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Traditional publishers and even some successful indie authors are publicly saying how hard it is for self-published authors to succeed. They say most will never sell 100 ebooks, and only a small percent will sell 10,000. Self-published authors are being told to “be realistic” and “lower your expectations.”

Really? What type of advice is that?

Sure, there are obstacles out there, but that’s true in any endeavor. Is it simple to write a best seller? No. But can you do it? Yes, absolutely!

The world makes it hard enough for you to be successful, so you’re not going to see me piling on the negativity! Let others talk about the mountains. I’ll show you where the tunnels are! Others can talk about the raging rivers, I’ll point you toward the bridges! Yes, there are roadblocks in the land of self-publishing, but there are super highways, too.

I’ll leave it to others to lower your expectations. There are plenty eager to do that. But I’m not one of them. If you’re a struggling author I want to RAISE your expectations.

I’m not a know-it-all. I’m still humble. I’ll never forget the frustrations I felt, trying to fit in, trying to feel like I belonged. I absolutely know what you’re going through. I’ve been there.

It’s a huge achievement to complete a manuscript, and that’s just the beginning. You’ve still got proofing and re-writes and edits and more re-writes, and when you finally get it just right you dig into your pocket and take money you could use for other things, and invest it in your dream.

But when your book is published, it just sort of lays there. No one knows how to find it. You listen to others tell you what to do, how to get your book “out there,” and you try those things and they don’t work. You Facebook, you Tweet, you blog, you try to get reviews, you buy courses, attend classes…and nothing seems to work.

After awhile, you start to take it personally. You wonder if it’s you. Maybe your writing sucks. Maybe you’re a joke. Maybe you were stupid to even try. Maybe the whole thing was a colossal waste of time.

Let me tell you something. Rejection of any kind sucks. But rejection of your book, which entered the world as your labor of love, is especially hard to take. Especially when you talk to your friends about being an author. They may be very supportive of you, but…

They don’t consider you an author.

Your friends and relatives know what an author is. To them, it’s the names they see on the shelves of bookstores. The ones who wrote the books that became movies. Until our books start selling, they consider us vanity authors.

That’s what I was, a vanity author. At least that’s how everyone saw me. But when I finally got sick of being a vanity author I sat down and created a marketing system to get my books onto the best-seller lists.

On Monday, June 20, 2011, Amazon announced I was the first self-published author to sell a million downloads on Kindle, and only the eighth author in history to do so. You know how I’m celebrating? By making my marketing system available for everyone who wants to duplicate, or exceed my achievements. I wrote it all out, step-by-step. Everything I tried that didn’t work and everything that did.

I’m charging $4.99 for this information via eBook, $9.99 paperback. I hope you’ll consider it a bargain, since I spent $25,000 for information that didn’t work. Why so cheap? Because adding five bucks to what you’ve already spent on your dreams isn’t a big deal.

You know when my friends finally considered me an author? When I started making serious money from book sales! And no matter how nice your friends and family are, you know in your heart they’re not going to consider you a real author until the royalties start pouring in.

The book is titled, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! It’s about me, but it was written for you. Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/6atrd8y

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Ethan Cobb
Ethan Cobb says:
John, I'm about 65% through this book. I love your advice. I want to make true friends, not become a pushy salesman, and the book promotes making true friends. I like that. Your system is going to help tremendously as I gear up to release my books in a couple of months. Thanks for opening up your wealth of knowledge and sharing. Ethan Cobb
Paul Antony Jones
Take a look at John's book on the Amazon website. You will see my name at the top of the list of reviewers. I was one of the first to buy his book and I read it in around 3 hours and immediately began implementing his plan (it IS a plan, not a list of suggestions). I've seen sales of my novel double in the one day since I began following his advice. In a single paragraph alone John solved a problem I didn't even know I had. Who am I writing for? I hadn't even given that a thought. Now I know exactly who my target audience is. The rest of the advice in How I sold 1 million ebooks is just as invaluable. In fact, as I read John's latest blog, all I could hear was loyalty transfer, loyalty transfer. Thank you John.
Kate Madison
Kate Madison says:
Fast? I like fast. Seriously, though, you've done a great thing by sharing your marketing plan with us for only $5. What are you, running a charity or something? Thanks for being an uplifting voice in the crowd. Kate Madison writerKMadison.blogspot.com
Basil Crumb
Basil Crumb says:
John, Your books are brilliantly entertaining. Your advice is simply brilliant. I'm already using How I Sold 1 Million eBooks to sharpen the plan for two distinct niche paths: one for young readers, one for adults. You are a remarkable center of inspiration for authors and a rewarding source of entertainment for readers. I'm double lucky to fit in both categories.
Melissa F. Miller
I bought your book today and read it on my phone. I just want to say congratulations on your phenomenal success and thank you for sharing your marketing plan! I will say that earlier this year I read the sample of Saving Rachel and decided your Donovan Creed books aren't my cup of tea, but now I am going to check out your western, which is definitely NOT a genre I read! But, your blog entry intrigued me. Next up, figuring out who *my* target audience is.
Jon Olson
Jon Olson says:
Hey, thanks John Locke! And congrats on your 5-month sales record. I am envious. Jon Olson The Petoskey Stone
April Campbell Jones
April Campbell Jones says:
John-- Bought your book the day it came out. I'd been looking for several months for a marketing plan that made sense to me. Yours makes sense. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a plan that is centered around "heart"! It's not that hard to be a good businessman. It's much harder to be a good man... April
James DeSalvo
I've read and reread and reread How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! It has changed the way I view my ebooks. It's a great plan and I can't wait to see how well I do. Thanks a lot.
J. Gunnar Grey
John, when I started reading this book a couple days ago, I gave it three stars on Goodreads because of the long introduction. I didn't need convincing, I needed guidance. When I got more deeply into part two, that got raised to four stars. Part three sent it to five. This is what I was looking for. Thanks. Gunnar Grey Deal with the Devil http://www.amazon.com/Deal-Devil-Part-One-ebook/dp/B004Z2DDPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1308842009&sr=8-1
Carl Peters
Carl Peters says:
J, 5 bucks ... and I had the sucker before my greedy eyes in thirty seconds! What a concept! It was as though you had invited me to come to your office for a personal two-or-three-hour training session on how to become successful in digital self publishing. No vanity left here, man. The big "V" and most of my pride is long Gone With The Wind! (Forgive that one. I couldn't resist.) The Lord has now given me the wisdom to seek help anywhere I can find it, and after much prayer, He obviously led me to your book, "How I sold a kazillion eBooks in five days" ... or something like that. Now the least I can do in return for all the personal advice you shared with me is to read your other books. But forgive me if I start with the westerns. So I'm an old cowboy at heart. Thanks again for helping breathe new life into my dying expectations. And also for today's blog. What an additional "helping hand up." And about mountains ... most people simply need to visualize themselves as already on top. Then all that's left is the climb! Lord bless you real good, Carl
April Campbell Jones
Oh, I forgot one of the first lessons in your book--link back to my website! Since I don't have a website yet, I'll link to my book, LIE LIKE A WOMAN, available in Kindle format on Amazon.com. See, John, I'm learning! April
Bruce Jones
Bruce Jones says:
Dear John, My wife April downloaded your book because both of us are independent authors; after years of being a screenwriter she finally published her first book on Kindle. I had been a legacy author who was sick of the rat race and wanted to be my own "boss", so I decided to put a couple of books on Kindle to "see what would happen." Nothing happened. Even though I had been published through New York, I was selling zilch on Kindle. Even using Facebook, my blog, etc., and religiously following the blog of a well-known indie writer, I was getting nowhere fast. But April had prayed for guidance, and knew that she would find it! She turned to me the day she discovered your book with tears in her eyes and happily proclaimed, "I found it!" And she was absolutely right! Not only does your book lay out a precise, easy-to-follow plan for selling independent books, but it encourages the independent writer in a way that no one else ever has before! I've just published my fourth book on Kindle and now I have hope that we finally found a marketing system that will work for both of us. I can't recommend your book highly enough. You're an inspiration to us all, John! Congratulations on your well-deserved success! Sincerely, Bruce Jones
Robin Sullivan
The sky is the limit. I self-published my husband's Riyria Revelations books and he sold more than 10,000 each month in Novmeber, December, January and Feburary. I run a small indie press and my current higest seller, Marshall Thomas is poised to sell 20,000 books this month (over six-titles) and did 17,000 last month. Nahan Lowell my second highest seller should top this month with 10,000 books. John, I love your success, but do think you are an "outlier" much as King and Meyers are. But there are hundreds of other self and small-press published authors who are doing VERY well. Yeah we might not all sell 1 million copies like John but we are beating out the "big boys" at 10,000+ a month. And BTW - I read your How to Book and though it was brilliant, and for anyone that knows me they are aware of what a harsh critic I am.
Robin Sullivan
John, People like you - who don't go out and say "buy buy buy" do the best in social networking. You might want to checkout my post: The Role of the Author in New Publishing as it talks more to this point. Robin Sullivan | Write2Publish | Ridan Publishing
Robin Sullivan
I know exactly how you feel. When I got done I couldn't post a review fast enough - I think I'm not #22 - Most books like this are worthless - especially with a title like John's which sounds kind of late night infomercialish. I expected the "secret" was "write a lot and price low" - oh how wrong I was. What i got was a powerful system that verified that I was already doing a lot of things right. Robin Sullivan | Write2Publish | Ridan Publishing
Kathy
Kathy says:
Can't wait to get your book. Just ordered my Kindle and I'm all over it when it comes. I'm jazzed just to know that there's some support out that and from what I've read from you and your reviewers, it's all positive. I just self-published at the beginning of April - got sidetracked by family issues and am just now jumping back in. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I'll post a review as soon as I can.
Claude Bouchard
An excellent post relating to an excellent book, John. The cool thing about it is I'm implementing things as I run into them in the book. As I mentioned to you before, just your blog suggestion has helped me get more than four times the traffic I was getting in April and before. I've known you were a gentleman for a while and you're now demonstrating that you're a scholar as well. :)
Jonas Saul
Jonas Saul says:
Mr. Locke, Thank you for your wonderful insight and inspiration. Really, it doesn't get much better than the people who choose to give back. Thanks for giving back. For helping authors and their readers. Thanks for helping me. It's been good to meet you, electronically... Jonas Saul
Anita Shaw
Anita Shaw says:
I, too, bought your book as soon as I ran across a link for it. Thanks for pricing it so my wallet didn't realize I'd stolen from the rent money. I write in three genre: sweet romance, children's fiction (8 - 12 year olds), and young adult. I have another name I write under for the romances. I haven't done all of the things the experts say to do to promote them. Health issues, in part, have stolen time away from me that I needed to implement these. Doubts of my own abilities, possibly, oh, probably, fear of success were the others things I struggled to overcome. I am not used to tooting my own horn. I don't even talk about what I do to most of my family or friends. Only a handful know I published a print book back in 2001 with a partner I met online. So, I seriously handicapped myself by not trying to promote myself more than just a website and a posting in a handful of forums. I have sold a few ebooks, and landed a mentoring job with a 16 year old author who emailed me out of the blue and wanted to write for my site. One thing led to another and soon I was guiding her on the writing of her second novel. I wish I could say it led to more jobs, but--nope. Didn't have the guts to promote myself. My writing life has slept for three years. Finding that I could publish my stuff as Kindle ebooks put the fires of motivation under me. I learned how to format my stuff myself, and slapped them on Amazon within the weeks. But, that promo thing . . . still eluded me. I read your book in one sitting. I don't know how long it took. Not very; and once again the fires are burning. I loved how honest you were about your writing. I love that you have done what we all would like to do - prove the skeptics wrong. Indie authors and publishers do have a chance to do better, even great, with their books. And they don't have to charge an hour 's pay - or more - to make it happen. Your success is causing a lot of discussion! I defended you on another blog using my romance pen, where the blogger feels selling our stuff so cheap and as ebooks is damaging to the brain. Okeeee . . . Anyway, I am going to study your book more closely, and force me to see myself as a real author and a friend to both readers and writers alike. Start using that languishing Twitter account . . . Once again, thank you for sharing with us and much success to you in future!
Monte Huebsch
Where can I purchase the %9.95 paperback version. I have the kindle version but want to buy some copies as gifts. Thanks
Ryan McFadden
I bought this book because not only do I convert manuscripts into e-books, but I also am an aspiring writer who has run into nothing but rejection. I finally got a bit of a break and did all the traditional things: book stores, readings, etc, etc. My project even won Canada's top SF&F award called the Aurora (like the Hugo). How many books have I sold? 1500. Yup, 1500. How much money did I make? Yeah, let's not even go there. I was spinning my wheels. Everything you said was genius. Truly. I had figured out some (like having to have a large body of work, about pricing, etc, etc) but I never put it all together. As I said to my other writing friends: you just get it. Anyone who is thinking about e-publishing MUST buy this book. John Locke may be a good writer, but he's an unbelievable marketer who doesn't get you to do anything weird. In fact...it's all so simple (really, not easy, but simple). Two thumbs up - and the timing is fortuitous because I'm about to launch my first e-book project.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Monte, the paperback version should be available on Amazon in a few days. I believe it has been submitted. Thank you so much for your business. I'm thrilled you want to send some of these books as gifts!
John Locke
John Locke says:
Ryan, I'm saddened to hear what's happened with your book, but thrilled to know you're putting an action plan together. I'm proud to be a part of that plan, and look forward to hearing about your success! Best wishes!
John Locke
John Locke says:
Much success to you, as well, Anita! If given the choice between being a great author and great marketer, I'd choose marketer every time. It's hard for most authors to put on their marketing hat, but honestly, it's easier than writing a book! You just need to use your unique voice when writing your blogs. I don't care who you are or what you write, there is an untapped market for the part of you that makes you special. If you're special to anyone--and you are!--you can be special to many.
John Locke
John Locke says:
Jonas, thanks for the compliments. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors.
India Drummond
Hello, John! Just stopped by to say how much I loved your book. It hit me at the right time with just the right message. I had been doing some of the right things, but wasn't following through in the most productive way, and you've given me ideas and inspiration for how to more effectively use my blog -AND- to use it in a way that is less stressful! How about that!? I launched my first indie novel about five weeks ago. They say I won't sell 100 copies? I beat that in one month. Okay, so I don't have Locke, Konrath, or Hocking numbers, but the book is getting good reviews and it's a promising start. Yipee! I spent years on the query-go-round, and it was a heart-wrenching, soul-sucking experience that left me dazed and doubting myself. As an indie author, I feel excited, driven, motivated, and I look forward to every day at "work." To aspiring authors I say, "Stop aspiring. Do it!" To you I say, "THANK YOU!"
Derek Thompson
Congratulations John and thanks so much for sharing your insights and experience.
PSBrittain
PSBrittain says:
Thanks John. Because of you, I re-read my one and only published book which my husband convinced me I should publish. It's for the ones with a wierd sense of humor and a desire to fix our government. Anyway, my husband didn't like the ending and I wrote a sequel. But, because of you, I re-read my published book and hated the ending. So, now I'm adding the sequel to the first book, plan to re-publish and probably reduce the rate. You're how-to book is great. I think I'll skip the Twitter thing for now. Too many people publish their dirty laundry there. So now, I just have to figure out what a blog is and how to get one. Plus a new domain name and a new web site. Thank you for sharing! Pam
Jake Scholl
Jake Scholl says:
Congrats! I hope I sell that many books when I get published. :)
Tahir
Tahir says:
Hi John, bought and read the book today and think it's great that you decided to make this available at a reasonable price. I was pleasantly surprised that it is the opposite of those hyped-up "use my system" books (that overuse CAPS!), and feel the need to show you copies of their checks (a red flag if there ever was one). The book will also be a relief for most authors, who are not comfortable with "shameless self-promotion" -the book proves that it is not necessary and it *proves* that you can really do it by being your genuine self, without being spammy or pushy. Without giving away spoilers, for anyone who hasn't read it yet, I think what the book really addresses (but doesn't quite say that) is the self-denial of self-publishers about what he/she really needs to do. There will be people who don't see the message because of the strong denial. The thing that stands out in the book is that, due to various circumstances which acted as a sort of control in the "experiment," the proof of what the key factors were is right there in black and white. Finally, the one thing that makes it easy to spot a fake "system" from a genuine one is that the genuine one tells you up front that you need to figure out a path to implement it that is unique to you and your project, and then you've got to put in a lot of hard work.
Marsha Canham
I must say, the best quote from your book so far is: >>>Should I take writing courses? I don’t know. I’ve never taken a writing course or attended seminars because I’ve always been afraid the more I learn, the less original I’ll be. But I’m astonishingly weird, and you should do what works for you. Having said that, if I ever teach a course, you should attend! :-)>>> It's the same reason I've never written outlines. I figure if I know what's going to happen, so will the reader, and long before I actually write it. *s* I've only been riding this ebook wave for about 9 months, starting with the reissue of backlist titles...but I must say it's exhilarating. *s* And for the record, "astonishingly wierd" isn't the worst I've been called over the years LOL. Great book, BTW. Good information too. Marsha
barbara silkstone
John, Thank you so much for guesting on A Moose Walked into A Bar - last week. We had a super response, but more than that... you helped clear out the cobwebs. It must be all that attic-time. Your advice in Howie is business and friend traveling side by side. I have a challenge in that I have no continuing character but rather a continuing theme. Fractured Fairy Tales. But thanks to your business plan I can now lay out a marketing program that will work for my books. Hugs to Donovan Creed!
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Katherine Roberts
Just finished your book this morning, only purchased it yesterday - thank you for sharing. Now I understand what the phrase "viral marketing" on the back of proof copies REALLY means! I actually doubt publishers are doing this year in and year out for every book on their list, but it's something I can see myself doing for my own e-books. My first title "Spellfall" (a teen title with rights reverted to me) is currently selling an average of 2 copies per month over here in the UK, so I'll let you know if your plan has any effect...
J. Anne Huss
J. Anne Huss says:
Finished the book last night in one sitting, John. Great stuff! I'm a pretty savvy marketer and I make my fair share of sales in my tightly controlled genre (non-fiction homeschool science curriculum...doesn't get more niche than that!) and I can think of at least 5 great ideas I took away from your book that were totally unique (and I've read a lot of internet marketing books!). If each of those ideas were worth a dollar I'd have already paid for it my friend! ;) But of course, your tips are worth more than that. Thanks a bunch!
Evanah Fox
Evanah Fox says:
Hi John I am commenting to say that I loved your e-book. Bought it on the recommendation of writing teacher extraordinaire Holly Lisle. I am just starting my platform-building efforts. I am about to finish a short story. I am cranking out the first novel in my series in July. So basically there couldn't be a better time for mento find your plan... Your e-book shares the things I was already aware of from a proper marketing perspective and really offers a workable system. Thanks for writing this e-book. Better yet, thanks for not charging $197, $167, $97, $67, $47, or even $17 for it, any of which I would have paid and it would have been worth it. The only issue I am facing is the blogging... I am a huge fan of the rambles I have on my site now. Guess I need to get over it... It is just that I like those posts. However I feel, I see he magic in your blogging juice! Happy writing! I will be gladly recommending your e-book to the writers in my life. First stop is my husband:-)
Richard Bush
Richard Bush says:
Downloaded and read your book last night. I enjoyed reading about what you revealed about yourself as much as I did about the advice that you shared--which of course is gold plated wisdom. I just signed on with a small publisher and will definitely develop a marketing plan that implements what you've laid out for us. Thanks, buddy!
Glynn James
Glynn James says:
I've only just started reading it. Loads of good advice but I hit a brick wall when it said "Find Your Target Audience". I have no idea how to figure that one out. The lovely folks that read my books are from all walks, but my stuff blatantly isn't mainstream. I had difficulty enough picking the categories to put them in!
Rich Cook
Rich Cook says:
In all the hubbub of negativity from authors, legacy publishers, well-meaning friends/family telling aspiring authors to lower their expectations about what kind of success they can "realistically" expect, it is refreshing to hear a voice offering encouragement. Especially from someone who's found the success we all dream of and isn't afraid to share the wealth. As so many in the blogging world say: its not about competition; its about cooperation. When someone like you helps others succeed, you benefit, too. At this price point, just because a reader buys my book, that doesn't mean they won't buy your book. In fact, they're encouraged to do so. Thanks for the little ebook, the encouragement and the promise that the dream is "realistic."
Piers Dudgeon
Piers Dudgeon says:
'How I Sold...' is great. Thank you. I've been in the book publishing business since 1970, through sales, publicity, editorial and started up a paperback business in London for a big publisher at 25. Then set up my own publishing co. selling finished copies to international publishers throughout the world, focusing on commissioning bestselling fiction authors to write non-fiction books associated with their novels and what (autobiographically) inspired them to write them - so, I know all about Loyalty Transfer! I have also written 28 books of my own, all non-fic, but at 62 was badly set up for the new world ahead - bookselling is contracting dramatically in the UK - (until now!). One question, your first western had no target audience, a great blog certainly, but unlike the other examples you give, no niche or category transfer, do you really think it is possible to enact the Loyalty Transfer from a base as wide and deep as 'lost innocence'? Where on earth would you start to entice people along to the blog via Twitter? Or is this something you can now do because your web traffic is so busy? That's 3 questions, but really all about the same thing.
Ellison James
Purchased your book, "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months" yesterday. I read the whole thing through, amazed at the simplicity and brilliance of your plan. And, you are so right - it is a PLAN. I plan on putting your concepts in action and practice starting today! I just cannot believe I never put this all together before. I mean, I have an MBA with a background in Human Resources and Marketing. I just never understood how it applied to writing. Well, now I do ... thanks to you. Oh, and just to prove how well your brilliant and honest system works, I'm now convinced I must check out your novels.
Michele Scott
The book is terrific! This post is awesome. You are right on. I sold over 20,ooo books in June! Take it from someone who received over 200 rejection letters in her day, AND then finally after 12 years signed with a Big House, then was dumped by said Big House after writing 9 books for them. I raised my standards and kept going. As a self pubbed author I have made more in 2 months than I ever did at this for any year I was traditionally published. The BEST part is that I get to write what I love and I get to have control over my business. Thank You. Cheers, Michele
Jorge Salgado-Reyes
Thank you for your very interesting book "How I sold 1 Million e-Books in 5 Months". I can see that I need to work on my blog most of all. I will definitely be implementing your plan.
Rick Murcer
Rick Murcer says:
John, Thanks for the great insite. You've inspired many of us and I'm so glad I didn' go the tradition route. After watching you and Konrath go boldly to a differnt place, I followed. In just three months I've sold over 8,000 books and I won't have my third one out until Sept. Caribbean Moon wouldn't even be published yet, nevermind the 2nd one. Thanks again for stepping out. (BTW, thanks to Maryrith for telling me about your site.) Rick Murcer
Rick Murcer
Rick Murcer says:
errr Maryruth... I need my editor.
Andy
Andy says:
Count me among those who were initially put off by how short it is, but in reality you detailed all necessary steps, so why waste people's time with pointless filler? The book is excellent, and a must-read for any aspiring writer. Andy
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Buffy
Buffy says:
I'll try to put this to good use imeimdatley.
Sue Santore
Sue Santore says:
Self-published authors are being told to “be realistic” and “lower your expectations.” Too true! Everywhere I read, "There's only one Amanda Hocking," and other comments as such. Thanks for sharing and passing it forward.
Russell Blake
A good read, and lots of valuable info on social media. If you get a chance, kindly drop me a line. Gracias.
Ron
Ron says:
I just bought your new book "The Love You Crave" and i wont put my kindle down until i finish it! Gonna be a late night but well worth it. I am a huge fan Mr Locke. Thanks for the great entertainment!!!
Patrice
Patrice says:
Dear John: I love the honesty and enthusiasm of "How I Sold," and the way your personality shines through. Absolutely worth the $4.99 I invested. Thank you for giving back to the indie publishing business. I'm going to buy one of your novels, though frankly the legs on the covers turn me off -- I guess we'll find out if I'm one of your target audience or not! I absolutely appreciate your brash ownership of your voice and your style -- knowing what you want to write (and read) and making no apologies. I love the way you turn the term "vanity author" on its head. Some fairly well-known self-published authors include Deepak Chopra, Benjamin Franklin, Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Paine, Edgar Allan Poe, George Bernard Shaw, Gertrude Stein, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Oh, and of course, 26-year-old millionaire Amanda Hocking. Not bad company, eh? I put my first novel up on Independence Day 2011, and at the same time started my own electronic publishing house, eFitzgerald. I have my first 5-star review and I am at this moment #97 on the political fiction Bestseller List for Kindle eBooks. A good launch, since it has only been available for three days. Your plan is already helping. We are at the beginning of a brave new world in writing! Thanks for all you do, John. Patrice
Andrew Ashling
"They say most will never sell 100 ebooks, and only a small percent will sell 10,000. This meme is still being repeated all over the net. I write in a difficult niche, gay romance or m/m-romance. I combine this with a pseudo medieval setting. You can imagine how welcome I would be at a traditional publisher. A year ago I thought I would never be able to give away those famous hundred copies of my books. I've sold many, many more by now. And so have other indies. Thanks for giving the other side a voice.
Tom
Tom says:
I've been writing fiction for six or seven years now without even thinking about how to market it. Luckily, because of this is have an existing fan base in a very particular niche. What niche? I write very, umm, dirty little romances and soap operas. John's new book about how he achieved his record sales has been a revelation and inspiration. Thanks John!
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Patrice
Patrice says:
Hmm... forgot one of your first rules, John. Tell people how to buy your book! Check out RUNNING, which now has TWO 5-star reviews: Vice President Young is leading the hot race for President, despite the Liberty Party populism of her GOP opponent Jerusha Hutchins, a Georgia peach with big blonde hair and eight children. But when news of Catherine Young's romantic past comes out, it looks like the death of her chances. Will the American public accept a woman who has a history? http://www.amazon.com/RUNNING-ebook/dp/B005AJA43O
Building Our Own Steps | Whispered Writings
[...] in from around the world about authors who were ready to take their fate into their own hands. These entrepreneurial writers gave their heart, soul and wallet working toward their goal of someday holding their first book in [...]
A.S. Washington
Just read "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months," yesterday and it was a gem. After hearing about you John, I decided to bite the bullet, grow a pair and launch my publishing company rather than wait a year for a response from the publisher I sent it to that could very well be a rejection. I know very well the rejection of agents as I had a few who said "This is wrong for me right now," after completing it in early 2009. So they weren't as gruesome as some stories I've heard. But any way I'm in the process of proofreading/editing my manuscript for a third time now that I"m preparing to release it on the Kindle and Nook platforms and eventually a paperback version. Thanks John for the kick in the butt and anyone's who interested in sampling the first 6 (unedited) chapters of "The Virgin Surgeon" may do so on my facebook page, in my notes, here, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=8212008&sk=notes
Mark Young
Mark Young says:
Hello, John. Just finished the Kindle version of your book, and bought the print version as a reference for my bookshelf. Great books keep a reader replaying in their minds what they just read--even after they've put it down. This book is one of those. I've passed the word on to other authors to buy it. I may never qualify as one of your OOUs, but you're writing has certainly caught my attention. Thanks for taking the time to create this.
Patience Prence Author
Okay John, I finally broke down and bought your book after the buzz on Amazon, "Hey Patience, have you read John Locke's book?" I guess we kindof have the same plan although my book hasn't sold a million copies yet. Getting close to 5,000 and at $3.99. I like the idea, "Find your target audience." I guess I have and didn't know it, LOL! Congratulations on your success! Patience Prence Author SCARS: A Christian Fiction Thriller About The End Times
Jonny Andrews
Morning doc! Just read through your book, made a few "tweaks" and hot "go". Ended up cutting through Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey and all the others to hit #1 in personal finance. Been there now for 3 days and counting. Thought it would take a week. IT TOOK 13 HOURS!!! Just thought you'd get a kick out of a guy, like you, who uses the info at hand. Good stuff and keep it coming! Jonny
Eva
Eva says:
Hi Melissa! I just wanted to say something since exactly the same thing happened to me! I checked out Saving Rachel and had the same exact thought you did. But then a few weeks later a friend loaned me Wish List. I happened to read it because I needed something on my iPod. Whoa. I LOVED it. I got on amazon that very day and bought every single Donovan Creed book Locke has out. And I'll keep buying them as they come! (I hate series a lot of the time because so often they really didn't deserve to be continued. Not the case here!) I just wanted to mention it to you - maybe if you get one of them and start reading it'll be different for you like it was for me. I'm still shocked at how into it I was! :-D
Mia Rose
Mia Rose says:
Hi John I've just finished reading this book and loved it! What I enjoy most about your writing is the thoughtfulness and sense of purpose you bring to everything that has to be done to write and market a successful ebook. This is a great gift to authors with a dream of conquering the ePublishing world. Thank you! Warm wishes Mia Healing Love Notes
Phil Duke
Phil Duke says:
Hello Robin, your ebook sales record is impressive, and I would like to explore the possibility of your selling my fiction ebook The Adventures Of No Eyes. It is category Action Adventure, No Eyes has Indiana Jones type adventures in exotic locales, but he also rescues beauteois Terra and makes passionate love to her. They get married and... you get the idea. Evidently you did a great job selling your husband's writing; how about mine? Pleae LET ME KNOW WHAT IS INVOLVED IN BECOMING AN INDIE WRITER FOR YOU. Thank you. Best regards, Phil Duke (Phillip S. Duke Ph.D.) drpduke@wmconnect.com
EcoChef Love
EcoChef Love says:
Congratulations on all your success John! May your future shine even brighter.
ali cross
ali cross says:
Hi John! I didn't know what to expect from your book, but I'm getting ready to self-publish a book and, well, it seemed reasonable to pick up your book on how to do it right. ;) But, man. I have to echo Ethan's thoughts from your very first comment above. I am grateful for the humble yet confident way that you've presented your message and that you're teaching me (and others) how to get it right in the "how to win friends and influence people" sort of way and not in the "it takes three no's to a yes" sort of way. Anyway, thank you John. I appreciate the wisdom you have shared with me and every other wannabe out there! Thank you, thank you!
steven R. Gardner
steven R. Gardner says:
John, I have implemented your marketing strategy & I have noticed an immediate boost in my sales. Thanks for the golden advice. At $5 it was a steal.
James Viser
James Viser says:
John, I won't repeat the accolades above, as I share them. What your book encouraged me to do was to really dig down deep inside myself to understand the real reasons I chose to write and self-publish my first ebook novel (enovel?). In my mind, that is the key to making loyalty transfer authentic and effective. It has also made me a better writer, and helped guide me to make the sequel to Lie Merchants a more satisfying and entertaining read for my friends. Thank you again and congratulations on your deal with S&S. Best - James make the sequel to my novel more targeted to
The Other eBook Superstar | The First Gates
[...] Since 2009, Locke has written eight thrillers featuring former CIA assassin, Donovan Creed.  He has also written westerns and a self-help book for other writers who plan to publish digital books.  http://donovancreed.com/2011/06/lower-your-expectations-really/ [...]
Dani
Dani says:
Wow, this book seems to be the real deal judging by all the comments above. I haven't written a book yet due to the lack of a first line, but I shall buy your book and see what happens next!
Howard Borges
John, Thank You for sharing your system with others and for inspiring me to write (even though I have never wrote anything before, many MANY friends have suggested that I write a book (or many books, because of so many experiences...) and I actually held myself back from doing it because of the fear of not being able to be as qualified as the so called, "Experts"... :-) I am only about 40% thru the book, but it has already ignited a powerful flame of inspiration that I hope turns into a "Raging Fire". I will keep you updated on the process and progress as much as I can. Thank You and Greetings from Germany! Howard Borges
Moondustwriter
John thanks for what you give to people. I am grateful for your generosity; if anyone deserves to be the recipient of Best Seller status it is you! Your caliber of excellent writing combined with kindness make you the perfect choice!!! wishes for all the best
K. C. Blake
K. C. Blake says:
For years I did things the traditional way. I published a few books with Harlequin but wasn't satisfied. I got an agent at what I was told was one of the top agencies in New York, but she couldn't sell anyone on my vampire book because of the whole Twilight thing. In the end, the agent gave up and quit on me. When I heard that I could put my own books out there as ebooks instead of letting them gather dust, I was thrilled. My sales aren't anything to shout about yet, but things are going pretty well. I tried a lot of marketing strategies that went nowhere. I've read your book, John, and I'm going to give Twitter another try. I'm one of those people who just didn't get it, how to use it, but I will try again. As a writer I find it hard to keep my comments to the length that Twitter demands. Anyway, congrats, John. On another note, I watched Lost, and it tickles my funny bone to think that I am talking to John Locke right now. lol
Emms Stubbs
Emms Stubbs says:
Love your advice for self publishing! Especially as I'm an artist ;o) I found that your market advice is perfectly transferable. Although I have to say I am inspired enough to consider writing a book now! Thank you.
Vivian Kirkfield
Dear John, Thank you! For following me on Twitter (I will definitely follow back...I know I will learn from your tweets). For the above article...you are 110% correct...there are many naysayers out there...but if you have faith, passion and determination (perhaps not in that order), you will succeed. I attended a local library author's conference last year before my book had been published, and the panel of mainstream published authors warned that just because you were in a particular city, the library there would probably not purchase your book for their collection if it was "self-published". My book was "self-published"(MoneyPenny Press, Ltd. Sept.2010) and the library purchased 3 copies later that year and quite a few other libraries across the country have followed suit. Thank you! I am on my way over to pick up a copy of your book...mine's been on Kindle for 2 months...with very little activity. I know you have a lot to share that will be helpful because, in the end, although we may LOVE to write, almost all of us would LOVE to make some money also. :)
J.R. Williams
Just bought your book and I can't wait to read it. Thanks!
Show me the Royalties, Vanity Author! | sabineareed.com
[...] me the Royalties, Vanity Author! Posted by Sabine on October 16, 2011After reading John Locke blog, I realized that there is a term for new authors like me. We are the breed of vanity authors. [...]
Susan Case
Susan Case says:
I read your book and have taken your advice. I'm selling books! Yea! Thank you so much for the step-by-step guide. You are a marketing genius. Oh, I also love your Donovan Creed series and going back in time with the Westerns. People are craving a release from the pressures of today's world and your books give us a amazing escape before we must enter back into reality. Thanks so much for sharing your secrets and talent.
YOUR SHELF LIFE » How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke | A Your Shelf Life Review
[...] In a recent blog article, John talks about how the traditional publishing experts try to deflate the hopes of independent publishers. I would urge you to take the tools John offers and use them. The first time I read Howie, I thought it should be subtitled Hope. It is hope for independent writers. John gives you the tools. I hope I have highlighted a few points that may make the difference between success and failure. [...]
Thomas A. Knight
The scary thing about your system is that it affirmed many of the things I believed all along. I didn't have everything right, but I had some right, and so I'm glad I was on the right track. Thanks for the most excellent book, I've already read portions of it 3 or 4 times. Thomas
David Cooper
David Cooper says:
John, greetings from the UK. Your story, and your "How I sold..." book, together inspired me to dust off a long neglected typescript for a legal thriller earlier this year, and finish it with a view to publication via Kindle Direct. I achieved my goal today and am now eagerly following your guidelines to promote Hatred, Ridicule and Contempt - if I may cite one particular piece of Locke wisdom, I am hoping to ask the world at large whether the new John Grisham is five times better than mine! If you had any free time to look at my new blog, you would find a well deserved name check for yourself in the opening post. Regards, David
Nishi Serrano
Bought your book on the recommendation of another author and loved it! Info to keep at heart ;)
Miriam
Miriam says:
Selling 1,000,000 + books is the dream of many authors and to actually "know" one who has done it is double inspiration. Thanks for the motivation and marketing advice and here's hoping that you'll keep breaking more to barriers and keeping the rest of us more motivated.
Lorenzo Boedeker
Thanks for sharing, I also have a website.
niamh
niamh says:
Love this comment John. So surprised to see some people really didn't "get" the book (that's the only explanation for not being blown away). It totally worked on me, I already feel like a friend, wrote a review on Amazon (which I NEVER do), and went to your page. I'm a marketer and recognize every trick so I don't normally let them work on me. But you have a knack for getting people to support and help you without it being a trick. Thanks for making me realize that unleashing the real me is the most important thing I can do! (naysayers be damned)
Regina
Regina says:
I just bought your book and I had to make myself stop reading it so I could come over here and thank you. I say "make myself" because your writing style really draws me in. But you probably know that! ;-) I see you have a western set in 1860. What a coincidence, so's mine. 1860 was a pretty good year, at least for someone wanting to tell a good tale. I do dearly love me a period western. Probably pick that one up next. Congratulations on your success! You give us all something to work towards, and work towards it with pride and optimism. And that's worth more than any price.