You may not have heard of Amanda Hocking – but as a YA author, I certainly have! The 26-year-old author has seen amazing success as a self-publisher of her young adult series. And now she’s about to enter the traditional publishing world.
Hocking began self-publishing her books last year through online retailers, after she reportedly attempted to shop them to traditional publishers without success. In ten months she sold over 900k digital copies of her books.
But now she’s decided she wants to try her hand at traditional publishing and just last week St. Martin’s Press won the rights to publish four books in a brand new series – for over $2 million.
So what’s her reasoning? If she’s doing so well in the e-book space, why does Hocking want to lose a significant portion of her sales?
“I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc,” Hocking said on her blog. “Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.”
Hocking admits that it’s difficult and time consuming, and even with her success as an e-book author she stands up for traditional publishing. She writes, “This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.”
I think this is an important point to make for those authors interested in jumping into the e-book arena. You can’t just write a book, throw it online, and expect it to do well.
You have to be the publisher. You have to edit your book, market your book, and sell your book (or pay someone to do it). Because your book won’t be visible on display at the bookstore or the library. You’ll be buried in a list of other e-books, so you have to differentiate yourself by contacting book bloggers for reviews, using social media to connect with readers, and much much more. This can be time consuming. Very time consuming as Hocking points out. But it may be lucrative. As Nathan Bransford blogged today – if you don’t have a huge publishing house to back you – it may make more sense monetarily to go with e-book self-publishing.
So in this time when e-books are starting to significantly increase in sales and exposure – an author has to decide if she wants to spend her time writing or publishing. That may be the most important decision.