I've followed Robert Bidinotto for a while. He published HUNTER in June. Started with great sales and maintained that throughout the rest of the year. He received a lot of 5 star reviews and maintained a price of $3.99 along the way as well.
Post-Thanksgiving, Amazon selected HUNTER for a promotion. They lowered the price and promoted his book to their customers. Robert got hit by kindle lightning and his book quickly climbed into the top 10 paid kindle books and stayed there for awhile, selling 1000's of copies a day. He's still feeling the residual effects today.
Recently, I met Melissa Foster who published Come Back to Me in November. She actively planned a launch via the WoMen's Literary Cafe teaming up with other authors to cross promote their books. She did fantastic in sales, reaching top 100 in sales in many categories on Amazon US and Internationally and was reviewed for USA today's book blog.
Checking today, I see Nick Russell's ebook Big Lake at #32 in the paid Kindle store. He published in May and has had increasing sales every month since then. He's priced at $0.99 and sounds like he'll stay there. He attributes some of his success to redesigning his cover and other interactions he has with people on his blog and Facebook.
What these three authors all have in common is that they wrote a good story, had a good cover, and have a interactions with readers outside of simply posting their books on-line. I think that these authors would all tell you that they also got lucky. They're all out there as indies playing in the storm and they got hit by Kindle lightning.
You can get hit by Kindle lightning. Get out in the storm and wait for it to hit you. Don't play it safe. Make yourself more conductive to improve your luck, to improve your chances of getting hit by lightning. Write a great book, have a great cover, blog, facebook, Tweet, interact with readers and writers, help other authors and write another book.
Lee Travino said he'd stand in a storm and hold a 1-iron in the air to stay safe, because only God can hit a 1-iron.
Get out there and hold up all of the clubs in your bag.
To get hit by Kindle lightening you have to play in the storm!