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Here's What I learned from Amanda Hocking:
If you’re interested in the world of publishing…for that matter if you’re interested in world events at all, you’ve no doubt stumbled across the hub-bub regarding Amanda Hocking, the young, self-published author whose e-books are selling like hotcakes on Amazon.com.
I spent some time on Amanda Hocking’s blog this past weekend, trying to glean some tidbits from her amazing story, and how her novels skyrocketed to the top #100 on Amazon in such a short time. And if I’m being honest (and I think most writers will agree) I was also hoping she might have listed step-by-step instructions that would ensure my career follow her path to success. Sort of a “To Do” list I could print out and check off, so I could be fully confident I was doing all the right things.
No such list exists, but I must admit, after spending some time on Ms. Hocking’s blog, I was surprised by her candor, and I developed a deep respect for this young woman. Here’s what I learned (Editor’s note: these observations were taken from a blog Ms. Hocking posted on August, 27, 2010, entitled Epic Tale of How it All Happened. Here’s the link: http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2010/08/epic-tale-of-how-it-all-happened.html )
1. Don’t give up. Rejections happen, and just because an editor or agent doesn’t like your submission, that doesn’t mean you aren’t talented or your work won’t find a niche with readers. Although Ms. Hocking’s success is touted as “overnight”, she worked very hard and dealt with many disappointments before garnering such huge recognition.
2. Listen to constructive criticism. Revise, edit, revise, edit, and then edit some more. In fact, don’t ever assume you’re done editing. Because you’re not. People pay to read your work. Be respectful of their investment and offer them the best product possible.
3. Work like a factory. Write what you’re passionate about and write often and as much as you can. Ms. Hockings cranked out books in 14-21 days, even with a full-time job.
4. Give your readers more. Once they have fallen in love with your characters, don’t cut them off. Craft other stories within the same genre, serials and spin-offs. Readers will be waiting to get that next installment.
5. Don’t be greedy, aka don’t view your readers as dollar signs. Amanda Hocking sells her e-books within a $0.99-$2.99 price range, she says, “Because I can make a living doing it, so I see no reason to charge more.”
6. Stay current with trends and use all available on-line tools - Twitter, Facebook, blog and website. Contact book bloggers to review your published works. Even if your responses are short, reply whenever readers contact you. Be everywhere on-line that you can.
7. Take risks. If Amanda Hocking had never “tried” selling her books on Amazon (which she did in hopes to earn enough money to attend a Muppet convention in Chicago–Lord love her), none of us would have realized the height of success a self-published author could achieve.
8. Stay humble. I was amazed by Ms. Hocking’s lack of bravado. Even at the date of this post (15,000 books sold with a total profit of somewhere around $20K (and yes, I realize the current numbers go wwwaaayyy beyond that) she remained modest, and accredited most of her success to book bloggers and her readers. Had her post been filled with all sorts of condescending b.s., I would have immediately been turned off. Instead, she was very gracious and that made me adore her.I can’t recommend Ms. Hocking’s books, just because I haven’t read any of her work…yet. But I must admit, after seeing what she had to say, I’m anxious to discover the worlds she's created. I am also thrilled by her success and think she deserves a great big ol' pat on the back. After all, if she can do it, so can we…
Tomorrow our Fool for Romance Blog Tour continues over at Michele Hart's blog: www.michelehart.com/b15-book/htm