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3 Indie Fantasy Authors Making Thousands a Month E-publishing

| Posted in E-publishing |

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indie fantasy author BV Larson's first ebookQuite a few folks find this blog searching for information on how much money indie authors are making e-publishing. Is it possible to make a living? Which genres sell best?

I’ve addressed some of these questions in previous posts, so today’s post is all about inspiration. You can make money as an indie, and you can even make a lot.

Today we’re looking at indie fantasy authors Brian S. Pratt, BV Larson, and David Dalglish. I don’t know any of these fellows personally, but from their sales rankings and their various blog posts and interviews, it’s clear they’re earning enough to make a living from their e-publishing careers (sometimes a very good living!). And the fact that they write high fantasy and science fiction shows that you don’t have to stick to popular genres.

Brian S. Pratt

Mr. Pratt is the author of almost 20 high fantasy novels, with his most popular series being The Morcyth Saga. The first ebook in the series is free, but then he bucks the how-low-can-we-go $0.99-$2.99 trend by charging $5.95 for subsequent novels.

Check out his interview at Smashwords for an inspiring read. Mr. Pratt admits that he faced a lot of rejections from agents before going it on his own. He probably doesn’t mind those rejections now:

Pratt began publishing with Smashwords in early 2009. His first quarterly royalty payment was $7.82. While most authors would find that number discouraging, Pratt was encouraged. It was a start.

In the quarters since, Pratt’s earnings have grown, and in recent quarters he’s become a veritable breakout success. Last quarter, he earned over $18,000 from sales across the Smashwords retail distribution network. This quarter, with three weeks to go, he’s on track to break $25,000. He’s on track to earn over $100,000 in 2011 at Smashwords, and up to $200,000 total when he includes his projected Amazon sales.

BV Larson

I first learned of BV Larson through a guest post he did on JA Konrath’s popular publishing blog.

He writes science fiction and fantasy novels, and in less than a year he’s gone from a brand new ebook author to a popular one making thousands of dollars a month.

I’d been successful in non-fiction (have a textbook series), but I’d never managed more than a few pro short story sales in fiction. I’ve actually had three agents and many “rewrite this” and “almosts” with editors.

When I started ebooking I’d never laid eyes on a Kindle, but by the end of May I had two books up and 7 big sales. Things grew rapidly from there, and over the last six months I’ve had over 100,000 PAID ebook sales, including 26,000 in December and 38,000 in January. Most of these sales were for $2.99.

I did it all without a fan-base or a web-presence. I had nothing going for me other than determination, a pile of unsold manuscripts and a willingness to adapt.

If you want to take a look at his fantasy, his first ebook is only 99 cents: Amber Magic (Book #1 of the Haven Series). His first science fiction ebook, Mech (Imperium Series), hovers around 1,000 sales rank in the Kindle Store.

David Dalglish

Mr. Dalglish is a frequent poster on the Kindle Boards and has an interesting interview up at the Fantasy Book Critic. He writes high fantasy that reminds me of the Forgotten Realms and DragonLance books I devoured as a kid (the sort of things agents turn their noses up at today).

Mr. Dalglish has slowly built up a number of ebooks and his earnings have grown tremendously in the last eight months or so. According to a fascinating article comparing earnings of self-published vs. traditionally published mid-list authors, he was making $800 in August of 2010, and it’s stepped up every month until he made just shy of $12,000 in February 2011.

His first ebook is 99 cents if you want to give it a try: The Weight of Blood (The Half-Orcs, Book 1).

There you have it: three fantasy/science fiction authors not only succeeding but making it big!

In case you’re wondering what all these authors have in common, they all have a lot of ebooks out, so those of us aspiring to riches (or maybe just a reasonable income) better get writing!

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Comments (10)

I say this with a smile, not with malice:

Isn’t it oxymoronic to say “…the fact that they write high fantasy and science fiction shows that you don’t have to stick to popular genres” and then tell us how well they are doing financially? If they weren’t popular, there’d be no money in them.

High fantasy and science fiction have always been popular genres, at least with the general “populace” if not with mainstream critics. Each has its entrenched fan base that spends millions and millions of dollars annually worldwide, on both books and ancillary items.

So it’s not surprising that, if fans get a chance to find you (that means WRITE and PUBLISH your books, don’t merely dream about doing them… someday), and if you’re reasonably good at writing, you have a chance to do well.

I agree with Peter. There’s a lot of SF/F readers out there, and they want books!

But I think that the other potential of ebooks/self-publishing is the ability to publish works for a niche and not needing to follow what’s popular right now in mainstream legacy published SF/F.

I think works that don’t have as much mass appeal are just as legitimate as works that do have mass appeal. It all just depends on what the author is looking for and how the author defines success.

Inspiring, nice post. Of course there’s a readership for science fiction and fantasy, but you wouldn’t be called a geek for liking those kinds of books if it was mainstream or popular. I think romance is the most popular isn’t it?

It’s inspiring to see an author write in the genre of preference and interest and make a decent living.

way to go.

The ebook revolution is doing tremendous things for authors and for those once “little guys” they are all making a VERY good living from writing WITHOUT traditional publishers.

I’m married to Michael J. Sullivan (fantasy author of the Riyria Revelations). For years we lived off a single income (mine – and admitedly it is a six-figure income so we didn’t have to eat PB&J to do so) but he has become so successful through his self publishing that he has:

1) Made more in 3-months of sales than I did all year.

2) received a six-figure contract from a major fantasy publisher

3) received over $180,000 in foreign rights sales

4) made it so I quit my day job and now the single income we live off of is his….and it’s writing!!

Such a thing could never have happened in he past. It’s a brave new world – go out there and get a piece of it!

Reading this article is very inspiring especially for those of us who are not considered part of the mainstream of society.

I continue to be impressed with the quality of your blog and the research you do into your topic. It’s one of the first blogs I read on my Kindle blog subscription list. -Kate

This is definitely very encouraging :)

Many thanks for the comments, all! Robin, you and your husband’s story is definitely inspiring! :)

Hi, this is my first time here and your comments are inspirational. I’m the author of the novel Johnny oops, which i consider fantasy, speculative fiction and adult coming of age and the sequel Johnny oops 11 – Timeless, which is more of a science fiction social commentary type. Don’t always fit in the established categories. Always have a social message and don’t know how to categorize it.

Regards,
Arthur Levine

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