The curious case of writing wunderkind, Amanda Hocking, keeps unfolding. This is the woman who, over the past year or so, independently sold a truckload of e-books in her series of Young Adult Vampire Romances. Is that even a genre? It is now! With Ms. Hocking hinting on her blog that she has earned in the vicinity of $2 million from e-book sales alone, and with no publisher of any kind standing behind her, one would think it would be a pretty darn good story by itself.
But in recent days comes the news that Amanda Hocking has signed a traditional publishing deal with St. Martin’s Press for an advance rumored to be in the $2 million range. The independent publishing industry is simultaneously outraged and overjoyed. Overjoyed that the old-fashioned publishers have come crawling to an indie author, hat in hand, begging her to take their money. Outraged that Hocking would throw in her lot with an industry that has historically treated indie and self publishers like redheaded step-children.
From our perspective, how can anyone blame Amanda Hocking for taking the money? That’s $2 million in hand! While influential voices within the indie publishing community debate the pros and cons of whether she could have made even more money by continuing to forge her own path, we say come talk to us when you’ve turned down a check big enough to change your life forever. To us it looks like Hocking is straddling the fence perfectly at the moment. She retains all rights to those best-selling e-books which continue to fly of the cyber shelves, while agreeing to write a different series for St. Martins, which will likely expand her reach beyond those who were early Kindle and Nook adapters.
We might be witnessing a fundamental power shift in the publishing industry. Except for the very best-selling writers like Stephen King, James Patterson, and J.K. Rowling, authors have usually been granted little power and influence in the process. Perhaps with Amanda Hocking we see the wind beginning to blow in a different direction. Stay tuned.
The Speaking of Wealth Team