarify, it's ok for you to have an "agenda" but not PW?

If you don't see the difference, I'm not going to bother explaining it.

Ruth Harris said...

I'm another trad published author who's moving to epub. I've just put my NYTimes bestseller, HUSBANDS AND LOVERS on Kindle and am about to add DECADES, the first book of mine to make a splash. I plan to put my entire back list on Kindle & follow up with brand-new fiction. I'd love to be added to your list when your energy permits.

I note your list of pros going e seems to be mostly male but the indie list seems to have lots of female authors. Any theory?

Ruth Harris
author of NYTimes bestseller
Husbands & Lovers http://amzn.to/ft97O7

jtplayer said...

If you're gonna tout a sell out in 4 seconds, of course it matters how many units were available.

Christ Joe, you've been breathing too much of your own gas dude.

And this:

"If you don't see the difference, I'm not going to bother explaining it."

...well that's just lame. IMO.

Anonymous said...

Mr Konrath,

My sales have been growing steadily every month.

I have never seen a decrease. Even on a weekly basis, more and more are bought every week.

Thanks for a seeing through PW's propaganda...

Bella Andre said...

Hey Joe! Great posts - I learn so much every time I check in. (And end up working even harder...)

Anyway, just had to chime in to say that I'm in the 1000+ club too with the 5 ebooks I've released since April. :)

And all thanks to a little bird who said, "Hey, Bella, you should check this guy's blog out!" So glad I did.

:) Bella

Zoe Winters said...

Seriously, Joe? For a million bucks? Make it higher! :P

And that is an AMAZING cover for L.A. Banks' book!

Zoe Winters said...

To the anonymous poster who mentioned Jeremy Robinson "going indie", got that one backwards. Jeremy Robinson started out indie. His originally self-published book, The Didymus Contingency, helped him get noticed and land an agent.

He's since been pubbed by mainstream publishers. If he's self-pubbing Kindle books now, he's just going back to his roots. ;)

Ty said...

I've been selling more than 1,000 e-books a month for at least the last 5 to 6 months, mostly through Amazon, though a growing amount at Smashwords. My B&N numbers are disappointing to me, but maybe they'll catch up.

The last three months I've sold totals averaging 1,600 e-books per month. This month, so far, I've already sold about 700 e-books over at Amazon, so I'm hoping to set a new record for myself.

Each month has been a little better than the month before for me, though I've suffered through a rough sales week here and there.

Zack Hamric said...

I'm damn glad Joe has an agenda...If he didn't and wasn't pumping this market every day, I would never have published my book on Amazon 5 months ago...or finished my second book...or started on a third. And the numbers aren't huge- maybe 450 last month @ $2.99, but they're growing by 30% every month...

M Pax said...

Interesting article. And numbers. Glad I found your blog. :)

jtplayer said...

No one ever said having an agenda was a bad thing, and I certainly don't fault anyone for pushing theirs.

Joe has done much to promote indies, and for that he should be applauded.

I just found the criticism of PW to be a little flawed. So they hyped their headline. Big deal. The article itself was pretty straightforward with regards to the numbers for the reporting publishing houses.

I honestly believe Joe was hyping Amazon with his Kindle sold out in 4 seconds statement. Technically true? Maybe. But on its face it implies an impressive fete that may not actually be so. Kinda the reverse of what PW did. IMO.

And the fact that so many of you individual independent authors have increasing sales is not surprising either. It's purely anecdotal relative to the big picture though.

Simon Royle said...

I haven't seen Vicki Tyley mentioned here. She's sold over 25,000 of her mystery novel, 'Thin Blood'. Also an Amazon reader favorite for 2010.

Norma said...

Aw, come on, Joe--don't let 'em buy you off!

Thank you for yet another informative blog!.

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Even with Bookscan data and NYT bestsller lists, the full picture will never be known. Not even half the picture, because it's against your best interests to use an ISBN for ebooks.

Clearly, an incredible divergence is underway--one path is my industry friends who talk about "caution" and "risks," and the other is pretty much all the other writers and readers in the world who see no reason to wait to be told how, when, and at what cost to enjoy connecting in content.

I don't like to share my numbers but I sold more of one book in November than I did each of my last four mass-market paperbacks. In their entire life spans. Which wasn't long, and it could just be I am a crappy writer. But this November book is selling in December. And probably in January.

I'll still take a NY deal but I've already turned down some deals. It's no longer an automatic. Plus Amazon has never missed a payment, unlike the "real" publishers of mine who not only never paid but never told me a book had been published. I have great sympathy for people fearing their loss of income and authority--and it ripples from industry pundits to publishers to editors to big-time book reviewers and influence-makers. At the same time, it's my duty to make the smart move for me, and I have a lot of evidence over 10 years. Right now, this is smart.

Scott Nicholson

Marilyn Lee said...

I sold about 1,300 books last month.

Marilyn Lee

Felicity Heaton said...

Well, my sales are going up without me really trying, so I'm fairly certain their figures are one sided and done with intent. Sold 2700 books last month on Amazon Kindle. It increased 300 books on the previous month, and this one is looking to reach around 3000, so another 300 book jump.

It's been a steady rise since Jan this year when us UK folks finally got to sell via Kindle. I'm relatively new there, but can see my sales figures continuing to rise (especially considering I have 11 new releases planned for 2011, and the fact I'm back on the promo wagon at last having been absent for around a year).

Currently earning around $55000 a year across all distribution sites in e-book only. Tend to keep a low profile on places like this though and let others with bigger voices shout about their lives (it's the Brit in me), but figured I'd come out the book-closet for once and have a little me time.

Zoe Winters said...

@Ty, I'm doing well at B&N, not doing horrible at Amazon (though I have done well there in the past and know I'll do well there again), but... I've never been able to do super well on Smashwords. Do you do anything special to sell more on Smashwords? I would really like to build my sales/presence there so I'm not so much "eggs all in one basket".

Zoe Winters said...

@Felicity, congrats, that's great! I'm trying to mention my numbers less. LOL We can switch places! :)

Anonymous said...

JT vs Joe...

Joe you are the master of deflecting arguments you know you can't win. Kudos.

bowerbird said...


a million bucks?


that's all it would take?

you cheap bastard. :+)

shoulda made it ten million.


p.s. did anyone really think
that the big5 agency model
was gonna make customers
purchase _more_ e-books?
of course their sales are down!
and they're gonna continue to
drop like a pancaked building
in a major earthquake. watch.

Ellen O'Connell said...

Sometimes I think I'm the only indie in the world who can't report a steady upward trajectory of sales since start up. My books seem to follow more the pattern of the traditionally published - they start out with more sales from the get go than many report, but then peak and begin to taper.

Admittedly my first historical romance, which is only now beginning to taper (released in April) had a much longer run with higher figures than my mystery did, but still there's a pattern.

Also, my sales went to 75% of what they had been when I raised prices from $1.99 to $2.99 to take advantage of the 70% royalty. Very much to my financial benefit, but my number of sales record was June. This month, when I've released a third book, I'm finally going to do better than June again and I may even make that 1,000 sales in a month club.

So I very much believe that, for me at least, success mean getting new books out on a regular basis. I'm never going to be able to rest on laurels of one book for long periods, which may be a lack of marketing skill (or dedication), but I'm very happy with the way things are going for me and dance around the computer regularly.

L.J. Sellers said...

Thanks for being so supportive of other authors. I have six books on Kindle and sold more 6,000 copies in November. My Detective Jackson series is consistently near the top of Amazon Kindle's bestseller list for police police procedurals.

Jaye Murphy said...

Too late! The train has left the station! More power to the ebook. Thank you, Joe...for bringing these truths to light.

Joan--author of ROCK CHARISMA

JA Konrath said...

Joe you are the master of deflecting arguments you know you can't win.

I like debating. But after I've won, it's pointless to try and convince the losing party of that fact. Life's too short, and I have stuff to do.

JA Konrath said...

Okay, I think I added everyone who chimed in. If I missed you, tell me.

If all of these folks are selling 1000 a month (some are selling much more), that's half a million books a year that Big NY Publishing is missing out on.

But methinks that number is low (Amanda Hocking is 500k a year by herself) and that the authors listed here are just a small sampling of the indies selling well on Amazon.

We could very well be talking about millions of ebooks a year being sold by self-pubbed authors.

That's pretty cool.

Jeremy Bishop said...

I released my novel TORMENT about 23 days ago and have sold 1350 kindles. I've been #1 in horror/occult (currently #2) #4 in horror, just behind two King novels, and got up to 210 in general fiction (currently around 350). At the current rate of sales I'll have sold 2500 by the end of December. Made the cover, book trailer, website and formated the e-book on my own. :> The only thing I paid for was an editor. Made that money back in the first few days. :) Lots of online marketing, reviews and blurbs from Jonathan Maberry, David Moody and Steven Savile probably helped too.

JA Konrath said...

@Jeremy-- You're one spot above me on the Horror > Occult bestseller list. :)

Oddly enough, the Top 7 ebooks on that list are all indies.


Congrats to Amaznda, for being #1, and Scott, William, and Terri who are already mentioned in my blog list.

Ebook growth down? Nope.

Big 6 ebook growth down. Yup.

jtplayer said...

Re: "But after I've won, it's pointless to try and convince the losing party of that fact"

Dude...you're a riot. Seriously. Yeah man, you won.

But what the hell, it's your house, so I guess you get to make the rules.

No worries though, it's all good in my book. I still like coming here to keep tabs on this evolving "revolution", even if the bullshit does get a little deep at times.

JA Konrath said...

Currently in the Kindle Top 20 Horror Bestsellers, all are indie except for Charlaine Harris and some guy named King.

A revolution? Oh yeah...

Thomas Brookside said...

The real reason that the PW article is disingenuous is that they are calling sales growth of over 100% "slowing".

Everyone knows that unit growth can continue to increase while % growth "slows" - because you're growing off of a larger base.

BTW, with regard to the Kindle 2 4-second sellout discussion: Amazon described the number of units up for sale as "thousands". So that means there were at least 2000. It was probably considerably more, since it was reported elsewhere that the units being sold were the units Target returned when they upgraded the in-store displays from the K2 to the K3. There are around 1700 Target stores across the US, and if each store only sent back 5 units, that gets you up around 8500.

Rob Walker said...

All I know is that as an Indie author, I am having more fun as a writer than I have had in years, and not just because of the money aspect but the direct link I have with whole new generations of young readers who have made an out of print novel, AFTERSHOCK, my personal bestseller.
Then there is the fact two titles turned down by my trad publishers are also kicking ass as ebooks - my Children of Salem (Bad time to be in Love) and Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic (Ride, Captain, Ride my mysery ship) which I have happily found theme songs for, ha!! And these two titles are doing just fine with me as publisher.
Just linked with Amazon to my website so Titanic can be purchased direct from there.

Robert W. Walker

JA Konrath said...

Good to see you here, Walker. I want to profile you on my blog sometime beofre Xmas. Email me.

jtplayer said...

Re: "Amazon described the number of units up for sale as "thousands"."

Can you point me in the direction of that information? I have not been able to find anything regarding the number of units sold.

Also, where did this come from:

"since it was reported elsewhere that the units being sold were the units Target returned when they upgraded the in-store displays from the K2 to the K3".

Does that mean Amazon was offering old display models of an outdated Kindle for 89 bucks? That's news to me as well.

Zoe Winters said...


It's not just you. I experience sales cycles as well. Two times a year my sales seem to be on an upward trajectory, then they drop some and plateau out for awhile until I have a new release, then they move back up again. It's normal. I guess everyone has a different "normal", but you aren't alone. :)

In a way I find it oddly comforting because there *is* a pattern and each time I just hope when my sales peak they'll stay there a longer period of time before losing rankings again.

jtplayer said...

Re: "Currently in the Kindle Top 20 Horror Bestsellers, all are indie except for Charlaine Harris and some guy named King."

True...but of those 20, 4 are by King and 1 is by Harris. That leaves 15 by indies.

And as you go further into the top 100 list, the ratio evens out quite a bit more.

Still a good showing.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the lot of you. I can only hope that some of your fortune falls my way. I managed to get a book published but the gods of ebookery have yet to smile in my direction.
Seriously, I am glad to see the business thrive even from the outside. Given the ways of the world I guess I just have to wait my turn.

Tuppshar Press said...

We don't release specific numbers, but it's interesting that October was our best month ever for ebooks, even as the big publishers apparently declined. I can live with that.

Karen McQuestion said...

Ebook growth down? No way, no how. More people are getting ebook devices every day. We're just getting started as far as I'm concerned.

Felicity Heaton, I'm glad you decided to come out of the ebook-closet and say your numbers loud and proud! Wonderful. :)

Anonymous said...

LOL - Great post! I'd take slow growth in excess of 100% any day of the week!!

Victorine said...

Thanks for the mention, Joe. My ebook sales are far from down. I've sold 1,800 books this month already. If this keeps up I'll more than double my sales from November. And it's only going to get better. I'm so glad I listened to you and self-published on the Kindle. :)

Paul Levine said...

Thanks to Author Central, I know I did not sell 1,000 hardcover or paperback books in November, but I sold more than 1,000 Jake Lassiter e-books.

wannabuy said...

I found one link that proves Joe's point that the uncounted publishers/authors have higher e-book market share:

Scattered in the article are the following factoids:

1. Major (counted) publishers have 9 to 10% ebooks sales.

2. Sourcebooks 27%

3. St. Martin's press (has in that link examples that are 50/50 pbook/ebook.

4. Indie authors are nearly 100% ebook.

So while the example is all romance... compare with the anecdotal is shows the growth is 'uncounted' publishers/authors.

Hey, let's face it, good old supply/demand curves point out that higher prices reduce demand. While books are not a fungible commodity (like oil), there are certainly alternatives.

I'm not surprised the K2s are returned Target models. There were about two dozen behind glass at the Torrance CA Target for months. I'm glad to see those found homes.

Now to blog the AAP charts. :)

But that leaves the question, how large is the 'uncounted' market? With so many indie authors able to earn a living writing... obviously a significant fraction.


Bob Mayer said...

Why are you so angry? I guess I'm three degrees separated from you. Only having sold over a million books via the internet and over four million the other way. You're begging for money now when you say you're making 10k a month from your books? Am I missing something? Your numbers don't add up. If your bestselling book has sold 60k from 2004 yet you're selling the volume per week you claim, then, well, do the math.
Publishers and editors in NY are not clicking their champagne glasses thinking print is back and will take over eBooks. That's childish on your part. They're trying to figure out how to adapt and change and most will fail.
Putting a Paypal button on your blog asking for money is kind of sad. Why do you need it when in the blog you say you're doing fine?
Your books have been selling because you've appealed to people by being angry about a business that rejects 99.5% of the submissions they get. But apparently even that isn't working any more, since you're begging.
When I questioned your NDA agreement with Amazon you posted that I was ignorant. So tell us, what are your terms with Amazon?
They should be good enough that you don't need donations.
Apparently a self-published author can suffer the same fate as a midlist author at a traditional publishing house. Lower numbers, career going down the toilet. Not their fault. A lot of reasons for it.
But let's all put Paypal buttons on our blogs and beg for money. That's the future of publishing. Authors begging.

Anonymous said...

"Putting a Paypal button on your blog asking for money is kind of sad. Why do you need it when in the blog you say you're doing fine?"

Um, have you ever heard of sarcasm?

Joe's having a bit of fun here.

wannabuy said...

Ok, I blogged the numbers (AAP sales graphs). What struck me is how right Joe is.

14 publishers report to AAP.
400 publishers, plus indie authors, publish e-books. I have links in the post:

The more I think about it, the greater the plausible number of uncounted ebook sales.


KevinMc said...

Bob, I think Joe was being ironic, and you missed it. ;) He's not really asking for money...
And as for his books selling because of what he says here - my guess is, 99.99% of his readers never even come to this blog...

He's right in that his name - this site, his work, his books, his blog, his success here - while not the highest of indie publishers, has become a rallying point around which more and more people are beginning to gather.

I pointed out the error in the article for members of a LinkedIn group shortly after it was posted. Someone posted it, wondering why ebook market share had dropped. I reminded folks pretty much the same thing Joe pointed out here: that they're only tracking ebook sales for the biggest publishers, and while those ARE most ebook sales, they're not all - and the percentage of "everything else" is growing.

They're not avoiding tracking that because they want to, though - they can't, yet. Amazon doesn't release those figures, so they have no way to gauge them. Trying to poll every ebook seller to Amazon and B&N every month would be almost impossible, and the accuracy hard to gauge as well.

I agree with Bob that toning down the hostility would be in order, though. We can celebrate indie success without bashing the traditional publisher, I think. They're competition, but not 'the enemy'.

Kelly said...

I'm not an author. Not yet. But I am a new Kindle owner. I'm an avid book reader and let me just tell you: I've become a snob in a week. I find myself turning down books that I can't buy through Kindle.

This, to me, a booklover - someone who was a bookseller for four years - is the most exciting thing ever. When I was little, I dreamed of having the biggest library ever. Now I have it! Right in my hands. I don't bat an eye at spending $0.99 to $10 on a book on Kindle whereas, with physical books, I had to either go to the bookstore or have them delivered.

We live in an instant culture and I've always been big on instant gratification. Ebooks are the friggin' future. If they weren't, B&N wouldn't be pushing the Nook so hard.

And since I'm a reader right now and not an author - I figured I would throw this out for anyone reading this: I don't care if it's a big name author or a self-pub. This week, I've bought a book by Holly Lisle and a book by Lauren Wellig - both major authors. However, I've also bought a book by Jessica Hocking (I think that's the name - you mentioned it here) and about 6 other self-pubbed books. I also bought a collection of Sherlock Holmes - even when it was free - because someone had went to the trouble of putting them all together.

When I'm looking for books, I'm looking for stuff I want to read. I bought one called "Out of Time" (I think) because it promised time travel and romance. I bought a book (name I forgot at the moment) because the description mentioned that it continued where Buffy and Smallville left off. I don't care WHO writes the book and where it comes from as long as it transports me to another world.

And as silly as it sounds, I get excited when I go to the Kindle boards and see the people who I'm reading on there. It makes me happy! I love this stuff!

Brian Drake said...

I'm a new indie chomping at the bit to get some sales like everybody mentioned in this post. I have two ebooks out right now, one short story collection and a novel. The novel is the big seller. For some reason, the short story set hasn't attracted a lot of attention. The royalty checks I have so far received are small but delightful to see. Some early teething problems (formatting, etc.) may have slowed me down, but once 2011 hits (and I start working full time again) I want to invest in some new covers and an editor and really get the show going. My plan is four books this year.

Thanks for all of the great information you post, Joe.

Robert Wilson said...

I sold 6,697 ebooks last month. I had never thought about publishing a book until August. The first one was for revenge on a very poorly formatted book I had bought from Amazon. That was so much fun I did another - then another. I kept learning more and having fun - then saw that this was creating a very nice supplement to my retirement. I keep thinking that some day I'll actually write a "real" book, but, unfortunately, I don't know how to write. :-)

Not Normally Anonymous said...

Hey Joe,
Don't knock PW's biased reporting. It's what directed me and many of us others here back in the summer!

WiseMóna said...

I hope you are never silenced Joe. Thanks. A great posting as always.

JA Konrath said...

Why do you need it when in the blog you say you're doing fine?

I'll answer that... FOR FIVE BUCKS!

You can click on the Paypal link in order to donate.

And you got your facts wrong. I'm not making $10k a month. I'm making $19k.

Angry? Me? I'm smiling so wide my cheeks hurt.

Susan Bischoff said...

I sold over 2300 ebook copies of Hush Money in November.

Thanks for another great post.

K.C. May said...

I didn't have nearly a 1000-sales month, but I'm on track for a record-breaking month. I got into the ebook publishing game at the end of July after rights reversion of my first novel. In the 4.5 months since epublishing it, I've outsold my original publisher about 8-fold over the five years he had the rights.

Thomas Brookside said...

Jt -

I'm sorry, both data points came from Amazon Kindle's Facebook page [not fan postings, but page postings].

The "thousands" figure was in the context of their apology to all the people posting angry screeds on the page because they hadn't been able to order one.

One bad thing about Facebook is that old postings on a very busy page are extremely difficult to get to. I don't know how to do it other than to sit there and hit "Older Postings" over and over, and Black Friday was two weeks ago.

I assume the Target units were both display models and unused inventory. Target stocks pretty lean but inventory still is some non-zero number.

Adriana said...

Very helpful post. Have to agree - having more fun than ever writing what I love to read and write!

Karen Cantwell said...

Thank you for the link, Joe! I'll ditto what others have said - I'm glad for your "agenda." If it weren't for your voice through this blog, I would not have pursued this route and I still wouldn't have readers or money in the ol' bank account. :-)

Tonya Kappes said...

Tina Folsom is GREAT!!!!!

jtplayer said...

Thanks Thomas. I did some searching around and couldn't find anything specific at all. Couldn't find any mention of Target units being sold either.

jtplayer said...

Re: "We don't release specific numbers"

Why won't anyone release specific numbers?

With the exception of some indies here, and Joe, the rest are playing some kind of bullshit cat & mouse game and manipulating the marketplace like crazy.

Just tell us how many Kindles and ebooks you're selling. Stop with the percentages and vague "ebooks outsold hardbacks" nonsense.

And Joe criticizes PW for a misleading headline?

Robin Sullivan said...

Great post Joe - and thanks for the Konrath bump for Michael's books (who needs Colbert ;-) Michael has been on the bestsellers for Amazon Fantasy in several categories including epic fantasy, general fantasy, and historical fantasy. MANY of the top slots are taken with indies names that show up time and again:
Vaughn Heppner, B.V. Larson, David Dalglish, Ty Johnston, Jason Letts, Robert Marston Fannéy, C. S. Marks, and of course Michael J. Sullivan!

Welcome To The Wish Granters Books said...

You said a mouthful, Joe. All very encouraging to an Indie. I'm not up to 1,000 a month yet but building all the time and doing better than most with my first title. What could be better than doing what I love.

Glenn G. Thater said...

For October my numbers were about 6,000 books sold across all markets (I have four books out there).
For November: about 2,000 books sold; but i don't have all the numbers yet.

glenn g. thater
author of the harbinger of doom saga

Tuppshar Press said...

I was in Best Buy yesterday and chatted up an employee about ereaders. The Kindles are selling out as quickly as they get them. The Nooks were moving more slowly.

Viva ereaders!

JA Konrath said...

Perception is everything. And human beings, like it or not, respond to faith over facts.

Amazon's refusal to post numbers is a smart move. If you want to start a revolution, you don't tell the enemy how many soldiers you have. You let them assume you have a lot. And then, as time passes and more people join the cause, you wind up actually having a lot.

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jtplayer said...

Agreed Joe.

But I'll add, it's still a manipulation of the marketplace designed to achieve a specific goal, and while I understand it on a purely intellectual level, when I compare it to all of the traditional publishing criticism thrown about it starts to feel disingenuous.


And that was my point regarding your criticism of PW and their "misleading" story. Many players in this thing are playing fast and loose with the facts, in an effort to push whatever agenda they have.

And the agendas are many and varied.

Once again, IMO.

JA Konrath said...

when I compare it to all of the traditional publishing criticism thrown about it starts to feel disingenuous.

Just about every author I know (and I'm on a first name basis with hundreds of pros) has been screwed by their publisher in one way or another.

The industry is archaic, broken, and often dishonest. It has no regard for the artist--without whom, there would be no industry.

As for PW, ever since that reporter did that piece on my, my respect for them has been nonexistent.

Thusfar, Amazon has been a boon to authors. Though it coincides with their own agenda, motive is meaningless to me. Me, and thousands of other authors, are being treated better, and making more money.

Am I pleased to show the publishing industry that I can be successful without them? You bet. No one tried harder, or worked harder, than I did in order to be successful.

Being able to show other authors the way is a mission for me. Maybe, before the publishing industry implodes, it will start treating writers fairly.

Welcome To The Wish Granters Books said...

Joe, you're right about authors getting the shaft from their traditional publishers. The fact is, the publisher is at one end of the publishing industry spectrum and the author is at the other end. In between are editors, editorial committees, the marketing dept. the sales staff and of course the lowly PR dept.
The whole advance system is wacky. In the old days when this system was created, advances were supposed to be a stipend for the author to live on while the publisher awaited the next title. But advances have become chips in an elaborate nonsensical game where a few agents have the clout to demand high advances and the rest flounder around picking up crumbs.
When the publisher got so far away from the author, the connection to the market inevitably wavered. Book publishing got swallowed by large media conglomerates that are not at all interested in books per se. So Indie authors filled the direct communication gap with book buyers that these conglomerates created in the market.
What I can't understand is why more publishers (read editors) are not going directly to Indie authors who are proving themselves a marketable commodity and skipping the agent step altogether.
But that's just another indication of how wacky the publishing industry is -- from a business perspective.

jtplayer said...

What you describe Joe is just about universal in the artistic world, whether it be movies or books or music. The producer of the art has been getting shafted by the financiers of that art for eons. That's just business.

But it's also fair to say that many creative types have no head for finance or business, and they likewise have many unrealistic expectations with regards to their work. Not to mention, they're not the ones putting up the money to manufacture and market that work. So from a purely financial perspective, they have no skin in the game.

And yet, for every author you know who has been screwed or otherwise mistreated by big publishing, I'm sure there's another who has had a decent, if not excellent, business relationship with those very same publishers.

Of course Amazon is extremely author friendly. Why wouldn't they be? They are trying to build themselves up into the biggest seller of ebooks on the planet. It would be completely against their financial best interests to act in an adversarial manner towards any author or publisher.

The real moment of truth comes when they have achieved their own tipping point, and they are entrenched enough to start changing the terms more in their favor.

Time will tell.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks to those posting here I've added your names to the original post on Kindleboards. If you don't find your name its because your rankings don't justify the sales claims made. I'll be glad to rectify the situation if you can clear up the discrepancy.

Chrisotpher Smith said...

My book, Fifth Avenue, has been a Top 100 best-seller for nearly 2 months now. Sometimes I sell it at $2.99, sometimes at .99. Depends on where it stands on the list. But I've made a hell of a lot of money off it, and now that it's high on the Top 100 list in the UK (#9), more is coming in. In two months, I've sold tens of thousands of copies off my debut novel. And in spite of those numbers, my A-list agent at Greenburger is having a difficult time selling it to NYC because they feel I've been "circulated on the list" too much and, better yet, after two months, "I've had too much exposure." WTF? I'll keep the money, thanks, NYC. And my sales continue to rise while you lose out. I love the ebook market. Never has a writer been more in control.

Christopher Smith

wannabuy said...

The industry has changed. There is no putting the genie back into the bottle. You've read the threads. How many different sources do the authors sell on? If Amazon goes over the top they'll be forced to allow epub onto the Kindle...

They're only the 'boogieman' by allowing small publishers and indie authors to gain dramatic market share. The fact so many authors can now make a living writing only proves their gains in market share. :)

Laura B said:
The fact is, the publisher is at one end of the publishing industry spectrum and the author is at the other end. In between are editors, editorial committees, the marketing dept. the sales staff and of course the lowly PR dept.

There is the #1 issue... the committees and other aspects that add high costs.

Change started in 2010 as authors were finally able to make a living on Kindle.

In 2011, I see the ebook market growing faster than the notable books (notable=good enough to sell). Some competition from back lists, but the reality is the customer base is hungry for new material.

Long tail theory will be proven. But it will take until 2013 to 'fill out.' :)

The tyranny of shell space is over. Watch out once e-books break 20% of the market (by dollars). At that point the change will go from slow to fast. Or when Borders runs out of cash...

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm confused a little.

Joe, you have written post after post, which have been informative, well written and thought out. I, as an indie with eleven titles on Amazon, always look forward to the next post.

Some of the debates in the comments leave me wondering about personal agendas and what's motivating them.

I respect a fair fight. A good argument based on fact.

I'd like to single out Bob Mayer's comment which didn't come across as anything other than rude and disrespectful. He appeared to have an issue outside of the spoken one.

Come on Bob, I met you and had lunch with you in 2006 in Surrey. You seemed like a nice guy who cared more about writing and writers in general than what your comment portrayed. Why the attitude? Take it easy...

About publishing: bash all you like. They've done nothing in the last twenty years, IMO, but hurt the industry and those who work within it. I wrote "Publishing Exposed" to discuss these issues.

No way is traditional publishing innocent.

Guilty as charged.

Carry on indie's...

JA Konrath said...

I like it when people disagree with me. I also like it when they're rude and disrespectful--it makes the blog more interesting.

I'm happy to debate, but I see no need to respond to criticism or to defend myself. That bores me.

I only put a stop to rudeness when it becomes uncomfortable to other people visiting here. Conflict is fine, but it's my house and I like the vibe to be positive.

As for Bob, maybe he didn't read the post carefully enough. I wasn't begging. I was saying "I told you so" to an industry that hasn't listened to me.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I agree.

Maybe he didn't read it carefully enough.

I went back and reread the last part of this post and understand it as a simple: "If you want something bad enough, you have to pay for it."

Thanks for being you, Joe...

bowerbird said...

jtplayer said:
> I guess we'd know a lot more
> if Amazon would release
> hard numbers.
> But they won't...
> a fact I find curious.

maybe you can get wikileaks
to do an expose on them, eh?


jtplayer said:
> Why won't anyone
> release specific numbers?

post your income tax return,
and then we can talk. ok?


ellen said:
> Also, my sales went to 75%
> of what they had been when I
> raised prices from $1.99
> to $2.99 to take advantage
> of the 70% royalty.

um, that fall-off was less than it
could've been. you were lucky...

...but that's probably why your
growth-rate now is not so big...

so do not fret. in the long run,
everything will work itself out.


thomas said:
> The real reason that
> the PW article is disingenuous
> is that they are calling
> sales growth of over 100%
> "slowing".
> Everyone knows that
> unit growth can continue to
> increase while % growth
> "slows" - because you're
> growing off of a larger base.

oh _please,_ thomas, don't
start bringing _good_sense_
into the argument... lordie!

next thing you'll be doing is
probably pointing out how
-- once e-books have got
50% of the marketplace --
it will be _impossible_ for
a growth-rate to top 100%.

and we'll have to settle for
some pitifully normal growth,
like 5% or 10%, and not 114%.
admit it, you're a party-pooper!


rob said...
> All I know is that
> as an Indie author, I am
> having more fun as a writer
> than I have had in years, and
> not just because of the money
> aspect but the direct link
> I have with whole new
> generations of young readers
> who have made an out of print
> novel, AFTERSHOCK,
> my personal bestseller.
> Then there is the fact
> two titles turned down
> by my trad publishers
> are also kicking ass as ebooks
> - my Children of Salem
> (Bad time to be in Love)
> and Titanic 2012 -
> Curse of RMS Titanic
> (Ride, Captain,
> Ride my mystery ship)
> which I have happily found
> theme songs for, ha!!


fun is what it should be about!

if you're an artist, and you don't
wake up feeling a sense of _joy_
for your new opportunities now,
you're doing it wrong, you are...

the money is just gravy, baby!

theme songs for the win! :+)


jtplayer said:
> Does that mean
> Amazon was offering
> old display models of
> an outdated Kindle
> for 89 bucks?

that's exactly what it means.

> That's news to me as well.

that's not news to me... ;+)


oh, and bob mayer?

joe isn't "angry". he's laughing.
all the way to the bank, baby...
all the way to the bank, you bet!


kevin said:
> We can celebrate indie success
> without bashing the
> traditional publisher, I think.
> They're competition,
> but not 'the enemy'.

you're ignoring the fact that
many writers have a love-hate
relationship with publishers...

for good reason...

writers used to have to depend
on publishers, and _sometimes_
the dependence was abused and
publishers became "the enemy".

when a woman escapes from
an abusive husband, we cheer,
even if we realize that it's sad
on some level because she did
love the guy and will miss him.


Tony said...

bowerbird Said: "Blah blah blah blah blah blah..."

And no one gave a shit.

Stephen Prosapio said...

BTW, something not said yet that points to another epic fail by the Big Six (and little 8). Their eBook sales increases are slowing? What's changed this year?

Oh yeah, Amazon is no longer keeping the publishing companies' prices at $9.99. Methinks $14 eBooks may not be selling as well as some people hoped they would...

bowerbird said...

joe said:
> I only put a stop
> to rudeness when it
> becomes uncomfortable
> to other people visiting here.

joe, i want you to know that
tony's rudeness does _not_
make me feel uncomfortable.

on the contrary, i find it funny.

just so you know... ;+)

blah blah blah blah blah!


Mark Asher said...

So the article said growth had slowed, which means that ebook sales are still growing.

And with Christmas close and a lot of people getting e-readers under the tree, we'll probably see a jump in ebook sales.

Paper sales may still have the preponderance of sales for years. I don't think everyone is going to buy an e-reader and not everyone is going to want to read on a computer or smartphone. Even now, years after MP3s became popular for music, most sales are still music CDs. Downloads are huge and a major factor, but CD sales accounted for about 60% of sales last year. Books could be like this too for years.

Ruth Harris said...

Joe, thanks for adding my name to your list of pros. I appreciate it.

Ruth Harris
author of NYTimes bestseller
Husbands & Lovers

KevinMc said...

Yup, agree Mark. MP3 is expected to pass 50% of the market late this year - like, this holiday season. That's about ten years from the first commercial MP3 players and five years after mass adoption. If ebooks follow the same pattern, we're probably looking at passing the 50% mark sometime in 2014 - BUT - with the increase in internet use and connectivity today, we could see that process move faster with books than it did for music, so it could come sooner.

Another factor to consider is the viability of the big bookstores; as ebook share increases, they will become less viable. At some point around 25% market share, they'll stop making money, and will close (probably going to smaller POD stores instead), which will likely have the effect of driving more people to digital.

Since we know the 9% PW is saying is understated, but not by how much, it's hard to say when we'll hit that 25% mark. It could be as early as late 2011.

jtplayer said...

bowerbird...I know you fancy yourself a clever dude and all, but c'mon man, releasing specific sales figures for ebooks or the Kindle is in no way equivalent to releasing tax returns.

Victorine said...

One thing to remember is that you can buy a CD, rip the music to your computer, and put the music on your MP3 player. You can't really buy a paper book and put it on your Kindle. So I can see the book industry switching to ebooks a little faster than the music industry.

wannabuy said...

Stephen Prosapio said...
TW, something not said yet that points to another epic fail by the Big Six (and little 8)

Don't you realize the 14 publishers are immune from "elastic market" theory and any rules of supply and demand? /snark.

I happen to agree with you 100%. Those 14 publishers have a HUGE advantage in the bookstores and big-box stores. No wonder they are only pursuing best sellers (they see the future, excluding POD, in a few years all that will be printed will be best-sellers and a few paperbacks for airport kiosks).

Everyone else has a far more level playing field on ebooks. So the market share of the 'uncounted' will be far higher on ebooks than pbooks. So it is quite possible ebook growth is far faster than what the AAP reports (plotted on my ebookcomments blog).

My interpretation of Joe's words is that the 'uncounted' part of the ebook market is growing quickly.

2011 and 2012 will be very interesting in the book market.


Unknown said...

Very good post and well as many of the comments. I'm looking into epub and this provided me with more info I needed to make that decision. Okay, I still have not decided, but I checked a few marks on the epub side of the column. Thanks!

Robin Sullivan said...

Hey Joe,
Got a tweet that you got Michael's Link wrong - There are many authors named Michael Sullivan. Can you correct the link to:


Thanks so much!

Katie Klein said...

Thank you for keeping us updated! Because of your info, I just released my first YA paranormal romance as an ebook. I'm tired of my hard work collecting dust because the "market is too saturated."

Zoe Winters said...

Re: the implication that Joe is "begging" for paypal donations and therefore must not be making much money... LOLOLOL

I for one love Joe's mercenary little self.

You can be richer than God and still not want to do anything for free. That's kind of how many people GET rich, by not going: "Oh I have enough, you don't have to give me anymore."

Either way, I thought his asking for money was rather tongue in cheek. As for a paypal donation button, if Joe wants to take donations, there's nothing wrong with that. Income streams are income streams, and if someone feels compelled to donate to Joe, more power to them.

D K Gaston said...

I haven't broken the 1000 mark yet, but my sales have been steadily going up every month. I'm looking forward to hitting that magic 1000 mark someday soon. :D

Bob Mayer said...

I see both sides of this and live on both sides. I've brought back into print 20 titles of mine from backlist and they sell quite well on Kindle, PubIt, LSI, etc.
I agree the system has been inefficient for a long time. And, frankly, I agree that traditional publishing overall is doomed. A year ago if someone asked me to describe publishing, I defined it with a few words: SLOW. TECHNO-PHOBIC. This does not bode well for their future. Authors produce the product, readers consume it. As we say at Write It Forward: everyone else, lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.
I just wonder why you're so angry at traditional publishing? Let the dinosaurs bray in the tar pits and move on. But didn't you get your start and your backlist from there? Most everyone I've worked with in publishing has loved books. Let's all treat each other with respect. Yes, editors might soon come begging us writers for work and have to send query letters. The business is changing so much faster than most people suspect.
David Morrell is going indie and that's just the beginning. As a former Green Beret I loved his book First Blood. But remember, the book is much different than the movie. So is the ending.
eBooks are the future, the choke hold that traditional publishers held over distribution is over.
It's a great time to be a writer,

JA Konrath said...

David Morrell is going indie and that's just the beginning.

David got screwed by the industry. Next time you see him, ask him about it. And it's not a coincidence he's got my agent. Remember my "one degree of separation" comment? :)

I'm justified in whatever anger I have. I've been wronged.

We've all been wronged.

I have as much sympathy for the publishing industry as they have for writers.

As for respect, if you feel you've been shown respect in this business, you may be one of the only writers I've heard make that claim.

Walter Knight said...

I only sold about 1,125 Kindle books in November, but yes, I am seeing my E-book sales excellerate into the Christmas season. And, I write science fiction, a smaller market.

I expect Jauuary to be a great month for sales because of increased Kindle ownership.

Jacqueline Howett said...

fisetriIt is this encouraging news that keeps the home fires burning. eBooks up 151% and downloads up and CD sales down 40% and same for hard covers. It is always wonderful to hear of so many new indie authors selling like hot cakes.

Jacqueline Howett Author of The Greek Seaman, a seafaring debut novel.

Philip Nelson said...


Just wanted to say thanks for all the information you provide; it's been very helpful.

You may also find it interesting that I found your site via Jerry Pournelle. (Pournelle was the first person to write a book using a computer. That computer is now in the Smithsonian.)

Anyhow, thanks again.


bowerbird said...

jtplayer said:
> releasing specific sales figures
> for ebooks or the Kindle
> is in no way equivalent to
> releasing tax returns.

on reflection, i think you're right.

it's more like releasing
your monthly pay-stub.

so let's see you do _that_,
and then we can talk, ok?


and -- just so it is said --
i'm confident that there are
lots of e-book authors who
are making their money and
keeping their mouths shut,
because they figure that they
don't need any "competition".

it's a big credit to konrath --
and it shows his love for his
fellow writers -- that he has
been willing to speak on this.


jtplayer said...

Re: "it's more like releasing
your monthly pay-stub."

No bird, it's not. I really can't figure out what point you are trying to make, but it makes no sense.

KevinMc said...

Of course it is, JT. When Joe or someone else comes in here and tells us how many books she sold, and where, it's elementary to go check prices and see pretty darned near exactly what was made that month.

It's very much like posting how much you got last month in your checks from wherever it is you work.

In some ways, it's a bit worse, even. It's like running a small business, and telling a thousand potentially competing businesses how much you made in sales last month. That's not a small thing, and making light of their generosity in giving out that information is unfair.

jtplayer said...

Dude...I'm talking about Amazon releasing information, not Joe or some other specific individual.

Companies release this kind of stuff all the time. It's not top secret...unless of course you are trying to create the impression of something that isn't quite there yet, as in this comment from Joe:

"You let them assume you have a lot. And then, as time passes and more people join the cause, you wind up actually having a lot."

Bird's analogy is flawed, the comparison incorrect. IMO.

You guys can certainly believe what you want.

And Kevin, you have completely misread what I'm posting about. Go back and reread. I am absolutely not making light of anyone's generosity. If you want to criticize me, get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

considering right now self-pub authors are having their works pulled by Amazon in an amazing display of censorship... I'd reconsider any relationship with Amazon in that light...

Ellen Fisher said...

I agree, Anon, what Amazon is doing bears watching. Now that they've begun removing indie books for content, they might start pulling them for sexual content, or violence, or whatever. It's enough to make an indie paranoid, for sure.

Rex Kusler said...

"...it shows his love for his
fellow writers..."
This brings a tear to my eye and overwhelms me with the urge to sing: Puff the Magic Dragon.

Anonymous said...

don't worry, Ellen - I'm sure Joe will be here soon enough to coo sweet things in our ears about how Amazon is our Friend and Just Wants Us To All Get Along...

if he says anything at all.

considering some of the authors dropped are mentioned in this exact post I'd hope he'd step up to the plate and defend them against Amazon's censorship or at least get an explanation when they've gotten none.

it's fine to hold these authors up as great examples of success in self-pubbing when it furthers your own agenda - will he support them against Amazon?

we'll see...

Marie Simas said...

"Having their works pulled by Amazon in an amazing display of censorship."

I haven't heard this. I've heard of Amazon pulling a few how-to books on pedophelia and some fan-fic suff. But every business can choose what it wants to sell. If I owned a bookstore, I'd be choosing what I wanted to put on my shelves, too.

KevinMc said...

JT, I'm sorry - I did misunderstand. when you asked "why won't anyone release their numbers?" I thought you meant writers, not the companies. I agree it's a little annoying that they don't, but it's not THAT uncommon, either. Publishers often don't release numbers on print sales for public consumption, for instance... Apple won't release iPad sales numbers. Etc.

About book pulls - which books have been pulled? I did some web searches, and all I could find is info about a Wikileaks book that it turned out the author pulled, not Amazon - and that Amazon did pull what I am gathering from the news was a "how to" guide for pedophilia... I'm pretty sure that's outside the realm of concern for most of what we're writing. If there's other stuff that's been pulled, what was it?

Anonymous said...

seems that Amazon decided to dump Selena Kitt's books among others.

of course, the books pulled have incest in them but you can check out the story with the #amazoncensors Twitter hashtag.

depending on where you fall under the idea of free speech this could be interesting...

JA Konrath said...

Amazon is a retailer, not a government.

They have a right to decide what they sell in their store--whether it is hosting a website or listing an ebook.

I agree it is a slippery slope. And Amazon has made mistakes before (gay erotica not being searchable, pulling 1984 from Kindles, etc.)

We'll see what happens. But so far, Amazon has given me no indication they're being run by the Tea Party.

Ellen Fisher said...

"I agree it is a slippery slope,"

That's my main concern. I don't like the idea that Amazon might just pull my books without warning and without any explanation, just... because. They don't have to explain, they don't have to be consistent in applying their own rules for content-- they can just yank a book because they feel like it. And yes, as a retailer they do have that right... but I don't like to see them beginning to slide down that slope.

KevinMc said...

It's one reason why I look forward to some other retailers grabbing more market share. With Amazon owning 75% of ebook sales, it's tough if a book gets yanked there for some reason. If there were four retailers, each with 20% shares (and a scattering of smaller ones), then the loss of any one wouldn't be so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"depending on where you fall under the idea of free speech this could be interesting"

This issue has nothing to do with free speech. Free speech gives you the right to publish, promote, and distribute whatever you want. You want to write about a dad who loves to fuck his kid-- go right ahead. But you might be printing it at Kinkos and selling it out of the trunk of your car, because the Bill of Rights doesn't inlcude forcing any retailer to carry anything they don't want to carry.

It's not a slippery slope. If 90% of America wanted to read about incest, then Amazon would carry lots of it. At this point, though, dealing with assholes and bad press is something that Amazon wants to avoid. That seems like basic marketing to me, not censorship.

"Free speech" doesn't force a retailer to carry your crappy shit.

JA Konrath said...

Here's a good recap of what's happening:


On one hand, retailers should be allowed to decide what they sell.

On the other, they should make the rules clear, not vague, and uniform, not spotty.

Repression of any kind of media or information is bad.

I don't believe in any universal truths or moral absolutes. But, on a personal level, I believe pedophiles should be castrated.

The problem is, once you object to something, it opens up a window to object to other things as well.

Now perhaps there are some things that should be objectionable. And certainly the people in the US are repressed enough to find objectionable content in everything. The amount of controversy caused by Janet Jackson exposing her breast is proof how repressive our society is.

Incest erotica is likely to be offensive to some people. But I don't believe those people should be able to tell me if I can read it or not. I want to be able to choose on my own.

Amazon removing these titles does limit my ability to choose for myself, and that's bad.

It seems like there has to be a line drawn somewhere, but it's tough to know where to draw it.

Luckily, we live in a pretty free society, and when enough people object to things, they change.

Ellen Fisher said...

I disagree; I think it IS a slippery slope. They've been carrying these books since 2008, and suddenly they're deleting them. Why? Probably because a few readers started clicking "report offensive content." What if those same readers start reporting offensive content on violent horror, or sexual content, or religious content, or whatever?

Amazon can remove anything they want. That's their right, but it's also something to be aware of for those of us who do a lot of selling through Amazon.

JA Konrath said...

It's not a slippery slope.

Yeah it is.

It's not censorship, and has nothing to do with free speech, but when a retailer is vague on what they deem "objectionable" and then start exercising their right to not sell what they deem objectionable, at what point do writers need to begin wondering if their books are safe or not?

Anonymous said...

Reading through some of the comments here a question comes to mind. I believe it was you that said some of the publishers you came across were dishonest. In my opinion it seems more desperate. Assuming Amazon and Kindle do as well as they seem to be, especially given the seventy per cent royalty, it cuts out the middle man and creates a truly open market. My question is, given that there will now be no filters between the reading public and the writers do you think we will be subject to an influx of the arrogance of some that "think" themselves writers? And a second part to that is what kind of editing does Amazon offer? I know they have standards but I have no idea what they have in regards to the standard editing?

Rex Kusler said...

I seem to remember a book by John Irving, where the protagonist was attracted to his sister, and his way of dealing with it was to bonk her until he couldn't stand looking at her (this was a common strategy in the '80s, except not with your sister). Maybe it wasn't John Irving. But I think it was. When you're a best selling author, you can get away with a lot more.

Sarra Cannon said...

Reading through these comments has really given me some major encouragement! It's great to see so many Indie authors selling thousadns of books in a month!

My first book just came out at the very end of October, and while I'm not close to the 1000 book mark yet, I've been excited about growing sales. My question for some of you who are so successful is how long did it take you to get to the 1000 book a month mark and how many books did you have published at that point? Can't wait to hear about more success stories!

Tara Maya said...

I found the censorship thing pretty upsetting. But it's not as though brick & mortar stores or traditional pubs are less susceptible to pressure. I remember the brohaha a while ago that caused a Big Pub to pull a scholarly biography of Mohammed because it included pictures of him (from twelfth century Iranian miniatures or something, not Danish cartoons or any source remotely controversial.) I think it's pathetic when retailers cave in, but as someone mentioned, they aren't governments and they care about their image and their pocketbook, not the First Amendment. The only way to combat censorship is for those outraged by it to make just as much or more of a fuss as the busy-body book-burners.

Tara Maya
Conmergence: An Anthology of Speculative Ficiton

Marie Simas said...

"At what point do writers need to begin wondering if their books are safe or not?"

I'm going to have to disagree herer. It's not about being "safe."

This is a capitalist society. The reason why economic boycotts work is because buyers can all get together and say, "Boycott Amazon-- they are selling a pedophile manual" --and that's exactly what happened! So Amazon didn't respond to the reports-- but maybe they got enough bad press that they decided it wasn't worth the risk.

There is no real "censorship" anyomore-- except in places where the internet is censored. Julian Assange proved that-- there are 2000+ mirror sites for Wikileaks. They'll never put that genie back in the bottle.

I think that's kick-ass. People should be able to write about whatever they want.

As a writer, if you decide that you want to write CP, incest erotica, or bomb-making manuals, you might want to re-think the profit potential of those genres. That's all.

bowerbird said...

tuppshar press said:
> We don't release
> specific numbers,
> but it's interesting that

jtplayer responded:
> Re: "We don't release
> specific numbers"
> Why won't anyone
> release specific numbers?

you were clearly responding to
a small publisher, so don't try to
tell us that you meant amazon...

but hey, if you want to know why
amazon isn't telling us all exactly
how well e-books are now selling,
isn't the answer pretty obvious?

they're selling a truckload _and_
a boatload of 'em, and pulling in
30% from each sale, and all they
have to do is send a measly file...

which was uploaded to the server
by the entity who is selling it...

that's all they have to do! for 30%!

no stocking, and no warehousing,
and no packing, and no shipping,
and no stolen or missing packages
(or packages that are _reported_
as stolen or missing even though
they arrived fine). no headaches,
in other words... just send a file,
and sit back and collect your 30%.

it's a big -- and very profitable! --
market, already!, and no one else
knows it except amazon. and it's
growing at an unbelievable rate,
and everyone knows it'll be huge,
eventually, and right now amazon
has it pretty much to itself, and
all they need is to keep increasing
their lead... but _you_ want 'em
to send out informative letters to
competitors on the opportunity!

yeah, right.

don't you see how stupid that is?

please note i'm not calling _you_
"stupid"... but the thing you just
said, it is _extremely_stupid_...

so, i ask again, can you see that?


dr.cpe said...

thanks joe, as always for the insights and the straight numbers... I hope to get some ebks up in early 2011, G-d willing and the crick dont rise.

I get more ads from pw in email than news nowadays; apparently they've sold their mailing list for ads to certain publishers. The subject line makes one think it's a digest, instead its a full screen email ad. sheesh.

Am still trying to wrest my book away from Random House who does not have e-rights, but is squatting on them threatening legalalia (and to thousands of other RH authors also) on pre 1993 book contracts that have NO electronic rights clauses. When people here talk about trad pub vs ebk pub, and want parity for trads., I have to agree with you Joe... grateful for what they did, but we all worked our a's/ off for them double time/and the return of faithful partner to author: depends on day, mood, I Ching. Know hundreds of name authors who belong to shaft club w or w/o agent. Reminds me much of why/how actors began their own studios. Only far better.

@bowerbird "maybe you can get wikileaks
to do an expose on them, eh?"

could you please also request the vatican finances; many of us would really like to know where all our parents and grandparents hard earned money really went.

@Robin Sullivan "I've added your names to the original post on Kindleboards. If you don't find your name its because your rankings don't justify the sales claims made. I'll be glad to rectify the situation if you can clear up the discrepancy."

could Robin or someone decipher this for me. I am sorry I dont understand how, what, who, why? Just trying to grok it/ all is new to me.


JA Konrath said...

It's not about being "safe."

Are you sure?

I agree with your points, but my concern is that without precise definitions of what is allowed and not allowed, more and more ebooks could be taken off Amazon on the whim of whatever fluxuating morality has their finger on the delete button.

The slippery slope isn't the removal of books. It's the removal of books without specific reasons why.

Though, in candor, I'm not too keen on the removal of books in any case.

Anonymous said...

it's a big credit to konrath --
and it shows his love for his
fellow writers.


You obviously don't know Joe at all.

Robin Sullivan said...

could Robin or someone decipher this for me. I am sorry I dont understand how, what, who, why? Just trying to grok it/ all is new to me.

The list of Names that Joe originally started with was from a post I have at Kindle Boards for those in November who had more than 1,000 sales.

I want to try to make this list as complete as possible so when people post here - Hey I sold x,xxx books a month I added them to my list.

There was one person though who reported they made a large number of sales but their Amazon Sales Ranking indicated they were...."stretching the truth". The people selling 1,000 a month are easy to find. They have rankings around 600 or less. This particular person had rankings in the 25,000 to 150,000 range and you just can't be selling over 5,000 books a month as they claim with those rankings so I choose not to include them on my list.

Does that clarify it for you?

Zoe Winters said...


I don't think you should assume anyone is stretching the truth on their sales numbers. Sales can fluctuate a lot. I had a HUGE month in November. But the bulk majority of my sales that month came from B&N not Amazon. If you were to look at my Amazon sales rankings you'd say: "Oh yeah, there is NO way she sold many ebooks in November."

But here's the thing, we're already about halfway into December, the November ship has sailed. And if you're looking at NovelRank, it is notoriously inaccurate for anyone selling higher numbers anyway. I think they were saying Amanda Hocking was selling like 700 copies a month when she'd sold huge amounts more than that.

Joe may have only been talking about Kindle book sales, but my Kindle sales were crap in Nov. next to my B&N sales and I don't define my success based specifically on my Kindle numbers, but my sales and earnings across the boards.

I hope that's helpful.

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jtplayer said...

Bowerbird...let me see if I can 'splain this a different way.

My original post, and many of the subsequent comments, had to do specifically with Amazon and the fact they do not release certain information.

Along the way tuppshar chimed in and I responded, still the focus for me was on Amazon.

Further along the way someone criticized me for insinuating "individuals" should release their sales figures. I corrected that person, feeling they completely misunderstood my point.

All through it you've been drawing a parallel to releasing tax return info. or pay stubs or whatever. I disagree with your take on it. I think your comparison is wrong, and I've stated that.

And besides that, there is absolutely nothing "stupid" about my comments, any more than yours are often stupid, ignorant, snarky, etc. See how that goes?

But hey dude, I don't play that game. You seem like an alright guy, once you get past the hipster bullshit. But please, enough with the stupid crap. If you knew me in real life, you'd know I'm about as far from "stupid" as one can get.

Have a great day everyone.

Marie Simas said...

The slippery slope isn't the removal of books. It's the removal of books without specific reasons why.

I think that Amazon can't really define what is "not allowed"-- no one can. These days, vendors respond to the market and to bad press. It's usually a knee-jerk response; self-preservation is more important than trying to protect any single author.

But Amazon can't really make a laundry list of what's not allowed. For example, if they announced tomorrow that they weren't going to sell any more books that included incest, they'd have to stop selling the Bible.

When Amazon pulled 1984 from the Kindle, that wasn't censorship-- some random douchebag uploaded the manuscript to Kindle thinking it was out of copyright. He was basically selling bootlegs. Amazon could have handled it better. But that wasn't censorship, either.

Look, if you want to write about bestiality or necrophelia, just slap some names on the characters like, say, Edward or Jacob-- then you'll have a besteller AND Amazon will gladly sell and pomote your books!

Marie Simas said...

You seem like an alright guy, once you get past the hipster bullshit.

Gotta admit that was pretty hilarious.

Zoe Winters said...

Look, if you want to write about bestiality or necrophelia, just slap some names on the characters like, say, Edward or Jacob-- then you'll have a besteller AND Amazon will gladly sell and pomote your books!


Tim Frost said...

Hi Joe, thanks for the invitation! I'd like to apply for the 1,000 club as I sold 1,600 copies of 'The Abigail Affair' in November, and I'm up to 900 so far in December - all on Amazon, and almost all in the UK. It's very gratifying, as the UK site has only been up for four months.

JA Konrath said...

You obviously don't know Joe at all.

I love and help all writers.

But anonymous jackass cowards who can't back up their bullshit with facts can blow me.

Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Love it! Love it! Love it!

Awesome response!

Either back it up or cry back in your corner.

Do it. Write it. Then move on.

Welcome To The Wish Granters Books said...

And a Happy Holiday to you, Joe.
You gave me the gift of a great guffaw.

dr.cpe said...

@Robin "...The people selling 1,000 a month are easy to find. They have rankings around 600 or less. This particular person had rankings in the 25,000 to 150,000 range and you just can't be selling over 5,000 books a month as they claim with those rankings so I choose not to include them on my list.
Does that clarify it for you?"

It does and thank you for taking the time. I understand better now

@Zoe, on same. Noted. Thanks also.

@Marie, "books that included incest, they'd have to stop selling the Bible." Correct on 1984 Orwell, it was a copyright issue, tho sucking it out of many pp kindle's while they slept seemed puro sci fi. Re Bible, prob too, have to include the sodomite, the middanite and the dolomites, ok, ok,not the dolomites.lol. Thanks.



dr.cpe said...

@bowerbird; in e-volumes, you have proved your power, gad zooks... one request to you re wikileaks vatican, and just over the newswire comes just now... seriously... http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/sex-abuse-crisis-vatican-pr-woes-figure-wikileaks-scoops

I sense someone already is wanting to pub an ebook of various collections of wikileaks. From what I hear re ny, some distant thunder in editorial from various, ... considering, strategizing how to create same p on p somehow too.


bowerbird said...

"anonymous" said:
> You obviously don't
> know Joe at all.

no, i can't say that i do...

never heard of him until he
started making noises here
about how he's making money
by publishing his e-books...

i've been monitoring the world
for a long time, awaiting that
specific happy development...

but yeah, joe could have stayed
mum, kept the secret to himself,
afraid that if he told anyone else
they would come and "compete"
with him, and he wouldn't have
this nice sandbox all to himself.
if he didn't give a damn about
other writers, he'da done that.

but he didn't keep quiet, did he?

no sir. he spoke out. and then
he _continued_ to speak out...
and he _persisted_, even when
lots of other writers questioned
what he was saying, because he
had the proof in his bank account,
and he wanted to tell all writers.

and when some people tried to
pin an "angry man" label on him,
he laughed right in their face...

and when people accused him of
self-promotion, he said "i've been
promoting myself for a decade,
but now i find i do not have to,
i can just sit home and _write_..."

i said it before: joe's no prophet.

he didn't see all of this happening
in advance. he didn't notice til it
slapped him in the bank account.

but once he did notice, he spoke.
he told fellow writers, and that is
an act of caring, and yes, _love_.

joe isn't a prophet.

but joe _is_ a hero.


Duane Spurlock said...

Just now learning more seriously about indie-ebook publishing. What's the typical length/word count for one of your books or those of a comparable author you name in your column? Thanks for all the great info.

Tara Maya said...

@ Duanne. The great thing about ebooks is that wordcount is much more flexible that traditional book. Joe's ebook Newbie's Guide to Publishing is really, really long -- although it reads so easily it's easy to not realize it. Banana Hammock is a lot shorter, although it's a mix and match, so it's easy not to realize it.

Of my own stuff, I have two novellas available which are only about 14,000 words each:

Tomorrow We Dance
The Painted World Stories

But my anthology Conmergence includes both of these and much more.

You can buy a single "ebook" that includes, say, all the Sherlock Holmes book.

Just be clear in your presentation how long the book is, so the reader knows what to expect.

Tara Maya
Conmergence: An Anthology of Speculative Ficiton

Derek J. Canyon said...

Duane, I'm a new self-publisher. I've released one short story anthology Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds that is 15,000 words long for $0.99. I just released a full length novel at 74,000 words, called Dead Dwarves Don't Dance at $2.99. The novel is selling better than the anthology. In fact, the release of the novel prompted an increase in sales of the anthology.

Adventures in ePublishing blog

Rob Cornell said...

All I know is I put up two short stories and a novel on Amazon, BN, and Smashwords, but so far have only one sale of each through Amazon. Nobody knows my stuff is even there. So what's the trick to jump-starting those sales?

In any event, those sales can only go up, so I will eventually qualify as another author disproving PW's article. :)


Anonymous said...

"David Morrell is going indie and that's just the beginning.

David got screwed by the industry."

You're probably referring to something different but I did hear him speak once. Guess how much he got for the rights to Rambo II (that I believe was one of the first films with a $100M budget)?

A. I'm pretty sure he said $50k (1/2 of what he originally had gotten back in the early 70s when his rights were sold).

You're likely not to meet m/any nicer people in writing than David. I can't wait til his backlist is fully up and making him a fortune.

Lowest Unique Bid said...

I just love the paper fragrance while reading the books. That's why I hate E-books!!

Ty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Star-Dreamer said...

Hello. I’m an author who has yet to be published, but who loves to read your posts. I keep going back and forth with myself as to whether I should stick with trade-pubbing or self-pubbing. I actually have a traditional publisher looking at one of my manuscripts – a Christian Spec-fic for YA – but I won’t hear back from him until February. His is an indie company, but he’s done well with the few books he’s published in the past.

From what I’ve seen here, it looks like a good amount of people are doing well by self-pubbing or indie-pubbing with kindle and e-books, but there are always a few who struggle with it… even on here. I’ve only recently started to look at ebook publishers. The thing is, I’m one of those paper-lovers. Though I really want one, I don’t have a Kindle or Nook yet, or any other e-reader for that matter, and I’ve barely made it through the first couple of chapters in the few books I do have on my computer in pdf format… unless they’re from an author I follow closely. Knowing this about myself and most of my friends, I start to really question what might happen if I decided to self-pub or publish via e-book. I love writing more than almost anything else in the world, but I’m terrified of what sales for my book might look like if I try self publishing or e-publishing, even after I’ve put my marketing strategy to work. At least if a traditional publisher wants to look at my manuscript, then I feel like I must have done something right.

And then there’s always that platform issue. As an unpublished author, I’ve been trying to build up my platform over the web, using blogs and social networks. For not having much of a name before hand, I think I’ve done rather well. But I don’t know if what I’ve done is enough to get me started. I will, of course, continue striving to build up my platform, both online and in real life, but will it be enough? Will it ever be enough? This is the question that keeps bothering me.

What I’ve always wondered though is, what exactly is the difference between indie-ebook companies vs. indie-traditional companies? Would you say one is better than the other, and why? And then how in the world do you guys manage to hold up those awesome-looking sales numbers, and how many of you are actually newly published authors without many previously published books under your belts? For me, a real newbie, that is the sort of stuff I find important. I believe my book is definitely good enough… the question I harbor is how to get it out where people can really see it.

And who better to ask than people who have already managed such a feat?

Anonymous said...

"If you knew me in real life, you'd know I'm about as far from "stupid" as one can get."

A shame it is so difficult (or impossible) to tell that from your posts here on Joe's blog.

Nancy C. Johnson said...

Hi Joe,

November was a great month, but December looks to be much, much better! Over 8000 sales of my novel, Her Last Letter, in November.

Nancy :)

Aaron Patterson said...


I have been selling a average of 2000-3000 eBooks each month just on amazon. Last month was good at about 2000. This is just from two titles and this month I am on track to outsell November. I'm even out selling your book (Shot of Tequila) in the Hard-Boiled Mystery/Thriller section. I would love to be added to your list as I have been in the top 200-300 on Amazon for the last year.


Book 1 (Sweet Dreams)
Book 2 (Dream On)
Book 3 (In Your Dreams) coming in 2011
Teen Thriller (Airel) Coming in 2011

Ahmad Aleem Williams said...

My first novel,How Did I Get Here has been ranked in the top 1,000 for the last three months. But, all three of my books are in the top 5,000 and sold over 1,000 copies. I just decided to start my own publishing company from my laptop without ripping my authors off. I give them 85%!

carol rich said...

I am a new author and for the first month of e-sales had a fair amount of success. I believe in my novel Untethered and am waiting for sales to catch on fire. Any advice for a novice such as myslelf? How do you do it?

JA Konrath said...

The comments section is once again open. :)


Screw Dude, let's go bowling!

Tahmid Ullah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Victor Methos said...

Hi Joe, I don't need to be added to the list, I just wanted to express how grateful I am to you. I started a lowly indie author rejected by every publisher, to becoming a huge success on my own and then picked up by Thomas & Mercer. I think I've sold somewhere over a few million books since 2011 and am averaging a good 10 to 15 thousand a month now if you include Audible. I'm sure you get this a lot, but I'm not certain it would've happened without your advice along this path (I even used Carl a lot for my covers, though he's much harder to get ahold of these days).

Amazon is definitely the future, and the Big 5 are a joke that wouldn't know a bestseller if it bit them in the ass. Again, thanks for all you did for me.

Gordon Horne said...

Comment to the repost in 2017. Since anyone can file DMCAs, it might not have been Lexi or someone in her employ trying to scrub links to her work from the internet but someone trying to do her harm. Another reason why naively accepting all complaints is not a good idea.