Thursday, 23 February 2012

A list of successful self publishers with over 50,000 sales

This week, to my great delight, my total sales passed the 50,000 mark. Last night my ebook sales stood at 51,914, plus some paperbacks (the numbers are harder to keep track of, even though they are a lot smaller). There is a thread on Kindleboards,  Authors who have sold more than 50,000 self-published ebooks to date, and I've reproduced the list below. Many have sold a LOT more - Chris Culver, for instance, sold 550,000 copies of The Abbey on his own. An asterisk indicates an author who was formerly traditionally published.

In circles hostile to indie authors, one often reads the assertion that although self-publishing has worked for people like Amanda Hocking and John Locke, the vast majority of us are lucky to sell 100 books. This necessarily incomplete list gives them the lie. And there are many more writers who, even though they haven't made this list yet, are earning respectable money from their writing and reaching readers.


Susan Alison 
Dani Amore
*Bella Andre
Melody Anne
Daniel Arenson 
Jake Barton
Robert Bidinotto

*J Carson Black
*Cheryl Bolen
Kathleen Brooks

Ryk Brown
Christopher Bunn
Catherine Bybee
Sarra Cannon
Karen Cantwell

Ruth Cardello
Camilla Chafer
Darcie Chan
Mel Comley
Shelly Crane 

*Blake Crouch
Chris Culver
David Dalglish
Emma Daniels

Dannika Dark
*Carol Davis Luce
Susan Denning
Saffina Desforges
Mainak Dhar 
Mark Edwards & Louis Voss
Dee Ernst
*Donna Fasano

*Ellen Fischer 
Penelope Fletcher
Tina Folsom
Marie Force

Melissa Foster
Anne Frasier
*Barbara Freethy
Jenny Gardiner

Tracey Garvis Graves
Debora Geary
*Lee Goldberg
Elena Greene
Denise Grover Swank
*Gemma Halliday
*Ruth Harris
Liliana Hart
Michael R. Hicks
Amanda Hocking
Debra Holland

Hugh Howey 
Nancy C. Johnson
Ty Johnston
Heather Killough-Walden
Selena Kitt
* J.A. Konrath
*Laura Landon 
*Eve Langlais
* Stephen Leather

Victorine Lieske
John Locke
Terri Giuliano Long
*CJ Lyons
H.P. Mallory
Michael G. Manning
M. R. Mathias
*KC May
*Bob Mayer
David McAfee

Stephanie McAfee
Karen McQuestion
Courtney Milan
Rick Murcer
*Scott Nicholson
Joe Nobody
Anne Marie Novark
Beth Orsoff
*Jessica Park
Shayne Parkinson

Paul Pilkington
Pandora Poikilos
Rose Pressey
*Michael Prescott
T.R. Ragan
J.R. Rain 
Terri Reid
Adam Rendon
Lexi Revellian
Shadonna Richards

Imogen Rose
Nick Russell
N. Gemini Sasson
*Michele Scott
Tori Scott
L.J. Sellers
Mark Sennen
Kathleen Shoop
Christopher Smith
Nick Spalding

Michael J Sullivan
*Laura Taylor
Vicki Tyley
Kathleen Valentine
Michael Wallace
Kerry Wilkinson
Nicole Williams
Zoe Winters
Laurin Wittig
Sarah Woodbury
Samantha Young
Rachel Yu


  1. Here's to your next 50,000 sales!! Well done you!!

    Take care

  2. I'll drink to that, Kitty :o)

  3. I'm not self-published but I'd sure love to be on a list of 50,000 of my books sold.

  4. Grats, Lexi! I'm sure it won't be long until you have to update that to 100,000 :-)

  5. My mum says this is the most brilliant, heart-warming news she's heard for ages. Well done to you, personally, Lexi. And to all the others on the list who have proved it CAN be done. "Ya-boo, sucks to you!" to the nay-sayers. (Don't know what that means but my mum said it, so it must mean something???)

  6. Ah, the naysayers and doom-mongers - if they invite you to a party, invent a prior engagement. You won't be missing anything :o)

  7. And after reading Remix and Time over the last couple of days I can see why you're on the list. Well Done! Now on to Replica....

  8. Well Done Lexi... Remix is a great book.

  9. Congratulations, Lexi! I'm delighted (and somewhat astonished) to be on the same list.

    And yes, I'm sure there are many more names that could be added. Those are just the ones that came up in a fairly brief discussion in one thread.

  10. Paul, thanks for dropping by. So pleased you liked Remix.

    Jamara, dunno about 'great' - I'll settle for entertaining.

    Shayne you are the Queen of Smashwords, and stand alone. Congratulations.

  11. Congratulations, Lexi.Great news. I see Replica is reviewed today on a new indie book review site. Have you seen it? Here's the link in case you haven't: http://indieebookreview.wordpress.comMy novel, No More Mulberries has been reviewed there, too.
    All best wishes for the next 50,000.

  12. Hi Mary, it's good to see a new UK review site - even better if one's own book is on it :o)

  13. Huge congratulations, Lexi. That's brilliant news!

  14. Congrats to you, and thanks for posting the list. Just FYI, Bella Andre is formerly (and perhaps still?) traditionally published. So are Bob Mayer, Lee Goldberg, and Barbara Freethy. I am too, but it was only one book, and so long ago it hardly matters now. I may have missed some others.

  15. Thanks, Ellen, I'll update. Let me know if you want that asterisk or not...

  16. Woohoo! It was only seeing my name on that list that really made me realise it was *something*! And now it's *something* all over again because it's on your blog. *am jumping around a bit and grinning like crazy*

    Ooh, and I can tweet it, too. *rushes off*

  17. And your name is right at the top!

    (Thinks: when I made up my pen name, why didn't I choose one beginning with A? Meh.)

  18. Yes, it is right at the top! I have spent my entire life making myself believe it was good to go first - to 'get it over and done with' - whatever it was. But now I'm genuinely pleased to be first. Yeah! There will be someone who comes along, though, who will be even closer to the beginning of the alphabet... But I've had my days in the sun so that's okay...

  19. Lexi, congratulations on your success. I just spotted the Kindle Boards thread and this one.

    As of midnight U.S. Eastern time on February 27, my debut thriller, HUNTER, has sold 58,260 ebooks since its publication on June 21, 2011.

    In addition, 4,760 copies of the ebook have been borrowed by Amazon Prime members, and I was compensated for each of those. If counted together, that would be 63,020 paid ebooks.

    The vast majority of those sales (almost 54,000) and all of the borrows have occurred since November 27 -- exactly three months ago.

    There also have been modest print sales, about 860.

    That this has happened for a 62-year-old author's debut novel, and within half a year of his completing the book's manuscript, ought to give pause to anyone who thinks indie publishing is not a viable alternative to traditional publishing. By contrast, if I had waited around to find an agent, then a publisher, I would still be waiting -- for years, and possibly forever -- and considerably poorer.

  20. Robert, this list just gets better.

    I like Hunter's cover - I also note it has 247 reviews, average 4.4 out of 5 stars. Those print sales numbers sound pretty good to me, too. Congratulations!

    The publishing industry has been letting writers and readers down for years. It's fantastic that an alternative is now available.

  21. Sickening. You're banned.

  22. Unfair! (Banned from what, btw?)

    Plih. I'm lodging a formal complaint.

  23. Thanks, Lexi. And congratulations again on your swift and stellar success.

    When you say writers now have an "alternative" to traditional publishing, they actually have multiple alternatives. Authors now have the options of two traditional forms of publishing -- "Big 6" or small press -- plus the following non-traditional options: self-published ebooks, self-published "print on demand" books, Amazon imprints (which constitute a non-traditional alternative), "subsidy" or "vanity" presses, and hybrid combinations of any of the preceding. (The only one of these I would avoid is "vanity" publishing, because print-on-demand technology makes it unnecessary to invest a lot of money up-front in printing, storing, and shipping a book inventory.)

    It truly has never been a better time to be a writer. No longer are there any gatekeepers or significant financial barriers to publication. And there is no downside risk, except possibly a few hundred dollars to produce a good cover and to have your manuscript properly formatted. I've been sharing these exciting possibilities with every writer I know, encouraging them to take advantage of the evolving opportunities. I applaud you for doing the same.

  24. I don't altogether agree, Robert, and not just because grammatically there is only ever one alternative :o)

    I discovered in a year of trying that neither Big Six nor small press publishing was an option for me, since I couldn't get an agent, and almost no publisher will read unagented submissions. Vanity publishing is not worth considering. POD, while an economic means of producing a print book, still won't get you into the bricks and mortar bookshops. I believe Amazon imprints call you, rather than vice versa.

    That leaves ebooks with Amazon's KDP - the only means to date by which indies have achieved success.

  25. Lexi,

    Ouch. I'll keep in mind the distinction between "alternative" and "options" in the future! (If I even have that right.)

    I won't dispute that KDP ebooks constitutes the best option for most authors. It absolutely was the best option for me. It is fast, simple, inexpensive, and offers the best chance of a good income.

    But I know indie authors who, for various reasons and personal preferences, seek hybrid forms -- for example, offering select titles to Big 6 publishers, in order to establish a presence in bookstores and thus expand their readership. Amanda Hocking and Michael J. Sullivan have done that, and it is a valid goal. Small presses often will give a book much better attention than a Big 6 publisher does, and will also take many of the burdens of publication off the author's shoulders.

    In presentations to writers, I make my own preferences clear: I think the best option is to remain "indie," via KDP and Createspace. But even I would seriously consider a deal with an Amazon imprint, if I'm ever approached, because of the unparalleled marketing power they offer. Each of the options has its own benefits and drawbacks, and an writer should carefully weigh which is best for him or her.

  26. Yes indeed - I think Stephen Leather is very fortunate in having a foot in three camps, trad, indie and Amazon.

    But most of us don't get the choice. It's KDP or KDP.

  27. Lexi - here are more authors who have sold traditionally:

    Scott Nicholson
    Michael Prescott (20 books in 20 years)
    Michele Scott (pretty sure about that)
    J. Carson Black (me)

  28. Lexi, Imogene Rose has weighed in on that Kindle Boards thread, saying that she has eligibility on the list. Among her several titles, Portal alone has sold over 50,000 copies.

  29. Also, indie author Carol Davis Luce has sold over 100,000 copies.

  30. Congrats, Lexi, for hitting the 50,000+ Club. And you won't stop there.

    Wanted to add more traditionally published authors:

    Blake Crouch
    Carol Davis Luce
    C.J. Lyons
    Ellen Fischer
    K.C. May

    Also, please add to your list the members of Readers Rule - all who have sold more than 100,000 books:

    Laura Taylor (trad pubbed as well)
    Ruth Harris (trad pubbed as well)
    L.J. Sellers
    Laura Landon (trad pubbed as well)

  31. Interesting that quite a high proportion of successful indies have been traditionally published in the past. Maybe this says something about the quality of their writing, or that it helps to have a readership established before you self-publish.

  32. I thought I banned you two days ago. Why does nobody ever listen to me?

    And anyway, selling gazillions of books isn't enough for you, is it? Oh no, you have to pile Pelion on Ossa by lecturing the innocent Robert on the meaning of 'alternative'.

    If I were pedantically anti-pedantic, I'd say something like this:

    "The notion that there can only be one alternative is based on the fact that the Latin word 'alter' means 'the one' or 'the other'. But English isn't Latin, and since no valuable distinction in meaning is involved, it makes no sense to restrict the use of the English word.

    "By contrast, it's a pity that the words 'disinterested' and 'anti-social' have become synonymous with 'uninterested' and 'unsociable', because we now have to use some circumlocution to express what 'disinterested' and 'anti-social' used to mean."

    But I'm not pedantically anti-pedantic, so I'll say nothing.

    You're still banned.

  33. I would argue there is a useful distinction. Once 'alternative' drifts to meaning the same as 'option', then instead of elegantly saying, 'the alternative is,' one will have to say, 'the only alternative is,' - guaranteed to annoy anyone with an informed love of English.

    Did you know Amazon banned me briefly for reasons which never became clear? It's not as if I corrected their grammar or anything...

  34. Congratulations on all of the sales, Lexi! There are lots of traditionally published authors who would like to be able to claim so many sales!

  35. Thanks, Lindsay - I'm not sure your offer from Amazon doesn't trump 50,000 sales :o)

  36. I think I'm more pleased about making a 'list' than I am about selling 50,000 + books! Some familiar names are on this list and two of them, Lexi Revellian and Mel Comley, were directly responsible for me thinking, 'I should do this.' Both were fellow members of Authonomy, that site for misguided writers who still believe the traditional publishing industry wants to take a punt on an unknown author.
    Most of the writers on this list have lived their dream: having many thousands of complete strangers read their books and, even better, pay money for the privilege. I no longer even bother to count my book sales, but I still love lists!

  37. Thanks for dropping by, Jake. I like lists AND counting my sales - and I love the thought of thousands of strangers reading my books :o)

    I did enjoy your account of being wined and dined at the Savoy by a publisher. (For the curious, it's here:

  38. Congrats, and thank you for the mention:-) Keep going!

  39. Hi Melissa! I'm still updating this list. I am sure there are lots of writers who qualify but don't frequent Kindleboards, the main source of information.