Can You Make Money Self-Publishing?

Why yes! It takes hard work and it doesn’t happen instantly, but you sure can make significant money by self-publishing. And often far more than you can make after getting a deal with a traditional publisher.

Here’s the list, with numbers, updated from the last time that I identified authors selling over 50,000 self-published titles. This comes from a blog titled “Self-Publishing Success Stories,” and all credit goes to that blogger… who mysteriously has no name… and who did the original work of compiling it via a thread over at the Kindleboards.

The asterisk indicates that the writer has also been published traditionally. There are no doubt even more names that should be on this list. If you know of one, please drop me a line and I’ll add it.

All hail these successful self-published authors!

1. Rachel Abbott
2. Susan Alison – “over 50k at the end of last month” (Feb 2012)
3. Dani Amore
4.*Bella Andre – more than 400,000 books sold (Feb 2012)
5. Melody Anne – over 150,000 (Feb 2012)
6. Daniel Arenson – The “Song of Dragons” series sold its 50,000th copy on March 2, 2012
7. Jake Barton- 83,712 books sold (March 2012)
8. Robert Bidinotto – 58,260 (Feb 2012)
9. *J Carson Black – more than 300,000 books sold (November 2011)
10.*Cheryl Bolen – 145,000 sold (March 2012)
11. Kathleen Brooks – 50,015 paid books with most coming from the last 2 months (March 2012)
12. Catherine Bybee – nearly 200,000 of the novel “Wife By Wednesday”
13. Sarra Cannon – 62,400 books as of March 17, 2012
14. Karen Cantwell – 86K as of March 2012
15. Ruth Cardello
16. Darcie Chan – more than 400,000 ebooks sold (Nov 2011)
17. Ann Charles
18. Mel Comley
19. Shelly Crane
20. Martin Crosbie – 66,716 books sold (March 2012)
21. *Blake Crouch – total unknown (“5,000 sales a month”)
22. Chris Culver – over 550,000 (Dec 2011)
23. David Dalglish – more than 175,000 (Feb 2012)
24. Susan Denning – “To date, I’ve sold over almost 60,000 Kindle copies”
25. Saffina Desforges – Sugar & Spice sold over 100,000 ebooks (Sept 2011)
26. Mainak Dhar – 85,600 (Jan 2012)
27. Sandra Edwards- about 90K (since July 2010) as of March 2012
28. *Ellen Fisher – over 100,000 as of Feb 2012
29. Penelope Fletcher – over 50,000 as of Feb 2012
30. Tina Folsom – over 300,000 books sold (October 2011)
31. *Marie Force – more than 200,000 sold in the last year (March 2012)
32. Melissa Foster – more than 150,000 in the last 9 months (Feb 2012)
33. *Barbara Freethy – 1.3 million self-published ebooks sold (Dec 2011)
34. Eliza Gayle – roughly 65,000 books in 2011
35. Jenny Gardiner – over 80,000 ebooks (Dec 2011)
36. Debora Geary – total unknown (1 of the top 10 Kindle Select authors for Jan 2012)
37. Abbi Glines
38. *Lee Goldberg
39. Joel Goldman
40. Allan Guthrie – over 63,000 as of March 2012
41. *Gemma Halliday – over 1 million self-published ebooks sold (March 2012)
42. Liliana Hart – over 80,000 as of Feb 2012
43. Michael Hicks – close to 100,000 as of March 2012
44. Amanda Hocking – 1,500,000 ebooks sold (December 2011)
45. Sibel Hodge – “in the last 6 months alone I’ve sold over 40,000 ebooks”
46. Debra Holland – over 50,000 books sold (March 2012)
47. Sheila Horgan – well over 80,000 as of Feb 2012
48. Hugh Howey- more than 100,000 sold (March 2012)
49. Delle Jacobs – total unknown
50. Nancy C. Johnson
51. Ty Johnston – over 60,000
52. Andrew E. Kaufman – 53,984 sold in 31 days (during the month of March 2012)
53. Selena Kitt – “With half a million ebooks sold in 2011 alone”
54. *J.A. Konrath – more than 500,000 ebooks sold (November 2011)
55. Eve Langlais – over 56,000
56. B.V. Larson – over 250,000 books sold (Dec 2011)
57. *Stephen Leather – “selling close to half a million eBooks over the past 12 months” (Nov 2011)
58. Jason Letts – almost 50,000 as of Feb 2012
59. Victorine Lieske – more than 100,000 books sold (May 2011)
60. John Locke- more than 1,100,000 eBooks sold in five months
61. Terri Giuliano Long – more than 80,000 ebooks sold (Jan 2012)
62. *Carol Davis Luce – 100,000 sold (January 2012)
63. *CJ Lyons – almost 500,000 ebooks sold (Dec 2011)
64. H.P. Mallory – more than 200,000 ebooks sold (July 2011)
65. C.S. Marks
66. M. R. Mathias – over 50,000 sold (June 2011)
67. *KC May
68. *Bob Mayer – 347 sold in Jan, 2011 to over 400,000 total sold by year’s end (Dec 2011)
69. David McAfee – 54-56K range as of March 2012
70. Stephanie McAfee – “the e-book sold 145,325 copies from January to August 2011”
71. Carolyn McCray – over 50K and on track to sell over 13,000 ebooks for the month of March 2012
72. Karen McQuestion – more than 70,000 sold (***September 2010***)
73. Courtney Milan
74. Addison Moore
75. David Morrell
76. Rick Murcer – in only four and a half months, 135,000 ebooks sold (as of August 2011)
77. Scott Nicholson
78. Anne Marie Novark – more than 70,000 books sold (Feb 2012)
79. Shayne Parkinson – over 50,000 as of Feb 2012
80. Aaron Patterson – total unknown
81. Aaron Pogue
82. Brian S. Pratt
83. *Michael Prescott – more than 800,000 self-published ebooks sold (Dec 2011)
84. Rose Pressey – over 54,000 since April 2011
85. T.R. Ragan – 239,592 books sold (March 2012)
86. J.R. Rain – more than 400,000 books sold (Sept 2011)
87. Terri Reid – more than 60,000 ebooks sold (August 2011)
88. Lexi Revellian – over 54,000 (March 2012)
89. Shadonna Richards – 51,790 ebooks as of March 2012
90. Imogen Rose
91. *Kristine Kathryn Rusch
92. Nick Russell – over 104,000 of Big Lake (March 2012)
93. Jonas Saul – over 50,000 ebooks sold
94. L.J. Sellers – total unknown
95. Amber Scott – total unknown
96. *Michele Scott (AK Alexander) – more than 100,000 books sold in two months
97. Tori Scott – 84,772 as of midnight 3/15/2012
98. Kathleen Shoop – over 50,000 books sold since May 2011 (as of Jan 2012)
99. Christopher Smith
100. *Dean Wesley Smith
101. Katie Stephens
102. Andy Straka – over 50,000 in the past 10 months
103. Michael J Sullivan – more than 90,000 sold before books retired and republished
104. Denise Grover Swank- “almost 60,000 books with my four books since last July (March 2012)”
105. Vicki Tyley – 100,000 (January 2012)
106. Louise Voss & Mark Edwards – 50,000 ebooks sold in the month of June (2011)
107. Heather Killough-Walden – over 500,000 books sold (Dec 2011)
108. Michael Wallace – 80,000 (Feb 2012)
109. Kerry Wilkinson – more than 250,000 books sold (Feb 2012)
110. Nicole Williams – near the 100,000 mark for her trilogy (Dec 2011)
111. Zoe Winters – more than 50,000 ebooks sold independently
112. Rachel Yu – more than 60,000 ebooks sold (Feb 2012)

That’s pretty amazing. We can figure that many of those books earned about $2 per sale (at a conservative price of $2.99 per book), so this 50K number means the authors above are looking at $100,000, at least. There would also be expenses involved in editing, cover art, formatting, etc., depending upon how much of that was paid for versus done by the author or by volunteers. Still, the profits are impressive by any measure.

Some of these authors have gone on to accept traditional deals with established publishers so that they can concentrate on the writing part. Famously, Amanda Hocking has a multi-million dollar deal for some of her books, but has also retained the right to continue self-publishing those books she prefers to.

All right, writers, are you suitably inspired?

Now, back to your keyboards!

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