World's Bestselling E-book Author Signs $2M deal with MacMillian

Big news in the world of publishing today!

Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old self-published author who became the world's bestselling e-book author, has signed a deal with St. Martin's Press, according to several sources, including the New York Times.

The Times reports that St. Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan, will publish 4 books in Amanda's “Watersong” series. The books will be YA paranormal.
"A heated auction for the rights to publish her books began early last week, and several major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, dropped out as the price climbed into the seven figures.," according to the Times. "The bidding eventually rose beyond $2 million for world English rights.

I first talked about Amanda Hocking, who lives in Minnesota, on this blog a couple of weeks ago. I now have to change what I said about her. Here is what I originally said:

"She 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."

So, what does today's news mean for us, the everyday struggling writers who are trying to discern whether we should be chasing agents or simply publishing e-books?

Here is what Amanda herself has to say about her decision (she posted this on her blog on Tuesday):

"There's some buzz on the internet about me, and I'm not at a point where I can say much about it. But here's what I can say - I'm writer. I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full time corporation."

So what it comes down to, in my opinion, is help. It sounds like she wants help. A year ago she was a normal, unheard-of writer (sound familiar?). Now she is, as she says, a corporation. So she's turned to traditional publishing because of what they can offer -- publicity help, marketing, sales, etc.

This is my interpretation of what this all means: She got a $2 million deal BECAUSE of e-books. Remember that she had been repeatedly turned down by agents and publishers before. She took her writing straight to the masses, and the masses spoke, and the traditional publishers listened.

She went on to say she did not want to be the "poster child" for the ebook movement and that she will continue to self-publish, including a new book in April or May.

Here's a recap of her story. In January she sold more than 450,000 ebooks.
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.
You can find Amanda Hocking and her books at

And thanks to author Linda Bethers for tipping me off to this news!


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