Join the millionaires’ club
The Associated Press sums up the buzz about Amanda Hocking in the title of its interview with her: “Meet Amanda Hocking, e-book Millionaire”
In April 2010, Amanda started putting her books online but June is the month that sticks in her memory.
“I went from a couple of hundred sales in May to six or seven thousand in June,” Amanda told AP.
She stayed at 5-10,000 books a month until November when sales jumped to 25,000 books. Things really took off in December 2010 when she sold over 100,000 books.
By March 2011, just under a year since selling that first handful of books online, Amanda had signed a traditional publishing deal with St Martin’s Press. The deal was said to be worth around $2 million.
Like most overnight successes, Amanda is nothing of the sort.
“I’ve been working my whole life for this,” she says. “I’ve spent twenty-six years writing, and eight years studying what it takes to make writing my career. After I turned eighteen, and I got really serious about being published, I spent a lot of time researching the publishing world and learning and getting critiqued and critiquing others. I write commercial fiction, with nice covers and good prices. And I happened to publish during an ebook revolution. So if you want to know the secret to my success – it’s all that right there.”
Amanda bears a number of the hallmarks of authors who have been most successful on the Kindle:
- She has written more than one book.
- Even better, her books are written in series form, e.g. her Trylle Trilogy (Switched,Torn and Ascend) and a four-book series about vampires starting with My Blood Approves. The St Martin’s Press deal is for a four-book series called Watersong
- She prices the first book at 99 cents to build an audience for the higher-priced books
This isn’t to discourage you if you have only one book — every author started with only one book — but it is true that the best marketing tool you have for your book is the book that went before it.
What you can learn from Amanda
- Persevere: the books that have made Amanda a successful author with a multimillion dollar publishing deal are books she sent to agents and publishers without getting any interest
- Be professional: Amanda might not have finished community college but she approached writing as a craft and a business from the age of 18. The break she got in her mid-20s wasn’t just luck, it was the result of a considered approach
- Network: Even thought she’s huge now, Amanda contributes online through her blog, through discussion boards, and blogs in her genre – “I am fortunate enough to write in a genre where they work very hard for you if they like you,” she says. “Once they liked me, they really worked on talking about my books on their blogs, and having interviews and giveaways.”