Top 42 Indie Authors of 2011

Updates:

1) Yes, we will be updating this list with the suggested authors (most of them). Thank you very much for the suggestions. Not sure how some of those authors were missed.

2) We’ll also be starting a monthly Top 25 Indie Authors List. Expect the first one around mid April. Feel free to email us at booksummit@ymail.com or leave a comment if you want to nominate someone. Criteria will be performance (based on sales rankings from March 21st through April 14th). Showing up in the Top 100 Free List will be given some consideration but the lion’s share will be actual sales and showing up in the Top 100 Paid List.

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Please Note: This is not a Precise List. It’s a combination of sales, intuition, number of Top 100 hits, awareness, press coverage, and other inputs. There might very well be promising indie authors that got missed out. If you think you should be considered for this list, leave a comment.

Indie = Straight to the People. So only authors who self-publish and reach readers directly are considered.

Top 42 Indie Authors of 2011 – Context

Independent authors have benefited greatly from the democratization of Publishing that Kindle and Nook and eBooks have brought about. They have also contributed to this democratization and are strengthening ebooks. John Locke and J. A. Konrath are two indie authors (two of many) who have refused to sell their ebook rights to traditional publishers and have saved us Kindle owners from the pain of paying $7 to $12 for an ebook.

Unfortunately, many of the established ‘Bestseller Lists’ downplay the role and importance of indie authors. Here’s an approximate, inaccurate, and disputed list of the 42 Top Independent Authors of 2011.

Top 42 Indie Authors of 2011

1. John Locke

John Locke is a New York Times best-selling author who has broken down boundaries in the indie publishing world that had hitherto been unthought of. He is the eighth author to sell over one million eBooks on the Kindle and the first self-published author ever to do this.

John Locke signed a very interesting book deal recently where he keeps the ebook rights. Hopefully it’s the beginning of a trend – so that authors don’t let Publishers price-gouge the very same Kindle and Nook owners who made the author a hit to begin with.

2011 Novel
Call Me!. Price: $0.99. Genre: Thriller, Action & Adventure. Rated 4 stars on 52 reviews.

2012 Novel
Wish List (a Donovan Creed Novel). Price: $2.99. Genre: Action & Adventure. Rated 4 stars on 186 reviews.

Best Selling Novel
Maybe (a Donovan Creed Novel). Price: $0.99. Genre: Action & Adventure, Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 30 reviews. Currently on the indie and paid Kindle best sellers lists.

For more see John Locke’s Amazon Page and blog.

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2. J.A. Konrath

J. A. Konrath is a giant in the self-publishing world. Firstly, he has hit the Top 100 in the Kindle Store numerous times. Secondly, via his blog (J. A. Konrath Publishing Blog) he’s shared his wisdom and insights with indie authors and probably played a part in the rise of numerous indie authors. You could even argue that he’s played the biggest part in the rise of indie authors – by refusing book deals from Publishers, by hitting great sales ranks, by revealing his earnings (over $500K in 2011), and by sharing what worked for him.

2011 Novel
Flee: A Thriller with Ann Voss Peterson. Price: $2.99. Genre: Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedurals. Rated 4 stars on 74 reviews.

2012 Novel
Burners – A Jack Daniels/Alex Chapa Mystery with Henry Perez. Price: $2.99. Genre: Mystery, Homicide, Story Cross Over. Rated 4.5 stars on 3 reviews

Best Selling Novel
The List with Jack Kilbron. Price: $3.99. Genre: Suspense. Rated 4 stars on 217 reviews. Currently on the indie Kindle best sellers list.

For more see J.A. Konrath’s Amazon Page and blog.

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3. Scott Nicholson

Scott Nicholson is fast becoming an indie superstar author. He has had multiple books hit the Top 100. He has also won several horror awards and been nominated for a few more. He also has a wide range of books available which helps reach a lot of readers. He has worked with other authors on this list, especially JR Rain.

2011 Novel
Creative Spirit. Price: $2.99. Genre: Horror. Rated 4.5 stars on 19 reviews.

2012 Novel

Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! with other authors. Price: $2.99. Genre: Horror, Bizarre, Suspense, Science Fiction. Rated 5 stars on 1 review. 284 pages.

Best Selling Novel
The Red Church . Price: $2.99. Genre: Occult Horror, Fantasy. Rated 4 stars on 114 reviews. Made it to #3 on the Kindle best sellers list.

For more see Scott Nicholson’s Amazon Page and blog.

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4. CJ Lyons

CJ Lyons sold over 447,000 books on the Kindle last year. Her novel, Blind Faith ($7.99) was second on the New York Times best sellers list and Borrowed Time ($4.99) was on the USA Today Best Seller list.

For more see CJ Lyons’s Amazon Page and website.

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5. Gemma Halliday

Gemma Halliday is a romance-mystery writer who has garnered a huge amount of popularity with her High Heels Mystery Series. She’s had several of her books hit the Top 100 and has been nominated for the RITA three times in the past. Halliday’s achievements in the industry as an indie writer could not have been obtained without her perseverance and unique style.

2011 Novel
Sweetheart in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries). Price: $1.49. Genre: Mystery. Rated 3.5 stars on 15 reviews.

2012 Novel
Play Nice (Anna Smith and Nick Dade Mysteries). To be released March 13. Price: $15.34.Genre: Mystery, Women Sleuths. Unrated.

Best Selling Novel
High Heels Mysteries Boxed Set (Books 1-5). Price: $9.99. Genre: Mystery, Romantic Suspense. Rated 4 stars on 72 reviews. Currently on the indie and paid Kindle best sellers lists.

For more see Gemma Halliday’s Amazon Page and website.

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6. Darcie Chan

Darcie Chan is a new indie author, having just released her first novel in 2011. She has experienced unprecedented success, with her novel appearing on the Top 100 list and selling more than 400,000 copies in 2011. Like many authors on this list, Chan was rejected by the Big Six before finding her eventual success through the patronage of Kindle owners.

2011 & Best Selling Novel
The Mill River Recluse. Price: $0.99. Genre: Literary Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 759 reviews. Currently on the indie and paid Kindle best sellers lists.

For more see Darcie Chan’s Amazon Page and website.

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7. JR Rain

As a former P.I., JR Rain understands the thriller and mystery genre better than most authors. While much of his work focuses on the vampire sub-genre, JR Rain has also written a plethora of short stories, screenplays, and novels with varying themes and style. Rain has collaborated with other authors on this list, including Scott Nicholson.

2011 Novel
The Vampire Club. Price: $3.99. Genre: Fantasy. Rated 4 stars on 16 reviews.

2012 & Best Selling Novel
Samantha Moon: All Four Novels. Price: $2.99. Genre: Mystery, Vampire, Urban Fantasy. Rated 4.5 stars on 44 reviews.

For more see JR Rain’s Amazon Page and website.

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8. J. Carson Black

Last year, J. Carson Black sold over 300,000 books on the Kindle. Her novels Darkness on the Edge of Town (Laura Cardinal Series, Book 1) ($3.47) and Dark Side of the Moon (Laura Cardinal Series, Book 2) ($3.47) are part of a well-reviewed and well-loved series.

For more see J. Carson Black’s Amazon Page and website.

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9. Michael Prescott

Michael Prescott, who used to write under the name Brian Harper, re-published two novels in 2011. One of the two novels, Shiver, was recently made into an independent film by Robert D. Weinback. Prescott writes mystery & thriller novels that perfectly reflect his fondness for the dark and bizarre.

2011 Novel
Blind Pursuit. Price: $2.99. Genre: Suspense. Rated 4.5 stars on 50 reviews.

Best Selling Novel
Mortal Faults. Price: $0.99. Genre: Suspense, Thriller. Rated 3.5 stars on 9 reviews. Currently on the indie Kindle best sellers list.

For more see Michael Prescott’s Amazon Page and blog.

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10. Michael Wallace

Michael Wallace’s novels The Devil’s Deep ($2.99) and The Righteous (Righteous Series #1) ($2.99) are both extemely well-reviewed thrillers.

For more see Michael Wallace’s Amazon Page and blog.

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11. Barbara Freethy

With a RITA nomination under her belt, Barbara Freethy is a self-publishing guru with a penchant for the romantic. She writes a number of series, including the Wish and Deception series. For the most part, however, Barbara writes stand-alone novels that touch the hearts of readers.

2011 Novel
Ryan’s Return. Price: $2.99. Genre: Romance. Rated 4.5 stars on 106 reviews.

2012 Novel
A Secret Wish (Wish Series #1). Price: $2.99. Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction. Rated 5 stars on 7 reviews.

Best Selling Novel
Golden Lies. Price: $3.99. Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary. Rated 4.5 stars on 18 reviews. Currently on the indie and paid Kindle best sellers lists.

For more Barbara Freethy’s Amazon Page and blog.

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12. Ruth Cardello

Farm girl and animal lover Ruth Cardello produced two romance novels in 2011. Revenge, family issues, inheritances, and legacies fill the pages of her work, lending the books a soap opera-esque quality. With rave reviews on and off of Amazon, Ruth easily makes the Top 10.

2011 Novel
Maid for the Billionaire. Price: Free. Genre: Romance. Rated 4.5 stars on 195 reviews.

Best Selling Novel
For Love or Legacy (Book 2). Price: $2.99. Genre: Contemporary Romance. Rated 5 stars on 47 reviews. Made it to #19 on the indie Kindle best sellers list.

For more see Ruth Cardello’s Amazon Page and blog.

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13. Kathleen Long

Writing and romance have been the sugarplums that dance in Kathleen Long’s head for her entire life, and her career reflects that. She is a veteran in the indie publishing industry with fourteen published novels, past RITA nominations and countless additional honors. Kathleen provides outstanding realism in a fantastic world of romance.

2011 & Best Selling Novel
Chasing Rainbows. Price: $2.99. Genre: Contemporary Fiction. Rated 4.5 stars on 65 reviews. Currently #2 on the indie Kindle best sellers list.

For more see Kathleen Long’s Amazon Page and website.

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14. LJ Sellers

LJ Sellers has won multiple awards as a journalist and her probing style has translated excellently to the mystery and thriller genres. She wrote the acclaimed Detective Jackson series, as well as a number of other novels. Sellers also offers free content on her website.

2011 Novel
The Gauntlet Assassin. Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 25 reviews.

For more see LJ Sellers’s Amazon Page and blog.

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15. Theresa Ragan

Theresa Ragan has sold 239,592 books as of March 15 and 160,000 free book downloads. According to her website, Abducted (Lizzy Gardner Series #1) ($2.99) and A Knight in Central Park ($0.99) are her best selling novels.

For more see Theresa Ragan’s Amazon Page and website.

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16. Chris Culver

Chris Culver’s novel The Abbey (Ash Rashid) ($2.99) was on the USA Today’s Best Sellers list.

For more see Chris Culver’s Amazon Page and blog.

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17. Bella Andre

Bella Andre wrote the popular Sullivans romance series, which starts with The Look of Love: The Sullivans, Book 1 (Contemporary Romance) ($4.99).

For more see Bella Andre’s Amazon Page and website.

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18. Imogen Rose

Imogen Rose’s best selling YA series starts with PORTAL: Portal Chronicles Book One ($0.99).

For more see Imogen Rose’s Amazon Page and website.

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19. Mainak Dhar

Mainak Dhar is a  unique author with a few independent successes. The avid writer who has an addiction to quality makes it his goal to write at least one novel each year. Some of his work has been featured as best sellers on Amazon, certainly earning Mainak a spot on this list.

2011 Novel
Zombiestan. Price: $0.99. Genre: Horror. Rated 4.5 stars on 53 reviews.

2012 Novel
Alice in Deadland. Price: $0.99. Genre: Horror, Adventure, Science Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 244 reviews.

For more see Mainak Dhar’s Amazon Page and blog.

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20. Catherine Bybee

Catherine Bybee’s work spans across the romantic sub-genres. Her ability to weave through each genre so seamlessly has lent to fantastic success as a best seller on multiple major lists, including the New York Times. Bybee’s mantra, “If it doesn’t have a happily ever after, I’m not interested,” encompasses the essence of her work: beautiful.

2011 Novel
Wife by Wednesday. Price: $0.99. Genre: Romance. Rated 4 stars on 134 reviews.

2012 Novel
Highland Shifter. Price: $2.99. Genre: Historical Fantasy, Time Travel. Rated 5 stars on 9 reviews.

For more see Catherine Bybee’s Amazon Page and blog.

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21. H.P. Mallory

H.P. Mallory’s urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels appeal to women of all ages. Her work is often delivered in series with impeccable character development. She has recently signed a deal with Random House’s imprint, Bantam, making this perhaps the last year that she will appear on indie author lists.

2011 Novel
Great Hexpectations, A Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy. Price: $3.99. Genre: Fantasy. Rated 5 stars on 67 reviews.

2012 Novel
Witchful Thinking: A Jolie Wilkins Novel. Price: $7.99. Genre: Romantic Fantasy, Time Travel, Witch. Rated 4 stars on 61 reviews.

For more see H.P. Mallory’s Amazon Page and blog.

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22. Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch is a master of independent thrillers. He has worked with the king of indie writing, J.A. Konrath, on various serial killer oriented novels. He was first published in 2004 and since then his work has appeared on a number of selective best book lists and on Amazon best-sellers lists.

2011 Novel
Run. Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 191 reviews.

2012 Novel
Stirred (Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels/Luther Kite Thriller) with J.A. Konrath. Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Series, Hard-Boiled. Rated 4 stars on 108 reviews.

For more see Blake Crouch’s Amazon Page and website.

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23. Nick Russell

Nick Russell self-published his first novel in 2011. This novel received high acclaim and was featured as a best seller for a period on Amazon. His popularity is continuously growing.

2011 Novel
Big Lake. Price: $ 0.99. Genre: Mystery. Rated 4.5 stars on 70 reviews.

For more see Nick Russell’s Amazon Page.

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24. Joel Goldman

Joel Goldman started his work when he was a lawyer. He has a great understanding of the genre he writes in because of his past experience. This suspense writer has been working in the industry since 2002. He has been published many times in 2011 and in the past.

2011 Novel
Motion To Kill (Lou Mason Thrillers). Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 31 reviews.

2012 Novel
Final Judgment (Lou Mason). Price: $4.79. Genre: Murder, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Unrated.

For more see Joel Goldman’s Amazon Page and blog.

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25. Sam Torode

Sam Torode, a sometimes-author, sometimes-book-designer became hugely popular with his 2010 novel The Dirty Parts of the Bible. His work consists mainly of self-published comics. His work and background are literary, giving him a unique perspective within this genre.

2011 Novel
Mr. Awkward. Price: $0.99. Genre: Cartoon.

For more see Sam Torode’s Amazon Page.

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26. Patricia Hester

Patricia Hester is a mental health nurse who has written a few novels that take a very deep look at the human condition. Whether writing mysteries or stories about everyday experiences, Hester understands how each character will react and follows through accordingly, and beautifully.

2011 Novel
Crimson Clover (The Clover Mystery Series). Price: $2.99. Genre: Mystery. Rated 4.5 stars on 3 reviews.

For more see Patricia Hester’s Amazon Page.

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27. Lacey Weatherford

Lacey Weatherfod is a popular young adult author who has a series of witch-related novels available. Her work is oriented around the paranormal romance genre, allowing her to appeal to a massive audience. Authors like Lacey offer young readers an inexpensive, yet high quality alternative to the major paranormal romance authors.

2011 Novel
The Trouble With Spells: Of Witches and Warlocks. Price: $0.99. Genre: Young Adult. Rated 4 stars on 93 reviews.

2012 Novel
Chasing Nikki. Price: $2.99. Genre: Young Adult, Social Issues, Death & Dying. Rated 5 stars on 5 reviews.

For more see Lacey Weatherford’s Amazon Page and blog.

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28. Joan Hall Hovey

Joan Hall Hovey critically acclaimed crime writer. She published three novels in 2011. Hovey has been featured in many journals and magazines for her intense glimpses into the human psyche and her ability to weave grand tapestries that slowly unravel as the stories develop.

2011 Novel
Chill Waters. Price: $2.99. Genre: Crime. Rated 4.5 stars on 10 reviews.

For more see Joan Hall Hovey’s Amazon Page and website.

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29. Debora Geary

Debora Geary works with Fireweed Publishing to release her many books. Like many indie paranormal romance writers, her work often presents itself in the form of a series. Debora has a very personal relationship with her readers, keeping in touch via email and Facebook. That personal touch has given her a loyal fanbase, which is ever growing.

2011 Novel
A Modern Witch. Price: $3.99. Genre: Fantasy. Rated 4.5 stars on 296 reviews.

2012 Novel
Witches Under Way (WitchLight Trilogy: Book 2). Price: $3.99. Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary, Witches, Series. Rated 5 stars on 65 reviews.

For more see Debora Geary’s Amazon Page and website.

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30. Debra Webb

Debra Webb explores both the romance and thriller genres with staggering intensity. Debra has honed her writing skills throughout her entire life, earning her immense talent. She published several novels in 2011 and intends to continue this pattern in the upcoming year.

2011 Novel
Classified (Harlequin Intrigue Series) Price: $3.99. Genre: Romance, Suspense, CIA. Rated 4.5 stars on 2 reviews.

2012 Novel
OBSESSION (Faces of Evil). Price: $2.99. Genre: Suspense. Rated 5 stars on 23 reviews.

For more see Debra Webb’s Amazon Page and website.

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31. Regina Sirois

Regina Sirois has one book published, On Little Wings. She identifies herself as more of a reader than a writer and truly understands the experience of reading a book. Because of this, her characters are easy to emphasize with and the story flows smoothly. Sirois is definitely an author to watch.

2011 Novel
On Little Wings. Price: $2.99. Genre: Literary Fiction. Rated 5 stars on 19 reviews.

For more see Regina Sirois’s Amazon Page and website.

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32. Amber Scott

Like many indie authors who work to keep up with their readers, Amber Scott published multiple novels in 2011. She mostly writes within the romance genre, her novels rich with varying themes. Amber writes as passionately as her work reads, earning her a definite place on this list.

2011 Novel
Irish Moon (Moon Magick Series). Price: $2.99. Genre: Fantasy. Rated 4 stars on 42 reviews.

2012 Novel
The Sweetest Fling (A Stupid Cupid Book). Price: $2.99. Genre: Romance, Dating, Love Potion, Fantasy. Rated 5 stars on 2 reviews.

For more see Amber Scott’s Amazon Page and website.

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33. Aaron Pogue

Aaron Pogue is an extremely well-rounded author who writes scripts, short stories, video game storylines, and novels. Pogue is experimental, having written in the fantasy, thriller, and science fiction genres. As well as being a successful author in many media, he is also the CEO and president of Consortium, Inc. and head publisher of their imprint, Consortium Books.

2011 Novel
Taming Fire (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #1). Price: $2.99. Genre: Fantasy. Rated 4.5 stars on 103 reviews.

For more see Aaron Pogue’s Amazon Page.

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34. Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is obsessed with the English language: when he’s not writing novels, he works as a language instructor, waiter, and freelance copywriter. His writing displays a unique cleverness that comes from a deep understanding of English, with a noir crime style.

2011 Single
Sitting Ducks. Price: $1.99. Genre: Historical. Rated 4.5 stars on 7 reviews.

For more see Steve Anderson’s Amazon Page and website.

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35. Deborah Truscott

Deborah Truscott published her first novel in 2011, a romance with time travelling twists. The novel has been very well-received by readers and critics alike.

2011 Novel
Out of Time. Price: $2.99. Genre: Romance. Rated 4.5 stars on 22 reviews.

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36. Terri Giuliano Long

Terri Giuliano Long published her first novel at the end of 2010, and it was well-loved in 2011. When she isn’t writing her deeply insightful glimpses into the human experience, Terri lectures at Boston College. This literary-type author offers a fascinating and thought-provoking perspective.

2010 Novel
In Leah’s Wake. Price: $0.99. Genre: Literary Fiction. Rated 3.5 star on 142 reviews.

For more see Terri Giuliano Long’s Amazon Page and blog.

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37. Aiden James

Aiden James has written a number of novels this past year. He harbours a grand fascination with the Gothic and supernatural and researches supposedly haunted areas of the Deep South. Much of Aiden’s work consists of vampire fiction and series and it is incredibly real because he truly understands what it is to believe.

2011 Novel
Vampiric Liaisons. Price: $2.99. Genre: Horror. Rated 5 stars on 2 reviews.

2012 Novel
Vampires, Ghosts, and God (Five Novel Box Set). Price: $6.99. Genre: 5 Novels, Fantasy. Rated 5 stars on 1 review.

For more see Aiden James’s Amazon Page and website.

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38. Keith Houghton

Keith Houghton has been a best-seller on Kindle’s indie list. He released a few novels in 2011 and focuses on the crime and thriller genres. He has received much praise for his ability to seamlessly slip in dramatic twists to his work.

2011 Novel
Killing Hope (Gabe Quinn Thriller #1). Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 23 reviews.

For more see Keith Houghton’s Amazon Page and website.

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39. Victor Methos

Victor Methos started as a short story and poetry writer. Now, as a novelist, he brings a philosophical perspective to classic storylines. Throughout his career, Victor has been featured in a number of journals, magazines, and ezines for his outstanding and interesting work.

2011 Novel
The White Angel Murder. Price: $2.99. Genre: Suspense. Rated 4 stars on 28 reviews.

2012 Novel
The Extinct. Price: $2.99. Genre: Predators, Jungle, Horror. Rated 3.5 stars on 28 reviews.

For more see Victor Methos’s Amazon Page.

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40. Terri Reid

Terri Reid is the author of a series that had a respectable amount of success in 2011. Her passion for writing lies in the paranormal mystery sub-genre, having the necessary skills and stomach to write about the supremely weird.

2011 Novel
Loose Ends – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery. Price: $0.99. Genre: Mystery. Rated 4.5 stars on 114 reviews.

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41. AK Alexander

AK Alexander is the thriller pen name of Michele Scott, an author. Michele works in multiple genres, with a definite and clear voice in each. She lets her dark side out with AK Alexander and offers supremely dark and suspenseful thrillers.

2011 Novel
Covert Reich. Price: $0.99. Genre: Mystery. Rated 4.5 stars on 3 reviews.

For more see AK Alexander’s Amazon Page.

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42. Dani Amore

Dani Amore, a crime and mystery author, released multiple novels this past year. From series to stand alone titles, she understands how to thrill readers, men and women alike. Her police-oriented books can be compared to the work of Janet Evanovich.

2011 Novel
Dead Wood. Price: $2.99. Genre: Thriller. Rated 4.5 stars on 40 reviews.

2012 Novel
The Killing League. Price: $2.99. Genre: Mystery, Police Procedurals, Thriller. Rated 4 stars on 24 reviews.

For more see Dani Amore’s Amazon Page and website.

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Please add in your suggestions and nominations. If there’s interest we’ll do this list more often than once a year.

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?

Why don’t indie authors make a site where each of them has a free book?

The Kindle and the Nook have given indie authors a lot of opportunities. The one thing that’s still missing is the ability for indie authors to offer free titles in the Kindle Store and the Nook Store.

However, it’s a relatively simple problem to solve. In fact, some others are solving it already by offering free books at their sites and blogs.

The big question is – Why not band together and do it on a large scale?

Authors could make a one-stop website where users would be able to download a free book from each indie author.

What an Indie Author Free Site would look like

Well, I have no clue.

However, here are the features it could have -

  1. Books organized by review rating and genre.
  2. Since books are free no worries about credit cards and payments.
  3. DRM free books in a format that works on both Kindle and Nook. Ideally, a format that also works on PCs. Text would work best. As opposed to most efforts which go out of their way to provide 20 formats – It would be crucial to choose one to three formats and stick with those. Text would be simplest.
  4. Perhaps 2 additional formats – Kindle Format and ePub. However, 3 would be the absolute maximum.
  5. Run by volunteer readers and authors with the understanding that no self-promotion is allowed.
  6. Formatting Rating along with Book Rating.
  7. A site that works from mobile browsers and Kindle and Nook Color browsers.
  8. Focus on the 80% group i.e. Kindle owners and Nook owners.
  9. Just a simple description from the author and a link to the author’s site or to Amazon or B&N. Perhaps links to both Amazon and B&N to buy other books by the author.
  10. Very good search.
  11. Option to enter past purchases you liked and get recommendations.
  12. Visual Search on Book Covers and By Tags.

Let’s say we create such a site. What would the challenges be?

Challenges to Overcome

Here are some areas that would have to be addressed -

  1. Creating Awareness.
  2. Funding. A site like this shouldn’t cost much. However, someone has to take responsibility for it.
  3. Volunteers.
  4. Direction. It would be really important to figure out what the exact goal is and stick to it.
  5. Technical Expertise. How do you build a system that scales?
  6. Avoid Spammers.
  7. Avoid Bad Behavior.
  8. How to make it expandable i.e. reviews, social features, users helping out easily.

It could start off as just a list. However, very quickly, it would need to evolve into a self-sustaining organism.

What features would you like to see in an Indie Author Free Site?

Firstly, would you be interested in such a site?

Secondly, what features would you like to see in such a site?

Thirdly, would you (authors and readers) help out with such a site?

How long before this indie author takes over the #1 spot?

The Kindle got Kindle Singles today – Which are pretty pointless given that lots of authors are offering older books for $1.99, and indie authors are offering full books at $1. Couldn’t think of the last time being Single was considered such a big deal.

The biggest story of January 2011, and perhaps the biggest story of all of 2011, is what Amanda Hocking and her three indie books are doing in the Kindle Store.

  1. Switched is at #4. It’s risen steadily and slowly and is now just 3 spots away from ushering in a scary new world of Publishing. One where readers determine everything. Her book is rated 4.5 stars on 158 reviews.
  2. Ascend, the third book in the trilogy, is at #8. It’s priced higher at $2.99, and rated lower at 3.5 stars on 93 reviews.
  3. Torn, the second book in the trilogy, is at #11. It’s rated 4.5 stars on 75 reviews and priced at $2.99.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that her book reaching #1 would be a key moment for both independent authors and readers.

What stands between Amanda Hocking and the #1 spot?

Depends on how you look at it – You could look at it as a battle between authors.

  1. There’s The Hangman’s Daughter, which is published and promoted by Amazon and will be hard to beat as long as Amazon is pushing it so hard.
  2. There’s one Stieg Larsson book. Additionally, there are two Stieg Larsson titles right behind Amanda Hocking’s Switched.
  3. There’s Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

Another way of looking at it is that there are just a few thousand Kindle owners needed. The #4 spot probably gets between 3,000 and 8,000 sales per day – let’s say 6,000. The #1 spot gets somewhere between 8,000 and 20,000 – let’s say 12,000.

That means if an extra 6,000 Kindle owners, out of supposedly 10 million, were to buy Amanda Hocking’s Switched she would hit the #1 spot. That’s 0.06% – that is all it would take. If 0.06% of Kindle owners were to suddenly say – We’re going to exert our power and make an indie author #1 in the Kindle Store. They could.

In fact, all it would take is 0.1% of Kindle owners to decide they are going to make an indie author the #1 author in the Kindle Store and they probably could.

How many Amanda Hockings have we missed out on over the years?

Note that this is an author that might not have passed Publishers’ artificial bar of quality. Perhaps she would have passed the bar but would have had to spend 5 years proving it. The same applies to the other indie authors currently in the Top 100.

With the Kindle and the Nook we are getting something very interesting – a true meritocracy. Things like marketing and backing from Publishers or Amazon are still important. However, they are no longer the most crucial determinants of success.

Absolutely anyone could write a book, publish it, and have a non-zero chance of it hitting the #1 spot in the Kindle Store. You could be the first indie author to hit #1 (or the second).

The only thing independent authors have are readers, and that’s all they need

No experienced editor. No rich Publisher. No brand name. No fan base. No distributor. No marketing muscle. No advertising campaigns. No $1,000 book cover photographers.

The indie author has her own skills and her readers – and that’s it.

The amazing thing is that it might be enough. That the only thing an author might need, to become the #1 author in the country, are readers.

Kindle alternate list – Top Indie Kindle Books of 2010

First, we have the 5 books that did make their way on to the Top 100 Kindle Customer Favorites List at Amazon -

  1. A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion. Price: $2.99. Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 129 reviews.

    McQuestion’s debut novel focuses on three women in a peaceful Wisconsin suburb.

    Young mother Skyla found stability when she married staid math teacher Thomas, but with their four-year-old daughter, Nora, starting school, Skyla is yearning for friendship and purpose. She finds the latter in a job at a small local bookstore and the former in her new neighbor Roxanne Bear. Roxanne, a boisterous woman in her early thirties who has five children, yearns to expand her brood despite the reservations of her husband, Ted.

  2. Deed to Death by D. B. Henson. Price: $0.99. Genre: Woman Sleuth, Mystery, Action & Adventure. Rated 4.5 stars on 114 reviews.

    Real estate agent Toni Matthew’s problems begin when her fiancé, Scott, is murdered. Having to bury the man she loves on the very day they planned to be married is almost more than Toni can take.

    Dealing with her loss becomes even harder when Scott’s estranged brother, Brian, contests the will, threatening to take away her home. After learning Brian is in deep financial trouble, Toni suspects he may be the one who killed Scott.

  3. Thin Blood by Vicki Tyley. Price: $2.39. Genre: Mystery, Crime. Rated 4 stars on 54 reviews.

    Craig Edmonds, a successful stockbroker, reports the disappearance of his wife, Kirsty. What starts as a typical missing person’s case soon evolves into a full-blown homicide investigation when forensics uncover blood traces and dark-blonde hairs in the boot of the missing woman’s car.

    Added to this, is Craig’s adulterous affair with the victim’s younger sister, Narelle Croswell, compounded further by a recently acquired $1,000,000 insurance policy on his wife’s life. He is charged with murder but, with no body and only circumstantial evidence, he walks free when two trials resulting in hung juries fail to convict him.

  4. Containment by Christian Cantrell. Price: $2.99. Genre: Technothriller, Science Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 113 reviews.

    Arik Ockley is part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth. After a puzzling accident, Arik wakes up to find that his wife is almost three months pregnant.

    Since the colony’s environmental systems cannot safely support any increases in population, Arik immediately resumes his work on AP, or artificial photosynthesis, in order to save the life of his unborn child.

  5. Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion. Price: $2.99. Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 63 reviews.

    This story of romance found where you least expect it starts slowly but manages to get its lovers together in the end. Lola Watson has inherited her Great-Aunt May’s house, and her neighbors as well, but finds them more trouble than they’re worth. Then she agrees to let heart-broken Hubert, her best friend from high school, move in when his girlfriend breaks up with him.

    Lola’s ultra-competitive younger sister Mindy is getting married on Lola’s thirtieth birthday, and planning a special announcement of the fact at the reception, just to rub it in. Lola’s friend Piper suggests they find a guy willing to play the role of Lola’s fiancee, so she can trump Mindy with her own wedding announcement. That guy turns out be Ryan Moriarty, Lola’s mysterious neighbor.

Congratulations to these 4 indie authors (one of whom is now an Amazon Encore author) because it’s truly remarkable to make it to the list when you’re competing against well-funded, well-connected Publishers.

It’ shameful that the Editors’s List doesn’t include a single independent author but it includes unreleased books including one from Jay-Z.

Is that how commercial we’ve become now – that unreleased books from rappers get precedence over all the independent authors in the world?

We also have a few books that made it to the 100 Bestselling Kindle Books List for either the entire year or for a few months -

  1. Faking It by Elisa Lorello. Price: $2.99. Genre: Humor, Romance. Rated 4 stars on 110 reviews. This is one of the 100 best selling Kindle books for 2010 – How does she not have a book deal?

    What happens when a writing professor and a male escort become friends?

    Thirty-four-year old professor Andi Cutrone has broken up with her fiancé in Massachusetts, moved back to her native New York, and wants to be a better lover. So after meeting Devin, a handsome, charming escort, she proposes an unusual arrangement: lessons about writing in exchange for lessons about sex.

    When Devin accepts Andi’s proposal, he draws up a contract in which the two are forbidden to see each other socially. There’s just one problem: Andi also wants Devin. Faking It is a witty, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-wrenching story about relationships, writing, and getting real.

  2. A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion also made it into the Top 100 Bestsellers list for 2010 but it’s been covered already.  
  3. Moon Dance by J. R. Rain. Genre: Fantasy, Vampires, Romance. Price: $3.99. A self-published novel from a published author and screenwriter that stayed in the Top 100 List for months. Rated 4.5 stars on 46 reviews.

    Mother, wife, private investigator…vampire. Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.

    Now the world at large thinks Samantha has developed a rare skin disease, a disease which forces her to quit her day job and stay out of the light of the sun. Now working the night shift as a private investigator, Samantha is hired by Kingsley Fulcrum to investigate the murder attempt on his life, a horrific scene captured on TV and seen around the country.

Congratulations to these authors – These are obviously customer favorites too.

Will add more later as it takes a lot of time to dig through the lists. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in more indie authors, please check out the Top 100 Kindle Independent Authors list and the Highest Rated Kindle Indie Authors list.

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