German Author is Amazon's First Literary Author to Sell More Than a Million Books

Posted on July 22, 2016

Oliver Potzsch

The New York Times' Stephen Heyman has an interesting interview with German author Oliver Potzsch. Mr. Potzsch is the first author from Amazon Publishing to sell more than one million books. What makes his achievement even more interesting is that fact that the book is from Amazon's literary imprint, and that it is a translation of his original German work.

The first book in the series is The Hangman's Daughter. The novel is set in 17th century Bavaria and is based on the story of his own ancestors who were a family of executioners. The original German version of the novel did not sell well, but the online reviews were excellent. So Amazon's editors bought the translation rights and released the book in English.

Since then, he has written in several genres. His most recent book, The Castle of Kings, is also a historical novel that he wrote after his publisher to "Write a German Ken Follett." His books are sometimes marketed in a different genre when sold in the U.S., which he finds puzzling. He said he kept getting into arguments with his publisher about what genre his books are. The wanted him to be more specific about what his genre is and were pushing for "something else."

He said, "This kind of thing is hard for writers." He explained that his next book which comes out in October in the U.S. was published as a young adult novel in Germany aimed at 14 year old boys. Book of the Night: The Black Musketeers is an adventure tale starring a 13 year old boy who was trained as a swordsman by his father. When war threatens the land and his sister disappears, he sets off to find her accompanied by three brilliant fencers known as the Black Musketeers. In the U.S. it will be marketed as for all ages. He notes, "if you looked at the American and German covers, you’d think they're two entirely different books."

Photo: Gerald von Foris

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