Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why are there no mainstream articles about Amanda Hocking?

Do you know who Amanda Hocking is? If you're an independent author and you don't, you should. If you've come to this blog and you've never heard the name before, tell me - I'm curious to know.

Amanda is a phenomenon of the indie publishing world. She is a young Minnesota native who was working at a less than satisfying day job dreaming saving pennies to buy even the simplest of pleasures (A $14 replacement of pink earphones that her dog chewed up). She lived with a roommate (presumably because she could not afford her own place) and dreamed of one day being able to make a living writing books for a living.

Her first book went on sale in April 2010. In November, she had some very nice sales (over 20,000) which is substantial, but considering she had multiple books and they were priced at $0.99 to $2.99 she still had to keep her day job.

Then December came.

It was a good month for every indie author I talked to, but Amanda...she hit the all out of the park. She sold more than 109,000 copies in a single month and her copies sold to date was quickly approaching 200,000.

Since then she's gone quiet about her numbers, I think she is afraid of looking too boastful, but in December she was "ranked" well. But throughout January she has had MULTIPLE books on the top 100 and today I just looked to find this:

#2 - Switched, $0.99
#4 - Ascend, $2.99
#8 - Torn, $2.99

Three books in the top 10? That's just crazy talk. Which is amazing to begin with but I also know her other books:

My Blood Approves

Are also in the top 100...that's 7 books!

I have no idea how many books sell at #2 - though I would love Amanda to come here and tell us just so we know. But if she sold 109,000 in December I'm guessing she sold around 300,000 in January. That means she's probably over the 1/2 million mark by now.

Recently I read that there are only 4 authors that have sold more than 1 million ebooks they are: James Paterson, Stig Larson, Nora Roberts (also writing as JD Robb), and I'm sorry to say I forgot the fourth. I venture to say Amanda will hit this level in less than six-months and no one in mainstream publishing knows (or maybe they know and are just not saying anything.

So the big question is...why are there no NYT article on this girl? Why is not every blog in publishing discussing her right now?

Amanda, I' so happy for your success. You are inspiration to everyone who has a dream of "making it big" in publishing. Even if the mainstream is not recognizing your accomplishments, rest assured there are many "in the know" who do.

2/3/2011 UPDATE: For those that don't read comments Amanda has now past 500,000 ebooks and she was recently interviewed by USA Today. I'm anxious to read the article. Go Amanda!

2/4/2011 UPDATE: An NBC News affiliate did a report on Amanda!

2/09/2011 UPDATE: The USA Today article went live

2/10/2011UPDATE: Amanda becomes the first author to make the USA Today Bestseller's List. This should propell her sales even farther.

From the 2/6/2011 Best Seller's List
#24 - Ascend
#31 - Torn
#81 - My Blood Approves
#133 - Fate
#146 - Flutter


Nadia Lee said...

James Paterson, Stig Larson, Nora Roberts (also writing as Robin Hobb), and I'm sorry to say I forgot the fourth.

I don't think Nora Roberts writes as Robin Hobb. Her other name is JD Robb.

As for Amanda -- the Huffington Post did an interview w/ her, IIRC.

John E said...

I agree, it's the book-publishing story of the year. New York's Big Six reps and Hollywood's producers should be camping outside her door with contracts ready, if they are not already.

You'd think journalists, who are ostensibly literary people, would notice her amazing story. It'll happen eventually. Question is, how long?

Cate Rowan said...

Yes, Amanda is definitely an inspiration!

BTW, Nora Roberts' other pen name is J.D. Robb, not Robin Hobb.

Lisa Nowak said...

You ask why, but we all know you already know. :)

1. Traditional publishing houses do not want to admit to the power of indie publishing. If they do, they'll have to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that if they don't make big changes very soon, authors are going to discover how poorly they're being treated and jump ship. This will spell disaster for them. But it's easier to stick their fingers in their ears and whistle. Maybe it will all go away, and they can vote their CEOs some big bonuses in the same meeting where they lay off editors because the company isn't making enough profits.

2. Many traditional authors do not want to welcome indie authors into the fold. They feel they've worked hard to get where they are, and if they did it that way, everyone else can and should, too. Though some are outright obnoxious about it, most are simply uneducated. They don't realize that they can chose not to work for slave wages in a situation where many of their creative rights are compromised. They've been taught to believe that they need the system, and the system is the only way. It's sad because they're basically asking to be mistreated and thanking the people who are inflicting that mistreatment. I could go on and on about this, but I won't. :)

3. The major media outlets are just like any other big corporations. They are resistant to change, unable to visualize the big picture, and unlikely to embrace anything that will cost them ten cents today even if it stands to make them more money in the future. They've become more interested in promoting and preserving their own existence than in providing the service for which they were originally created.

Jason said...

I agree, Amanda is a fantastic inspiration to all indie authors, and she deserves every bit of success she gets. I'm sure in the coming months the mainstream media will start to pick up her story (she's already done two interviews in the last week or so) - hopefully she will be able to handle the resulting publicity.

Cathy Keaton said...

That's great! I guess traditional publishers refuse to acknowledge her because she defies logic for them. She's real indie competition, so they choose to look the other way. That's no way to compete with someone, though.

Good for her. I wish her all the best this coming year.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks all for correcting my Robin Hobb/JD Robb - I've fixed it.

Robin Sullivan said...

Yes, I read the Huffington Post article IIRC it was written by a fellow indie author. Even with that press notice she is still not getting the recognition that she should be given her accomplishment.

Amanda Hocking said...

They're coming around. I did an interview with USA Today last week, and Elle magazine is doing some kind of story on me in their April issue.

I'm think when the NY Times starts listing ebooks that will be a big change (which I've heard is "right around the corner.") Right now, it's a lot of talking amongst ourselves.

I do think 2011 is gonna be a really big year for writers, though. And that's awesome for everyone.

Debbi said...

FYI, Amanda recently posted this in which she indicated half a million downloads of her work have sold. And she's clearly very down-to-earth about the whole thing. Awesome! :)

Robin Sullivan said...

I'm glad to see my "estimating" skills are on the mark - so that means in January she sold about 315,000 books. NICE!!

wannabuy said...

I'm excited for Amanda. I too wonder why no one outside of the ebook/small publisher/Indie publisher world has heard of her!

Good to hear USA today will do an article. Where is the NYTimes, WSJ, etc. I have to agree with Lisa, between the various interest of the mega-corporations, they have no interest in promoting 'an outsider.'

Some people fight change until they claim they were for it all along. ;)

2011 will be big. However, I honestly believe the major 'tipping point' will be in early 2012. Then again, I never expected 300k+ books 'sold' by you in January! (Well done, expectations were exceeded.)

Ghad I wish I could blog the AAP14 December and January sales already... (and blog Amazon's DTP sales too...).


Shayne Parkinson said...

It's great to see Amanda getting some mainstream recognition - and with more to come!

Tokrika said...

............. screw this, I'm getting a pen.

Phillip Thomas Duck said...

I love her success and her continued humility :-) Amanda continues to be an inspiration for other Indie writers. Fascinating, mind-boggling, and just plain staggering number of sales!

Christy said...

Amanda's story is inspirational and industry changing. I think we will be seeing a lot of her in the future.

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