Gemma Halliday Sells Her 1-Millionth Self-Published Ebook!!!

This month I hit a milestone in my self-publishing journey.  I sold my 1 millionth self-published ebook.

How cool is that?!  I mean, to think that 1 million people have read my book?  Kinda mind boggling.  Okay, so it’s possible that not all 1 million of them have actually read it, but even that it’s sitting on their ereaders waiting for them  is awesome sauce in my opinion.

Just to clarify, I’m not yet in the coveted Million Kindle club (though, I’ve got my sights set on it!!), as these sales have come from Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Sony, etc.  So they have been spread out over several different outlets.  Just a breakdown of roughly where the sales have come from:  about 1/2 Amazon, 1/4 BN, and 1/4 all other outlets (iTunes, Sony, Kobo, Smashwords, ARE).

Just for giggles, I thought I’d add up how many books I’d sold at my former publisher as a comparison to what I’m selling as an indie now.  (I currently have books out with two other traditional publishers, but I’m relatively new to them and I’ve not yet received royalty statements from them, so I have no guess as to how many books I’ve sold through them.  Okay, I could guess, but it would be just that – a guess.)

My first book was out with Former Publisher in 2006, and my last book was out with them in 2010.  I had a total of 7 books and 1 anthology novella published through them during that time.  They were not one of the Big 6, but were a large, well known NY publisher with great distribution to all the regular booksellers, including Target, Walmart, Kmart, etc.  I’ve even had some of my books in grocery and drugstores through them, so it wasn’t a small independent publisher.

Total paper books sold: 106, 565

Total ebooks sold: 6,242

So in 4 years at a traditional NY publisher, I sold roughly 1/10 of what I’ve been able to sell on my own in just 2 years.  And, I should note, that I’m selling the exact same books now that I was selling with Former Publisher.

Interesting numbers.

Isn’t it a great time to be an indie author?


P.S.  My HOLLYWOOD HEADLINES Boxed Set of 3 books is now just $.99 for a limited time on both and Barnes&!

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  1. Sibel Hodge says:

    Woo hoo! Pass the wine, Gemma! Fabtastic numbers – you’re rocking :)

  2. Laura says:

    Wow – congratulations – those are some inspiring figures! Champagne breakfast all-round then :) Can I just ask – did this figure include any free-download figures at all?
    Congratulations again
    Laura x

    • Do these numbers include freebies?

      Short answer: yes and no. ;)

      Long answer: I prefer to wait until all venues have reported sales for a period before announcing anything officially, because I’m just a little anal about exact numbers. So, this million sales is as of December 2011. I’ve been averaging about 70,000 ebooks sold a month for the last 6 months, so at this point my guess would be that I’m actually closer to 1.14 mil as of now.

      Amazon reports free downloads and sales separately now, but they didn’t always do it that way. (In fact, my earliest reports from them have a cumulative total of books sold – which I’m so glad they did away with because was that ever confusing!) So, my early numbers do include freebies. Having said that, I only had two books go free in that period, and I’d *estimate* that they generated around 50,000 total downloads (This was in the early days when freebies didn’t generate quite what they do now.). I wouldn’t swear to it on a stack of bibles, since my records from Amazon came with them lumped together with paid sales, but that would be my best guess.

      So, yes, they were calculated into my totals, but, yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve actually *sold* 1 mil paid ebooks as of today, too.

  3. Lois Lavrisa says:

    Yahoooooo! Way to go:) Here is to 1,000,000 more:)

  4. Kiru Taye says:

    Yay!!! Fantastic news, Gemma. Well done.

  5. Adan Lerma says:

    big congratulations! ;-) may all your good work and success continue forward ;-)

  6. Congratulations, Gemma.

    That is total awesome-sauce. And yes, what an exciting time to be an (indie) author it is!

  7. Congrats, Gemma! Your accomplishment inspires us all. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Congratulations! Great inspiration for we Indies, Gemma. Thanks, and I wish you even more success in the future.

    Nancy Jill

  9. Liz Matis says:

    Wowsa! That is awesome. A million congrats to you!

  10. D.D. Scott says:


    I know y’all…how superfab over the moon awesome sauce (and all my other wacky phrases too) is this news?!

    Congrats, Gemma!!!

    You know I sooo luuuvvv ya, my friend, and am still Happy Dancin’ from our conversation yesterday!!!

    Stay on those tip toes and keep reachin’ ’cause that Kindle Million Club will soon be yours too!!!

    U Go, Girl!!!

    And thanks sooo much for sharin’ your real numbers scoop with us here at The WG2E! We luuuvvv sharin’ your incredible Indie Epub Journey!!!

  11. David Slegg says:

    Wow! Congratulations, Gemma!! That’s great news.

  12. Jamie S. says:

    Congrats on such an amazing accomplishment Gemma! You are an inspiration to all of us!

  13. Ruth Harris says:

    Totally fabuloso! Congratulations, Gemma, you earned it, you deserve it…

  14. Dina Silver says:

    Mazel tov sister! I love an inspirational story with my coffee. And I will absolutely be stealing the phrase ‘awesome sauce’ by the way. It is a great time to be an indie, I feel so honored to have the opportunity and to be a part of such a generous community of writers. Thanks for sharing.

  15. That is fantastic news, Gemme. Congratulations! I know that your former publisher considered you a big success then, I wonder what they think now! And think, you didn’t have to wait for them to send you the meager profits, direct deposit is a great thing!

    • No kidding! Lol! I actually had my BN payment delayed a couple of days this month (a glitch they took care of as soon as I pointed it out, btw) and totally started freaking that I was being stiffed again. :) Puts it in perspective how spoiled I’ve gotten with monthly payments. You know, not that I don’t think we all deserve to be spoiled that way. ;)

      • D.D. Scott says:

        LOL, Gemma!

        I had my largest payday from Nook to date this last month (February) too…about $8,000…and it was late and I was freakin’ out too!

        I have noticed that the more I make each month, the pay dates do seem to change (they get a little later)…I wonder if they pay out in batches and maybe the higher ones are last…LOL?!

        Cheers to monthly direct deposits!!!

        • I seem to remember that Feb was late from BN last year, too. I think they just don’t know what to do with the short month. Granted, it was only a day shorter then most this year, but maybe it throws their automated systems off? Hoping March’s payment comes on time! I usually get them sometime in the last week of the month.

          And HUGE congrats on the $8,000 payday!! In my traditionally published life, I would have been flabbergasted to make that much in one month. You’re selling like hotcakes, girl!

  16. Julie Day says:

    Well done. Keep on going with it. I’m in the early days of self-epubbing,having just got out my second one. Time will tell.

  17. Congrats, Gemma!

  18. Talli Roland says:

    Fantastic, Gemma! I love reading posts like this!

  19. Regan says:

    Congratulations, Gemma! *happy dance*

  20. Brava, Bravissima, Congratulatissima! Marvelous, Gemma! The indie world rejoices in your success.

  21. Glynis Smy says:

    Congratulations on your success. An amazing achievement.

  22. Sorry I’m late to my own party here – west coast time. :) Thanks so much, everyone! It’s amazing to me how my writing career has gone from lowest low to highest high so quickly. I can’t wait to see where the publishing industry as a whole goes in the next few years. Times are changing, for sure!

  23. This is so awesome, Gemma! Congratulations! You’re such an inspiration to us all. Here’s to continued success and reaching the Million Kindle Club!

  24. Congratulations, Gemma! Thanks for always being so helpful and wishing you a quick trip to the Million Kindle Club. You’re inspiring!

  25. Jill Mora says:

    That’s FAN-TABULOUS! I’m a fan, I just got your Hollywood Headlines boxed set.

    Way to GO!

  26. Congrats! on the milestone. It is a great time to be an indie author.

  27. Lee Lopez says:

    Congrats Gemma..Well done, and well deserved. You’re books are fabulous..

  28. Jill James says:

    Gemma, I love the Hollywood Headlines set. They are excellent reading. Congratulations!!! Ms. Million. Enjoy every single well-deserved minute of happiness!!!

  29. angel says:

    I’m so proud of you! Your stories are great. I’ve read the first two in the Hollywood series. Can’t wait to read the third.

  30. Such an amazing milestone, Gemma! Major congratulations! :-)

  31. Nana Malone says:

    Wow! This is huge. Congratulations!

  32. R.A. Lee says:

    Congratulations! That is an impressive achievement.

  33. Alison Pensy says:

    That’s incredible. Well Done!!! and congrats :-)

  34. This is amazing…Huge congrats..

  35. Outstanding! And I just love that they’re the same books sold by the trad pub. Hah!

  36. Gillian says:

    I want to offer my huge congratulations. It’s truly inspiring. I hope 2012 continues to bring great successes your way, and you let us know how it goes. :)

  37. Gemma-I am so, so thrilled for you! You have conquered the publishing world-despite this economy. You are brilliant! (which I always knew).
    Eden :)

    • Awww, thanks! It’s been a little good timing, a little hard work, and a lot of luck. This industry is so about the right books at the right time, no matter if it’s indie or the traditional route.

  38. Congratulations on this, it inspires those considering indie publishing. What is your advice to someone that is not as established with a large reader base like you were when you went indie? So many things are changing in the industry right now!

    • Honestly, I did not have a big readership when I started going indie. At that point I was hanging at mid-list on good days… lower than that on not so good. But, the one advantage that I did have was a backlist. I think that’s really the biggest thing in seeing higher sales. Write fast, and if you’re not a super fast writer consider releasing shorts between books or even doing a serial book where you release a chapter or two at a time for $.99. This helps keep your name fresh in readers’ minds and also gives you more titles to play with when it comes to pricing/sales/loss leaders, etc.

  39. Elle Casey says:

    Wow, good for you! You are an inspiration to all of us Indie Authors. Yayyyyy!

  40. Amazing amazing amazing…your blog post came up in google alerts and I want to say this is so encouraging to other Indie authors!

  41. Congrats!! In honor of your fab news, I just purchased your box set!! I hope that counts as three more sales towards the Million Kindle Club :)

  42. Ursula says:

    What a stellar achievement! Congratulations!!!!!!!

  43. from 1 million to 1 …. here I am at the start of the journey…. in which I talk about my birthday pains of a different kind. Check it out

  44. PatriciaW says:

    Congratulations, Gemma!

  45. Tawny Stokes says:

    Fantastic Gemma. You are a huge inspiration.

  46. Congratulations, Gemma! That is fantastic and great to know going out on your own was the right choice.

  47. For someone who’s just released his very first book, this is a wonderfully inspiring story to read. Thank you for sharing it and all the best for continued BIG success.

    See you in the Million Kindle Club! :^)