The Fifty Percent Rule

I just read Mark Coker’s Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. Mark is the founder of Smashwords. So, he is the Man when it comes to Indie publishing. The book is great, because it presents advice based upon stubborn things called facts. Unfortunately, for many Indie authors, including me, it paints a bleak outlook for big sales, for it presents virality as the main means of obtaining significant readership. In a nutshell this means 50% of the people who read your book must convince two other people to read your book, or your sales will die rapidly. And, this assumes you can attract some initial readership via Free books, or some other means. For most authors, especially writers like me who don’t author mainstream fiction, this means the odds of publishing a best-selling ebook is roughly the same as being hit by lightning while purchasing a winning megabucks ticket. To me, this does not mean authoring an ebook is a folly. It just means, unless you write teenage vampire romances, a few readers is the new measure of success. It also means…keep your day job.