Let's play a little game. I'm going to throw the names of a few authors out there, and you tell me which one doesn't fit with the others.
Okay, here we go: James Patterson. Nora Roberts. Lee Child. Michael Connelly. John Locke.
Any thoughts? Which one doesn't fit?
Okay, okay, I'll come clean. I cheated. The answer is that there is no name out of the above five that doesn't fit with the others. Those five, along with Stieg Larsson, Charlaine Harris and Suzanne Collins, make up the Kindle Million Club, that is, the eight authors who have sold over a million Kindle books.
So all of those authors fit with the others, but there is one who is different. John Locke. If you're a mystery/thriller reader, maybe you recognize the name; maybe you've even read one or more of his books. But if you're not, the name likely means nothing to you.
That's because, although the other seven members of the Kindle Million Club are established, world-famous authors with the backing of large publishers and promotional budgets, John Locke is independently published - what used to be known, in the olden days of a year or two ago, as self-published. In other words, he did it himself. No Random House. No Penguin. No Ballantine. Just John Locke.
According to the Kindle Direct Publishing newsletter, as of two days ago, June 19, John Locke had sold 1,010,370 Kindle books, joining the other seven names mentioned above in the rapidly-growing club of authors who have sold over a million Kindle books. Around a year ago, James Patterson became the founding member.
But the name John Locke is a groundbreaking one because he is the first independently published million-selling Kindle author, although he undoubtedly will not be the last. My understanding is that my friend and fellow StoneHouse author Vincent Zandri is well over a third of the way there, and with new Zandri books coming out at a dizzying pace - I'm convinced there are really three Vincent Zandri's, each one typing madly away in an office somewhere - Vin is practically a lock to reach the club at some point in the not-too-distant future, too.
If you take a quick glance at the Amazon bestselling lists or the John Locke page, you will notice immediately that John Locke's books sell for considerably less than the other seven members of the club, many of them for a lot less. As an independent (self) publisher, one person controls the pricing of John Locke's books - John Locke.
And although a price point of 99 cents might seem ridiculously low, like he is practically giving his work away, a little quick math tells you that with a thirty percent royalty from Amazon on books priced at 99 cents, even if every single one of John Locke's book sales occurred at that price, the man has earned $303,093.00 from his work, almost all of it in the last year.
Giving away his work? Doesn't seem like it with those numbers, does it?
As a fellow thriller author whose first book, FINAL VECTOR, was published by an Indie publisher, Medallion Press, and whose second book, THE LONELY MILE, will be released this summer by another Indie publisher, StoneHouse Ink, and whose first horror novella, DARKNESS FALLS, will be published in September by highly-regarded horror Indie publisher Delirium Books, I look at those numbers closely. I gaze lovingly at them, like a new mother at her swaddled infant, imagining what might be.
Would I love to get a contract with Random House? Duh. Of course I would. Do I feel it's necessary to get a contract with Random House to develop a readership and brisk sales for my work? Absolutely not.
Thank you, John Locke. Congratulations on joining those other famous names in the Kindle Million Club, and I hope your success continues. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't an inspiration.