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Hang in there, independent authors, because—God love you—you’re the future of bookselling!

Things are finally changing for self-published authors. Well, maybe not everywhere. Not yet. Certain book stores and publishing houses still look down their noses at us, and maybe some of our snooty friends are still arching a brow and sneering, ”So…you’re SELF-published?”

Well, don’t fault them for it. There will always be those who fail to spot trends. IBM squandered the chance to buy Microsoft for peanuts. Microsoft blew the chance to buy Apple. And Decca Records turned down the Beatles, going so far as to say “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Instead, they signed The Tremeloes, who auditioned the same day. (Who?)

But I digress.

It only takes two words to explain why self-published authors are the wave of the future: Electronic Books.

In July, Amazon.com reported eBooks were outselling hardcovers nearly two to one! And why not? They’re cheaper, they’re environmentally friendly, they don’t require a trip to the bookstore, you can download them in seconds, free of postage, and you can carry hundreds of them onto an airplane without adding an ounce of weight! Plain and simple, there has never been a better time in history for the self-published author to compete against the big boys and girls. But before I show you how, let me tell you a quick story:

In March, 1963, I was 12 years old, living in Shreveport, Louisiana. Early one Saturday morning, I rode a bus downtown and visited Stan’s Record Shop on Texas Street, and bought a brand new record called Walk Like A Man, by the Four Seasons. Ever hear of it? I paid ONE DOLLAR for that record, and it was exactly…two minutes and seventeen seconds long. NOW, 47 YEARS LATER, you can download my entire book, Saving Rachel, on your Kindle or PC or iPad…for only 99 cents!

Now tell me truly: how can you POSSIBLY beat a deal like that?

Owners of eBook readers are as dedicated a group of readers as can be found anywhere in the world. After having spent hundreds of dollars to acquire their Kindle or Nook or iPad, they’re eager to load up their electronic libraries with great books. And never before in history have a major group of book buyers been more willing to take a chance on books written by self-published authors. They can buy an established author’s eBook for $10, or they can buy TEN books by ten different independent authors for the same price!

I’ve received wonderful comments from these ebook buyers. Like how they enjoy “discovering” new talent. In the old days they wouldn’t have plunked down $25 for a hardcover or $15 for a paperback written by a self-published author. Now they have a reason to sample our wares, because 99 cents is an afterthought! This group of readers understands something most publishing houses and bookstores have forgotten:

Every best-selling author in the world was at one time—a non-published author!

What I’m saying, Kindle and iPad book buyers will give you a chance! Your books have to be good, of course, because content is king. But if you’ve got a good product, price is a HUGE factor, and gets your toe in the door.

Bargains are everywhere! Right now, Saving Rachel isn’t even a blip on the publishing houses’ radar. But guess what: it WILL be, because sales have started growing like crazy! And there’s more: my new books, Now & Then and Wish List are also available as eBooks! Scroll up a bit and look at the screen to the right of this page and click on the pictures in the VIDEO BAR to watch my book trailers. If you see something that cranks your tractor, you can buy it for 99 cents by clicking on the LINKS to BOOKS section.

Wanna know something else? It’s not just me! I know LOTS of authors who are offering similar bargains, like Winslow Eliot’s Heaven Falls, and Steve Jackson’s Death of a Cure. Claude Bouchard and Luke Romyn and a host of other well-known Twitter authors have used eBooks to build up a following, and God bless them for doing so! Because as a Kindle, Nook and iPad owner, I also enjoy having this incredible opportunity to discover new talent and acquire excellent books at bargain-basement prices!

If you have a book available for sale as an eBook, please take this opportunity to post the information, along with a link in the Comments section below, so everyone who reads this article can have a chance to buy it!

PS: If you want to learn how to turn your manuscript into an eBook, contact my publisher, Claudia Jackson, at www.telemachuspress.com. Or send her a DM or tweet @NovelHelp

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Gary Ponzo
Gary Ponzo says:
My literary agent talked me into publishing my novel, "A Touch of Deceit," as an E-Book on Amazon after he ran into a throng of publishers who claimed they really liked the book, but didn't have the financing to support a first time novelist. Thankfully I listened to him and so far the reader response has been remarkable. Twenty out of twenty-four reviewers have given it 5 stars. After a slow start I've sold over 750 copies in the past 2 months. I'm very blessed and grateful for the support of my fans.
Here's the link to my book: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003O85YEM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1JV9XHPGXPSM0VHTN86Q&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846
Lorna
Lorna says:
Great post! I went indie & even after releasing my agent, I was still able to catch the attention of a film producer who saw me on MTV. She went on to buy my POD books & after 2 years of negotiating, had optioned Imago Chronicles: Book One A Warrior's Tale. Pre-production begins this fall, and none of this would have happened if I had waited for a publisher to pick up my fantasy series.
I know what you mean when you say some will look down their noses at us, telling us we'd lose credibility if we resort to this, but I've had two publishers voice interest in my works & after examining the contract, I still decided I'd be happier as an indie author!
Wishing you all the best!
Lorna
ceebee308
ceebee308 says:
Another great post by John Locke who speaks of a subject I've become quite familiar with. Though my sales to date aren't anything to live on, they are growing with E-Book sales representing 50% (and paying me 2 to 3 times the royalty per sales versus print versions). Nothing wrong with that, in my book!
Winslow
Winslow says:
So far the only folks who've been snobbish about my indie efforts have been indie bookstore owners - and they're hurting so badly I almost feel sorry for them! I'm so glad to be part of this pioneering track in publishing, and to finally be able to connect directly with readers, who ultimately should be the ones who decide whether or not a book is worth their while. (And they'll be the ones who will make our decision to self-publish worth OUR while, financially.) Thanks for the mention, John! I couldn't have made this decision without you!
Glynn
Glynn says:
Great post.

In 1963, I was 12 years old, living in New Orleans, and visiting my relatives in Shreveport on a regular basis. And my wife was born and raised there.
Kath
Kath says:
Great post! I recently got a Kindle for my birthday and, apart from some free Classics I can now travel anywhere and everywhere with, I've mainly used it for buying books by indie authors.

As you say, for the price, it's really worth taking a punt on an unknown (to me) in the hope of discovering a new favourite writer or fresh talent. Besides, it's always interesting for me, as a writer, to see what others are writing - and eBooks let me do that on a much bigger scale than if I had to fork out on a paperback every time.

The immediacy of reading seconds after downloading is also a big plus. If you like the sound or look or something, you can have instant gratification.

I also want to familiarise myself with the format for the day when my own books are published, so I can justify all of the above as research!
Sir John
Sir John says:
I have a new book out and hope you will add it to the links. the link is http://www.sirjohn.org/MEMOIRSS.html

thanks my friend

Johnny ray
Trete Lo
Trete Lo says:
Great article, I also used to live in Shreveport. My novel is called Dead Soul, The Realest Story that Ever Lived. Check out my site and add my link. http://www.TheAuthorTreteLo.com
mrusch
mrusch says:
Thank you for the article and invite. My E-book is "Overrun" a two-part futuristic thriller taking place on a superheated Earth no longer protected by an ozone layer. http://www.readoverrun.com
Bevan Bird
Bevan Bird says:
This is a great article! Thanks John! :-)

I've written my first e-book and I'm giving it away. May I still share the link here? I'm sure it'll be fine. I'll be selling the e-books and audio programs that follow from this first one anyway.

Rapidly and Radically Transform Your Life for the Better! is an inspirational true story about turning one's life around, finding meaning, awakening to a higher level of awareness, improving relationships, and becoming happier and more creative, spontaneous, and joyful. It's an adventure of mountain climbing and cultivating enriching relationships that also talks about applying the laws of attraction and karma to change the world by harnessing the power of the heart and mind.

http://climbingmentor.com/books/radically-transform/you.htm

I intend for this e-book to inspire people and help them to think more positively, improve their relationships, increase the happiness in their lives, and have more faith in miracles.

These are some of the benefits my readers may experience:

New internet marketers will learn some of the basic principles for success and they'll be able to avoid some pitfalls, like working on many projects at once, and not having a definite chief aim.

People with shaky relationships will learn how to improve their relationships by applying techniques like ceasing the expectation of the other person to change and applying karmic principles that always work, such as supporting the relationships of others.

Those on a path of spiritual awakening will be inspired by my story of growth.

People who are dissatisfied with their job, people who do not find their work fulfilling anymore, will be inspired and enlightened about the possibility of creating information products based on their practical experience and selling them online, creating more time freedom for them to get even more creative with their life.

Thanks John for the opportunity to put my link here and share this with your readers.

To all of our success!

Bevan
Jim
Jim says:
After going through two agents and no sales, I self-pubbed my two thrillers in 2006, did some marketing and book signings, then left them alone as I embarked on writing my third. Last year, I uploaded the books onto Kindle. Then, in January of this year, while looking at my checking account, I saw a mysterious infusion of money - from Amazon. I checked my Amazon account to find that my Kindle editions had started to sell. Sales went from 95 last December to around 2,000/mo. now and increasing. What the Big-6 gatekeepers missed, the reading public has discovered. This week, I'm going to fire my big name agent, who has been trying to sell my third novel for 18 months, with not a single bite. I'll self-pub that one too and keep the momentum going. Novel #4, soon to be completed, won't see an agent. It'll go directly to Lightning Source (for print) and Kindle, Nook, etc. Democracy has finally come to the publishing world!
Dale Whisman
Dale Whisman says:
I like the way you think (and write). We all need encouragment sometimes, and lately I've needed a lot. Things are happening for me, and I'm very excited about future prospects (I have a play opening in New York City off-Broadway at the Arclight Theatre June 1) and a couple of good screenplays in circulation, but most of all I am happy about my three novels on Kindle, Friends, And Other Perishables, Friends On Fire, and A Witch Among Friends. They can be found on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=dale+whisman if anyone is looking for a good mystery (together they make up the Carl Jacobs Mystery Series. I write detective novels because I was a Private Investigator in Tulsa, OK for eleven years. But even with all those good things going on, I, like everyone else, have those 'slow thinking' days when I feel like I've accomplished very little. But then the ideas start up again, and the sun comes out, and everything is okay. Thanks for all your kind words about we struggling writers. By the way, if I don't mention my publisher, AWOC.COM Publishing, I might lose him. Thanks again. Dale Whisman
Gloria Teague
What a great website you have, John! My publisher who recently interviewed you, Dan Case, spoke about your success as an eBook author several times during our OWFI writers' conference in Oklahoma City last weekend. Thank you for this opportunity to post a link to our own eBooks. Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge http://tinyurl.com/2ajqsmc Beyond the Surgeon's Touch http://tinyurl.com/2b7sm89 In appreciation Gloria
Jackie King
Jackie King says:
Thanks, John, for your generous help to authors like me who are struggling to make a living with their writing. Due to your good advice, my book THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, is now on some of the best seller cozy-mystery lists on Amazon. I am so grateful. Thanks again. Here's the link to THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE. $2.99 on Kindle http://amzn.to/gMv7CH
J. Gunnar Grey
Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, John, and congratulations on a) reaching the million-sales rank on Kindle, and b) publication of your how-you-did-it book. It's like the sun coming out for the indie writer, seeing such results. As they say on Twitter, #supportthelittleguy. I went with an epublisher so my current novel isn't 0.99. Here's the link for Deal with the Devil, part one. Part two is scheduled for release June 28, the publisher says. (Think of it as a two-part serial novel with a cliffhanger ending in between, rather than a two-book series of standalone novels.) http://www.amazon.com/Deal-Devil-Part-One-ebook/dp/B004Z2DDPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1308606362&sr=8-1 And you can bet my second release will be truly indie. Gunnar
M.K. Carver
M.K. Carver says:
Congrats on joining the Kindle Million Club and the success you've enjoyed over the past year John. My book, The Abattoir, is available on both the Kindle and the Nook for .99 cents. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004X6LB7S http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Abattoir/MK-Carver/e/2940012391797 M.K.
Joshua Grover-David Patterson
I released my novel, Mercy, a couple of months ago to solid reviews. I got a few decent blurbs, too: When Georgina Fulci’s plane crashes into the Atlantic, her troubles have just begun. Desperate to get home to her family, Georgina and a handful of survivors must find a way to escape an uncharted island… while fighting off hordes of the living dead. “Joshua Grover-David Patterson writes in a style that will surely connect with many contemporary zombie fans. His use of tone and narrative structure are miles ahead of most who work in the genre.” -Scott Kenemore, author of “Zombie, Ohio” and “The Zen of Zombie.” “You expect a zombie novel to have brains, but you don't expect it to be this smart. You expect a number of internal organs to be on display, but you don't expect this much heart. MERCY is a kicka** zombie novel, but it's also a thoughtful, moving story about the joy and importance of being human and alive.” -Seamus Cooper, author of “The Mall of Cthulhu” You can buy it on the Kindle and on the nook.
epobirs
epobirs says:
Congratulations on trailblazing the Indie path into the Kindle Million Sellers ranks. I expect you'll have plenty of company this time next year but you'll always be the first. But what point in history do you imagine it would have been possible or later, a good idea for Microsoft to acquire Apple? Keep in mind, for much of its history, the Mac has generated more profits for Microsoft than Apple. Mac Office was always a money maker, even in years when Apple was on the ropes.
Mountainmama
Mountainmama says:
John, thanks so much for the opportunity to post here! Your story is inspiring to all of us who have published an e-book. Congratulations to you for joining the Million Dollar Club, and may we all follow in your footsteps!! My book is titled M.O.D. by J. C. Allen About the Book: Where would you draw the line between right and wrong? When a wanted hacker from the '80s resurfaces with the means and intent to overthrow what he perceives to be a corrupt government, this question becomes of tantamount importance to the future of the country. Scott Carver is asked to make this decision when this hacker, going by the acronym "M.O.D." asks him to help plan a revolution. It is available for 99 cents at Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/5wy7uca and Nook: http://tinyurl.com/5w9qj8u and Smashwords: http://preview.tinyurl.com/665cg6e Please visit my website for your chance to win a free copy (one awarded each day thru the end of June 2011) at jcallenbooks.weebly.com Happy reading!!
Flash Rex
Flash Rex says:
Congratulations, John! You continue to lead the way and show the rest of us how it's done! My novel, Megalodon Lives, has exceeded my original expectations saleswise in it's first few days out. Thanks for the opportunity to share the link! Megalodon Lives! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00513DE40 Flash Rex
J. Thorn
J. Thorn says:
Just finished reading your "how to" book for ebook authors. I'm still reeling, but hope to implement your strategy in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I thank you for the opportunity to post a link to my ebook here. The Seventh Seal by J. Thorn http://www.amazon.com/The-Seventh-Seal-ebook/dp/B004ZRM02A
Linda Pendleton
John, Congratulations on what you've achieved! I love your comments in the opening to your ebook, How I Sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 Months. I am going to buy it as I'm interested in your suggestions. What you wrote in the Intro is exactly what I had been saying as an author who has self-published for a decade now (my books and many of my late husband, Don Pendleton's books). The ebook acceptance did come a little slower than I imagined it would, though. It really is an exciting time in publishing, and I love the freedom it allows us. I also like having respect as a self-published author after putting up with negative reaction from the industry for a number of years. I also love your covers! Linda Pendleton amazon author page http://amzn.to/mhwvpN
Bill Hart
Bill Hart says:
Great blog John and so true. I was saddened when I read that book buying and readership was fading and experts predicted the end of the novel. Now technology has come to the rescue. My book about a greyhound is Lacey Blue and Friends, A Greyhound Story Thanks Bill
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Stacey Taylor
I won't even begin to tell you how I ended up here, but will probably post about it shortly now that I'm inspired. I've not purchased any of your work yet because I'm still checking out your site and backreading to get an idea what you're about, what you write, and get a little familiar with you - and, of course, to find the best one to kick off with. What send me to the comments this time - from a previous entry on Kid Colt - was when you mentioned Pak a Sak. I had the urge to post something goofy like *hah I know how old you aaarre!* because I know what store you're referring to. A little later, I had a flashback to something my mother said ones, that Pak a Sak wasn't a franchise like 711 or Circle K. For a long time I assumed there was only one of those...out off of Hearne Avenue in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana...and now I see from this post that it's yours, too. I don't live there anymore but was born and raised there until the 90s when I started moving off to other states, farther and farther west. It's nice though to see some mention of things from my own childhood - Stans - I went there all the time. Pak a Sak (off Hearne ave) back when we lived in the Cherokee Park area. I miss a few things about it but it's changed a whole lot since my recent visit last spring, lots of people, lots of movie industry taking hold, miss the mudbugs like crazy out here in Arizona. I was having a conversation with my 13 y/o son a little while ago from your post on Davy Jones because I'd commented out loud when I read it, "Rest in peace, Davy" and my son goes, "who?" and I shook my head. I know that candle flame business of which you speak. He made me feel 84 years old! Our chat went on to cover a brief history of the music industry and buying records ("buying what?") and CDs ("ohh")...and wow, I totally tripped off into that Gap without a lifejacket! He knows push button, download song, or search you tube, watch video. He's never stepped foot inside a record store because there aren't any! So, having been returning to my agenda of self publishing my own stuff it's nice to see your comments about it. I'll finish up the site but may end up posting again. Just a friendly neighborly hello from a former Shreveporter. I'd offer you some iced tea but there's not much of it around these parts!
Stacey Taylor
Ugh, typos! Why yes, yes I do now recognize the benefits of proof reading!
Stacey Taylor
One more, since it was the actual point of your suggestion. I've written a lot of stuff but haven't published any of it. Instead, I broke every rule on the planet, and quite possibly a law or two, but I decided that I didn't want to bust out of the gate with some good stuff, I wanted something to use for experimental purposes I could learn on. I'd written (and rewritten) a short 6 chapter piece that was fetish erotiporn basically with a few themes bordering on the unlawful. I figured out how to turn it into an ebook format and then put it up on Kindle. I *thought* what was going to happen was KDP would boot it, Amazon would kill my account, and then the media would show up at my door with Nancy Grace or something so I didn't take it too seriously and expected the worst. Less than 24 hours after I'd even put it up there, without a second's worth of promotion, I'd made 2 sales. Originally I put it up for 2.99 or whatever the base price was but felt guilty for charging that much for 6 chapters of naughty smut (that was honestly an exercise). So I changed the price to 99c and made another sale within an hour of it. Had to be a fluke. I made some changes to my sites, deciding to write under my middle name and keep all that off my main general all purpose site, so I pulled the book off Kindle and changed a few things, went with .pdf and offered it for free on the other site. In 3 days I had 74 downloads. I don't have a clue where they're coming from, how they heard about it. The exercise in question was for aspiring erotica authors to be able to write smut - pick a topic that you find the most revolting and practice making it sexy and interesting. I think the work turned out great and I did get feedback on the writing and dialogue, and in spite of my feelings it'd freak people out, to date, not the first person has taken a shred of an issue over the subject matter. While it's not some jaw dropping best seller success story, it's definitely encouraging - because if you can break all the rules, self publish, get sales without even trying, and still have downloads - you can do far better taking it more seriously. Self publishing is the game changer, no doubt about it.
F. Syufy
F. Syufy says:
Just an FYI: the Kindle price of M.K.'s book is now $2.99. I'll likely buy it at that price, but just saying...
F. Syufy
F. Syufy says:
Just an FYI: the Kindle price of M.K.'s book is now $2.99. I'll likely buy it at that price, but just saying...