Random Thoughts on People jealous of John Locke and Kindle Indie Author success

People hating on the Kindle is understandable – It’s a device which probably doesn’t gel with some people’s views of what a device should be.

Here’s my Unofficial Guide to Kindle Hating.

Kindle Haters – There is still Hope

If you’re a Kindle hater, then please remember – Kindle hating is a journey, not a destination.

Please don’t lose hope just because tens of millions of Kindles and eReaders have been sold. The clouds of ignorance built up due to the slow demise of reading are still heavy and strong. While the winds of eReading threaten to blow them away, you still have a chance to help take down the revolution in reading.

Kindle hating is justified – The Kindle threatens the very ideology of more-than-one-thing-at-a-time-ness. A very sacred religion you can relate to strongly if you have ever driven a car while eating a Wendys burger and munching on their surprisingly good French Fries. Can you blame the devotees of multi-tasking after such an exhilirating experience – eating a Bacon Cheeseburger while trying not to get killed on the highway.

The more-than-one-thing-at-a-timers are justified in their hate of a device so pure that it only does one thing at a time.

The part that is really stunning is when Kindle Haters morph into Indie Author Haters.

Why the hate for indie authors?

A wise man (or perhaps he was just high) once said – Haters Gonna Hate. Dave Chappelle (before running away from a $30 million contract and his dedicated band of Chappelle Haters) did much ground breaking research on this.

The logical conclusion would be that there is no logic for some people’s hate. While Kindle haters stand behind the tenets of their multitasking religion, peopel hating on indie authors are just being tacky. Like the person who wants to split the bill according to how good each dish was and how much of it you actually finished.

Let’s consider a few examples.

Masterpieces in Hating on John Locke

John Locke is only the eighth author to join the Kindle Million Club (which sort of sounds better and worse than it really is).

Here’s a comment from TechCrunch. It’s motivation for all of us to help indie authors.

I wonder if the fact that all his “novels” are $0.99 helped him out any? Or the fact that most of them feature bare womens’ legs on the cover? Or the fact that each book is filled with ads for his other books? Or the fact that they’re knuckle-dragging male sex/crime fantasies written at a fourth-grade level?

Not to be all literary-elitist, but this guy’s not an independent author, he’s a marketer who happens to bang out a crappy book every couple months.

Really?

When a big company like Apple uses super emotional ads like the FaceTime Ads it’s considered good marketing and just an extension of their overall ability to make excellent stuff that you can touch and form an emotional connection with.

If an indie author uses sex appeal to catch the eye he’s considered to be low talent and all marketing.

Do you really have a problem with bare women’s legs? What man doesn’t love bare women’s legs?

Filled with Ads for his other books? You mean the way Google has a Google chrome ad on its homepage. And the way Microsoft Windows comes with Office Works.

Written at a fourth-grade level. Aaah … that’s just plain nasty. Consider the construction of these phrases by the Locke-hater in his comment -

womens’ legs … every couple months

He wins. It’s obvious he’s much more of an expert on fourth-grade level writing than we’ll ever be.

It’s sweet of him to worm in a weasel phrase before calling John Locke’s books crappy (he writes – Not to be all literary-elitist).

Sir, you need not worry about being *all literary-elitist* – In fact, you are not in any danger of being even part literary-elitist.

Masterpieces in Hating on Indie Publishing

The LA Times brings up the high cost of John Locke’s success -

… anywhere from $2 to $4 per sale of a $20 hardcover sold in a bookstore.

with ebooks … authors with major publishers stand to make a similar percentage — a $15 e-book brings them $1.50 to $3.

Drop the price of the e-book to $9.99 and a traditional author might make about $1 to $2.

Which is not much. But it’s still more than 35 cents.

$1 to $2 is more than 35 cents. What profound wisdom.

Einstein is worrying that his Theory of Relativity won’t measure up to LA Times’ Theory of Relative Profitability. They forget a tiny part of the equation though -

Readers also factor into the equation. By virtue of the little fact that they are the ones spending the money.

  1. Authors make $1 to $2 after selling a $10 ebook to readers. That’s 10% to 20% plus readers are paying $10 per book.
  2. John Locke and other indie authors make 35 cents after selling a $1 ebook to readers. That’s 35%. It also encourages a lot more reading and a lot more sales.
  3. John Locke has sold over a million ebooks and has made $350,000. If he had focused on ‘profit per copy’ instead of ‘total profit’ he would probably be making a gigantic $2 per sale on sales of 20,000 a year. Which would add up to $40,000 and be so much more meaningful than $350,000 – Wait a minute. It wouldn’t.
  4. John Locke is reaching a lot more readers and a lot more readers are getting value from his books. Isn’t that what reading is about? Readers reading books and benefiting from them and enjoying them.

Basically, you make more *total profit* and reach more readers. Meanwhile readers get more book value for their money. It’s a win-win on all sides.

Thanks to Roger Knights for another interesting indie author story – David Lender. Perhaps our non literary-elitist commenter will add a comment to this article about how it only sells because there are pictures of Wall Street on the cover.

The Amanda Hocking Question

It’s just a question so please don’t go overboard.

How is it that Amanda Hocking got beaten by John Locke in the sales rankings charts? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that she signed a Publisher deal and readers promptly rewarded her for that by turning their backs on her?

It’ll be very interesting to see how readers treat her new releases. Readers are all-powerful now and authors caught in the mindset that they need Publishers to become superstars and/or rich are going to be rewarded by the people – often in ways they don’t anticipate.

By the way, this is just an observation. You can compare her sales rankings from right before she signed up with a major publisher with her sales rankings now. Correlation is not always causation – But causation isn’t always correlation either.

I don’t even know what that last bit means but it sounds great ;) .

Finally, a quick thought on ‘profitability’

It’s a tad depressing to see so much analysis on ‘profitability’ without any consideration of the fact that it is readers’ money.

Option 1: Talk solely about how much money you can make from $2.99 versus how much money you can make from $0.99. Focus only on *your* profitability and talk about things like the price elasticity of demand and other nonsense that makes you seem smarter than you really are. It’s just stuff that lets you pretend you have the ability to predict the future.

Option 2: Look at how much value for money readers are getting.

An indie author is selling a $5 book at $1 – Readers get $5 worth of value for $1. The Indie Author get 35 cents profit. The $1 price sells enough copies to make the indie author hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. The millions of people who buy the book each get 5 times the value they paid for.

Doesn’t that make more sense?

Isn’t thinking in win-win terms better than thinking of readers as stupid robotic ATMs?

9 Responses

  1. I think Amanda Hocking’s ratings went down because when she signed, she quit cranking out books. There hasn’t been anything new in quite a while so people have lost interest.

    I think one of the biggest advantages indie authors have is the quick turnaround for a new book – months instead of years. How long do readers have to wait for those new Amanda Hocking titles? I bet they release them a year apart too.

    Compare that with Gordon Ryan’s Pug Conner series. He will end up releasing 4 books within about a year. Readers who liked the books and eagerly await the next one won’t have a very long wait. If you have to wait years, you can lose interest or have spent your book budget elsewhere.

    • I’ve never read anything by Hocking or Locke but is it really possible to produce 3 or 4 high quality full-length novels in a years’ time? I don’t know the answer, but it seems hard to imagine.

      • It’s a good question. You could argue it’s hard to produce 3 or 4 high quality classics in a lifetime.

        I really don’t know. There’s Shakespeare and Jules Verne and Charles Dickens. But even the most prolific authors have some books that tower over the others.

        My gut feeling is that you need at least a year or two to perfect/craft/polish a novel if you’re aiming for immortality for the book. Probably 4-5 years to be on the safe side.

      • I am presently writing four novels a year. I edit one while planning/drafting another and switch back and forth as needed to keep them moving forward. This week I started writing the first draft of what I’ll release in March 2012. My readers say my books are high quality, which is good enough for me. :)

        It’s not easy, though, that’s for sure. I write full-time so that’s a huge advantage but juggling the schedule and keeping the various storylines straight in my head is still a challenge.

        But a fun one!

    • Great point. Sometimes the correct answer is the most simple one. That’s probably it. John Locke was cranking out books every other month and Amanda Hocking was focused on her book contract and writing for that. It’s tough being an indie author.

  2. This is one of the funniest blog posts I have read in a while. And that kindle haters post is also a classic!

  3. I haven’t noticed a lot of people hating John Locke, and I don’t think traditional publishers really care that much about the small handful of successful self published writers. I think they’re more interested in how to get the system to work for them, and their biggest obstacle is the corporate overlords who rule the industry. And let’s face it, the majority of self published books are really really really bad. Just because some of the better ones rise to the top and sell a ton of copies doesn’t mean anyone is going to be worried. Publishers have a lot of authors who sell more than Hocking and Locke. Come to think of it, traditional publishers have Hocking now. Of course, she won’t sell nearly as many copies at $25 as she did at $.99, but that’s not important.

    Indie publishing is not a threat to traditional publishers. What is a threat to their way of life, on the other hand, is Amazon and their new publishing imprints. They are changing the rules, and taking the legs out from under the big publishers by signing authors away from traditional houses. That has got to be terrifying. They know they’ll have to treat writers better to keep them, and that means higher royalties, better deals, and pricing experimentation to sell ebooks.

    Things are changing so rapidly, and as a self published writer, I hope they slow down. I know that with Amazon publishing and the traditional publishers focusing more on the ebook market, the ones who will suffer will be the indies. Sure there will always be a handful of Locke’s and Hocking’s, but they will always be the exception, just like they are now.

  4. […] Random Thoughts on People jealous of John Locke and Kindle Indie Author success (ireaderreview.com) […]

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