Archive for August, 2011


J Carson Black, thriller author, hits 230,000 eBook sales in July.

J Carson Black, (Maggy) to her kindle-board forum friends, may be self-published, but with her runaway sales success in such a short space of time, surely it can only be a matter of time before one of the big six publishers recognizes both her talent as a writer and the substantial loyal fan base she is building. (In addition, she is a nice person.)

After selling 137 eBooks in February and 1,280 in March, in April 2011, her reported sales were 10,000 for the month and by May; the total sales to date were 73,562. They have now hit a mind-boggling 230,000 sales to date.

When you consider that she has no marketing machine behind her of the kind that traditional publisher can provide, or the many other services, together with their ability to get printed books on the bookstore shelves, the achievement is all the more of a remarkable phenomenon. I would even go as far as to say her success exceeds the remarkable achievements of Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath as her catalogue of books are mostly in the mid price range for self published eBooks. Although the 99c price tag did play a part in the initial traction together with a special summer promotion … pricing alone cannot explain, how her sales have taken off to the extent that they have, or we could all copy her route to success.

I first met Maggy on the kindle-board forum site in late in March, where she is an active member. I had seen her join in discussions offering advice and encouragement to new members of the site and it was there I noticed she was a fellow thriller writer from the book covers on display in her forum signature. All her book covers were attractive and I chose to look at The Shop. The book description drew me in and I downloaded the sample. I didn’t get through the sample fast enough before I clicked the buy button. It was clear from the opening she had a handle on the thriller genre and the narrative voice was distinct for me to want to read all of it. I wasn’t disappointed, the consistancy of voice, great characterization and a knack of bringing the scenes to life was there throughout and with a satisfying plot to put the cream in an already iced  cake, it was well worth the buy. When I started to ponder after the read, I felt like I had read a traditionally published book from a top thriller writer.

With the hustle and bustle of just starting out on a self-publishing career, I put my thoughts to one side, until I noticed her books started to appear everywhere on the also boughts on Kindle. A post followed this on kindle boards that she had sold 10,000 in one month. In a way I wasn’t surprised as I could imagine readers with circles of friends who had similar tastes in thrillers would be recommending her work by word of mouth. I thought her achievement that month was staggering considering up to that point, her sales had trickled along by comparison, although growing from month to month.

I decided as a budding author that I owed it to myself to look further in to her success to see if there was anything I could emulate to hasten my own success. One thing I found was that she had some of her books previously published and wondered if that had helped in the minds of potential buyers as part of their decision-making process. She also had a number of books uploaded; so that once a reader had tasted her work, she had other books on offer for them. However, other than that I was stumped.

I was just building my blog site at the time and I had introduced a Book Buzz page and contacted Maggy to see if she would care to take part and she agreed. I was hoping for some revelation of a secret formula, but there was none, other than the realization that it was attention to basic detail, (Book cover, book pitch and of course a good story, well written.) She had also carried out very little in the way of marketing, so there were no revelations to be had there. This spurred me on to write an article “How not to sell 10,000 books in one month.” with a fable entitled “The Secret” to emphasize the requirement for attention to basic detail for those starting out. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, although attention to detail is a prerequisite, clearly to hit the kind of figures she has achieved it has to be all about the writing and the story, the enthusiasm of her readers to recommend her and the Amazon algorithms taking care of the rest.

Well done Maggy. I can’t see the bandwagon stopping here.

Amazon.com, J Carson Black, Author profile and books America

Amazon.co.uk, J Carson Black, list of books UK