“One hundred grand. That’s how much I’ve made on Amazon in the last three weeks. This is just for my self-pubbed Kindle titles. It doesn’t include any of my print books. It doesn’t include audiobook sales. It doesn’t include sales from other platforms. This is from my self-pubbed books.In January of 2011, I made $34,000. That means I’d make about $50,000 in January, just in US sales. I can’t see a limit. I can’t see a ceiling.This is no longer a question of choosing between accepting 17.5% royalties from a legacy publisher or doing it yourself. This has now become the best way in the history of mankind for a writer to earn money. It may be one of the greatest ways to ever make money, period….I’ve been following the ebook revolution for three years, and I never could have predicted this would get so big so fast. I’ve consistently been surprised by numbers and sales, and have lost count of the times I’ve said, “This is unreal.” But it isn’t unreal. It’s very real. I know, because I just pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. For the fifth time today.”
2. Christopher Paolini
At fifteen, he began working on his first book Eragon. Upon completion, he toured over 135 schools and libraries. By nineteen, he was a New York Times bestselling author. Eragon was picked up by 20th Century Fox and made into a movie – making $249 million. It’s the highest grossing film with a dragon as its focal point and the second highest grossing film in the sword and sorcery subgenre. The last number I could find was that the Inheritance Cycle (a total of four books) has sold more than 25 million copies.
3. Graham P. Taylor
In 2002, British Vicar Graham P. Taylor self-published his young adult novel, Shadowmancer. Knowing that traditional publishers would probably not be interested in a novel about Christianity and black magic set in the 18th century, he self-published for approximately $6,700. This book sold thousands by word of mouth. Eventually Penguin Putnam bought the US rights for $500,000 and Graham Taylor sold the film rights for $4.5 million to Universal.
4. Darcie Chan
Her first novel was self-published early 2010. It has sold more than 413,000 copies. She bought some ads on Web sites targeting e-book readers, paid for a review from Kirkus Reviews, and priced her book at .99 cents to encourage readers to try it. After 600 copies sold, she spent about $1,000 on marketing, buying banner ads on websites and blogs devoted to Kindle readers and a promotional spot on goodreads.com. She’s now attracting bids from foreign imprints, movie studios and audio-book publishers.
5. Amanda Hocking
Prior to self-publishing, she wrote 17 novels in her spare time. In April 2010, she self-published them as e-books. Under a year later, she had sold over a million copies of nine of the books and earned two million dollars from sales. In early 2011, she was averaging 9,000 sales a day. She has signed with a traditional publishing house since then.
6. William P. Young
Originally written for just his six children, but he ended up printing 15 copies of The Shack. Two of his friends encouraged him to have it published. Rejected by 26 publishers, he and his friends started a publishing house and spent $200 in advertising. A year later, it was number one on the New York Times best-seller list. Now, with 10 million copies in print, it continues on the NY Times Best Seller List. It’s been translated into 34 languages. It is also a bestseller in Canada, the U.K., South Africa, and South Korea.