I’ve been following J. A. Konrath for a while, and have enjoyed him railing against traditional publishing in a much more vocal and high-profile way that I ever have.

Naturally, many haven’t enjoyed his work as much – and I would think that would include almost all of traditional (read “paper”) publishing itself.

He’s long been the tall poppy to attack when people want to prove that self-publishing  – or, more accurately, author publishing in his case – is an adberation that will soon die out. Whether these barbs have their genesis among traditional publishers is hard to say, but I would think at least some do.

But it’s getting harder for people to make the idea that Konrath is a freak of nature (although his bio photos sometimes don’t help!) in the sense of his success, and especially his success comparative to how he was doing when he stuck to just paper publishing.

He’s sort of become a lighting rod for other successful self-publishers, and the noise is growing.

The other day Robin Sullivan (she’s the wife of the guy in fourth spot below) blogged this little tidbit on Konrath’s site:

The ”JA Konrath is selling a lot of ebooks because of his traditional publishing background” presumption has practically become an internet meme, being parroted by both my detractors and indie authors. This misconception makes it easy to dismiss me as an anomaly, which means people don’t have to actually examine the issue and seek more data.

So I’m happy to provide that data.

These are DECEMBER sales figures for some indie authors. In other words, they account for only 31 days of sales.

Are you ready to be blown away?

Blake Crouch – 2500+
Nathan Lowell – 2500+
Beth Orsoff – 2500+
Sandra Edwards – 2500+
Vianka Van Bokkem – 2500+
Maria Hooley – 2500+
C.S. Marks – 2500+
Lee Goldberg – 2500+
Lexi Revellian – 4000+
Zoe Winters – 4000+
Aaron Patterson – 4000+
Bella Andre – 5000+
Imogen Rose – 5000+
Ellen Fisher – 5000+
Tina Folsom – 5000+
Terri Reid – 5000+
David Dalglish – 5000+
Scott Nicholson – 10,000+
J.A. Konrath 10,000+
Victorine Lieske – 10,000+
L.J. Sellers – 10,000+
Michael R. Sullivan – 10,000+
H.P. Mallory – 20,000+
Stephen Leather – 30,000+
Amanda Hocking – 100,000+

No need to hurt your neck in a doubletake – these are alarmingly high figures. But it’s the growing length of the list that I think will worry traditional publishing the most. Twenty-five self-pubs who are making more than $5k a month from their work.

Amanda Hocking – if she sold ever books at $2.99, taking home 70% of that, she’s pocketing more than $209,000 for the month. NOw I don’t know what YOU earn, but, well … you get the point.

I wonder what the real length of the list is. These are just the ones that Konrath and co. know about.

Via Jason Davis’ BookBee


  1. I certainly wouldn’t dispute that self-publishers can do well. But I do wonder where those figures come from, and am a bit hesitant to accept them just on the basis of that list.

    It’s also somewhat misleading to look at these figures without any context to put them in. To really analyze them and what they mean, more detail is needed. For instance, how many books does each author have on offer? What genre are they writing in? What price points are we looking at? What are the average sales figures for Kindle self-publishers in general?

  2. The figures come from indie authors sharing the information at Kindle Boards. Amanda Hocking has put DTP screen shots on her blog because of people who questioned whether her figures were real.

    However, Victoria is correct in one way – not all those authors are “making more than $5k a month from their work.” Ten thousand copies at $.99 (which means $.35 per book and which some of those authors have been up front about being their selling point) equals $3,500. So those indies selling 2,500 books per month but selling at $2.99 and getting the 70% royalty are doing better financially than the author selling 10,000 at $.99. People curious about the ins and outs of indie success ought to read Konrath’s blog.

  3. I’m willing to accept that these 25 self-published authors are doing as well as Konrath claims. It is not that a self-published author cannot do well; obviously they can. Rather it is that traditionally published authors who do well is a higher percentage of the pool of traditionally published authors than the percentage of self-published authors balanced against the pool of self-published authors.

  4. Yeah, why accept “data”? Universal truth is merely a personal wish that collects the evidence one prefers to see. I price my books between .99 and $6.99 and cheaper sells better most of the time. I’d be dubious, too, if I wasn’t one of them. Nothing to see here, folks, let’s just keep on rolling toward that there cliff edge dead ahead…

    Scott Nicholson

  5. Pleased to see Nate Lowell on that list. He’s an interesting case study –
    He didn’t build his fan base through traditional publishing, but by giving away the audio versions of his books on and interacting with his fans.
    It also helps that he’s incredibly prolific, keeping them coming back for more (something he shares in common with Konrath)

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