For every person you hear say that literature is dying, you’ll find another who says it’s thriving. It’s hard to really point to anything beyond book sales to gauge this, but it’s more likely that the industry is shifting more than anything else.
Today, it’s easier than ever to publish. It’s not so easy to get noticed. With a lot of publishing houses only going for guaranteed ROI (return on investment), fewer new authors are getting a push. This, however has given rise to the self-made author. This is basically a person who is a writer, a marketing exec, a distributor, a printer all wrapped up into one. It’s not easy work, but it can be done.
The names John Locke and Amanda Hocking come to mind when you talk about successful self-publishers.
Locke very famously sold over 1 million eBooks on Kindle within five months, making him a millionaire. He was the first self-published author to ever make #1 on the best sellers list. His strategy is rather common sense, but as with everything, it requires dedication and hard work.
The internet contributed greatly to Loche’s success. His web blog was, and still is, a simple site designed to give you the goods without a lot of fluff. Readers can download samples easily and get into the story without forking over a lot of cash. He gained readers as well by smartly pricing his works at 99 cents, which is the lowest you can set for Amazon’s Kindle network.
You can learn more about him at his website.
Amanda Hocking’s story is a bit less about marketing and more about persistence. She was writing as a hobby and started self publishing in 2010. Since then, she’s made over $2million in sales of her pop culture, quirky girl, action filled stories that are available for the Amazon Kindle. After her huge success on her own, she signed a deal with a publisher to put out four more books.
At first, her sales were modest. But she worked with what she had and learned how to promote her work and gain an audience on the web. After a while, she went viral and her sales skyrocketed.
Her sales jumped to 6,000 units a week on Amazon. She’s settled herself into the niche of paranormal romance ala Twilight. Readers caught on and began devouring her series of books online, which she sold for relatively low prices. Hocking claimed that to be one of the reasons she’s done so well, citing that many authors – especially new authors – price their books too high.
There are tons of stories like these out there, and we’ll be highlighting independent authors and small press publishers over the next few months. There are a lot of great stories out there to read. There are stories out their to inspire authors. If you are a writer, and think you can’t do it, look to others for inspiration and then look to yourself for what makes you unique. There’s nothing keeping you from being the next Hocking, Locke or Meyers.