I came across this article on NOVLR talking about writers self-publishing books on ereaders. It focuses on Amanda Hocking (here's her blog), a writer who has never been published in the traditional sense--i.e. by a publishing house. She's put out 9 books, all on her own, and is currently selling more than 100,000 electronic copies each month. (According to USA today, she sold more than 450,000 copies in the month of January 2011.) The books sell for about a buck each, of which Amazon keeps 30 cents. In other words, she's making at least $70K a month without ever having had any other person decide her stuff is worth publication. In other words, HOLY FUCKING SHIT!
The NOVLR article also lists the other top 25 authors self-publishing books on the kindle, the lowest selling number of which is 2,500 copies a month. At seventy cents (or more, in most cases) per book, 2,500 copies a month is a good living.
After reading all of the above, I'm practically having heart palpitations. There's plenty of arguing that could be done to lessen the significance of this ebook selfpublishing revolution, but at first blush this makes the idea of earning a living as an author seem like an actual possibility again. The very thought is like lightning in my veins, and I'm super charged up on trying to figure out how to get into it myself.