Ms. Hawking has had and does have it both ways, with eBook sales (and self promotion) and traditional publisher sales (and a publicity Dept.). I pay attention and advise other authors to take a look.
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So What Do You Do, Amanda Hocking, Author and Self-Publishing Powerhouse? How the Queen of eBooks became a bestseller
By Jeff Rivera
Unable to find a publisher, Amanda Hocking took the fate of her success as an author into her own hands and released her YA troll princess tales as eBooks through Amazon. Although price points varied from 99 cents to $2.99, the results were astounding: 1.5 million copies sold. That success didn't go unnoticed, as St. Martin's Press signed her to a deal reportedly worth over $2 million in 2011, and her bestselling Trylle series got optioned for two films.
Call Hocking the darling of the DIY movement or the leader of the digital publishing revolution, but don't dare call her an overnight success.
"I worked really hard at this for my entire life. I was trying to get published for nine years before I started selling books, and I have been writing literally since I could write," Hocking told us. "And I think that a lot of people are missing that, because I think they see self-publishing as, 'Well, you could just click and upload it, and then that's it.' There's a lot of time, energy and your heart that you put into it."
Name: Amanda Hocking
Resume: Started writing novels at the age of 17 and turned to self-publishing at 25 when she was unable to find a publisher. Achieved breakout success with My Blood Approves in 2010; less than a year later, had seven books on USA Today's bestsellers list. Went on to sell 1.5 million copies. Joined St. Martin's Press in 2011.
Birthday: July 12, 1984
Hometown: Austin, Minnesota
Education: High school, some college
Marital status: Single
Media Idol: Jim Henson "because he was an amazing person."
Favorite TV shows: Southland
Guilty pleasure: Jersey Shore
Last book read: You're Not Doing it Right by Michael Ian Black
Twitter handle: @amanda_hocking
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being with a traditional publisher?
Having a team of people that can help me do all of the stuff so I don't have to is definitely an advantage. I was getting really bogged down and stressed out by all the little details that go into publishing a book on your own, and now there's a whole team of people that did what I did. It's much easier. I can just focus on writing a book, and then I can just send it to them, and if I have problems and stuff, I can tell them. I guess the disadvantage is that I have lost control over things. I have input and everything, but I don't get to decide how much things are priced for or when they come out. I don't mind it, but I know that for other people that would be a bigger issue. So, it was a trade that works for me.
I'm still involved with the publicity and the marketing but they set it up. They made a website, and they set up the campaigns, and they do the commercials. They've done really great marketing for me that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own; they had a big spread event in a "Hunger Game Special Edition" forPeoplemagazine. And they did commercials on MTV. That stuff I wouldn't have been able to do myself or know how to do.
Before the launch, I was having pre-wedding jitters. I panicked because somebody else's book was selling better and I was freaking out. Because if this didn't work, if my book really bombed, it would have ruined everything I had set up. I just had a meltdown; I was really stressed out but everything worked out.
"Nobody wants to hear, 'Buy my book.' They want to have a conversation with you."
Many digital authors are trying to get where you are but are failing miserably. What are they doing wrong?
A lot of authors tend to over market or they don't take criticisms very well. They think that their book is perfect. They don't want to get bogged down with editing or covers, because they think their book is so good. Or they market too hard. All they do is talk about their book and nobody wants to hear, "Buy my book." They want to have a conversation with you.
Right now, the market's gotten really saturated, and there's so many books that it's hard to make them stand out. I was fortunate when I started publishing; the market was just starting to take off. I think that writers need to just focus more on writing and relax. I know it's really hard when you're publishing to separate yourself from it. In the beginning, I was obsessed with checking my sales every 10 seconds. I think you need to take that deep breath and take a step back and focus on writing and just relax and be present on the Internet. If you are writing and you're putting out something that's good, I think eventually you will find an audience. It's just a matter of how long it will take.