Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Amanda Hocking Translates eBook Success Into Print Success

Amanda Hocking was just 17 when she wrote her first novel, but it wasn't until she became a self-published millionaire that she finally received the traditional publishing recognition she yearned for.

Hocking is the author of a genre of books known as "paranormal romance" made popular by author Stephenie Meyer with her "Twilight" series. Hocking wrote a few novels, loaded them to Amazon in 2010, and within a year had set the ebook self-publishing world on fire by amassing a whopping $2 million in sales.

Traditional book critics often blasted her work as being amateurish or sloppy but her fans didn't seem to care or notice. At one point she was averaging 9,000 book sales a day. Her continued success in the ebook work has also translated to traditional publishing success. Recently she signed a $2 million publishing deal with St. Martin's Press and is about to embark on a media tour of Europe. he has also optioned the rights to one her novels to be made into a Hollywood film.

So, besides making me feel bad for having STILL not finished my own novel or launched a single eBook, what does all of Hocking's success mean? Not much.

Hocking didn't write to become rich or famous. She wrote as a teenager; she wrote when she worked a regular nine-to-five job; she is probably writing right now. It's her passion. She does it not for recognition, but as a matter of survival.

I write to live and live to write. If I were unable to write I would never truly be happy. Whether my work is ever published in any form, or simply sits in a desk drawer, or some unread blog somewhere; I do this because my spirit feeds on it. My soul is more alive with every word I write. Every time I compose a sentence whose structure is flawless; which conveys my thoughts in succinct purity, I reap the true benefit.

So, while I congratulate Amanda Hocking on her success, and wish her nothing but the best, I cannot help but chide anyone who thinks this is a reason for them to publish an eBook.

The only real reason to write a book is because you have something important to say. If it's important enough, you'll say it. If it's written well enough, people will read it. Everything else is just coincidence.

The traditional publishing world that once rejected her took notice, and consequently, Hocking's empire (and bank account) has grown even bigger.

After a headline-making auction in March, Hocking signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the traditional print publisher St. Martin's Press. The deal gives St. Martin's the right to release Hocking's "Trylle Trilogy" in trade paperback and as e-book editions.

The first novel, Switched (St. Martin's Griffin, $8.99), hits stores today with a first printing of 250,000 print copies. The St. Martin's e-book edition also is $8.99. (The sequels, Torn and Ascend, are due Feb. 28 and April 24.) Meanwhile, the Trylle (pronounced "Trill") film rights have been optioned by Media Capital Rights. Screenwriter Terri Tatchell, Academy Award nominee for District 9, has completed the first draft, Hocking says.

Click here to read more about Hocking's success.

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