She is the World’s Bestselling eBook Author

Amanda Hocking of Minnesota is the face of a brave new world, an overnight celebrity, suddenly and fabulously rich, and the literal embodiment of the decline and fall of the publishing world as we knew it, oh, six months ago.

The great news is that she is just like you and me. On her blogsite, she tells a familiar tale -- she always loved to write. But when she started to write in earnest, she was repeatedly turned away by editors and agents. So she published herself on Amazon.

Today, not only has her world turned upside down, she’s also up-ended the entire publishing industry. In less than six months. No small feat for a writer the mainstream industry shunned.

Today, February 27th, Britain’s The Observer newspaper named Amanda Hocking  “the world's bestselling ebook author, selling more than 450,000 titles last month alone.”

Yes, sit down for a moment and take that in. Nearly half a millon books IN ONE MONTH.

How did a 26-year-old in Minnesota single-handedly set major publishing houses shivering in their book-covers --  without even trying?

She published her first book, My Blood Approves, to the Kindle Store in April 2010, not even a year ago, according to her blog. A week later, she made the sequel available too. Here is what happened next:

  • In April 2010, she sold 45 ebooks in two weeks by word of mouth.
  • In May 2010, she sold 624 ebooks and made $362.
  • In June 2010, she sold 4,258 ebooks and made $3,180.
  • In July 2010, she sold 3,532 books and made $6,527.
Then suddenly she found herself at the epicenter of seismic shift in the book universe (to mix metaphors).

In August, a publishing house in Hungary asked to buy foreign rights. She approached five agents and got one. Here’s the real shocker, which in a nutshell summarizes how the old world has yet to catch up to the new world of bookselling: Of the five agents, only three even asked for a manuscript -- even though she had people asking to buy her foreign rights. Of the three agents that did ask for a manuscript, two never contacted her again (as of her account in August 2010). She signed with Steven Axelrod at The Axelrod Agency, Inc.

“I'd just sold over 10,000 books at the time,” she writes on her blog.

That same month, one of her books hit #25 on the Kindle sales list, and she made $1,200 IN ONE DAY from ebook sales.

“I just made more in a day than I used to make in a month,” she wrote on her blog.

In August, she sold just under 5,000 ebooks and made $10,000.

And in January, she sold nearly half a million books. If her $2 per book profit margin held true, she’s a wealthy woman. She has 4,000 Facebook followers and is now a USA Today bestselling author. And two weeks ago she announced that her Trylle Trilogy has been optioned for film by Terri Tatchell, the Oscar-nominated screenplay writer of District 9.

But these are not the reasons why I love Amanda Hocking. Clearly her writing is a hit with the public. Obviously her unprecedented success as a solo publishing phenom frightens traditional publishing houses. But I love her because she’s been honest and open with us, her public.

She made her sales record public, and her profits. She truly is an ebook pioneer, and outlining the details of her trajectory only serves to help educate the rest of us  about what is possible. For this reason alone, she deserves a lifetime of success in the storytelling profession. I’m betting she’ll have it. -Caleb

You can find Amanda Hocking and her books at


  1. I've been watching her story too. It's wonderful. She’s a prolific writer and has many books available to download which is smart 'cause when people find writing they like, they want more.

  2. Oh, thanks for the heads up on this- you better believe I bought a book :)

  3. And now? What should we think?

  4. Caleb, thanks so much for this post. I have a daughter who writes and writes. This means she has more options than just collecting rejections from print publishers. Thanks!

  5. I know I'm a little late, but I love your post on Amanda! She is an inspiration to all of us eBook authors out here. I linked to this post on my blog at:

  6. I know this one is really obvious, but it needs to be said and quite frankly, I believe this is the hardest part for many people. Many people have great ideas about a book and what would make a great book, but few ever put their ideas to paper.

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