You’re probably a writer. Even if you fail to perceive this. Written a resume? Posted to a blog or other social media? Contributed to a newsletter. Sent a letter to the editor? And the list goes on. A “yes” to any of these questions makes you a writer. Not necessarily a published author. Or one who derives income from writing. But would you like to be? Finding a publisher may be tough. But how about self-publishing your own work?
This could be a consideration if you have a unique story to tell — fiction or fact-based. Or if you want to help others to resolve certain issues. Or being a published author is a goal for you. However, earning big bucks should not be the rationale for a writing a book. The TYPICAL author sells less than 1,000 copies. And he/she generates a relatively small income. Yet, some self-publishing superstars do quite well.
At Amazon, “40 self-published authors ‘make money’. The other hundreds of thousands, don’t. This interesting statistic, revealed in a New York Times article, applies to the Kindle Store. But since Amazon is the world’s largest digital publishing platform, self-published authors are probably not doing much better anywhere else. ‘Making money’ means selling more than one million E-book copies in the last five years. Yes, 40 authors managed that.”
On average, “a third of the 100 best-selling Kindle books are self-published titles each week. Perhaps this is not surprising, given legacy publishers of pricing E-books from $12 to $16 or more. And that compares to self-published book at $3 to $5.”
We divide this post into two parts. First, we highlight a few self-published authors with best-sellers. Then, we show tips for self-publishing your own work.
Best-Selling Self-Published Authors
In this section, we feature three superstar authors who began with self-publishing.
From Self-Publishing Review: “Amanda Hocking, author of Young Adult paranormal romance fiction, gained great attention with her debut in 2010 with the My Blood Approves trilogy, and later smash-hit success with the Trylle trilogy the same year, which reached over 1.5 million sales before signing with St. Martin’s Press in 2012. Hocking has continued to write both series along with The Hollows, Watersong, and The Kanin Chronicles, the latter of which continues this August. Hocking broke records for self-published authors with over two million dollars in sales in 2012.”
From PublishDrive: “Arguably the most well-known self-publishing success story is E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. She self-published the first book in 2011 as an E-book and print (on demand paperback) through an independent publisher. What began as Twilight fan-fiction, soon became a world-known bestseller. Despite the mixed critical responses, Fifty Shades of Grey alone has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. And the book holds the record for the fastest selling paperback, which made her the richest of self-published authors.”
“From Curiosity Never Killed the Writer: “The Celestine Prophecy was self-published by James Redfield after being repeatedly rejected by publishers. He sold 100,000 copies of the novel out of the trunk of his Honda before Warner Books agreed to publish it. In spite of drawing fire for its historical absurdities (Mayas in Peru, writing in Aramaic?), the book has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.”