1. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Over 150 authors sold 100,000+ Kindle books in 2013

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by lex, Dec 27, 2013.

    Source: Over 150 KDP Authors Each Sold More than 100,000 Thousand Books in 2013 | The Passive Voice | Writers, Writing, Self-Publishing, Disruptive Innovation and the Universe (a good blog, if you don't know it - the "comments" often make interesting reading, too.)

    More than 200,000 exclusive books were added to the Kindle store in 2013, and KDP authors sold hundreds of thousands of books during November 2013 through the new Kindle Countdown deals.

    Personally, I get a little tired of all the talk one finds everywhere about Konrath and Locke: my feeling is that the true talking-point should be not the small handful of "star players" but all the midlist authors who couldn't make a living through traditional publishing but can through Kindle. This 150+ number tells us that success isn't limited to small number of authors: there'll be far larger numbers in the 50,000 - 100,000 sales bracket, as well.

    (And don't forget that many/most of these authors make additional sales from other outlets, too).

    And a Happy New Year to all ...
     
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  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not to rain on anyone's parade, but 150 out of how many self-published authors? And are those SP mid-listers actually 'making a living' or are they just making decent money? Just keeping both feet on the ground, nothing more...
     
  3. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    It is hard to draw proper conclusions with such things. Like shadowwalker says, those 150 could be about of 300 000. That's a one in two thousand chance of having some relative success.

    And we don't know the background of those 150. Perhaps they're authors who were good enough to be published traditionally, but, for whatever reason, gave up after, say, the fifth rejection and went down the Kindle route. Perhaps they would have been accepted the sixth time around and have been topping the bestseller charts in [insert large bookshop chain where you live here]
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Those numbers include are dominated by traditionally published books with Kindle editions. Don't be deceived to think this is a self-published market.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A few observations:
    Those with over 100,000 sales in the year are probably counting every title they sell.

    Traditionally published authors, with major marketing support are probably well represented in that list.

    I don't know if 'sales" count for free promotions. Amazon recently has altered how they calculate when a book is listed for free with respect to 'boosting' its ranking, so maybe not. But the information is apparently a press release from Amazon, so maybe. I know authors that rack up thousands of downloads when they set a title for free for a short period of time. That boosts their download numbers but not their sales, unless free is counted as a 'sale'.

    To sell 100,000 copies in a year, that'd be about 275 sales (of all titles an author has out) per day. If we're talking sales, that'd be a little under $35,000 if all the titles were $0.99. I am guessing that's probably not the case. So it is a good stream of income.

    Even looking at things, especially on other board, the authors posting are those that are doing very very well. Very few talk about their dismal sales...and most with dismal sales never say anything. Probably there are some doing really well that don't post/talk about it. (threads that say: What are your November Sales #s, or How Much have your Sales Picked up--or Dropped, etc.)

    I have four titles available on the Kindle (through a small press/not self published). With current average sales, I would have to have 44 titles available to have a shot at the 100,000 chart. I better get writing!

    But that's the point. Self-published or traditionally published, an author has to write, and complete works and get them published, in order to build a reader base. One title available isn't likely to cut it. With dedication, hard work, honing the talent and storytelling ability, and a little luck, maybe an author can break the 100,000 a year sales mark. Probably not, but how many would be satisfied with 1/4 or even 1/1o that--a least to start?
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like how many have already been trade published previously, or are selling their backlists?
     
  7. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    This is incorrect.

    It may help you to read the article (and the site) linked to, rather than regurgitating your habitual prejudices: his reasoning applies to self-published books.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Believe what you will. The source of the article has no agenda, of course.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see this differently than some others in the thread. Success is still rare, a writer still has to have that very special book.

    But what this says is, one doesn't need to first jump the hurdle of an agent or a publisher to reach the public.

    I don't expect a miracle, but I can still believe in my work until it fails. At least I don't have the barrier of a few opinions keeping me from reaching a wider audience. Yes, publicity is still a hurdle. Yes, access doesn't guarantee people will taste. But I can look forward to direct contact with Readerville, the fate of my book is not up to a small pool of judges.
     
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  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    It doesn't matter what career path you choose, there is always a low percentage of those who reach the top. That's why it's important to choose a career path you will hopefully enjoy, so that the disappointment of not becoming the best at it doesn't sting quite as much.
     
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  11. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It is. Water Dance* the first volume of my six volume romance set, is given away free as an audition. And in my Kindle accounting page all downloads for that book are listed as units sold. The change they made is that in the ratings, the sales ranking is shown as against other free offerings, not total sales of Kindle sales.

    * a bit of shameless self promotion :eek:
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    One of my friends has a half dozen books on Kindle. They allow one a month, I believe, to be listed free as a promo.

    Pricing is a tricky issue. Price it too low (99 cents) and people think the book is crap. Price it too high and people don't buy it. That's why $2.99 is a popular price, it's psychologically more respectable than 99 cents. But free as a promo is a different issue.

    For me, though, I think the free preview Amazon has for Kindle books is enough to know if you want to read that book or not. The trick is getting people to read the free preview.
     
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  13. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Yes, indeed.

    Being listed "permanently free" on Kindle isn't always a trivial matter, but they'll price-match. Many people achieve this (typically for the first in a series) by listing the price as "free" at places like Kobo, Google Books, and so on, and then effectively "reporting themselves" to Amazon (and/or asking friends to), after which Amazon will (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly) adjust their price to "free" and leave it there. It's a bit of work-around, but it can work well.
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    That's intriguing.
     
  15. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    It's possible to list a book as free at Barnes & Noble only by submitting it via Smashwords, who negotiated a special, never-repeated arrangement with B&N when they set up their service. Individuals and even services such as Draft2Digital can't do this. Amazon will price-match against B&N, though. (But to achieve this, one has to be willing to use Smashwords! :p ).
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've been happy enough with my self-publishing experiment. My only self-published work (via Amazon) is a children's book. It is less than 10,000 words long, and so far I've made more than 10 cents per word in it, which isn't bad.
     
  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike, it's a good read--my daughter really likes it and has re-read it several times (that I know of).

    But that's part of the point here. Those that make the 100,000 sales mark in a year are writing and publishing stories people enjoy and want to read, and seek out more of what that author has written.

    There is some initial luck (I believe--in addition to successful promotional efforts ) in a title appearing on the "Also Looked at" and "Also Bought" listings, which can help drive sales, but that won't matter--in fact it won't happen, especially with the' also bought' listings under top selling titles that matter, if what's being offered by an author isn't of interest (quality/content) to the reader.
     
  18. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It took over a month after I, and several friends reported a lower price elsewhere.

    Publishing through Smashwords automatically places it on Barnes and Nobel, the Apple Store, Kobo, and several others. And it doesn't stop you from going through Amazon, too, though you can't be part of their KDP select plan unless you give them ninety days exclusive, first.

    I can tell you that I've seen a fair amount of activity via B&N because of it.
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, @TWErvin2 . Those are kind words. The fact that a child has liked it enough to read it more than once means more to me than the royalties :)

    I agree with what you're saying about quality and content. I have bought some self-published books that I enjoyed a good deal and thought were better in terms of quality and content than some things I've seen on the shelves from traditional publishing houses. But most of the ones I've come across personally have not been. I always download the sample before purchase, and if I don't find the sample to have the requisite quality I won't purchase the book.
     

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