8 Kindle Case Studies That Will Make You Think Twice Before Self-Publishing

There is nothing more helpful than being able to look under the hood of someone’s business who has reached the level of success that you want to achieve.

This is why I happily pay $2k+ per month in coaching services from various business and writing coaches – just so I can get that kind of exposure.

But you don’t need to pay that much to receive those same benefits in the world of Kindle. Luckily, authors are pretty generous and there are plenty of examples of authors sharing their personal case studies with their readers and other struggling writers.

Success Stories From Self Published Authors

Here are 8 of my favorite Kindle Case Studies that reveal the reality of the self-publishing game:

1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results

This has been my favorite “Case study” thus far.

Though I don’t (and won’t ever) write erotica, and I prefer to write longer pieces of fiction (novella to novel in length) there are a TON of brilliant takeaways from this author’s success.

1. Don’t give up.

2. Stick with a genre UNTIL you make it work.

3. The more work you have floating out there in space, the more likely you are to be successful.

4. You don’t have to be a brilliant writer to make a living with self-publishing on Kindle.

You can read the entire thread, though it does (like most Internet forums) get wildly off topic, there are some real golden nuggets hidden throughout.

My Kindle Failure and Future Plans for Success

I am including this one in the mix because I enjoy reading about failure as much as I enjoy reading about success.

It isn’t because I am a demented freak who likes to see others suffer and fail (though I do write horror – so maybe there is something there my therapist needs to examine), the truth is that I enjoy reading about failed attempts at glory because THAT is where the real lessons are to be learned.

There is something called the survivorship bias in psychology and it essentially states that people who are successful very rarely are accurately able to explain their success. This is the same reason that people believe in psychics – our brains are actually built to ignore the 35 wrong guesses these so called “conduits” screw up before they get that ONE hazy guess right and our brains say “she MUST be really speaking with the dead!”

The same applies to publishing and doing business online.

We read the success stories and forget about the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who have failed or even the hundreds (if not thousands) of mistakes that the successful people have made before they reached their own success.

I like reading about other people’s failures because I know it is as important a piece of the “success puzzle” as success itself is.

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How much money can one Kindle book make? (1 year case study)

This is a brilliant case study for ANYONE interested in self-publishing (or business in general for that matter).

I have worked with thousands of online entrepreneurs over the past 3 years (in various capacities) and I have found that there are very few who are willing to play the “long game”.

Everyone wants “instant profits” at the expense of building long term business assets.

This case study shows just how powerful long term assets can be, and just how easy it is to scale up small income earners into a substantial monthly income.

If you are approaching the self-publishing game with hopes that you are going to have a single home run novel – forget about it.

The key to this business is volume.

My Self-Publishing Thoughts After 50,000+ Ebook Sales

Let me do a little math for you – that many books = at least $100,000 in sales (according to the author’s pricing and Amazon’s royalties)

$100,000 is a hell of a lot a money people. You can do some really cool stuff with that.

My favorite part of this case study is the line, “I haven’t experienced any major “lucky breaks” or spent any time at the tippy tops of the bestseller charts (lately, my debuts have been hanging out in the Top 20 of the Epic Fantasy category for a couple of weeks over at Amazon, but that’s about as close as I can get to claiming to be a “bestseller”). I’ve just been plugging away and doing my best to write every day, so I can put out at least two new novels (and some shorter works) a year.

Thanks to self-publishing writers can have working careers without having to rely on getting a “lucky break” or being in the “tippy tops” of any best seller list.

Moderate milestone … sharing my tactic

This is another erotic romance success story. While I don’t write in this niche, I was impressed with the speed at which this author was able to generate over $12,000 in sales by writing 1,000 – 2,000 words per day (which is SOOOOOO easy to do).

She shares a bunch of her tips and tricks for success including some important advice on getting the job done. How to set up your writing process so that you actually finish what you start (so desperately important).

How I sold lots of books this year (and had fun doing it)

This is a great little case study.

The author in this case writes in a niche that most traditional publishers consider “dead”. She couldn’t get traditionally published even if she wanted to because the traditional publishers “know better” than to publish the kind of books she writes.

Surprise, surprise, this year this author pulled in a nice $360,000 in royalty payments in just 2013. Yea, so about those gatekeepers knowing what the market wants…

Additionally, this is a great little case study about what can happen if you don’t do any marketing other than an occasional bookbub ad here and there. I highly recommend that you read over this one ladies and gents.

From Rags to Riches: An Indie Author Success Story

I like this case study because it explores the personal and emotional side of becoming a successful author. This author went through divorce, massive financial trouble and more just to get her books published.

She doesn’t offer a lot of advice and her last bit “It isn’t a competition” I completely disagree with, but it is worth a read.

Guest Post by Tom Keller (and Konrath talks numbers)

A bloody odd title for one of the most provocative and astounding posts of Konrath’s blog. Ever.

In this post he reveals his numbers. They are astounding. They are inspiring. They are achievable.

They guy has gotten to where he is at because he has just never stopped writing.

You will notice that the majority of his income comes from just a few of his titles. There is the 80/20 rule again.

I was so inspired by this particular case study that I wanted to reverse engineer Konrath’s work ethic and schedule. Here is what I found:

These Numbers Are Based Off The Following Assumptions:

1 Page = 1 Manuscript Page = 250 Words
Writing 7 Days Per Week
Editing Time Not Included
He Can Write 750 Words Per Hour (Which is about average – though I am sure he goes much faster)

Total Words Since 2009:



6.9 Pages Per Day
1,741 Words Per Day
2 Hrs 18 Minutes Of Writing Per Day
$1,044.60 Per Day

635,250 Total Words


10 Pages Per Day
2,500 Words Per Day
3 Hrs 18 Minutes Writing Per Day

919,750 Total Words


3.5 Pages Per Day
875 Words Per Day
1 Hrs 10 Minuts Writing Per Day

315,500 Total Words


1.8 Pages Per Day
460 Words Per Day
37 Minutes Writing Per Day

167,750 Total Words


6.4 Pages Per Day
1609 Words Per Day
2 Hrs 9 Minutes Of Writing Per Day

587,250 Total Words

Earnings Per Word:

$.60 Per Word (Based off of $1.6million divided by 2,625,500 words)

Daily Potential Earnings By Year:


$1,044.60 Per Day


$1,500 Per Day


$525 Per Day


$276 Per Day


$965.40 Per Day


I don’t know about you but I would love to add a potential $1,000 a day by working 21 hours a week.

This is what I was trying to say earlier. He doesn’t actually cash out $1,000 per day when he writes – but OVER TIME – the effort he put in on that day will end up valuing $1,000.

I have made a lot of money over the past few years thanks to Internet marketing. I have had several 6 figure years in a row.

But I have NEVER made $1,000 per day working 21 hours per week.

Food for thought.