If you poke around on this blog you’ll find links to various books that I’ve written – three crime thrillers, three historical novels, and a large number of graded readers for foreign learners of English, a couple of which have recently won prizes. I’ve also co-written a few textbooks for schools. In fact I’ve been writing, off and on, for most of my life, and although I’ve never been able to give up my day job – as a university teacher – I suppose I’ve had some modest success at it. Over the years my books made a reasonable amount of money and I’m very grateful to the editors and publishers – particularly those at Oxford University Press – who enabled me to do that.
But like many, many thousands of other writers, I never quite had the international bestseller I secretly dreamed of.
I know, I know – it’s a dream I didn’t just share with thousands, but millions and maybe hundreds of millions of people out there! Let’s face it – we can’t all be John Grisham or J.K. Rowling. By the time you get to my age you’re pretty used to that idea.
Be grateful for what you have.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
That’s what I told myself, until a year ago, and I was pretty content. I have a good life – a secure job, a loving wife, nice house, two daughters, dogs, horses, grandchildren – what more do I need?
Then I opened a newspaper last June and read an article about a man called John Locke. A lot of you reading this will know exactly who John Locke is, but in case you don’t – well, this article told me that John Locke was the first author to sell a million books on the Amazon kindle. A million books? My jaw dropped. And he’d done it without using an agent or a publisher at all!
I’d just bought a kindle and loved it but this idea had never entered my head. He’d published all the books himself and sold them for $0.99 which netted him $0.35 per book and … well, we can all do the maths.
But how did he do it?
Well, since then – like lots and lots of other people – I’ve been trying really hard to find out. Or, more exactly, to find out if I can do it too. Well, maybe not sell a million, but a few hundred thousand would do. Ok, ok, let’s get real – maybe one thousand? two? three? Is that possible?
Probably not. I’m not John Grisham or J.K. Rowling, remember? But it’s certainly fun trying. The key thing is: you don’t need a publisher. You can do it on your own. And that makes all the difference. This is a totally new world.
On later posts in this blog, I’ll note down a few of the things I tried; what worked for me, and what didn’t. But if you want to know NOW, here are a few things you should look at, by authors who are lot more enterprising than me. People who are way ahead in this new game, but amazingly, out there trying to help others. (Now that’s a new thing)
John Locke, of course: his book How I sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 months.
There you are! You can read their blogs and find much more useful information than here! But thanks for reading. And I’ll write another post soon, to try to catch up.
Even though I’m terribly old!