Checking In With Amanda Hocking’s Reality – Day 162

The poster-novelist of the epublishing revolution right now is Amanda Hocking. Since she started self-publishing last year (April, I think?), her sales have continued to soar. In December, it was reported she had sold 100,000 copies of her nine published novels. Recently, USA Today reported she had sold 450,000 copies in January. Assuming that she sold all those books at $2.99 (which is a bad assumption since she said her sales points are from $0.99 to $2.99, but for the sake of simplicity…) she made in the neighbourhood of $900,000 US in that month alone.

And her sales seem to be trending up.

For someone who is as young as she is (26 years old, I believe) is generating those kind of numbers this quickly, she seems to have a good head on her shoulders. In her most recent blog post, she points out that it hasn’t taken her a year to get this far, but 20 years of writing. In other words, it’s the classic “it took me my whole life to become an overnight success”.

She also states quite firmly that self-publishing is not a “get rich quick” scheme, or that writers should just churn out novels as fast as they can. You still need to polish, edit, and market the book properly to get it read — and most importantly have readers enjoy it.

Even if the writers are a fantastic novelists, she says, “rushing a product out will only hurt them.”

She also mentions that the first novel she published (My Blood Approves) was actually the ninth novel she wrote. (That’s kind of depressing actually, looking at it from the standpoint of here I am, writing my first novel…)

So what’s my point here? I’m not sure. Perhaps, I think, it’s about the fact that you have to work hard at this gig, no matter how you are going to publish.

“If you simply want to be published, and do not care if everyone reads or enjoys your work, then yes, self-publishing is easy. If you want to be sucessful and make a living as a writer, then it is hard work. In a lot of ways, I suspect it is harder than being traditionally published,” she said.

‘Bout sums it up for me.

You can read the whole post here:


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6 Responses to Checking In With Amanda Hocking’s Reality – Day 162

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Graham:

    Another good post.

    I agree with Amanda, “if you want to be successful and make a living as a writer, then it is hard work. In a lot of ways, I suspect it is harder than being traditionally published.”

    • Graham Strong says:

      Thanks Chris,

      I agree as well, even though I technically haven’t finished a novel (though I do make a living as a writer, and it can be difficult — and busy!)

      She makes a good point though – with a traditional publisher, you have one (or many) other people signing off on the project before it goes to print. Yes, you hear about the conflicts sometimes between writer and editor. However, I’ve mostly heard positive things about working with an editor — I can’t recall any writer saying their book was worse off for having been edited.

      Can’t wait to experience it for myself…!


  2. Chris says:

    It’s one thing to publish a book, quite another to promote it. A “traditional” publisher has professionals who know how to market a book. I had no idea how much time and effort went into promotion prior to a book’s birthday, the publication day.

    • Graham Strong says:

      I’m coming to learn that myself! Although, from what I understand, a writer can still do a lot of setting up of events, signings, etc., I would think it helps to have a team of professionals behind you…


  3. Chris says:

    Prior to self-publication a writer should consider how comfortable they are setting up events and signings. If you don’t have a distributor and want your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble it takes persistence.

    And ask yourself if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. I’m an introvert and not a natural salesperson like many extroverts. Selling and self-promotion is draining and has been my biggest challenge.

    For self-publication I see many advantages to the e-book format.

    • Graham Strong says:

      Ha! I’m boggled by the paradox. The last people in the world you should send out to promote books are writers. Generally speaking, we are not the most extroverted people out there, nor are we given to wanton self-promotion.

      I’m no exception. Even in my day job as a marketing writer, the hardest thing I ever have to do is sell myself.

      However, that being said, I realize that when (I’m being positive and not saying “if”) things take off for me, I will have to do readings, etc. Last week, my wife looked into the local Toastmasters for me (we haven’t heard back yet) — that would be one way of becoming more comfortable with public speaking, at least.

      As for self-promotion — my marketing background should help. And personally, I think I’ll feel more comfortable selling the book rather than selling myself. By that point, it will be an entity on its own (it already is in many ways), so I can disassociate myself from it and promote it without feeling self-conscious.

      That’s the hope, anyway…


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