Self-publishing on Kindle!
Okay, I know that sounded cheesy and trashy, like a late-night TV sales pitch, but, apparently, it could be true, too!
The news has been all abuzz about relatively young author Amanda Hocking who’s sold thousands of ebooks via the Amazon Kindle store and the Barnes & Noble ebook store. According to the article, “She gets to keep 70% of her book sales — and she sells around 100,000 copies per month.” Even at her $0.99 to $3 price-point, that’s nothing to sneeze at! I’m sure that the article is only showing the most optimistic measurements of her sales, but, even at that, she has to be making some great money. I mean, let’s do the math on it; if she sold 100,000 copies in one *year* at $0.99 each, she’d make about $70,000 per year, before taxes and expenses. And the article says that she does that in ONE MONTH.
Of course, the article goes on to explore the phenomena, explaining that it’s the low price which helps to fuel sales.
The basic speculation is that consumers are more willing to take a risk on a “book” which costs about as much as a candy bar or a soda, so they buy more of them as an impulse buy. Even if they decide later that they don’t like the work, it doesn’t matter too much, because all they’ve risked is a tiny amount. Minimal investment for a minimal expectation.
I’ve seen plenty of pundits complain about how this will damage the publishing market, but, will it really? Or, will it simply change how that market functions?
Look, I’ll be honest; I find this very exciting.
One of the biggest barriers, real or perceived, for new writers is getting published. Getting that first publication credit, and the check for the first paid publication, often seem like an unobtainable Holy Grail. If some new authors started to follow this model, there might be more of us who can actually make a living at it. Seriously! But, I think, more importantly, struggling writers looking for motivation may find it in a couple of small payments. I’m often surprised how quickly I can get motivated to make as little as a monthly $25. Now, imagine that on a larger scale. Granted, self-publishing, even digital self-publishing, is a bit of extra work, but the motivation of actual payment may be enough to keep a floundering writer inspired enough to continue on.
And, yes, I know that since the original article I linked to in the opening paragraph came out, Ms. Hocking has gotten a more traditional book deal with a traditional publisher, but, really, does that invalidate the system? I don’t think so. I don’t think she would have gotten that deal if not for publishing in a non-traditional way first. And, hey, while waiting for the big publishing houses to find her, she was making money. I think that’s pretty damn good, myself.