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The First Step to Becoming an Indie eBook Millionaire

Posted: 10/08/11 12:31

That might be quite an overzealous title for my first blog for the Huffington Post.

My name is Martin Perry, and I've just become one of the many authors now turning to the world of eBook distribution. Eschewing the lengthy publisher/agent submission process, I have decided to take my new science fiction series, the Legacy Universe, straight to consumers, and make my own bid to become one of the lucky few who receive thousands of book sales in return.

Amazon proudly boasts that, as of May this year, digital books are now out-selling their print equivalent on the world's largest online store. Names like John Locke and Amanda Hocking have capitalised on this, making millions in revenue without the support of traditional publishers. It's no surprise then, that other writers are lining up to try and cash in.

What does it actually take to do so though? Nobody seems to have the answer. Nobody has truly cracked the code. Locke himself made an attempt recently, releasing "How I Sold 1 Million Kindle Books in 5 Months" to detail his process. Within these digital pages he waxes lyrical about the benefits of acquiring a loyal twitter following, and making contact with his readership. These were, he says, the keys to his success.

People are definitely taking his words to heart. If they weren't already trying to turn a profit from social media, they certainly are now. Independent authors are abundant on Twitter, Facebook, and the majority occupy their own blog. Plenty are spending hundreds of dollars and pounds on advertising. Yet, despite the effort invested, many are finding that this isn't enough to push their title up the charts. In fact, extremely few authors are effectively marketing their books and seeing the sales numbers to reflect it.

In this blog I will begin to look at how the advent of the digital book market is changing how works of both fiction and non-fiction are being marketed. More than that, I'll be interviewing the authors trying to make it big, while sharing my own experiences, whether they bring success or failure. Hopefully along the way I'll work out exactly how to sell a million eBooks.

I should probably start by delivering on that blog title, right? Not a problem. The "The First Step to Becoming an Indie eBook Millionaire" is incredibly simple. You have to write.

I'm sure that at least one point in your life either yourself, a family member or friend, has talked at length about how they would like to write a book and yet never seem to get around to it. I was that person once. Actually, I've been that person several times. All until one January night where, with the spark of an idea, I decided to finally produce a chapter.

I think I was tired and there might have been alcohol involved. I can't quite remember.

It's all spiralled from there. I have my own Twitter account, @LegacyUniverse, and I have my own promotional website. Most importantly, I now have three, yes three, books available to buy on Amazon's UK and US Kindle stores. The first is a novel, Gentle Reminders, the others are two short stories by the name of Wandering Man and Prize Fighting.

Without variance, every single successful independent Kindle author will tell you that having a catalogue of work is important. Self-published books, the traditional name for independent releases, are rarely made available through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing programme at the same price as paperback releases. Unfortunately, when you're selling books for £2.09, you need to sell a few of them to make any decent return.

The first way the multiply those sales is to have more products available for purchase. Readers who enjoy one of your releases will return to Amazon in search of more - why wouldn't they? If you don't have anything else to offer them, they'll head off and discover the next new writer. He or she probably has a full range of titles, and you'll be lucky to ever win that reader back. I've taken this message to heart, and while I know it's only one part of an apparently solution-less puzzle, I also know that without doing so, I'm doomed to fail.

However, this blog isn't going to be a guide on how to make money. I haven't even had my first royalty cheque yet, so it'd be a bit rich to start lecturing you all. No, this blog is about how the world of publishing is changing, and has already changed, beyond recognition. It's going to be about how a guy in his bedroom can outsell Stieg Larsson. It's also going to be about me doing the exact same. Or, as is equally likely, it'll be about me crashing and burning following a series of marketing blunders. Either way, I'm sure it'll be entertaining.

In the next blog post I'll be having a look at genres, a slightly more complex subject, and how particular ones seem to be particularly fruitful for indie authors. Leave a comment, and let me know what you want to know about the changing world of publishing or eBook marketing. Perhaps we can all make a million together?

Visit www.legacy-universe.com to find out more about Martin Perry's eBook releases, and read more about this new science fiction series. You can also email him at martin@legacy-universe.com. Come back in a week or so for the next instalment!

 
 
 

Follow Martin Perry on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LegacyUniverse