Monday, May 09, 2011

The Washington Post discovers the ebook self-publishing revolution

For those of you who have not yet read any of my previous posts on the topic of ebook self-publishing -- or for those writers who are considering the idea of taking the plunge themselves -- the Washington Post printed an excellent feature story this weekend that covers the subject thoroughly and informatively.

The long article also focuses on yet another hugely successful "indie" ebook author, romance novelist Nyree Belleville. I hadn't heard of her before, but her personal rags-to-riches story is compelling. A sample:
A thin, pretty brunette who majored in economics at Stanford, Belleville had been a singer in her 20s, but that career died, and now her writing career was so flat line that one of her old publishers had even given her the rights to her first two novels.

So, out of sorts and feeling blue, she sat down one morning and figured out how to self-publish one of those novels, “Authors in Ecstasy,” on Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle, just to see what would happen. It was a pain. She had zero graphic-arts skills. She had to create a cover, write her jacket copy, figure out formatting and set a price. She did it and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, she checked her account. She had sold 161 copies. She’d made $281. She was astonished. . . .

She put her other old book online and figured out how to place both on other e-readers — the Nook, the Sony Reader, the iPad, Kobo. The next month, her royalties bumped to $474. Giddy, she self-published a new e-book in July. She made a jaw-dropping $3,539. It was like the best thing ever!

“Every day, as the numbers ticked by, my husband and I were floored,” she says.

She got the rights to two more old novels. She feverishly wrote another e-novel, “Game for Love,” about a bad-boy pro football player and his unexpected marriage. She popped it online Dec. 15.

Earnings for that month? $19,315.

In January and February, she e-published a trilogy of young-adult novels she’d written years earlier. She called the first one “Seattle Girl” and chose a new author name, Lucy Kevin, to distinguish it from the sexually explicit Andre books.

Here’s what her first quarter looked like: 56,008 books sold; income, $116,264.

Perched on the edge of a couch in her tiny writing office, which doubles as a playroom for her kids, Belleville says: “Isn’t this just awesome?!”
Oh yes.

I'm aiming to join the Self-Pub Revolution in early June, with HUNTER: A Thriller -- and then publish some nonfiction books later this year, as well as continue with a succession of follow-up novels. I must confess, I've never been so excited in my entire lengthy writing career.

UPDATE -- Here's another inspiring post by Robin Sullivan about the self-pub phenomenon, and why it's a boon even to traditionally published authors. Robin's blog is must reading for all writers.


Gabriella said...

Amazing! I love reading posts like these, they inspire me to finish!

The Watcher said...

Did you include a link to the Post article? I had to go googling for the article.

I think we have mostly Amazon to thank. Ebook technology and readership had been making inroads for some years, but Amazon decision to introduce push Kindle in 2007 and the ancillary tech and marketing expanded the reach massively. Kindle has shortcomings (including the proprietary format of Kindle ebooks and inability of the Kindle ereader to display some competing formats), but it's because of the Kindle that we have had all the big-boy attempts to find a "Kindle killer." Meanwhile, YouTube has toppled buarriers to entry for video performers and producers.

The Watcher said...

Sorry. I found your link, I must be a little color-blind.