Blog by Toby Welch

<< back to article list

Stories of E-book Success

Stories of e-book success are inspiring. Take Paul Pilkington, a British university lecturer. He self-published The One You Love, the first book in a mystery trilogy. He offered the book for free and went on to sell more than 150,000 copies of book two and three in the series, books he self-published himself. Once he hit the top of the Amazon Kindle US and UK 
charts, literary agents started calling. He signed a deal with Hodder & Stoughton in the UK and his series comes out in paperback around the world in 2014. Pilkington’s story is no longer an anomaly – self-published authors being snatched up by traditional publishers are becoming a common occurrence.

The money aside, the power of self-publishers can’t be denied either. In November 2013, a 19-year-old physics student named Beth Reeks was named one of Time magazine’s 16 most influential teenagers in the world, alongside Justin Bieber and a slew of other known celebrities. Reeks self-published her first romance book The Kissing Booth on a story-sharing website, Wattpad. When she amassed a whopping 19 million followers, Random House came knocking on her door. Impressive results for a high school student who hoped a few people would read her story.

We know these stories are the exception, not the norm, although they are great fodder. The New York Times summed it up in an article from August 2013: “Most self-published books sell fewer than 100 or 150 copies, many authors and self-publishing company executives say. There are breakout successes, to be sure, and some writers can make money simply by selling their e-books at low prices. Some self-published books attract so much attention that a traditional publishing house eventually picks them up.”