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Self-Publishing Revolution: Man Makes $100,000 in Three Weeks Self-Publishing on Amazon’s Kindle

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“This has now become the best way in the history of mankind for a writer to earn money. It may be one of the greatest ways to ever make money, period.”

It is a great time to be a self-published writer. Joe Konrath, the author of the above quote, should know, he has made $100,000 in three weeks, a record for self-published writers.

The key to his success seems to be specific to the Amazon Kindle platform more than anything other thing he has done to promote his work over the years. And, surprisingly, social media has played little role in his success. He writes:

People aren’t buying me because I visited 1200 bookstores in my career. They aren’t buying me because I have a popular blog about publishing. They aren’t buying me because they love my old books.

I made $100,000 in three weeks from people who have no idea who I am. If they knew who I was, they would have bought those titles years ago. Because they’ve been available for years.

I know I have fans. I know I have some name recognition. But the sales they bring are paltry next to the marketing machine which is Amazon.

How do I know this for sure?

Because all of my other books were (until recently) on other platforms, where they did mediocre compared to bestselling authors.

James Patterson is selling well on Kindle, but he’s also selling well on Sony and Kobo and Apple and B&N. On Kindle, I’m outselling many Patterson titles. That isn’t the case anywhere else.

So it isn’t my name or my past that is responsible for this success. Nor is it any marketing efforts I’m doing now, because I’m not doing any. I haven’t visited my Facebook page in six months. I have a fan page but don’t know how to use it. I’ve never bought an online ad. I’ve got Twitter followers, but they’re writers, not fans.

Apparently, writers should not be less concerned about Twitter and Facebook presence — social media does not seem to be a sales driver — but more open to the idea of giving some of their work away on the Kindle, a strategy Konrath has pursued. If you can’t stomach the idea of giving work away, you could offer your ebooks for less than $9.95.

Konrath’s success suggests that self-publishing, for the most part, can make a writer more money than the traditional publishing option. Unlike traditional publishers, Amazon incurs virtually no cost in keeping your books “in print” or listed for sale on their servers. Nor is Amazon looking for the next James Patterson and therefore ignoring you and your books because they haven’t instantly made millions. These two factors create a situation where any author able to tell an exciting story can make money.

One more fact suggests that sales of self-published books will increase: Amazon’s Kindle is the biggest selling reader and by far the market leader, which means that more and more people will be reading on Kindles, increasing the potential audience.

And the best part of it is that writers are no longer at the mercy of editors and traditional publishers. Nor are they any longer at their whim — today it is the marketplace directly that decides the worth of a book.

What do you need to be successful as a self-published author? You need to be able to tell great stories. What makes a story great? To answer that question, you need to know your target audience because it is reader taste that today determines what makes a great story in the new publishing paradigm. How do you catch their attention? You need to offer some of your work free or nearly free. And you need to keep writing and publishing your work. Which means that you need to have patience, persevering in the face of adversity — Konrath’s success comes after two decades of rejections.

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About A. Jurek

A. Jurek is one of the editors at Blogcritics. Contact me at:
  • Sam Grant

    Timing is everything. I began “The Source in Al Qaeda” in 2004. Sent out one letter to Follett’s agent. Didn’t bite. And then I shelved it after writing almost a third of the book. Fast forward, a Wash Post article last spring on self publishing was motivation enough to get out the manuscript and resume where I’d left off. Now out 2 days and its hard not to be a bit dejected as even if one has written a good yarn…there had to be a way to get potential readers’ attention. Love to be judged on merit but if no one knows about the work…its just for self satisfaction. The publishers on the other hand like Goliath can bring all sources of marketing resources to bear to this essential task. So a whoring we will go to try to get attention such as this posting (my apologies for this crass attempt)…a BIG UGH for a writer who just wants to write about what he knows!
    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • PRbookgirl

    It’s amazing how many tools and opportunities there are for authors these days! As a book publicist for many self-publishing imprints and a publicist for free DIY e-publisher Booktango, I wholeheartedly agree that self- and e-book publishing are the way to go.
    Booktango, for example, gives authors 100% of their royalties if the book is purchased through their store, and everything after the retailer’s cut if purchased anywhere else. It’s a great time to be an author, that’s for sure!