authors, Ebooks, self publishing

Self publishing to a traditional deal: Amanda Hocking proves the revolution has happened.

Earlier this year, stories started to circulate about self published author Amanda Hocking and the amazing success she had with her books.   Word on the street was she self published and had sold more than one million books and generated more than $2 million in sales. While some used her to validate the power of self publishing in this changing environment, the more recent news shows how self publishing and traditional publishing are working together to provide more opportunities for authors and more choice for readers.

Self published author Amanda Hocking signed a four book deal this past week. That's good for her and all authors.

On Thursday she announced that she had sold a four-book series to St. Martin’s Press, ending a frenzied weeklong auction that involved nearly every major publisher in the business, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

According to the New York Times, Hocking sold a four book deal to the highest bidder. Amazing? Not so much.  At last year’s San Francisco Writers Conference, I started to hear agents talk about how they are now watching self published titles for potential authors to represent and now Hocking’s announcement.  It truly is the best time to be an author because Hocking’s success mimics what we have seen in the film and music industries. Content creators invest their time and money to build a following and eventually a larger company takes notice and signs them.  It’s what we have been saying for three years. First film. Then music. Now publishing.

self publishing, Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson picks up self-published title: Three Cups

When Thomas Nelson launched Westbow Press, there was the promise that they would watch the titles for sales velocity and if they saw one, they would pick up. Some critics shrugged at the idea of this “farm team” concept and said it was simply a money play. Not true. Nelson just announced the pick up of a title called, Three Cups. I have read the book. It is quite good. Here’s video interview with the authors that tells the story.

self publishing

Self publishing: “the no brainer choice”

Bernard Starr used the words in the title of this post in a post  he made on the Huffington Post. The title of his entry

Bernard Starr writes on the Huffington Post

was: Stop Kvetching. Self-Publishing is Here to Stay–And Vaulting Ahead. His exact words were:

As more and more writers and wannabe authors get turned off by the barriers to the traditional publishing world, they find the ease of access to publishing through self-publishing, as well as the potential for a larger share of profits, a no-brainer choice. (emphasis added)

He goes on to make some other important points that only provide additional support that the indie revolution is in full bloom. Here are some of some other key tidbits including a rather coarse but point-making joke.

Many are also discovering that a quality self-published book can still find its way to traditional publishing (if that’s what you want) if it generates a sales track record and is picked up by a publisher or agent.

Would-be authors — especially first-timers — may also be turned off by getting caught in the clutches of editors and agents who can intimidate them into walking gingerly with hat in hand so as not to upset the plantation owners and overseers. That sorry circumstance is captured in the story about a writer who came home much earlier than usual to find his wife in bed with his literary agent. He looked at them in astonishment and said: “This is incredible, it’s unbelievable, it’s mind boggling. My agent actually came to my house.”


authors, Indie book publishing, self publishing

Another reason why I like Indie Publishing: Contest winner gets published

I had the honor of announcing the winner of the Indie Publishing Writing Contest which was conducted in conjunction with the San Francisco Writers Conference. Novelist Michael J. Cooper of Lafayette, Calif., was the Grand Prize winner for his submission, “Foxes in the Vineyard.”

L to R. Moi, Indie Publishing Contest Winner, Michael Cooper and Laurie McClean, SFWC chairperson

“Since winning the SFWC Indie Publishing Contest, I’ve hovered between euphoria and disbelief,” Cooper said. “This truly is a lesson in perseverance-after years of writing and rewriting, and after more rejections than I care to remember, winning the contest has opened up a portal to FINALLY being published. I can’t thank the organizers and judges enough.”

His words really capture why indie publishing is such a valuable development for authors. I don’t know how many books Michael will sell. What I do know is he did not write his manuscript to keep it in a drawer. He wrote to get published. Now he will be.