A study was recently released where authors on Amazon were studied and the data smashed into a bunch of charts and demographics. I forget the name of it, and for the record I’ll admit I haven’t even purchased and read it myself. I have read other opinion based reviews of it, and that’s what prompted me to write this.
Let me add one more qualifier before I get into this. I love statistics. There, I said it. It’s out there. Math and statistics are powerful things. The powers of probability are what keep me from gambling…well, mostly. I gambled when I met my wife and married her, what with the statistic at the time stating that 50% of marriages end poorly, but that gamble paid off wonderfully. I’m ahead – why should I risk ruining my winning streak by gambling on anything else?
So my review of other people’s reviews is based on hearing how the KDP Select program has run its course and now Amazon is changing their system to help them bring in more money, rather than helping people find more freebies. That’s speculation on the part of bloggers, mind you, and not anything Amazon has indicated they are doing or will be doing. It makes sense though, especially if you’re prone to cynicism or conspiracy theories. Admit it, you are…we all are, otherwise we wouldn’t be so worried about dark corners fearing that “they” might be lurking in them.
So the research says most writers on Amazon make $500 or less a year. The ones that make it big though…phewy, they make it big! Jeff Bezos also stated that over a thousand authors are selling a thousand plus books a month. I haven’t seen the numbers but I believe there are probably at least tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of writers on amazon. I’m very proud to be in that thousand+ group. Depending on how today goes, I might even make it into the 8000 books sold per month club. Unfortunately, my biggest selling books are my Vitalis series, which are $.99 novellas, so the profits are not nearly as impressive as it may seem.
Unlike some of the lucky big names in the business, I haven’t had any overnight successes with my books. I’ve got 21 books published and I’m close to releasing numbers 22, 23, and 24. That has been my “secret” – I keep writing more books and I do so at a near-frantic pace. My current project that I had to tear myself away from to write this is Voidhawk – Lost Soul. It’s the fifth book in my Voidhawk series and I’m nearly done with it. I’m fighting hard to finish it by tomorrow night to get it in my editor’s hands, in fact. Two more chapters to go…roughly 10,000 words or so. In two days?! Yeah, I do that.
That brings me to another statistic in the report – although I beg your forgiveness for not being precise. Among the wildly successful writers on Amazon the vast majority of them write far more than those who are moderately successful or, well, not. I’ve already outpaced all of my peers I know when it comes to volume, and I have no intentions of stopping or slowing down. That’s what I mean when I say in the title of this post that I want success. I love writing and I approach each story anxious and excited to see how it turns out. I think that’s a necessity in order to be able to throw words together in a manner that people will find interesting. That love and excitement combined with a work-a-holic ethic is what makes me confident that I will achieve the success I want. After all, if something doesn’t work for me I’m not afraid to try something else. When it comes to setting goals and reaching them, it’s important to remember to be honest and frank with one’s self.
So why aren’t I afraid of the speculation regarding Amazon changing their rankings to devalue the importance of freebies? That’s easy too – I’m not running any gimmicks. I have some free books out there but they’re not an advertising ploy that runs for a day or two then switches back to full price. To me that’s cruel. “Sorry Bob, if you’d have been here yesterday you could have had it for free but today it’s $4.99.” Not my style. My freebies are for people to sample and see if they like the kind of story I’m writing about. They are free and they remain free. One of them is even well over 100,000 words. At 250 words per page that’s more than 400 pages. For nuthin!
Do I care if Amazon lowers the rankings on that book compared to paid books? Nope. It’s not meant to compete against paid books, it’s meant to offer people a free ride to decide if they like my books and characters and want to learn more about them. It’s worked quite well thus far, I have to say, and it’s something I plan to continue doing. As much as I love writing, it’s also a business and one I want to make a living at. See the aforementioned “I want success” part above.
So my friends, be you a reader or a writer, take to heart what I’ve said. I will keep writing. I may branch out and try different things, but I’ll also continue doing what I’m doing presently. People seem to like it and that’s great because so do I! It is a lot of work, and if you’re a writer dreaming of making it big you need to be prepared for all the work involved. The days of one book every two years are over. I’m striving for a book a month these days. This is no place for slackers of for the faint of heart. Readers know what they want and they are in control of the market. As writers, we must appease them! It’s a win-win scenario, and in case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I plan on winning.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.