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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Successful self-publisher turns traditional

Amanda Hocking close to a real book deal

My Blood ApprovesBook commentator Julie Bosman notes in the New York Times today that self-publisher of YA paranormal books, Amanda Hocking, has put her new series onto the traditional market, attracting bids of well over a million bucks.

A 26-year-old native of Minnesota, Hocking only just got going last year.  Nine books have been the result, all self-published, and mostly in electronic form.

According to her blog, more than 900,000 have sold.

Her e-books go for under three dollars on, which may be a factor, as it deeply undercuts the price of regularly published books, even in electronic form.  The move didn't hurt her bank account over-much, however, as the low price ensures that she keeps 70% of the revenue.

Altogether, it has been a highly successful venture.  Hocking's books have landed on bestseller lists, and the author has been eulogized as an example of how to circumvent the established book industry.  So to hear that she is now going down the traditional path is quite a surprise.

Her agent, Steven Axelrod, declined to comment, and Hocking herself has dismissed the issue with a shrug.   "Self-publishing and traditional publishing really aren't that different," she wrote. "One is easier to get into but harder to maintain. But neither comes with guarantees.  Some books will sell, some won't."

A philosphical young lady, she.


Shayne Parkinson said...

Amanda is a wise and level-headed lady, and I think she has even greater success ahead of her.

If she continues to offer her existing nine (I think) books as self-pubbed, while having this new series traditionally published, she'll be comfortably established in both "camps". Another indie author, H.P. Mallory, is doing something similar, with her first two books continuing as indie, but her next few via Random House, who approached her directly when they observed her success.

Interesting times. :-)

Joan Druett said...

Interesting thoughts, too. Perhaps self-pubbing is the way for new authors to attract traditional publisher attention?

Shayne Parkinson said...

I think that will happen more and more, yes. Some publishers are clearly perusing the sales charts at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I've even had a tiny brush with such things myself, with a New York agent approaching me to offer representation. As it happens, I'm happy enough remaining independent for now. :-)

When a new author can demonstrate healthy sales figures, it does take away much of the "unknown quantity" factor. Until recently I think the approaches by publishers have generally been an unexpected and welcome bonus of success; perhaps for some authors it will become more of a strategy to attract such interest.

Rick Spilman said...

And of course, bestselling thriller writer, Barry Eisler has turned down a $500,000 advance on two his upcoming books in order to self publish.

Strange days indeed.

Joan Druett said...

Everyone seems to be guessing and second-guessing -- as you say Rick, strange days, these. I see that St Martins have bought the four-book series proposed by Hocking for a reputed $4 million (see Beattie's Book Blog). Amanda Hocking explains this new move to traditional by saying she wants to write, not consult with editors, write lots of emails, and answer the phone etc. She's got quite a shock coming her way! Traditional publishers not only like an author's full attention, but they are likely to be quite demanding after an advance of that size.