By now, many of you have heard of Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old who self-published her e-books on Amazon and soon became a bestselling author. In January 2011, she sold nearly half a million books! Like many writers, Hocking tired of the long, discouraging process of trying to find a traditional print publisher to take on her novels. So she did it herself––like many writers before her, including Benjamin Franklin, Gertrude Stein, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf and, more recently, Stephen King, Deepak Chopra, and John Grisham.
E-books and Amazon’s Kindle program let writers of all types speak directly to readers, without going through the middleman. In 2010, 20 million people read e-books. Not only are e-books convenient, cheaper than print books, and instantly available, they’re environmentally friendly, saving trees and waste.
One of Hocking’s keys to success was her price point. By selling her books for $.99 to $2.99, she encouraged readers to take a look. She’s not the only author to utilize this method––or the only one to succeed. When you sell your e-book on Amazon for $.99 you only receive $.35 in royalties per sale. That’s not much, but if you sell 500,000 copies it adds up to big bucks. And in case you’re wondering, many authors only get about that much from the sale of a traditionally published paperback.
So, I decided to give it a try. My mystery Hidden Agenda, which in print form won the Kiss of Death Award (given by the Romance Writers of America’s mystery chapter), is now available as an Amazon e-book for $.99. A colorful mix of murder, magic, astrology, and romance, the novel has gotten great reviews, both online and in the print media. I hope you’ll choose to read it. Please share your thoughts with me if you care to do so. And please consider writing a review on Amazon.com if you feel inspired.
By the way, you can still purchase signed, first edition trade paperbacks from my website for $9.99 (quantities limited) if you prefer.