Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 17, 2012

16 Self-Published Books Make Top 100 Kindle List

hidinginthesnowThis December illustration titled, Hiding in the Snow was sent in by Summer Hart. Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of self-published books coming out of their hiding, too.

There’s been a lot of talk about self-published bestsellers, Amazon’s own publishing lines, and the disruption of “gatekeepers” in 2012, so I was interested when Publisher Marketplace reported what Amazon’s own lists show (below).

For the “announced” lists of 2012 books only, leaving aside EL James, by our count the top 100 Kindle list includes 16 titles that were originally self-published. But only 5 of those books are still self-published (The Secret of Ella and Micha, by Jessica Sorensen; Down to You and The Wild Ones, by M. Leighton; Blood Stained by CJ Lyons; and The Unwanted Wife, by Natasha Anders).

And of those 5, Leighton’s two books are also moving to Penguin Group’s Berkley–and Berkley/NAL now publishes 7 more of those originally self-published books on the Kindle bestseller list:

Sylvia Day’s Bared to You and Reflected In You Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street Tammara Webber’s Easy Sydney Landon’s Weekends Required Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Rapture Sydney Landon’s Not Planning On You

Amazon’s imprints accounted for 4 books: The Long Way Home, by Karen McQuestion (Encore) Hidden, by Kendra Elliot (Montlake Romance) Thicker Than Water, G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer) Dead Weight, by T.R. Ragan (Thomas & Mercer) and two of them are Kindle single exclusives — Snatched, by Karin Slaughter, and An Unexpected Twist, by Andy Borowitz.

On the “actual” list of 2012 Kindle bestsellers, regardless of when published, the highest-ranking self-published title is Stephanie Bond’s OUR HUSBAND (at No 29–though Penguin’s Sylvia Day editions are at No. 7 and No 8.) This list has 15 books that were originally self-published, 4 Amazon-published books, and one Kindle Single exclusive (Karin Slaughter’s).

More Self-Publish Success:

Author of self-published NYT and USA Today ebook bestseller WOOL Hugh Howey has made a print-only deal with Simon & Schuster, which will release his title in both hardcover and paperback editions simultaneously in March 2013 while Howey continues to control the ebook version. He had already made a traditional publishing deal in the UK (with Century) and agent Kristin Nelson and her sub-agents have already licensed the book in over 18 territories.

Spokesperson for the Simon & Schuster Publishing Group Julia Prosser told us, “Not one size publishing fits all, and Simon & Schuster wants to publish the most talented writers out there. We’re thrilled to be able to bring WOOL to a larger audience.” In 2011 Simon& Schuster agreed to distribute print books for another successful self-published ebook author, John Locke, and that unit also provided full-line distribution (this time including ebooks) to Tucker Max’s Blue Heeler Books for his latest book, HILARITY ENSUES.

Print-only deals remain rare, though not singular (and they may become more common as the 21st-century version of the old paperback license). Mira licensed print-only rights from another self-published author, Bella Andre, in September. And Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s New Harvest imprint issues Amazon Publishing books in print only, and when they first licensed two Oliver Pötzsch books from Amazon Crossing it was for print only. Other one-offs include Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit and the NYT’s WikiLeaks book OPEN SECRETS, which Grove/Atlantic published as a trade paperback.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. There’s no question the industry has changed a LOT since e-books!


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