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How Many Copies Make a Self-Published Bestseller?

GalleyCat readers constantly ask us: how many copies does it take to get on the Self Published Bestsellers List?

This is not an easy question to answer since all the major marketplaces for indie books carefully guard their sales figures. However, in Behind the Story: Interviews From 20 Self-Published Authors Who Made it BIG, author Denise Kim Wy managed to get sales figures from six different self-published authors.

We’ve included those sales figures below, complete with some quotes from the book. If you are an indie author and want to share how many copies you’ve sold, feel free to email GalleyCat a photograph to be included on this list.

Copies Sold by Bestselling Self-Published Authors 

UPDATE: Formerly self-published author Marlen S. Bodden wrote us about her bestseller: “I initially self-published The Wedding Gift, which has been bought by major houses: Century/Random UK (publishing May 9, 2013), St. Martin’s Press U.S., Cappellen-Damm Norway, and Random House Germany. As a self-published book, The Wedding Gift sold over 140,000 ebooks (I gave away over 30,000 in a promotion first) and made Amazon’s and the Wall Street Journal’s best seller lists.”

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan: “Nearly 700,000 copies of The Mill River Recluse have been sold.”

Liliana Hart: “There was still such a stigma with self-publishing, and I was afraid it would hurt my career instead of help it. In the end, I decided to put those books up for sale and I can safely say after half a million copies sold that I made the right decision.”

Wool Series by Hugh Howey: “I believe I’m closing in on half a million copies sold. That’s mind- boggling to me. I remember dreaming I would one day sell 10,000 copies. In my lifetime!”

Luke Romyn: “Luke’s first three books have all been category best sellers on Amazon, with over 120,000 copies being distributed to date.”

Not What She Seems by Victorine Lieske: “In March of 2011 the book hit the New York Times best selling ebook list, where it stayed on the list for six weeks. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies.”

Wait for Me by Elisabeth Naughton: “I gave away 500,000 copies of WAIT FOR ME between the end of Christmas and the middle of January 2013, and now that book is the #2 overall bestseller at Amazon and has been ranked in the top 100 for more than two weeks.”

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