Self-publishing Amazon author sells 100,000+ e-books per month

amanda-hocking-kindle-authorBusiness Insider has a story about a 26-year-old writer who self-publishes on Amazon’s store and makes “millions”. Amanda Hocking is reportedly the best-selling independent author on Amazon (we mentioned her briefly in January and a commenter brought her up earlier this month). She reportedly sells 100,000 e-books per month at prices of $.99 to $2.99, and keeps 70% of the take.

Previously one of the best selling Kindle writers was J.A. Konrath, but it was assumed he was popular because he previously had a publishing deal and so already had notoriety. That’s not the case with Hocking, who published stories on her blog before turning to Kindle. In fact, out of the top 25 best-selling indie Kindle writers, only 6 were previously affiliated with a publishing house.

That’s certainly a blow to the conventional wisdom that self-e-publishing can only work for people who’ve already built their reps the old-fashioned way. (Though critics will still point out that relatively few self-publishing authors are hitting that level of success with their books.)

In January, Tonya Plank interviewed Hocking on the Huffington Post. Hocking explained she came to the decision to self-publish after hearing about Joe Konrath.

Everything I’d heard about self-publishing is that it was impossible to make a living, reach readers, or produce a quality product. But last year, I heard about how some other authors like Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion are doing well with ebooks. So I thought that I had nothing to lose. I’d written about 12 books when I decided to self-publish, and I thought it would be better than them sitting on my computer. Worst case scenario, nobody would read them, and that’s what was happening anyway.

She says that the most frustrating thing about independent publishing is the lack of a good professional editor such as publishing houses provide.

Maybe I should get around to writing my own great American novel…

11 Comments on Self-publishing Amazon author sells 100,000+ e-books per month

  1. Rob in Denver // March 1, 2011 at 12:04 am //

    Apparently she just paid cash for a house…

  2. Talk about encouraging! Great article, and motivation.

  3. Felix Torres // March 1, 2011 at 7:18 am //

    I ran into her work a couple months ago through one of the Amazon freebie promos; I downloaded the first of her Trylle Trilogy and found it a competent effort and since the sequels were reasonably priced (US$2.99) I picked them up.
    I can see how her books sell as they’re well-crafted examples of the genre; pacing, characterization, plots, themes, all are textbook examples of how to get the genre exactly right. Whether intentional or not, she seems to be following Heinlein’s old guideline of making the protagonist 17 and then writing them as adults.
    It surely doesn’t hurt that she’s playing in the exploding young adult urban fantasy realm (perfect to appeal to the teens and tweens discovering ebooks in the wake of Harry Potter and Twilight) nor that she is a good writer. Period.
    Good for her.
    Hopefully others will follow.

  4. Richard Askenase // March 1, 2011 at 10:29 am //

    I think this is great. I’m not interested in the genre she writes in, but love the fact that she has been so succesful without any publishing house.

    Go for it!!

  5. Though critics will still point out that relatively few self-publishing authors are hitting that level of success with their books.

    very few classically published authors reach this level of success, either.

  6. More than anything it proves that it CAN be done and the readers are there and willing to buy.

  7. Common Sense // March 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm //

    This article in the Guardian, as reported by the Kindle Review, says that Amanda Hocking sold 450,000 copies of her books in Feb alone:

    It’s fabulous to see so many indie authors making it!

    With Random House now joining the agency model (half of the books on my wishlist just went up in price), indie authors will definitely gain. They will be getting even more of my business since I won’t be purchasing those Random House ebooks.

    Hopefully, more traditionally successful authors will see the light and self-publish their backlists as the rights become available.

  8. The explosion of self-published books is a wonderful thing. Now readers can decide for themselves what is worthy and what is not. It’s no longer totally in the hands of a few big publishers and their myriad subsidiaries. Of course, that is just one opinion and as an author myself, it could be biased. lol.

  9. I’m reading Switched right now and find it very mediocre. It reads more like a fan-fic than a “worthy of being published novel”.

    This isn’t the place for a book review. But Amanda Hocking is making money off of her stories the same way Stephanie Meyer did. Their stories appeal to people that will read anything “cute”.

  10. People who criticise and knock other people’s taste in reading as ‘inferior’ or less ‘sophisticated’ tend to have serious personality and ego problems. They should be ignored.

  11. I’ve read Amanda Hockings books and I understand why they are popular. I read a lot of YA fantasy fiction. As for self publishing, I’m considering following her example. I published a humorous mystery through a publishing house several years ago. The book is still on Amazon but I made little money on it and had to fight with the publisher to take it off the shelf and re-edit. The grammatical errors that “slipped past” the editor was astounding. I ended up paying to get it re-edited. I would like to publish again, but I will not go through the same publishing house. Self publishing through Create Space and Kindle is a viable option.

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