John Locke

The Wall Street Journal has an in-depth story using the success of a Louisville e-author to illustrate how unconventional on-line business models are taking sales from established publishers.

“Cheapest E-Books Upend the Chart” features a look at John Locke, a Louisville real estate developer (Glenview Plaza LLC) who also writes thrillers. Locke’s series featuring former CIA assassin Donovan Creed do very well indeed, according to the story.

Well enough that authors such as Locke, who sell their e-books for 99 cents, are killing the publishing houses that charge 10 times as much for established authors.

According to the story, Inc.’s top 50 digital best-seller list featured 15 books priced at $5 or less on Wednesday afternoon, with Locke claiming seven of the 15, all priced at 99 cents!

Locke self-published his e-books such as “Wish List” and “Lethal People,” complete with digital “book covers,” for about $1,000.

He earns 35 cents for every title he sells for 99 cents.

And his take? (Are you ready for this?) $126,000 from Amazon just last month!

From the story:

“When I saw that highly successful authors were charging $9.99 for an e-book, I thought that if I can make a profit at 99 cents, I no longer have to prove I’m as good as them. Rather, they have to prove they’re 10 times better than me.”

The story states Locke got into digital books in March 2010.

His new agent, Jane Dystel, who Locke hired to handle movie offers and foreign book deals, has the best line in the story: “This is a Wild West of a world.”

Yeah, we know the feeling.

About John Locke (This is from Locke’s on-line bio):

Locke attended boarding school in PA, attended Northwestern State U. in Natchitoches, LA, sang with a rock band, went into insurance sales and worked his way up to area v.p. by age 21. He moved to Louisville, KY, where he built his own insurance agency and then founded Freedom Life Insurance, which appointed 6,700 insurance agents in 34 states. Locke later sold his company and became a private real estate investor. He owns two marketing firms and has created and manages 13 million-dollar-plus real estate entities, including shopping centers. He has written two nonfiction books (Qualities of Character and Dynasty in the Making) and three Donovan Creed crime novels. He is currently writing the fourth: Now & Then.