googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Rebel riding a revolutionary eBook wave: John Locke and his Million eBooks

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rebel riding a revolutionary eBook wave: John Locke and his Million eBooks

Meet a rebel who is part of one of the most dramatic changes in human history: the freeing of publishing from the dead hand of paper-based books to the revolutionary new electronic publishing – the eBook.

Just who is this Rebel, John Locke?

John Locke, Rebel
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Locke is an international bestselling author of 9 novels which have sold over one million paid copies in the Amazon Kindle Store for eBooks. With is dramatic surge in sales, Locke has done two memorable things: joined the slected Kindle Million Book Club (along with the likes of Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins and Michael Connelly), and shown the world how to escape from the archaic paper-based publishing industry into the wave of the future.

The Challenge to Traditional Publishing:

This rebel is in the forefront of a digital revolution. With his (and the other Kindle Million eBook Club members) massive sales through the new medium, Locke can truly be counted as a high-impact revolutionary.

As such, he joins the ranks of other revolutionaries, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the revolutionary who fought a terrible depression with massive government
spending, introducing a new way for governments to help people and protect them from the viciousness of markets); of Mahatma Ghandi (who brought about a revolution by fighting force with passive resistance married to the power of the will); Winston Churchill (a rebel in his time, who faced down a bully and saved a civilization); and Henry Ford (who with the assembly line production method brought autos into the lives of hundreds of millions, and revolutionized the way we make things).

The rebel John Locke is in the forefront of an amazing change in the information revolution, which is on its way to replacing paper-based books with the far more versatile eBooks.

What did Locke do?

Locke's contribution can best be described by using his own words, from his eBook How I sold One Million eBooks in 5 Months!


Locke did 3 things that are part of the revolution in publishing: he figured out the power equation in publishing, and turned it on its ear; he reduced the risk for readers; and he rode a vehicle (eBooks) that met more needs of readers than traditional paper-based publishing.

How Locke changed the Power Equation in Publishing:

Before eBooks, before John Locke and the other Kindle Million eBook Club members, the power in publishing rested with a small number of traditional publishers, with agents – in other words, with the establishment of paper-based publishing.

This is how Locke expresses it:

I’d like to compete, but it’s hard to beat the home team on a playing field that’s hopelessly slanted against you! My character, Donovan Creed, has a philosophy of fighting that applies here. He says, “Never fight your opponent the way he wants to fight you.” Think about that. For many years self-published authors have been forced to fight in the traditional arena, a place where we had almost no chance of competing, much less winning.

The powerful forces in paper-based publishing are strong indeed, and they wield the power of humiliation as part of their arsenal, as Locke writes:

Many years ago the publishing industry managed to crush and humiliate men and women who dreamed of writing and selling their books to the public. They created the false impression that the only standard of quality writing is for someone else to invest in your startup in return for a percentage of future profits.

But Locke used the power of the new industry, eBooks, to turn the tables on the establishment.  In his words:

Enter eBooks and ePublishing. eBooks allow a guy like me an opportunity to level the playing field. In fact, eBooks allow me to turn the tables on famous authors and create a situation that is completely unfair to them! Because I can publish an eBook for very little money, I can afford to sell it for 99 cents and still receive a 35 cent profit!

The Numbers Game:

John Locke used the power of numbers to overcome the disadvantages of traditional publishing:

You see John Locke has nine books available and you calculate you could buy all nine for less than one of the famous author’s books!

Reducing the Cost of Failure:

Locke also altered the power equation by the simple expedient of reducing the cost of failure for eBook readers. Any person who wants to buy a book by a new author has one question which niggles him or her: Is it worth my while to take a chance on this new author? What if I buy the new author's book and don't like it?

The key is to reduce the cost of failure. How? Listen to Locke:

You figure, “What the heck. I’ll give John a try. I’ve never heard of him, and he probably sucks, but hey, it’s only 99 cents.” —And that’s the moment I turn the tables on the famous authors, because first, my books may not be great literature, but they certainly don’t suck. Second, there’s no way in the world the famous authors can afford to price their books for 99 cents, because their publishers would lose a fortune!

In effect, Locke has reversed the burden of proof by throwing it on to the backs of paper-based authors. Locke, as the new guy on the block with a new way of getting books into the hands of readers, has made the established paper-based authors prove to readers with each and every book that buying their books makes sense.

He has shifted the burden of proving value from the new eBook author, to the established paper-based authors. He writes:

Now the famous authors have to prove their books are ten times better than mine! —And in a game like that, I like my chances!
This is what the experts in strategy try when fighting a war: change the contours of the battlefield to favour your army and put the enemy at a disdvantage!

Meeting More Needs of Readers:

Locke and other authors (like me) publishing eBooks actually meet more needs of the reading public than the authors of paper-backed books do. John expresses it this way:

In July, Amazon.com reported eBooks were outselling hard covers nearly two to one! And why not? They’re cheaper, they’re environmentally friendly, they don’t require a trip to the bookstore, you can download them in seconds, free of postage, and you can carry hundreds of them onto an airplane without adding an ounce of weight!

Add all these factors together, and the message to authors considering publishing eBooks is a pretty powerful one. You can beat the established and hidebound publishing industry; you can provide a product with reduces the risk to readers of taking a flyer on a new author; you can shift the burden to established paper-back authors to justify why a reader should choose their books rather than trying something new like your own eBook.

And you can do it in a very short timeframe!

Buy Locke's book, and join the revolution! You can see his blog here, and buy a copy of the revolutionary book here.

Join us!
Rise up!
Make history!

Check out my blog posts on how to publish your own eBook on Kindle by clicking here and here.

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