As Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, has said, “We knew this day was coming.”
An article in the Guardian on Thursday announced that four self-published authors had made it to the New York Times eBook Bestseller list.
The highest-ranking self-published author on the 5 August NYT chart is Colleen Hoover, whose ebook Slammed comes in in eighth place, ahead of by established bestsellers I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson (#11) and Criminal by Karin Slaughter (#21). Hoover, who self-published Slammed seven months ago and has just signed a traditional book deal with Simon & Schuster, also has her second novel, Point of Retreat, in 18th place on the NYT chart.
Bella Andre has three self-published romance novels in the chart: If You Were Mine in 22nd place, Can’t Help Falling in Love in 23rd, and I Only Have Eyes For You in 24th. The 25-title chart is dominated, as it has been for much of the summer, by EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy – itself originally published as fan fiction.
Smashwords has worked with all four authors to publish or distribute their eBooks, and its founder Mark Coker has outlined what all this success means:
It’s a big deal to see a single Smashwords author on the New York Times Bestseller list, let alone four in one week. A year ago, it was unheard of. A year from now, it’ll be more commonplace.
These worlds [of independent and traditional publishing] are complementary to each other. Success in one world feeds success in the other. Authors who participate in both worlds will become more valuable to publishers, but also more expensive to sign. That’s good for authors.
If you think these successful romance authors are random flukes, or the beneficiaries of a passing fad, you’re underestimating them. These authors are the future. Learn from them.
The indie movement has gone mainstream with romance authors, and it’s transforming the lives of writers for the better. […] The future of book publishing is brighter than ever for those authors who place themselves on the right side of history. Authors who delay their embrace of indie publishing will find themselves sidelined by those who have already seen the light.
It’s up and up for self-publishing!