John Ellsworth shows the benefits of self-publishing

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an blog post written by John Ellsworth…

John Ellsworth doesn’t know much about how to design an attractive blog post. Look at it! No indents or paragraphing. A yellow background (that makes my eyes ache.) No subheads. A dull main headline: “How Publishing Really Works: Fom an Indie Writer’s Point-of-View.”

But if you can claw your way through the ugliness of his post, you’ll read a truly inspiring story. Ellsworth used to be a lawyer. Now he’s a self-published author, producing indie thrillers at the rate of nine novels per year. Yes, nine!

Here’s how he describes his process:

After I’ve finished up my 2-3 hours of writing every day, I spend maybe an hour a day doing marketing… [But] My name is pretty well known among my genre, my niche, and my books fly out the door accordingly.

About the only thing I disagree with is that he does his research WHILE he is writing. I think he could be even more productive if he did it separately or hired a part time research assistant. He could afford to. In his own words, here’s how his sales process works:

I sell about 10,000 books a month and gather in about 7 million page reads a month, and I’m only just starting my third year. This year I will earn in the mid-to-upper six figures.

I don’t usually read thrillers so I haven’t read any of his books. I suspect they’re similar to John Grisham‘s work, which means they’re likely not all that well written. But I’m also guessing they have dazzling plots that keep the readers hooked.

Good for Ellsworth for showing how self-publishing can really work. He has control over his entire publishing process, the final say in design, a better profit margin (100% after costs as opposed to less than 10% for authors with publishing houses), no contracts and great speed.

Could self-publishing work for you, as well?

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