What can we learn from Amanda Hocking?

March 11, 2011 Writing Comments (1) 579

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I haven’t been Tweeting, and my Facebook activity has been diminished. I’m pleased to say this is partly because I’ve been writing. The rest is because of life – things are busy at work right now (which is good), I’m running my first full marathon in (checking calendar, feeling pit open in my stomach) nine days, and there have been various other life-related things happening, most of which I’m happy about. But I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting here a couple of times a week, at least, because I do care about this blog and I do care about my readers (reader?).

This week, the online literary community was all atwitter (see what I did there?) about Amanda Hocking, self-published millionaire. The discussion was interesting, especially because I’d never before heard of Ms. Hocking. In a nutshell, she’s earned millions by self-publishing her work on the Kindle, and as Nathan Bransford explained quite nicely, she keeps a much larger share of the sale of each eBook than a conventionally published author would.

The conversation around Ms. Hocking’s success, and the success of other successful self-published authors, took predictable turns. Agents and publishers wondered whether her success is one of the early indications that the electronic publishing revolution has arrived, or if she is an anomaly. Self-publishing saw her rise as a trumpet breaking the sixth seal on the death of conventional publishing. My favorite analysis of Amanda Hocking’s success, surprisingly, came from Amanda Hocking herself, who is quite pleasantly (and unexpectedly, at least to my thinking) not a conventional-publishing hater.

I just don’t understand writers animosity against publishers. So much of what I’ve been reading lately has made me out to be Dorothy taking down the Wicked Witch.

Publishers have done really great things for a really long time. They aren’t some big bad evil entity trying to kill literature or writers. They are companies, trying to make money in a bad economy with a lot of top-heavy business practices. Continue Reading

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