I spend a lot of time on writer’s loops, especially indie ones. And, as you guys might have noticed, I pull a lot of subject matter for this blog out of what’s being passed around on the loops. This post is no exception. One issue that I’ve been reading a lot about on the loop lately is that it’s “impossible” for a new author to gain any traction in the indie world. The big complaint seems to be that it’s only those authors who had traditional careers before going indie that are having stellar success.
Okay, I’m going to admit: I was a traditionally published author before going indie. However… I didn’t have many readers. I know that’s not popular to admit. But I was clinging to “mid-list” by a thread. A thin one. That was fraying. In total, I sold roughly 50,000 copies of my books as a traditionally published author… that’s 7 titles over the course of 3 years. And only 500 of those sales were ebooks. By contrast, I’ve sold over 1.3 million ebook copies in the last three years of being indie. Obviously, I’m not just trading on my traditional readership. Obviously, these are almost all new readers that I’ve acquired since going indie.
However, I was still first a traditionally published author. So, in an effort to dispel the myth that only traditional-first authors are making it in the indie world, I want to highlight three indie-first authors who are kicking booty in the sales department.
This guy is my hero. I will admit, he’s been a bit of a self-publishing mentor for me, showing me the ropes and giving me tips to transition from traditional to indie. But go take a look at his book rankings on Amazon. Nice, right? Check out his first book, Moondance. It’s always ranked well, and it’s just the first in a series of 6 books he has out now. And that’s just one of his series. How he writes so fast, I have no idea. But his work is good, too. In the 3+ years he’s been indie publishing I don’t even know how many book he’s sold, but I know he’s got me beat. His indie success has him ranked as one of the Top 10 indie authors, and he’s since sold audio, foreign, and print rights to traditional publishers. Yes, that’s print ONLY. See what I mean about being my hero? It would be so easy to hate him, but he’s a heck of a nice guy, too.
Okay, you might think J.R. Rain is one of those anomalies, so let’s take a look at another indie star…
This girl works so hard, it makes me tired watching her. She’s got two paranormal mystery series that are super fun, super flirty, and sell super well. She’s currently ranked as #78 overall of bestselling Amazon authors. She started out indie and had so much success that she was offered a traditional contract with Bantam. Which has only spurred more success, launching onto the USA Today bestseller list. Yes, she’s one of those very few indie-to-traditional authors that has actually had success in the traditional world as well as indie. She had zero readership before going indie. And now, clearly, she has a big one.
One last indie star I want to point out…
I love pulling the H.T. card on people who say you can’t make it being an unknown indie. Before he began publishing indie a couple of years ago, H.T. had one manuscript under his belt. Just. One. He didn’t even start with the backlist of manuscripts that J.R. Rain or H.P. Mallory did. And he certainly didn’t start with a readership. But go check out how many books he has available now. Tons! His productivity is amazing. And, he’s consistently ranked in the Top 100 of indie authors. Now, Top 100 might not seem like something to throw confetti over when compared to J.R. Rain’s Top 10, but I almost see H.T. as the bigger success story, really. He’s gaining readers, making good sales, and happily writing for a living without banking on being one of those break-out anomalies that everyone seems to be pointing to as the “only” indie authors enjoying success. And he did it all without any traditional background or prior publishing experience.
So, my point today is… anyone can be an indie super star. There is no magic head-start that those who started traditionally have. It’s a level playing field. Which, I think, is part of what makes being indie so cool.
P.S. I’m giving away one ereader a month, all season long! Win a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight in October! Check out my website for details and how to enter: http://www.gemmahalliday.com/contest.html
Gemma Halliday is a New York Times Bestselling Author, who had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She worked as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic, before finally selling her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005 and deciding to be a writer. Since then, she has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. Her books have hit both the USA Today and the New York Times Bestseller lists. And she’s a proud member of our WG2E Family.