Amazon Best-Sellerdom Ain’t All That

My Amazon bestseller made me nothing

This past summer, my novel, “Broken Piano for President,” shot to the top of the best-seller lists for a week. After Jack Daniel’s sent me a ridiculously polite cease and desist letter, the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition. The New Yorker wrote one whole, entire, punctuated-and-everything sentence about me! My book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while, right behind all the different “50 Shades of Grey” and “Gone Girl.” It was selling more copies than “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.” So, I can sort of see why people thought I was going to start wearing monogrammed silk pajamas and smoking a pipe.

Yeah, I remember that. It was a huge story.

So what did he make?

This is what it’s like, financially, to have the indie book publicity story of the year and be near the top of the bestseller list.

Drum roll.


Hi-hat crash.


The book sold plus or minus 4,000 copies. (The publishing industry is hazy like that. What with sales in fishy-sounding third-world countries like Germany and England.) Being on an indie press I receive a more generous royalty split than most: 50 percent after expenses were deducted.

I will leave The Self-Pub Chorus to do its inevitable keening. I just want to note that it’s also available as a Kindle book.

For my part, I just want to thank him for letting us all behind the curtain.

Some people talk about it but never deliver.


Filed under Amazon Kindle, Reference, Writer

7 responses to “Amazon Best-Sellerdom Ain’t All That

  1. Um, you DO realize he’s NOT self-published, right? He’s using “indie” the way it’s supposed to be used, (i.e., independent/small press), not the way self-pubbers have coopted it. He says in the article he got a split with his publisher, who is Lazy Fascist Press, which looks like it has a respectable list with 14 authors.

    Sooooo why would any SPers be keening again? Why, just think how much he MIGHT have made if he’d self-pubbed! /s

    • mikecane

      They will be keening because they will all wail he *should* have self-published.

      • Nice backpedal.

        Please notice he also said a friend of his got a $5,000 advance from his big publisher, which appeared to me to have gone over his head that he was more than twice ahead of his traditionally published friend.

        Lastly, 4,000 copies is a respectable number for a midlist author and even better for an indie-press author. If anyone has been paying attention, they would know how few copies it takes to be a bestseller.

        So Those Jakasses Who Shall Not Be Named won’t pony up their numbers. Quelle sooprize. This guy did, and they’re respectable numbers, and he appears to be whining about it.

      • mikecane

        But but but … You Know Who is Getting $$RICH$$ from his self-pub books. Everyone says so. Especially HIM.

      • “But but but … You Know Who is Getting $$RICH$$ from his self-pub books. Everyone says so. Especially HIM.”

        HIS numbers are the ones I want to see, because I’ve been calling bullshit for at least two years now.

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