How To Sell 1 Million eBooks on Amazon

Last Monday, Amazon announced that Crime novelist John Locke (no relation to the John Locke from Lost) has become the first independent author to sell more than 1 million eBooks through the Kindle Direct Publishing program.

With Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), would be authors can self-publish their books on the Amazon Kindle Store. The program is free, fast, and very easy to use. Books self-published through KDP receive up to 70% royalty, which is much higher than the royalty offered by traditional book publishers.

Locke is fairly new to the eBook self-publishing game, but he picked up on the power of the business model pretty quick. Books that are listed for $2.99 to $9.99 give the author a 70% royalty rate. However, books that are outside of that price range get a royalty rate of 35%. The lowest price at which an author can list a Kindle eBook is 99 cents.

John Locke attributes much of his success to his 99 cents pricing model. Originally, he planned to use his 99 cent eBook as a lost leader but found they would sell 20 times more than a $2.99 eBook. The lost leader suddenly became the business model. Locke has self-published nine novels through the Kindle Store, including New York Times bestselling eBook Saving Rachel, all priced at 99 cents. On Monday, his eBook sales passed the one million mark.

Want to know how John Locke did this? Well, you can because Locke has written an eBook about it. How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months details the marketing system he created to sell more than 1,100,000 eBooks in five months, part time, without an agent, publicist, and at virtually no marketing expense. The book cost $4.99, which is more than his normal 99 cent eBooks but it’s still a damn good price and worth picking up.

89 thoughts on “How To Sell 1 Million eBooks on Amazon”

  1. Graham Lutz says:

    I keep seeingthis $.99 thing pop up all over the place! I think the app store is having a serious effect on other markets.

    Who would have thought that such a low priced product would have such a high elasticity of demand?

    1. Even at 99 cents, 1 millions copies will give you a decent profit.

      1. John Chow says:

        And he did it in only five months!

        1. Kevin Kimes says:

          Yeah, $350,000 in 5 months is pretty nice. No reason to think he won’t keep up the pace or even surpass it going forward.

          1. Bil Smith says:

            It’s not actually $350k though, once you consider taxes and everything else. But it’s still a comfortable amount to live off of, and it took him less than half a year’s worth of work to bring that in. So good for him.

            Also it’s good to see that self-published authors finally have a way to get their books in front of a larger population. Hopefully this will bring about an increase in new authors, which would do wonders for a lot of genres that are really bogged down by the same handful of people releasing the same thing over and over again.

          2. Jeff Bode says:

            That’s amazing… I’m sure he will sell a lot more the kindle audience is increasing quickly. I was happy to sell a few of my kindle books, but this makes that look like nothing haha

      2. Kevin Kimes says:

        The low price model works often in many markets. With electronic products, there’s no reason not to split test to see which one nets the most overall profit. It costs basically zero to make more copies.

        If you sell 10,000 copies of an ebook for $7, that’s a lot more money than selling 1000 copies at $47.

        On the other hand, if you can get $197 for the same book from at least 400 buyers, then you’ve surpassed the cheap one. Depends on the product, niche, and target market. Just need to test, test, test.

      3. Josh Miller says:

        Just imagine what he could have done with a little price stretching. Nonetheless, the old adage rings true “give it away and they will come” 99 cents is pretty much giving it away right?

      4. what’s 0.99 * 1 million? He will be laughing while he counts the cents!

    2. Elasticity of demand … Reminded me of mine economics classes.

    3. It is really a good idea and it is so surprising to see a very favorable response in the market.

      1. Doesnt that give us another business idea?

    4. This is called selling small things, achieving big things!

  2. PPC Ian says:

    Very impressive. Nice work John Locke! 🙂

  3. PPC Ian says:

    By the way, first thing this post reminded me of was Lost. Too bad the final season was so bad. First few seasons were fantastic!

  4. Wow, very impressive. I have actually been toying with the idea to this business model for a little while, but this just confirms I should go ahead with it. Thanks, great post John!

    1. do you mind telling us what you gonna sell?

  5. Now I need something to write a book about 😛

    1. How do we know what sells well on Amazon?

  6. Well I don’t think I will be able to sell ebooks in this large amount but still I think its good to have this ebook. The price is pretty much low..

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      Instead of predetermined defeat, make it a goal to sell a million books of your own!

      1. Yup! Kevin your are right, should go for bigger goals..

  7. fazal mayar says:

    Thats an inspiring story. When you decrease the price of something you can sell it in big quantities and this is where the potential for banking it comes

    1. I do not think that it works on every field …

      1. Maybe we should do some split testing… what if he decreases the price even further to 75cent?

  8. Are there good affiliate lead programs for eBooks – Amazon Associates would be OK.

    1. ya…other than amazon, where can I find a massive (billions) audience?

  9. Thalia says:

    What an effective way to sell a 99 cent book. I’m definitely going and get the book, ‘ How I sold one million eBooks in 5 months.’ To learn exactly how he did it. Cheers and have a good day.

    1. Terry says:

      You certainly won’t regret buying it Thalia. It is the best reasoned plan I have read in a long time. Every internet marketer should buy it just to see how a marketing plan should be put together. It certainly is streets ahead of all the rubbish published on the warrior forum recently on Kindle publishing.

      1. hahahha… suddenly someone is bashing the WSOs on Kindle publishing..

    2. People always capitalise with this kind of title and no surprise this one is still working.

  10. Karim says:

    Great work – thanks to sites like Amazon and XinXii.

  11. Christine says:

    Impressive! That has got me thinking…have to get the book!

    1. It’s definitely worth the $ babe 🙂

  12. Ed says:

    I wonder if the effectiveness of that low pricing model applies to all niches?

      1. Games and Apps on iphones n ipads… and you have a massive market there already.!

    1. I think it will all depend on supply and demand, no matter what niche you are it. As long as there is sufficient demand, you can sell anything at a low price.

      1. Yeah.. it is directly related with the demand. If there is big demand only then small price will pay you enough.

        1. PPC Ian says:

          Agreed. Also, it’s easier to lower a price than to raise it. So you better not start out at a low price unless the demand is truly there.

      2. Precisely the reason why I ask how do we find out what sells well on amazon

  13. Thanks for this post. My wife is writing a book, although I think she could be publish this a a great back up plan. I never knew about this. Glad I came back to this site. I remember reading your blog years ago. I even did the whole agloco thing and though I would make a fortune because I was up in the top with sign ups.

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      It may even be a better plan to self publish than going the “normal” route.

      1. That can be his next step for his next campaign.

  14. Just shows that you can never discount any business idea, its all about trying things out and testing to see what works. What a great story

    1. Another true life story… Another “why is it not me”?

  15. Whitney says:

    Wow, this is just MIND BLOWING!! Especially for someone who had very little marketing expertise. This truly proves that anyone can succeed online. Time to go write up an ebook! I think 4.99 is not bad, considering what an actual physical book costs. Sure, 99 cents is better, but still, you’re getting a book for 5 bucks! Selling a million ebooks is definitely an internet marketing EPIC WIN!!

    1. Yes he kept the price in such way that maximum people can come under his bracket.

      0.99 have its own impact … And this one is still working on our mind.

  16. That’s freaking impressive! I’ve definitely had an ebook in mind of a while now and the fact that the Amazon Kindle program such as this one is now available is a huge motivator for me to start taking action and getting my book sold.

    Thanks for the info, JOhn. It was definitely inspiring to read!

    1. I think on kindle ebook there are some territory limitations, check it.

  17. Louie Sison says:

    Good job! How I wish I can do that well too…

  18. John your killing title always attracts me. That can make huge difference …

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I agree. The title is great. I have been spending more time thinking thru my own titles as a result of John.

  19. fas says:

    To know how he sold 1 million book he will sell another 1 million for people to know!

  20. Mr.Ven says:

    Recently, i started with Amazon assoc. lets see how it goes ! its a good figure 1 million sales…great.

    1. So in which product you are interested in ?

  21. amazon is the best way to sell our products

  22. I’m just amazed at the numbers. A million books in 5 months. I’m sure that has to be every author’s dream.

    1. He sold around 7000 ebooks daily on an average … Simply amazing.

    2. Certainly yes … But do you think this kind of book will make impact … yes he sold 1 million that figure can make history but what about real impact. This kind of book people purchase, download and later forget.

      No offence just sharing my experience with the ebooks which I purchased.

      1. I guess that depends on what is more important to the author. The impact of the book to his audience, or the impact of the book to his wallet….

        1. If he get success to bring impact on his audience than his next book will bring more impact on his wallet.

  23. Shaun Carter says:

    He should leverage this into a six figure deal with a traditional publisher now that he has a following.

  24. Ras Dewni says:

    are you serious John..
    what an inspiring story … never taught that this kind a business model will work, come on 99 cents.. 🙂
    but right now, i need to focus on blogging… maybe later John Locke

  25. Bennix says:

    Impressive method, 1 million eBooks in 5 months? great.

  26. Awesome title,i did get some information from your post.

  27. It’s a beautiful post and thank you for this effort.
    An electronic book (also e-book, ebook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.

    1. Thanks for adding definition of ebook …. Lolllzzz

  28. so he sold 1 million books and on that he wrote another book.

    Now that is really interesting, according to me.

  29. Quite impressive.. 5 months… that’s a feat! seems like just the right opportunity to make a small fortune over night.

  30. Gibone says:

    Very nice alternative of selling e-books. I’m looking forward to read it.

  31. Just Wondering hearing that news.

  32. What a Great Guy he is?

  33. The globe is becoming squeezed because of E mania. The e books are wonderful source of virtual learning resources. As it is easy to manage as well as manipulate the data or knowledge electronically.

  34. JAWAR says:

    The pricing model obviously works however, there are a number of books on Amazon’s Kindle in the top 100 Bestseller’s List that sell between $7.99 – $12.99. Books in the top 100 are ebooks that are selling extremely well.

    It would be wise to have ebooks priced in the .99 and $9.99 points. Certain genres are expected to sell lower than others. Anyone who can open, send and receive email may create ebooks to be sold on Amazon’s Kindle. The question is do you have a system in place and will you be committed to the system to achieve your very specific goal and objectives.

  35. Daniel says:

    This is pretty impressive, I would go publishing my own books if I was able to write novel. It’s definitely a perfect method for those who are good at writing, although 100M is not a big deal.

  36. Great Man, Great Success

  37. and what is the next plan?

  38. steve flores says:

    wow, its kind of like an appstore or android market, where alot of the top sellers are priced 0.99 cents

  39. At, one should have access to variety of books of all possible diversified fields with amazing prices often. I think, these people were the first/ pioneer in their category.

  40. Great Article, Can hook it.

  41. Also Interesting too.

  42. amazon is the best affiliate network i have earned some on it

  43. Richard says:

    Incredible business model. Lets all jump on the bandwagon and do the same approach.
    We need some good ideas.

    1. If everyone jumps in, then the reward will be much lower…

  44. Forex News says:

    Are there good affiliate lead programs for eBooks – Amazon Associates would be OK.

  45. Erwin Miradi says:

    A million ebook in 5 months? That’s even more than the ebooks I donwloaded for the last 5 years! Impressive.

    1. Unbelievable rite? shit man, what am I still doing?

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