Top-Selling Indie Authors?

PG would like to solicit nominations for the top-selling indie author within the last year or so.

Feel free to post your nominations as a comment or comments to this post together with any supporting information you would care to include.

If you would like to suggest genre-specific best-sellers, feel free to do so. Ditto for bestsellers on Amazon UK, Amazon.ca and other country-specific lists.

40 thoughts on “Top-Selling Indie Authors?”

  1. Hello, PG. While you’re soliciting feedback, could you also ask for alternatives to the word “indie”? Perhaps I am the only one, but I find it denigrating and off-putting. At the very least, we could insist on “Independent Writers.”

      • I don’t think “indie” is denigrating, but it can cause confusion between authors published by non-Big 5 presses (also called independent or indie presses) and authors who self-publish. “Self-published” seems like the clearest term, and I don’t know why it’s shied away from in favor of the less clear “indie” — it only seems to feed into the perception that self-publishing is something to be ashamed of.

        (Unless “indie” is intended to include both small-press AND self-published authors? Again, there wouldn’t be the confusion if it wasn’t sometimes misused to = self-published.)

        • In some circles, “Self-publish” still implies a vanity-press publication or something done on a mimeograph machine in the basement or garage. Indie is newer and doesn’t have the same whiff of smeared purple toner. 🙂

        • You wouldn’t be in the UK, by any chance? 😉

          In the US, Indie Press isn’t a terribly common usage. Small press is the more common usage.

          Then again, Indie Writers are, by and large, their own publisher. So both usages apply to the writers. 🙂

          (The formal term “independent” is more generally associated with non-chain bookstores. )

  2. Wasn’t there some controversy about this a few months ago, when the author earnings report came out?

  3. Jeffery H. Haskell in superheroes
    Jay Allan in Military Sci-fi

    I don’t have any proof, per se. But I watch the numbers and these two are always in the top of their genre’s.

  4. Christopher Nuttall: SF
    B.V. Larson : SF

    Both of these guys have a *lot* of books out, and are likely selling huge numbers.

    Marco Kloos(SF) is also probably doing pretty well.

    • I second Christopher Nuttall. A mutual friend says that he is doing very well, enough so that writing is his full-time job and that he has a comfortable income.

    • Isn’t Marko Kloos Amazon-published? By 47North?

      His high-selling books (the Frontlines series) are, at least…

      • SF’s top-selling indie is easily A. G. Riddle, anyway.

        Douglas Richards, Michael Grumley, Vaughn Heppner, and Michael Anderle would most likely round out the top 5.

  5. This is not a comment on the topic, but thought I’d point out that the explicit ‘long’ URLs are also broken in the RSS feed version. I used to be able to click through from my RSS reader, but now get the error “[an error occurred while processing this directive]”
    Not the end of the world, but I’m a software tester by day – can’t resist the urge to make your comment defect complete!

      • Ah, good call. I thought I had, but apparently theOldReader won’t update the subscription. I had to delete it and resubscribe before it accepted the changes.

      • Hahaha! Shows how NO ONE KNOWS what anyone is actually selling. NO ONE knows. Not even data guy.

        • That’s true, after all, much of this thread is speculation.
          However, I do think that you can get an overall picture of who is selling what from looking at Amazon data, since that’s where most independent authors make their money.
          As for date a guy, he can sell that data to the big publishers, regardless of what anyone else thinks about it.

          • NO ONE has any way to know what an author makes in audio, foreign, traditional advances, sales on other platforms that are often AS robust as Amazon. Any speculation is total and complete BULLSHIT. There is no way to know unless you are collecting the proceeds.

            • That’s a good point, foreign and audio rights can’t be calculated properly without more refined data.
              However, I have noticed a certain resistance among some indie authors to the creation of these lists of top-selling self publishers, and my question is, if what you’re saying is true that nobody can really determine how much an independent author makes, then what is the harm of having these lists floating around?

              • Because these lists are PURE speculation. They add nothing of any real value to the conversation. And if you are a person who believes that some things should be private, seeing your name on a list that details your earnings is rather infuriating. Especially when you weren’t consulted BEFORE the list went public and especially when the people behind the list plan to then SELL the data. Since there is absolutely no way to conclusively determine who is making what, especially if you’re using skewed Amazon rankings as your guide, it’s probably best not to speculate.

                • But if it’s not true, why does it matter?
                  People speculate about all kinds of things, and many professions have lists of top earners such as actors.
                  If anything, it shows that self publishing has definitely entered the mainstream.
                  Unfortunately, I feel that drawing attention to them just encourages people who didn’t know the information to go and seek it out to see what all the drama is about, the Streisand effect.

                • It doesn’t matter to me beyond having my name tossed into a conversation full of speculation. I know many other authors who agree, especially when there’s no basis behind any of it other than supposition. Just like someone above said Bella and I might’ve been top earners in 2014 but not now. That just makes me laugh, because there’s absolutely no way to know if that’s true or not, unless you are me or Bella, and are receiving the monthly revenue from so many sources it can’t possibly by tracked by anyone but us.

              • “If it’s not true, why does it matter?”

                Does propagating lies presented as truth matter? Yes. It stinks up our culture. It’s hard to quantify the negative effect that has, but it does have, and it’s significant.

                • ^^^THIS^^^ Exactly. Until indie authors report their earnings/sales to some central repository (which probably isn’t going to happen), there’s no way to know this stuff for sure. And it’s also why indie authors crack up laughing when we hear “ebook sales are down.” For traditional publishers maybe. Not for us.

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