Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 28, 2011

Industry News – St. Martin’s & Amanda Hocking

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the phenomenal success Amanda Hocking has had e-publishing her books.  Here is an update:

St. Martin’s Pays a Reported $2M For Four Books By Amanda Hocking, Self-Publishing’s Reluctant Heroine.  This year every week in publishing could be considered eventful, but this week in particular had a special kind of symmetry, as the very publishing house Barry Eisler walked away from to publish on his own brought Amanda Hocking into the fold. Despite sources indicating otherwise a few days ago, St. Martin’s emerged the victor of the auction for Hocking’s new Watersong YA paranormal series, reportedly paying more than $2 million for World English rights (which, of course, includes digital rights, too.)

“I’ve done as much with self-publishing as any person can do,” Hocking told the NYT Thursday. “People have bad things to say about publishers, but I think they still have services, and I want to see what they are. And if they end up not being any good, I don’t have to keep using them. But I do think they have something to offer.”

Her comments echoed a blog post Tuesday where she addressed and explained the then-ongoing auction: “I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.” But in a follow-up post, Hocking reiterated that the deal doesn’t mean she will stop self-publishing: “I have a few titles lined up this year [to self-publish] and I’ll have more in the future.”

SMP publisher Matthew Shear evidently wanted to win the auction “pretty badly,” having first heard of Hocking six months before from her eventual acquiring editor, Rose Hilliard. Shear looks at self-publishing as a way for authors “to perhaps make a certain amount of money sooner rather than later” but a publisher “provides an extraordinary amount of knowledge into the whole publishing process. We have the editors, we have the marketers, we have the art directors, we have the publicists, we have the sales force. And they can go out and get Amanda’s books to a much, much bigger readership than she had been able to get to before.”

The first Watersong book won’t be out until Fall 2012, by which time it may become apparent whether Hocking can continue to sell her self-published books at the same rapid clip of the last few months (monthly sales reports she provided to the AP showed more than 333,000 copies sold of her nine titles available, with another 300,000 sales in February, which roughly dovetail with her claimed total earnings of between $1.4m and $2m.) Her current readership may also use that time to adjust to the eventual price increase from the 99 cents to $2.99 her e-published titles cost to whatever higher agency price Macmillan decides upon.

And Hocking, while obviously excited by her new and parallel career direction, is bemused by the reaction: “It is crazy that we live in a time that I have to justify taking a seven-figure a publishing deal with St. Martin’s,” she wrote. “Ten years ago, nobody would question this. Now everybody is.”

Times they are a changing. 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Good for her, she has some links on her blog that should be helpful!


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