The Kindle Million: Vanity Press Can Be Lucrative

Photograph of an Amazon Kindle eBook reading device

Kindle photograph courtesy of alienratt on Flickr



Self-published author John Locke has sold 1,010,370 Kindle books using the Kindle Direct Publishing service from

THOUGHT: John Locke (neither the character from Lost nor the philosopher), a 60 year old former¬†insurance salesman became the first self-published author to sell a million eBooks for Amazon’s Kindle device, using their direct publishing service.

He had no publisher nor a publicist.

Armed only with a leggy model for his cover, a 99 cent price, and his own ingenuity, Locke cracked the door to the million-seller club to join such household names as Nora Roberts and James Patterson.

Back in the day we used to call self-publishing Vanity Press.

Now we can call it lucrative. And smart. Locke keeps 35 cents of each book sold.

This is a profound development. It’s the proof of concept that you do not need a publishing infrastructure to succeed as an author. It proves you can win by vastly undercutting the traditional pricing model.

It is Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory brought to life.

I got a killer idea for a science fiction short story swimming around in my noodle. If I wrote it, would you buy it? For 99 cents? I’m betting enough of you would to make it worth my while because we have a relationship. Some of you know me in real life, some of you know me online but we’re not strangers.

You’d probably be willing to support my experiment for a¬†measly dollar. And if it was good, you might even buy the next one.

KEYWORD WEDNESDAY: The concept of eBooks has remained relatively steady in terms of search volume since 2004 but when the Kindle was introduced and it’s later competitors, generic eBook searches began to tick up. This is an example of a consumer product driving awareness of and interest in a concept. [CHART.]


Thank you for the vast improvements in voice recognition technology.


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