What separates independent author John Locke from his esteemed contemporaries in the “Kindle Million Club” – the likes of which includes Stieg Larsson and Nora Roberts – is that he self-published his books through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform with no backing from major publishers.
That means no mustache-twisting management meetings, no corporate marketing infighting, and no human-sized cardboard cutouts at Barnes & Noble. (The last part’s a bummer).
So how’d he do it? By leveraging people’s propensity for stuff under a dollar, lowering his prices down to 99 cents per eBook.
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According to the LA Times, the author saw an opportunity in the KDP program’s royalty structure, which states that authors who sell their books for $2.99 to $9.99 get a 70% royalty rate.
Authors who price their books either below or above, on the other hand, get a lower return rate of 35% per book sold — a mechanism meant to deter writers from pricing their work too low (which would require lots of units sold to be successful) or too high (so that Amazon can underprice its competitors).
After initially selling his eBooks for $2.99, Locke lowered his price to 99 cents, a move that caused sales of his novels — which includes a best-selling series of mystery-thrillers — to soar.
According to his website, he is selling a Kindle book “every seven seconds,” and has so far notched himself just over 1,010,370 sales, thus earning himself a nice payday of around $353,000.
“It’s so exciting that self-publishing has allowed John Locke to achieve a milestone like this,” says 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.”
The rise of the self-published author, of course, spells bad news for the traditional book publishing industry, whose business model is predicated on an author advance system that squeezes high-returns out of a select few books—at least relative to the overall number they put out. Locke’s success is something we’ll definitely be seeing again, and likely very soon.
Of course, the author is also selling a book about his meteoric run, aptly titled How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months.
No word if a sequel (How I Sold 1 Million eBooks About Selling 1 Million eBooks?) is in the works, which would be like an eBook matryoshka doll.