Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Indie Authors: John Locke Becomes the First Independently Published Author to Join the “Kindle Million Club,” and Amanda Hocking Goes Big League

Here are two cases of very big news for the two most successful “direct to Kindle” indie authors to date.

First, Amazon announced an hour ago that John Locke has become the first indie author to sell a million Kindle books, with the following titles, all priced at 99 cents each:
“As of yesterday, John Locke has sold 1,010,370 Kindle books using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP),” said Amazon’s release.

Congratulations, John! See the entire Amazon release at the end of this post.

Locke said he studied the ebook market, looked at pricing of ebooks, and decided to become the bestselling author of 99 Cent books bar none.

He did it.

His 10th book, a tell-all about how he marketed his way to success, breaks the pattern.  How I Sold 1 Million eBooks In 5 Months costs $4.99.

Meanwhile, the author who could become the next “Kindle Million Club” member, Amanda Hocking, is the subject of a pretty interesting full-length article in yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Magazine. It’s a good read whether you are a Hocking fan or simply someone interested in what’s going on in publishing and the Kindlesphere.

Hocking was outselling Locke in the Kindle store until around the time she signed a $2 million four-book contract with agency model publisher, St. Martin’s Press (MacMillan). She’s still selling 9,000 books a day, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Does Hocking’s contract mean she is no longer an indie author?

Not to me. For one thing, one important characteristic that Hocking and Locke share is that each of them writes very fast. Very, very fast. Like it takes them a month or two to complete a novel.

So even if Hocking has four books tied up with a traditional publisher, that need not keep her from bringing beaucoup other books direct to Kindle. And when she looks back on the decade as a millionaire 35-year-old in 2020 or so, I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t find that she made a lot more money with direct publishing than she did with a traditional publisher. But we’ll see.

Here’s Amazon’s release today:

John Locke Becomes the First Independently Published Author to Join the "Kindle Million Club"
Locke passes 1 million Kindle books sold using Kindle Direct Publishing
SEATTLE, Jun 20, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) - today announced that John Locke has become the eighth author to sell over 1 million Kindle books, becoming the newest member of the "Kindle Million Club," and the first independently published author to receive this distinction. 

As of yesterday, John Locke has sold 1,010,370 Kindle books using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Kindle Direct Publishing is a fast and easy way for publishers and authors to start selling to Kindle customers worldwide via Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle with Special Offers, Kindle 3G with Special Offers, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac and Android-based devices. 

The Kindle Million Club recognizes authors whose books have sold over 1 million paid copies in the Kindle Store ( Locke joins Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins and Michael Connelly in the Kindle Million Club.

"It's so exciting that self-publishing has allowed John Locke to achieve a milestone like this," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. "We're happy to see Kindle Direct Publishing succeeding for both authors and customers and are proud to welcome him to the Kindle Million Club."

"Kindle Direct Publishing has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the book selling industry," said John Locke. "Not only did KDP give me a chance, they helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have."

John Locke, of Louisville, KY., is the internationally bestselling author of nine novels including "Vegas Moon," "Wish List," "A Girl Like You," "Follow the Stone," "Don't Poke the Bear!" and the New York Times bestselling eBook, "Saving Rachel." Locke's latest book, "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months," is a how-to marketing guide for self-published authors.

Like all Kindle books, Locke's books are "Buy Once, Read Everywhere"-- customers can purchase these books and read them on the third-generation Kindles that start at $114 with the new high-contrast Pearl e-ink display, as well on iPads, iPod touches, iPhones, Macs, PCs, BlackBerrys, Windows Phones and Android-based devices. Amazon's Whispersync technology syncs your place across devices, so you can pick up where you left off. With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books you purchase from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in your Kindle library on Amazon, where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.

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