Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Self-published writer joins Kindle Million Club - what does it mean?
Amazon.com announced yesterday (NZT) that thriller writer Locke, whose books are released through the online retailer's Kindle Direct Publishing, has sold just over 1 million e-books, many of them priced at 99 cents. The 60-year-old Louisville businessman-turned-thriller writer's novels include VEGAS MOON, WISH LIST, and A GIRL LIKE YOU. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his online success, his latest book is a non-fiction one, HOW I SOLD 1 MILLION EBOOKS IN 5 MONTHS. I would be curious to see what Locke has learned from his experiences, and how they could be applied by other writers.
To me, online and e-book publishing brings both opportunities and challenges for budding and established authors. Just like the traditional publishing world, some authors will make it big, and many won't - and this distinction won't always be a pure meritocracy. Good and great authors will be relatively overlooked, and other lesser authors will seem to have 'undeserved' levels of success, in the eyes of some. Although the better the book you write, the better your chances will be, writing a good book in of itself won't guarantee big sales - if readers aren't aware of your writing, or aren't enticed to give it a go, it will be difficult to build a strong and growing readership. Online publishing allows authors to make their books more widely available (eg Kiwi authors who aren't published in print in the US or UK can be available for readers in those countries if they have e-book versions of their Australasian-published titles), but at the same time this very trait of the technology makes it very easy to 'get lost in the flood'. There are literally millions of books out there - so how will readers come across yours?
Plenty to think about, and Locke's success will certainly inspire many. I'd love to read your thoughts on the evolution of e-publishing, and what it might mean for writers of all stripes.