Today’s Top-selling Names in Science Fiction

Tuesday , 27, May 2014 2 Comments

Before delving back into our earnest investigation into the Men Who Saw Science (Fiction), it might be of use to take a look at some of the top-selling names in independent Fantasy and Science Fiction today. Virtually unknown to the Hugo voters, nearly invisible (unless you know what to look for) on the Amazon charts, these are the independent authors who are clearly selling the most units in their respective fields:

  1. Randolph Lalonde – Author of the unit-moving Spinward Fringe series, he offers his 178,000 word introductory book to readers for free.
  2. Thomas Mays – Military sci-fi whose debut novel tops a number of kindle charts, but also moves a good amount in print.
  3. Mike Smith – Author of the (also free) Last Praetorian, his Pax Imperia is only available as an ebook, but is top ten in its category, which is, notably, Romance/Science Fiction.
  4. Michael G. Thomas – The recent conclusion to his Nexus series – Black Rift – is doing very well, but what is more significant about this author is that he’s published more than 30 books since 2011.
  5. Alex Albrinck – His Aliomenti Saga has built a strong following, also by offering the first book in the series for free (starting to see a pattern here…) but it is clear that part of his appeal is the speed with which he delivers the next book for an eager readership. It is fairly clear from his website content that he is an author far more concerned about writing the next book than he is in marketing the last one.

The thing to keep in mind with this list of high unit-sellers is that sales for independent publishers can be quite a bit lower than what most readers tend to think of as “bestsellers” (which is a horribly misleading term, by the way. But I’ll let Sarah Hoyt get into the mud on that one, if you are interested.) For example, Lalonde is one of the top names in independent science fiction, and the last estimate I saw for his sales was north of 100,000 units. I’m sure it is more than that by now (it was last year some time that I saw the mention), but still, not the “millions” that people think of. The fact is that 100,000 units for an independent author translates to significantly more income than for most traditionally published author contracts.

While the breakout stars of independent publishing could be confused for a traditional publisher’s “midlist”, the fact that these independents can:

  • Set their own prices
  • Offer free books if they want to, when they want to
  • Make more money per unit sold
  • Know exactly how many units are selling in any given month
  • Publish on a much faster calendar

Means that their readers can be rewarded with more content in a shorter period of time.

2 Comments
  • Wes says:

    Thanks for this information, Daniel. It’s very illuminating.

  • Epimetheus says:

    Hey, this is excellent! Finds like this grow the whole genre. Thanks.

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