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Friday, August 27, 2010

an epic tale of how it all happened

Today I'm going to do something I've debated on doing before: I'm going to talk about what's going on with my books from a writer standpoint. I know that I talk about them a lot, but I always talk about it to inform readers.

The reason I debated is because I know people like J. A. Konrath talk about their work in a frank, transparent way, which is wonderful for other writers to read, but I think that he sometimes turns readers off with his business talk.

So I'm just going to say up front: I truly appreciate every reader who has bought me book, even the ones who hated it and gave it one star. I write because I love it, not because I see readers as dollar signs. I am very, very passionate about my work, and I take it very seriously that people are inviting me to entertain them every time they buy a book.

But two things have happened lately that makes me want to talk about the busissnes aspect of all this:

1. More people are asking me for advice and wanting to know what I did.

2. I need advice.

People ask me, "When did you start writing?" And the truth is I never didn't write. Before I could talk, I would tell stories. When I was younger, I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the ideas I had, so I had talk and get them out. I was always writing. It never occurred to me until I was about 12 that I would do anything other than be a writer.

When I was 12, I decided that writers were boring people, and I didn't want to be boring, so I'd save writing for my "safety" career while I tried out other ones. In high school, I probably wrote about fifty short stories and started a dozen novels. I also wrote a full-length script for a movie about four teenagers who resort to murder to protect a friend. I'm sure it's poorly written, but I haven't looked at in like 8 years.

I finished my first novel when I was seventeen, right after I graduated high school. It was about a guy with amnesia. In a corrupt institution. Looking for a serial killer. I know, it's shocking that something with that many overwrought cliches never found a publisher. (BTW - my mom still says its her favorite book by me. But its still a very bad book).

I assumed that once I wrote a book, I would become rich and famous. This is apparently not how things work in the writing world. So I spent the next few years researching everything I could find about the publishing business and agents and models and plans.

I went to college, but I only went to my writing class, so I dropped out after a semester.  A few years later, I went to college again, but I only went to my English class, so I dropped out after a semester.

I've taken about three other writing seminars, I think. All my life people have told me that I have a "natural talent" for writing. I don't even know what it means, and I don't know if its true or not. But it did only bolster my belief that I'd some day be a real life author, with real live books for sale.

So I kept writing books, and I kept getting promptly rejected.  Over time, I get much better excepting criticism and better at cutting things out. (On average, I cut about 1/3 of the book out in revisions. Switched, I cut out about half). And generally just writing better books.

Cut to November 2008. I said, "This is it. I'm going to get published." I went to the stores, looked at what was selling compared to what I was writing. I'd mostly been writing about teenagers and relationships, but my stuff tended to be really, really dark. (Think a fictional version of Bully by Jim Shutze or We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver).

At Walmart, I saw 700 vampire novels. I said to my roommate, "I like vampires. I'm going to write a vampire novel, and that will be my door into publishing. From this, I will be able to launch my career." My roommate rolled his eyes, and said, "K. I think you should write a book like Carrie, but whatever you say."

So I wrote the vampire novel in 15 days. Then for good measure, I wrote another. I edited, revised, edited, revised. (I did have a teacher from a college revise it, too, which someone suggested I do, when I did.)  I queried. I got rejected.

I said to my roommate, "There are too many books about vampires out there. It's too saturated. I'm going to write about something else instead." My roommate said, "K. Why don't you write a book like Carrie? Or Scream. I like Scream."

I decided that I really enjoyed writing paranormal romance. Really.  So I knew I wanted to stay in that genre, even if it wasn't popular. I looked up different books, seeing what was popular and wasn't. I came across a few lines on Wikipedia (everything on there is true) from a bit of Scandinavian folklore. It was two sentences, but that was it. That was the idea for Switched.

I went to Star Trek in theaters, and came home and wrote Switched in a week. (During that time I wrote around 9-14 hours a day. I only ate ravioli and Red Bull and Sweet-tarts.) 


When I finished, I edited and revised, then I sent out queries. A few agents said that wanted it. They ultimately rejected it, but they gave me good advice about the story which I implemented. (The biggest one was that Wendy was too unlikeable. She needed to be tough without being rude, and I did work on softening her.)

I queried again. Nobody was interested. I worked on the sequel to Switched anyway, and another vampire book. The series wasn't done, so I had to finish it even if no one bought it. I edited, revised, and gave them out to a few more beta readers.

I started following Ginger Clark on Twitter, and I decided I liked her. She posted an article about trends in YA urban fantasy, and she said dystopian is up. I was going through a zombie phase, and I wanted to write a book where a girl kicked a lot of ass. I like damsel in distress, but after MBA I wanted the girl to take care of herself. So I wrote Hollowland in 21 days.

I edited, revised, edited, beta'd. I queried only about 5 agents with that one. I was getting burnt out on being rejected. But these five agents rejected me. Again.

So here I was. February 2010. I'd been determined to make 2009 the year I would get published. And I hadn't. I said to my roommate, "I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think I'm ever going to get published. I don't know what more I can do. I've worked like a factory putting out the best books I possibly can. I've studied trends, the industry, business models." And my roommate said, "Cheer up. You'll get published. Why don't you try the Carrie novel?"

So I did. I wrote Honalee. But then I got distracted by an article on Twitter. Somebody directed me to a link about Elisa Lorello and her novel Faking It. She made it to the top 100 in Kindle, and she didn't have a publisher. And then I heard about Karen McQuestion, and I found J. A. Konrath's blog. 

I didn't think I'd have any kind of success with ebooks, but I kept researching it. Eventually,  I decided that even if I only sold a few copies of any book, it'd be better than the pile of rejections I had building up. And the no money I had in my checking account could use a boost. 

(In case your wondering, the whole time I've been writing books, I've had a full-time job working with the people with disabilities for the past five years.)

In October, there's a Jim Henson exhibit coming to Chicago that I really, really want to go to. I'd planned on saving my income taxes to go see it, but between catching up on bills and going in on an X-box with my roommate, the taxes were gone (Side note: I literally only bought an X-box so I could play Arkham Asylum. And it was TOTALLY worth it). 

So I had no money, and I said to my roommate, "I'm going to sell books on Amazon through Kindle, and I bet I can make at least a couple hundred bucks by the end of the summer to go to Chicago." My roommate (who has heard my make lots of plans that I never follow-through with) said, "Yeah. Okay. I'll see that when it happens. Have you finished the Carrie book yet?"


In March, I made My Blood Approves available in paperback on Amazon through Lulu. In April, I published it to Kindle. About a week or so later, I published the second book in the series Fate


Here's where the story picks up. The two books combined, I sold 45 books in about 2 weeks. I thought to myself, "Not too shabby. Let's add another book to the mix."


I put out Flutter  at the end of May. I distinctly remember one day in May before it came out, I sold 38 books in one day. I took a screen shot. I emailed my mom and my roommate, and I knew there was no way I was ever gonna do that. I mean, I was just a me, publishing books on the internet. There's no way I could ever really be successful with this. 

In May, I sold 624 books and made $362.


Then in June, something truly magical happened. I discovered book bloggers. I had no idea such people existed. They just read books and write about them. And I don't mean "just." These people take times out of their busy lives to talk about books and have contests and connect with followers and writers and other readers. 


These guys are honestly my heroes. I'm a little in love with all of them. 


I asked several if they would be interested in reviewing my books, and most of them said yes, even if they didn't generally review self-published work. 


Then something surreal started happening. My books were selling. Like, really selling.



So, thanks in large part to book bloggers, June turned into a very good month. I sold 4258 copes of all three books combined, and I made a total of $3180.


In July, I turned 26, decided I wasn't a total failure, and released the first book in a new series. This is important because I consider Switched to by my 8 1/2. This book is THE BOOK. If I ever had a shot of getting published in print, I thought Switched would be the book to do it. It's better paced, more original, and just ... it's a good book. I cannot say enough good things about Switched. I know I wrote it, so I shouldn't say things like that, but it's the project I believe in most.

But I didn't see any reason to let it whither away on my computer. It's a good book. I should sell it. So I did.

Also in July, I finally found an editor and sent her my books. I contacted a cover artist about doing the covers for future books. And I put in notice at my dayjob.


For those of you reading this, you'll realize that leaving my job seems a bit premature. Probably. I am still on-call at work, but I wanted to really focus on writing. I wanted the chance to be a full-time author for awhile, even if it only ended up being a few weeks.


In July, I sold 3532 books and made $6527. 


In the beginning of August, a publishing house in Hungary approached me about foreign rights for their book. I emailed 5 agents then, telling them about my book, my sales (I'd just sold over 10,000 books at the time), and that I had people asking about foreign rights. 

Two agents asked me to email them a manuscript almost right away, and I sent it out, but I haven't heard back from them. On Monday, a third agent emailed me asking for the book, and he emailed me Thursday, asking me to call to talk about things. 


Also on Monday, I released the fourth book in my vampire series. It peaked #25 in the entire Kindle store. If you''re wondering how many sales it took the book to get that high:  150 in a two hour period.  Also on Monday - in one 24-hour period - I made $1200. Working at my day job full time, the most I'd ever made in a month is $1000. I just made more in a day than I used to make in a month. 

Things that should be noted: I just released a book people were excited for. That isn't my average sales. That fourth book is already about to slip out of the top #100 and it's only been in it for four days. So don't think that's usually how awesome my sales are. It's not. I know that. I don't expect days like that to happen very often. But it was still an awesome day.


So, here's what August looks like for me: I've sold 4873 books this month (as of 12:50 am). I'm estimating that I'll make over $9000 this month, probably around $9500-10,000. But I can't say for sure until I get the report from Amazon. 


In total, since April 15th, I've sold over 15,000 books and made over $10,000 with the expectation of making about an additional $9K+ this month. By mid-September, I'll easily have made $20,000. This does not include what I'm making through paperback or Smashwords. (I'd guess, combined, they were under $200, so it's not a lot coming from them). 

Last year, working full-time at my day job, I grossed $18,000. I'm not even joking.


I do have an editor, and I have updated edited versions of the books out. I have gotten a comment that editing still isn't great though, so I may be looking into another editor. Right now, things are so in flux, I'd rather not look for one. But I might in the future, when things are more concrete.


I have not paid for any advertisement on any site. I do give away ARCs to review blogs, but that's the only money I've spent in regards to advertising and marketing.


I do plan on hiring cover artists for future covers. I don't like doing them. It stresses me out. I like writing books and editing them. That's all. 


This is probably way more detailed than anybody needed, but a lot of people have asked, "How did this happen?" So I'm telling you everything I know. 


From what I can guess, it happened because:
-the books are in a popular genre
-the covers are enjoyable
-the price is good
-the writing isn't terrible (although, believe me, some people would argue that point)
-book bloggers recommended it
-accessibility - I'm on Twitter, facebook, goodreads, Amazon, KB. I'm anywhere I can be. I always try to respond to readers, even though most of my responses are lame. I'll spend about an hour replying to fan mail and it only amounts to about 2 sentences that pretty much say thanks. I'm sorry I'm a lame writer-backer. 


My biggest word of advice to any new/future writers thinking about diving into Kindle: Edit. I don't care what you think, you didn't edit enough. Some people won't care that there's errors, its true, but enough of them will. And they paid for it, so they have a right to. So edit more. And then again. Really. 



My problem is that I no longer know what my goals are in terms of my writing career. I've already far surpassed my expectations. I don't know what's realistic for me to want or expect. Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled and soooooo grateful for everything. I just don't know what's next. 


So tonight, I was discussing all this with my roommate. I was saying how I'm not sure if a print deal would be in best interest or if I should ever sell my erights or what I even want. He said, "It'll work out. You're stressing too much. Even if you sell your books, and it sucks, you can always write more books. You should write a book like Scream . That'd be neat."



235 comments:

  1. I like your roommate. :)

    Aim as high as you can. You've already done much better than you expected so you've nothing to lose. You're still young, your writing will get even better and more people will know you exist - you're already earning a living from writing so why not dream the impossible?

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  2. I also like your roommate and did you ever write that Carrie novel?????

    Fantastic blog Amanda and fantastic success - keep going you could be the next Stephen King [prolific, successful and talked about]

    Cheers,
    Trace

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  3. I like your roommate too!

    Thanks for being so honest, its refreshing! I think your books are fantastic, I agree that its a popular genre but I've read heaps of books that fit that genre and yours definitely stand out. I don't know what exactly it is that makes me love them so much, I do enjoy the way you describe the characters though. My one note for the MBA series is that you cant see or palpate a vein only arteries.

    So my advise (which as a nursing student clearly isn't worth anything, lol) is keep writing ebooks and write what you love writing about not just whats popular because pretty soon people will be waiting to read your books just because you've written them :)
    Oh and I love the blog!

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  4. Amanda, I'm so happy for you!

    Just remember: you worked your ass off to get where you are right now.

    You deserve it.

    David

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  5. woops, I meant to write you can't see or palpate a pulse in a vein only in an artery. I obviously don't edit enough, lol

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  6. Wow. I had no idea how successful you truely are! Congratulations. And I personally like hearing about an authors way to publication.

    And your roommate sounds kiss-ass awesome!

    Honestly, you've been published since april and you've already sold so many books! I heard in an interview that you did about the foreign rights- congratulations. If this agent is smart they'll represent you, even if it's only for forgein rights (although there's a very strong possibility that it will go futher than just Hungry).

    And I honestly had no idea you could have such an income with self publishing. And although I would one day like to publish the traditional route, your success has definitly opened up my eyes to another path.

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  7. So how do you find the book bloggers you decide to submit to?

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  8. PART I
    This is a beautiful, beautiful story and one I want my daughter to read. Just this morning I was talking to her about how other fifth graders might need a "How to Survive Fifth Grade" ebook and she said, "No, it should be 'How I Survive Fifth Grade." A brilliant distinction.

    Amanda, I've followed you career a good bit since even BEFORE you were cool. And be careful when you open yourself to advice because you will get a lot of it. Well meaning, maybe, but from personal perspectives and agendas.

    Here's my perspective based on six books in NY and now a handful of indie books (though I am nowhere in the same league as you):

    Last year, it may have made sense to do what Boyd Morrison did and sign with an agent, because he had a dream of getting published in NY and seeing his books in stores. Sounds like you had that dream. Is it still your dream? Your primary dream? Or is it to connect with readers, which you can so easily do now?

    Would you really want an agent now after they wouldn't take you before? It's sort of like the girl who takes off her glasses and gets the makeover and THEN the star quarterback notices her and asks her out. That's what I call a lazy agent. I've worked with five or six agents on different things, and they can be useful if you trust them. But make no mistake, they will always do what's best for them instead of what's best for you. That's just human nature. And they have other clients, friends in the industry to please, and ego and standing to consider--things that likely will be more important than you.

    Scott Nicholson
    www.hauntedcomputer.com

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  12. PART II--sorry, it wouldn't let me fit everything in the post!

    PART II
    From a practical perspective, the minute you sign with an agent, here's what you get: someone who is likely to get you an advance and MAYBE a movie deal if you are lucky (though most deals are options that will pay you about what you look to be earning this year and you'll probably lose the whole series).

    You will probably get a really good advance and be a full-time writer--for the near future. I know several people who got snazzy deals, but by Book Two the publisher dumped them and their careers were dead. One nice check, a couple of years to write, then back to Walmart or Burger King or house painting, and worst of all they'd lost rights to their own books. They didn't even own the one thing that was truly theirs (though it used to be you could eventually get your rights back). Your career is living and thriving now.

    With a publisher: You will get 25 percent royalty, with luck, on your ebook sales, instead of the 70 percent you now get. It's possible and maybe even likely that your paper sales will far more than offset that, but only in the short term. Modern publishing clauses basically keep the rights forever, so you will be losing MORE per sale than you are getting, possibly as long as the book is in copyright, past your own life and into the life of your heirs. Hard to think about when you are 26, but you are in a good position to think long term.

    If you sell to a publisher, it's likely you will have to take your books down from Amazon and then have a year or 18 months of waiting for a book to come out from a publisher. That's lost sales and lost readers--forever.

    Scott

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  13. PART III
    What exactly is a publisher going to bring you at this point that you can't already get? Only one thing--your books in stores. And I believe bookstores are going to be dying as fast as video stores have done in the last five years. It's like jumping off your own sound boat that you built yourself and climbing aboard a sinking boat that has someone else at the helm and they tell you to sit in the back and shut up.

    Amanda, your industry is Amanda, not the publishing industry. Are you willing to give up control and vision of My Blood Approves to people who will never care as much as you do, no matter how hard they try and how much they say they do?

    This is all heavy stuff, and things I've been mulling all year. A publisher may promote you if you are already a bestseller or they invest a lot of money. An agent may get you some foreign, audio, and maybe even a film deal, but people are getting that kind of interest without having agents. (At that point you'd probably need an agent or lawyer to handle a specific negotiation, but if they want to control everything, then you need to ask them all these hard questions. Many agents are in total denial about what's happening--clearly the ebook era is growing rapidly and clearly publishers are no longer necessary for success, as you and others have proven.)

    Scott

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  14. PART IV (that's all!)
    I'm not one of these people gleeful about the "demise of the publishing industry." I think it will survive and find its own way, but with painful changes like any other business. You're already finding your way, and you did it your way, believing in yourself. How much do you want to turn that over to another person now? You can find editing, graphic design, formatting, and other services independently, people without any agenda except making your work the best.

    I'd suggest you talk to some people in your genre who have agents, and talk to several agents. Don't forget (though many agents have), the agent works for you and you are basically hiring an employee, though it's also a bit like a marriage and hopefully a friendship, too.

    Good luck, and most of all, enjoy it!

    Scott Nicholson
    www.hauntedcomputer.com

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  15. Great advice, Scott!

    Amanda, I'm truly thrilled for you. This is an exciting time to be a writer and you're a wonderful success story. I look forward to watching your continued rise. You totally deserve this!!

    Cheers!
    David

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  16. Hey Amanda,

    Scott is right; you will get lots of advice, and here's some more from my perspective.

    Think about your audience. They are young people, raised in the digital age. They may read paper books, but they're just as comfortable, if not more so, with digital. Even the ones who can't afford ereaders or laptops or don't have credit cards to buy at Amazon will find ways to get your ebooks. They'll read them on school or library computers or borrow Kindles from their friends. They may even download them from the DarkNet. Who cares? They're still fans, and they'll spread the word about your books to people who will pay for them, and when they do get some money, they'll pay for them, too, because ebooks aren't expensive.

    What I'm saying is, even more so than us older folks, your books have a great future in ebook format, and you've already seen that your readers like buying them from YOU, not some nameless, faceless, giant book corporation (who may someday decide they don't want to sell them anymore, and you'll have no control over that).

    In short, my unsolicited advice is: if ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Good luck to you!

    --Maria Romana

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  17. Amanda, That's a fantastic story! It's wonderful to see someone connect with readers and discover a new career. Good luck no matter which direction you take. The great thing about being a writer is that there will always be a demand for great content regardless of how it's delivered.

    What you have now is negotiating leverage. If you can't get a print deal that's far better than what you're earning now self-publishing ebooks, there's no reason to change what your doing. But if you do go that route, make sure to choose an agent that's a good fit for you. I'm very happy with the Irene Goodman Agency (one of her agents, Miriam Kriss, sounds like she might be right for you because she represents a lot of urban fantasy), but I know many authors who have horror stories about agents. It sounds like you're doing your homework, and that's the most important thing. And foreign deals definitely require an agent because they can be so complicated.

    Congratulations on your amazing success!

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  18. Scott is right. Amanda, I haven't read any of your books - yet. But I'm so impressed with your dedication, the hard work, and the success you're having. I just published my own first novel on Amazon and the figures you list are astounding. Why give that away to a publisher/agent after you yourself have done all the hard work? Whatever you decide, though, as long as you put your heart into your writing, you will be successful! Good luck to you.

    Christa Polkinhorn
    www.christa-polkinhorn.com

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  19. Amanda, thanks for sharing your story with us! I am totally psyched for you and your writing career. You're making it happen!! Good luck with everything you do. I really enjoy all of your books and now I can beg off being so jealous that you put one out every other month knowing that you had a stockpile. LOL :)

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  20. Here's what I do:

    If I'm considering doing something, and I have any doubts at all--I don't do it. I have found over the years, the doubts were problems I hadn't considered, that apparently were hiding in my subconscious.

    If I have to make a decision one way or the other, and I have doubts in both directions, I flip a coin. Sometimes I go for 2 out of 3.

    Looks like you have a bright future ahead of you.

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  21. Ever since I got my Kindle, I'm always looking for new authors. I'm currently reading My Blood Approves and have to say that I'm impressed.
    Thank you for posting about yourself. It only makes my reading the book more enjoyable. Yes... The editing is driving me a little crazy but I'm an editor so I expect that. The story is good and I like the characters. Keep writing! You've attained more success than most people at your age.

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  22. This is awesome! Congratulations and job well done!

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  23. Holy shit! I love you. Congratulations on everything. Please keep writing, and I'll keep buying. <3

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  24. P.S. I LOVE your roommate. But for different reasons than these folks, entirely! :)

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  25. Wow. I am totally impressed. I have been working on my book since Jan of either 2008 or 2009. I don't even remember anymore. Your dedication and hard work are admirable. You should be really proud of yourself. Shelia

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  26. Hi there!
    I just wanted to commend you on writing wonderful characters (it's what I look for in a book). I am almost done with Wisdom (which is wonderful thus far) after finding out about you and MBA less than a week ago. I found the first book at 1 in the morning and was nearly done by 7AM. It had me hooked. I look forward to reading more from you, and I have already told friends. I agree with re-thinking about publishing. Not only will you most likely make more money from it, but I (as a recent grad. school grad. with almost $100,000 in loans and currently looking for work) will be able to impulsively buy them without feeling too guilty. :) This is random, but I have written about 1,000 pages in APA format over the last 2 years, and I am a Virgo so I am a little OCD, so if you ever need help with grammatical editing, I would be glad to help! I also know of a wonderful writer in NY city (friend of the fam) who works from home editing, ghostwriting, reviewing, writing blogs, etc. if you are looking for a professional. Congrats on all of your success; I look forward to reading your future works!!

    P.S. I'm 26 (or I will be Monday) as well and I love all of your random little pop culture references :)

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  27. Amanda, you are truly an inspiration to me. I have had loads of ideas, but I never really did anything about them. Now, though, I think I will write out as many as I can, edit as much as I can, and just see what comes out of it. I won't give up, just like you didn't.
    Thank you.
    -S.A.

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  28. That tale was totally epic. Thanks for sharing so much with us--because yeah, we really did want to know. Plus, it was just a damned cool story. I have to go away to be jealous now... but in a good way.

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  29. Congrats Amanda! I've read all 4 My Blood Approves and I just finished Switched. I'm waiting for the 2nd Trylle book.

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  30. I am glad Boyd chimed in because he's one of the few who have had an experience close to this. And, on the positive side, an agent can be an awesome advocate for you over an entire career (though if you have an older agent it's likely you'll have to find another one due to retirement, or get inherited by someone.)A good agent is thinking ahead and is two steps ahead of publishers on the digital issues and the changing environment. A good agent is also not likely to let you get trapped in a never-ending deal. A good agent can remove a lot of the worries and work, though of course you will gain new worries. And a good publisher can get one of those countdown clocks on all the big book blogs, a lot of ARCs into the hands of key decision makers, and build excitement in ways one person, even hiring a publicist, can't.

    A lot of indie authors have a purely anti-NY stance, because of rejection or the difficulty of getting where you are. But there are other possibilities, too-a hybrid indie/NY career, which some authors are now crafting, where you keep some of your books and sell some of your books. I don't think publishers will like that, but it's one more bargaining chip or thing to consider. So you can have it both ways and spread the eggs to different baskets. And it will put you in a better position to go one way or the other in the future (or stay like that your entire life).

    Scott Nicholson

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  31. Amanda, thanks SO MUCH for sharing your story! I'm really impressed with what you have done to make your dream become a reality, if perhaps in another way than you first imagined. You truly inspire me!

    Jaz Primo

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  32. You're awesome, Amanda. The old publishing club needs a shake up, a wake up and, stories like this are just what they need to read. This is proof indies are getting their turn on the bookshelf, virtual or not, and there's no stopping it. KEEP IT UP!

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  33. I just want to say that I love the MBA series. I think not having a publicist is the way to go. You can write about what you want (once you have a large enough fan base they will read because you wrote it) and however often you want. If you want to release a book every month or once a year its totally up to you. Plus a publisher will greatly increase the price per book (not saying they aren't worth it) and me personally am always looking for cheaper books with good reviews. Just keep up the good work. Also when will Wisdom be available on Amazon? If it already is I can not find it. Good luck

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  34. I like your comment about J.A. Konrath being too transparent. But a lot of his sales probably go to aspiring authors who want to emulate him in order to duplicate his sales.

    Things have changed over the years. But I look at what V.C. Andrews accomplished. She was mysterious and kept to herself. She was a legend.

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  35. Good luck Amanda. Very cool that you share this stuff. The whole e-book thing confuses me but I'll get it, one of these days.

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  36. I read all of the MBA books in the past two days (I'm a book whore and read 5-6 novels a week). I did a search for you to see if I could find out if and when the next one might come out.

    Reading this blog has been great. I can't believe how much has changed for you in the past eight months! You have to be on cloud 9.

    I love the idea of buying directly from the author and knowing that the money I spend goes to the real talent and not some middle man. I can't wait to tell my friends about "this great new author" I have found.

    I hope your year just keeps getting better and better!

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  37. Wow! this is great! Thanks for the info. You realize you've made more money in a year than most of the NY published authors out there? Seriously.

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  38. This is the most amazing thing I've read yet on indie publishing.

    Congratulations, Amanda! I'm blown away by your story.

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Amanda. It's inspiring and exciting to see how ebooks really took off for you. At no other time have authors had such marvelous opportunities to get our work in front of readers. Congratulations on your success!

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  40. Do you ever talk about your age, Amanda? You look like you could be about 3 in your picture, so I'd imagine you're going to be DAMN GOOD once you hit puberty :P

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  41. I'm excited for you and your success, Amanda. Thanks for sharing the particulars. It IS an epic tale, very interesting for those of us still finishing our novels. In future posts, I'd love it if you could share some of your methods (knowing how personal everyone's writing methods are and how one person's "You Must DO This's" rarely translate for another) for plotting, for powering through so much writing so quickly, and for editing (though I hear you on everything needing more editing. So be it.)

    Best wishes to you. I don't have any specific advice on your business path - but follow your instincts, trust your instincts, and don't assume you NEED someone else to guide you through this publishing world - you are your best advocate, you may only need an attorney familiar with literary deals to be able to sell foreign rights and otherwise manage your writing career.

    I'm sure you've probably seen this already, but if not, it's worth looking at Dean Wesley Smith's Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing series to help you feel good about staying (at least for the moment) indie: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?page_id=860

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  42. This is a wonderful story and very inspirational. WTG, girl!

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  43. Dear Amanda,

    Your books came up on the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" list on Amazon. Luckily for me I got my Kindle in the mail this week so I was able to download your first book in the My Blood Approves series. I started the first book Thursday afternoon and just I finished the fourth. Please tell me you're going to start writing the fifth one soon. I loved your books and I'm glad you love writing. Thanks for not giving up despite the rejects from the publishers/agents.

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  44. Congratulations, Amanda, on all your success! These are great accomplishments for a young writer, and I foresee a long and prosperous career ahead for you.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
    bestselling author
    www.cherylktardif.com

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  45. I forgot to ask you, what are your books' prices and do you think that has any correlation to your successful ebook sales? Did you price them at $1.99 or less?

    Currently, all my ebooks are on sale via Amazon and Smashwords for only $0.99 each, so I can test Joe's theory that less expensive sells more. I've done this with one book at a time prior to this sale. My usual prices are under $5.

    I'm definitely interested in hearing what you've done regarding pricing. :-)

    Thank you and all the best.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
    bestselling author
    www.cherylktardif.com

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  46. You have newly inspired my dream to write. Last night I ventured into my cold, dark garage to find my box of writing. Kind of felt like I had kept a part of myself closed up in that box. I sat in my bed until 1am reading through bits and pieces of my old work. Sad to say, many bits and pieces have been lost throughout the years. I'd love to pick your brain for any information you can give me further. How do you work on your cover artwork? I also wanted to offer my services as an editor. Which is currently my full time job at the moment, so I do have experience. Been editing for almost 4 years now. Anyway, I have a goal now and I have hope. I want to have at least one book ready for publishing by April. Please wish me luck.

    -Megan Duncan

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  47. Just wanted to say your post was incredibly inspiring. I am currently working on a book myself. When I say working on a book, I mean in my head only. I'm stuck at the meat of the story. I only have a premise. I know more of what I want to do with the sequel than my main idea. Very frustrating. I've also been leery of hopping from one book project to the next, and now I feel that this might not be so bad. I was under the impression that nothing will ever get done if I don't force myself to focus on the one story, but I'm stuck right now so nothing is happening at all. Maybe I'll focus on something else for a while and when I get back to it the pieces will fall into place. Fingers crossed.

    I'm also thrilled that you posted actual dollar amounts when talking about earnings. So often people are vague about it and you are left wondering "how successful are you really?" You've renewed my excitement to put my creativity on paper (or rather on hard drive). Not just that, but you confirmed to me that going the ebook route (which was my plan anyway) can actually be profitable and worthwhile.

    By the way... You owe me several hours of sleep! I get that itch to read late at night, and it's because of you that I've been scratching that itch all week. I first chanced upon Switched under the "Steals & Deals" in my nook store. Out of what was there, your premise intrigued me the most and it was a cheap way to experiment on a new author (something I rarely do). I bought it intending only to read a few chapters while my boyfriend was over playing video games. It was already midnight so I was going to stop when he left and I'd go to bed. But I couldn't stop... I layed in my bed reading my nook till I finished the book. Then I went back in the nook store and bought Torn and started reading that too. Cut to noon and I had both books read and my eyes burned. Since Ascend isn't out yet, I've been on a rampage looking for more Indie authors to test out reading, seeing what else ive ben missing out on. It's been 6 days now and I've read 6 books, each time starting at midnight or later, each time finishing the book before I fall asleep. (And no, I didn't read every night.) While I've been very sleep deprived all week, I thank you for opening my eyes up to this new world of Indie authors (new to me). Switched was my first experience of it and because it was so positive, I'm hooked!

    Now if you don't mind, it's 1:30am and I'm going to go start your MBA series now.

    Michi
    TheWallaboo.wordpress.com

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  48. Hi Amanda

    First, just let me say congrats! I agree with several of the others here. NY is all well and good--but you WILL end up being at their mercy. Will they do one print run or ten? Will it even be available in e-book? What rights do they want?

    Do a little checking on royalty and advances would be my suggestion. I know yours are YA--but i might even suggest you check out the romance diva forum. Some great authors there--with good information--if you're moving up to agents/NY Publishing.

    As for editing--I'm sorry, but that is your one weak area. But, what's GOOD is that it doesn't distract too much from the read. (Sorry, English teacher, can't help myself)

    But then--I just read a trilogy from Harlequin--MAJOR mistakes in all 3 books--a good editor would have caught the majority of them all.

    I'll admit I am jealous, LOL. I got great reviews for the book I published under this name with an e-publisher-but I suck at marketing.

    I'm going to take your excellent advice and do the reader blog thing.

    Just one more thing to consider--with NY, as I think others might have said-you'll have probably 2 years before you see anything in print, unfortunately. Hell, my book took over a year and that was with an e-publisher.

    I'd kill for your sales! Whatever you decide to do-I hope you stick with some of your work indie published. I've seen quite a few authors doing both.

    As for your print books--check out Booksurge (now called createspace, I think) as they have very good prices for indie authors--about $3.35 per book for 225 pages, if I remember correctly. You CAN get them in stores via them as well. (Stay away from Lulu--they are way too expensive!)

    With my other books--again with excellent reviews--my sales were much better when I did them myself. It also helped to lower the price. You've got the right idea there! Draw the readers in with the 99 cent book one. They ARE going to buy books two, three, and four!

    Kudos to you. I have little doubt that you'll go as far as you want to go. I could so see the Trylle series as movies!

    I've bought all your books (found you through HP Mallory) and have truly enjoyed them. As someone that reads around 50-60 per books a month--I know a good story when I read it.

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  49. I love reading your story! Many congratulations to you, and I hope the success keeps building.

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  50. Wow.

    Just wow.

    This is so AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing your epic tale! Your post has really inspired me.

    Good luck in the future!

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  51. Thank you for sharing this! It always fascinates me to hear another writer's journey. Congrat!!!!

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  52. Thank you for sharing. You have given me some serious consideration for looking deeper into indie publishing. I might not be as successful as you, but reading your story has given me hope.

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  53. Congrats I hope you are succesful in everything you do. :)

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  54. As someone who has been writing for years with a few novels out, I'm envious of your sales, but congratulations. You're living the dream :)

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  55. Thanks so much for sharing your success story. As an unpublished author, I sometimes get bogged down in the muck. It's really nice to read something uplifting. Congratulations on all of your success and I wish you much more.

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  56. A friend of ours has read all of your books on her Kindle, and has told us about you.

    We have featured your success story on a post about self-publishing:
    http://geniushabit.com/1317/publish-a-book-without-a-publisher/

    We wish you continued success, and hope you inspire unpublished authors who have been rejected by traditional publishers.

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  57. I feel like our stories match almost perfectly in regards to your early years. I have written a few screenplays that I hoped would get picked up but I decided a few days ago to make them into books instead. To be honest, I got my Kindle free in a raffle and only wanted to buy books that were free or cost close to nothing. So far all the books in that price range were damn near awful. And then I stumbled upon AMANDA HOCKING. I love love love ALL of your books and believe it or not, I don't mind the gramatical errors at all. It reminds me that an actual down to earth human wrote it (as wierd as that sounds). After all this, I just wanted to say that you will be seeing my books on Amazon one day and I hope they will do as well as yours. And when they do, I want you to know that you inspired me to get back on track and that fantasy literature CAN do well.

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  58. I have followed your progress closely since the summer of 2010. I am impressed at your success and also your can-do attitude and honesty. It's refreshing to hear someone's story straight forward and see it unfold from the ground up. Congratulations to you.

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  59. I just want to say wow... I read this with wide eyes, they now hurt and are really dry. But I couldn't help it! You are truly an inspiration, this reminded me of The Social Network. When he got 22,000 hits in one night. That's you. You're going to be big, like FB. I didn't realize you didn't publish until 2010, that's what's so incredible about it to me. It was so fast! I bet you were thinking the same thing.... NO WAY! I know when I was growing up, everything was "for pretend". My sister would never play with me, because I would make up unrealistic, vivid "pretends". She hated it. And before that it was blue bears on bicycles, purple elephants buying apples, anything I could imagine. I got into writing at 10. I was the same way, erratic, couldn't keep thoughts in my head for too long. I took alot of writing classes from 13 to 18 in every school I moved to, and had my dad read all my work. He always said I wrote with emotion, even if it didn't make sense. I guess I just see myself in your story, and now I am thinking, "Why not me?" So, thank you. Not only have you given the world of YA some outstanding novels, but you have also given aspiring authors hope, and that's the cherry on top of it all. :)
    Racheal

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  60. Wow.

    I've been trying feverishly for years. I have six completed novels and I'm working on a fourth. I have fifteen or so short stories. And I've been rejected more often than a destitute suitor with leprosy.

    This has filled me with more hope than I've had in a long time. Especially since your epic tale blog post is on the date of my birthday! (I hope that's a good omen.) I shall endeavor to put my second novel online ASAP.

    Thank you.

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    1. Hi Amanda,
      I had to finally chime in here. Lordshell, I'm so with you. My co-writer and I have been working on our book, now books, for eight years now. After illness after illness plagued me to the point to where I couldn't even write with a laptop. We did finally finish the book.

      I kind of feel guilty for my co-writer, because of me she has had to wait for so long to even have a glimps of our book being published.

      Well, your not going to believe this but we have had right around 134 rejections from the almighty NY agents. I am to the point where Scott was suggesting, if I get approached by a publisher/agent I might just show them where the road is.

      Amanda I really want to thank you sooo much for your inspiration. My co-writer actually sent me an article about you around Dec. '11 or Jan. '12. I read the article god it had to be 20 or 30 times. You were the one that prompted me to look for ebook publishing as an answer to our publishing nightmare. I dusted off the old laptop and wiped away the cobwebs from the word doc. and began a final run through to make sure it was completly done. At least as far as I could get it. I read that ereaders need a lot of visual stimulation so I drew all my own artwork including my book cover. It took me longer to do that than it did to do the final runthrough but it was worth it. I came up with some really good stuff.

      I also am jealous of how fast you can pump out a book. I think back and it felt like years for us to finish our first book. In actuality I think it was more like 6 months but because I was sick a lot it took 2 years.

      Anyways, to make a long story short we are now on Amazon.com. My hand was shaking the whole time I uploaded it but its there. It isn't perfect like yours, but if I edit it anymore I will scream. There comes a time where enough is enough you know?

      Well, again thank you so much, and I can't wait to get your books and read them. I have already decided to start with "Switched".

      Good luck with everything you do Amanda,
      Michele Leamon
      Newly Published Author of Bloodlines Chronicles The Beginning. (That was not a plug) Just in case you want to check it out.

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  61. Hire a professional editor. Use some of the money you've made to take writing classes and attend conferences. DON'T give your profits away to a publisher. Invest them in yourself instead.

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  62. Thanks for sharing that. I'm suffering through the agent query/rejection cycle on my first novel now. I've always said that I'd give it a year to find an agent, and if it didn't pan out I'd self-publish. If it happens that way, I can only hope to see some of the success you've had.

    Congratulations!

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  63. Thanks, Amanda, this is such an inpiring post. I'm new to e-books, so I'll be reading and re-reading this.

    I bet your own blog has helped, too. From this post alone it's clear your a wonderful writer! I'm looking forward to reading your books now!

    Best Wishes,
    Peter
    Author of Wyndano's Cloak
    http://www.arsilverberry.com

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  64. I think you are awesome! I stumbled upon Switched when I noticed it was #1 on Kindle and I downloaded it. I thought it was a mistake when they only charged me 99 cents b/c I assumed it would be about 10 bucks. I had no idea you were an independent writer. I just assumed you were another big deal like Stephanie Meyer that I had not heard of yet. So I got hooked immediately and told my 14 y.o. daughter about it. Now she's reading it and now all her friends want to read it. Your blog is VERy cool. I love how straight up you are. I love how you controlled your own destiny. You kick serious ass!!

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  65. I just read this, as it was linked from your more recent blog entry. It is a wonderful story, and I love how you mention Gold Rush's comments about what you should write about. Typical Gold Rush! Anyway, I can't stress enough how spectacular your success story is and how proud I am of you!

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  66. Brilliant Amanda. Freakin brilliant.
    Don't think I can say much more than what these good people already have, but I'm excited for you and LOVE a success story...especially when it's doing what many say cannot be done.

    I had similar success with my comic book and now here I sit, STILL debating if I should strike again but in novel form.

    Personally I would point at two comments in particular: Scott and Alexander. I know Scott's right from personal experience and I also know Alexanders spot on because my fans were kids, my comics were digital and sold back in 2005! I have 11 children myself and the drive to merge with electronics comes in their DNA when born.

    I actually read about you from David Farland and though I haven't read your books, I'm a HUGE fan of people shooting for their dreams despite what looks possible and HITTING THE MARK!

    I hope you continue to far exceed your expectations of success my dear. You're inspiring a whole new age of entrepreneurs.

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  67. You are such an inspiration! I just came across your books on the sony book store and I must say I am impressed! As a YA book reviewer I love good books, but I also love great personal stories. You have def. shown me that an independent writer selling E-books can make it on her own...way to go:) I look forward to following the rest of your no doubt amazing career!

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  68. haha I loved this post. way to go. You've written so much

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  69. Thanks for the great post! Just curious, how do you give away an ARC of an e-book?

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  70. Hi Amanda
    thanks for sharing your story. I have found it inspiring to see someone stand up to the archaic establishment of the publishing world and make a success of it on their own.

    I have long resisted the route of mainstream publishing, never having been prepared to trust my creation to the kind of people Scott has outlined above.

    I see this as the way forward for me too so you can all be on the lookout for The Dracula Chronicles in the near future, available through the same medium.

    Best wishes to all

    Shane

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  71. What an amazing (definitely epic) story. Congrats on your success. And wishing you much, much more.

    Viola Estrella

    www.ViolaEstrella.com

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  72. Your story and your advice is well taken and inspirational. Thank you and good luck with your continued success!

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  73. Wow! Congrats on your success. If gives people like me hope. It goes to show your dedication will eventually pay off.

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  74. Wow, thanks so much for posting this. I love your honesty. I'm not even a writer, but it still inspires me! I've recently become a book blogger. I absolutely love paranormal romances - that's all I read. I somehow stumbled upon other book blogs and thought that was really cool! Surprisingly, book blogs get a lot of followers.

    I think a good idea for a new author is to have a facebook to connect with fans. I don't mean a "fan page" - have an actual facebook account where you add fans as friends. There is a fairly new author out that added me as a friend. It's amazing how she connects with everyone - she just gives updates about her day and talks about the books she's working on. I comment on her status updates, and she comments back. All this interaction made me want to read her books. Some of her books are only available in eBook format and at one time - I didn't have an eReader. I actually paid $6 to buy her books in .pdf format - then I printed them out and read them. I fell in love with her books and she is now one of my favorite authors. Luckily, I now have an eReader!

    I have heard a lot of great things about you, and your books are definitely toward the top of my "to read" list. I agree with you that editing is extremely important. I'm not sure that I have read a book where I haven't found a mistake (and I read a lot of books). Since I have found so many mistakes in books - I have thought about being an editor. Just yesterday, I learned about beta readers - which sounds pretty interesting. Anyway, if you ever want people to review and/or check for errors - please keep me in mind. Congratulations on your success!

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  75. Thanks for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration to me. There really is hope for the rest of us that are self-published and trying to find an agent. Maybe doing it on your own isn't so bad after all. Congratulations on your success. Thanks again.
    D.L. Cocchio, author of Magic By Moonlight

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  76. I am SO proud of you and I don't even know you. I read about your adventure on Alan Rinzler's Blog. You inspired me. I AM a published author with a very well known house, yet my book is not changing the world (yet). Reading your story opened a big door for me-- Thank you! And keep it up... the world needs courageous women like you (even if you don't think of yourself as such).

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  77. Hi Amanda!

    I read everything from every genre and I love your books. I am looking forward to the fifth book in the MBA series. There is some magic in your writing and I hope you continue.

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  78. Amanda,

    I'm sure you've heard it a million times by now, but I'm so glad that you "made" it. I think folks like you and Konrath have shown that it can be done by indies. This is the first time in history that a new system actually favors the artist. I hope your books continue to sell and sell.

    My only beef with you is the whole Batman thing. As my Clark Kent avitar attests, Superman is the MAN. Unless Batman has some kryptonite in his utility belt, well, it's not much of a fight.

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  79. Thank you for posting this. Seriously. As someone who is currently finishing off my first novel, it is just useful to read about your experiences. People have occasionally said to me that I should look into e-publishing instead of turning all of my profits/rights to publishers. But I have always thought that since I am not a name, nothing would sell and it would just feel futile. I am under no delusions that my experiences would be at all similar to yours, but still, I like the idea of having some kind of power over my stuff.

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  80. Very inspiring, especially for someone like me who's always had a love for writing - I stumbled across your books while browsing through the Kindle shop on my blackberry and haven't been hooked on books like these in a long, long time. I couldn't put these books down and was saddened to know I'd reached the end of the trilogy (especially since Finn earned a special place in my heart!)

    I am one of those annoying people who can detect a typo anywhere, so those did jump out at me - but it didn't matter - I was too hooked to care! Great work - and I'd be happy to be a volunteer editor anyday! :)

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  81. I came across an article about you on the HuffingtonPost.com website and even though I haven't read any of your work yet I can still appreciate hard work when I see it. I realize you're just starting out, but I wanted to let you know I find your journey thus far as an author very much inspiring. Talk about perseverance! I am sending you all the positive vibes I can for much more successes and all the best wishes possible. From a soon-to-be-fan,
    Martin Alvarado


    Huffington Post link:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/01/self-published-author-amada-hocking_n_829906.html)

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  82. I think this is the best motivation I've seen for getting me off my arse. Thank you so much for being totally honest and transparent.

    I only have one question - what are you doing to celebrate? I really hope you bought something really cool to commemorate your success - you really deserve it.

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  83. Amanda I really admire you and I am very happy for your success. Your story is very upbeat and motivational. Thank You

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  84. Great post! Yesterday my husband sent me an article about your success, because I am looking into alternative ways of publishing for some time and I immediately start searching for more information on you, e-books, kindle etc. I am a published author, but I do not write in English, so my market is quite small. And income insignificant. So I am looking for ways to enter English speaking market. And I am thrilled over your story and your success! I really appreciate you shared your story with us.

    Concerning your "problem": maybe you should set yourself new goals in terms of alternative ways publishing. It seems like writing is a peace of cake for you, so set yourself new goals in the fields that you are not so good yet. For example - If I understood you correctly, you like talking. If you also like the sound of your voice, go and record one of your existing books and publish it as audio book (take classes on radio acting if it helps - now you have the time and money to do it!). But continue with writing as well ... :)

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  85. You rock! Thanks for sharing the details.

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  86. You are an inspiration. Thanks for this blog post. I've self-published one novel and it sits in a box, almost two years old. I know it's good enough, maybe now after reading your post, I'll have some path or model I can use. Thanks for the inspiration.
    wade

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  87. I am so excited I came across your blog. You deserve so much credit for what you have done, and sharing your story with the rest of us. Writing is such a passionate craft and having your work rejected is really hard. You have proven that with a little tenacity and a lot of patience you can succeed through other channels.

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  88. How much money did you have to invest in the beginning of your own money? I am thinking about trying to do what you are doing.

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  89. Hi Amanda - This is a great post. Our histories are similar. I've been debating for awhile about self-publishing using Amazon and your story (I read via Huffington Post) tipped the scales - mainly because I really don't have patience to wait for someone to "bless" my novels and tell me I'm a writer...I already am...we all are and should take fate into our hands. You've done that, and you rock! With some business/marketing acumen, I can say without hesitation, you are on the right path. Keep your power and keep writing!

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  90. Thanks for sharing your story! You seem so passionate about writing, it makes me happy to see you are able to do what you love. I am inspired!

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  91. I really like that your story involves a lot of hard work. I like that you queried and got rejected (not that I want you to get rejected) and studied. I like it because it gives me hope that at least part of being successful is those things rather than luck. I was actually afraid to check out your blog because I didn't want to find out that you just got lucky.

    Way to work hard!

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  92. Wow you impressed the heck out of me! I never even knew you COULD self-publish via Amazon. What a great gift you've given to everyone sharing your experience.
    No advice from me. You seem to have a great head on your shoulders and know when and where to look for support and help.
    I'm going to check out your books. :)

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  93. Thanks for being so transparent. We live in an interesting time as far as book publishing goes. Best wishes for your future goals and dreams, whatever they might be.

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  94. Amanda you are an inspiration!

    I came across you on http://booktwo.org/

    I've been writing a 4 vol YA sci fi epic for 8 years now and have looked at the options for getting published, traditional paper publishing is so disheartening, rejection after rejection. Lately I've been researching ebook reader software, readers - kindle etc, conversion software etc etc as a way of getting off the ground. Its inspiring to see how you've mastered all this.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how your work evolves.
    I love your openess.

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  95. I love your candid and earthy approach to telling 'how you did it'. It's very encouraging and you didn't hold back on the rejections, disappointment even thinking of giving up. Yes technology has made it easy and almost anyone can crank out a story, but if you believe in what you do, edit it and respect your readers and put it out there, someone will read it. Congrats on your success!

    kd
    www.kandiedelley.com

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  96. Amazing blog Amanda. I bought your book Switched and read it. I really liked it.

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  97. Thank you for sharing so publicly your entire process...very helpful :)

    I see movies and screenplays in your future...since you love IFC...perhaps novels and film meet?

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  98. Thank you very much for sharing this, it wasn't too much info, it was all great! Seeing your work ethic is very inspiring. This was an awesome story to read - it makes me want to get out there and write more.

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  99. Truly an inspiring story. I think as writers we all get pretty frustrated with rejection. Nobody wants to say yes to an unknown because that means work, a lot of work. I'm in the same boat you were once in. Trying to get a publisher (who'll do more good than harm)or trying to get the word out on my own self published books and writings and make a few bucks in the process. I've gotten good reviews and glowing rejections but I eventually self publish with my own cover art (which i do enjoy) and post the hell out of it and take what I can and move to the next project.
    You've givin me some good ideas for exposure, so thanks for that and keep doing what your doing. You must be doing something right.

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  100. Dear Amanda,
    thanks for sharing your story. I was particularly interested in learning how your sales took off (because the dynamics of the book market can be scary at times) and how quickly you type out your stories. To be honest, I feel a bit inadequate - who writes an entire novel in a matter of days? - but I also understand that you might be "driven" in your desire to achieve your goal. ;-) In any case, congratulation for meeting success so quickly and thoroughly. I'm happy for you that you get to be a full time writer. How wonderful! :-)
    Best wishes from Germany,
    Romana

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  101. This is awesome, you rock my world like no other.

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  102. great blog post! i am going to try self publishing one day and will definitely keep some of these hints in mind as i go forward. biggest lesson: work hard. :) thanks, and continued success to you.

    thehighlightofourtrip.blogspot.com

    Jeff

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  103. I have terrible timing. I wrote a book about vampires just as Twilight exploded all over the place. I had an agent with Trident Media Group, but she couldn't find a publisher. A few editors told us they would have published it if I'd gotten it to them two years earlier.

    So I am going to publish on Smashwords and Amazon now. I made the cover myself and think it's pretty good. I edited the book like crazy, and now I am editing it again. I pray it isn't a mess. Kind of hard to judge from my end, and I can't afford a good editor.

    Vampires Rule will be available in June. You can read a sample chapter on my blog if you want.

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  104. Your stories are great and are really gripping, sometimes there are typos, but to be honest, i don't care. The stories are just too great.
    I read all four of the my blood approves books in a week. I'm a book worm.
    I was also wondering if you planned on publishing more in the series? You have let it on a major cliff hanger, and i can't seem to sleep at night.

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  105. Your story motivated me to do better (and be more consistent) with my own writing. I also enjoyed the love and support of your roommate - everyone needs someone like that backing them. :D

    I suggest you sit down and make out a dream list - what do you want for your life five years, ten years and so forth down the road. You dreamed big and achieved those dreams. Continue to dream bigger than you ever imagined possible (and that others say IS possible ;) ).

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  106. Persistance can pay off, as it has for you. And you've clearly paid some dues! Keep the dream alive. I've been working on a book for a # of years - finally getting it ready for self-publishing within the next month - and you've given me ideas!

    www.chuckkirchner.com

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  107. I stumbled upon Lee Goldberg's blog, in which he posted your "Reality Check" blog. So I'm a first time visitor and I absolutely love everything I'm reading. I'm not into YA novels (my sister is and I'll tell her about you for sure), but you have SUCH a great head on your shoulders and I truly wish you all the best. I just published a non-fiction book myself last month and am trying to learn all I can. Simply did it through Smashwords for now, and through them my book is on Barnes & Noble, Apple, etc. So reading your insights has really been like eating candy. Keep up the great work. I love your diligence and spirit of generosity.
    www.deceptionofdisease.com

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  108. Great post! Love hearing about success stories. Though not my genre I do look forward to buying and reading one of your books. I hope you don't mind I posted a link to your story, I hope it provides inspiration to others.

    http://smworth.com

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  109. Amanda,
    I came across your blog, this story, and have to thank you for your post! I've always loved to write but it's a field rather tough on the old self-confidence! I hadn't tried the epublishing route yet, but figure I don't have much to lose. Just reading your recount has helped me so much, thank you. Keep going and do what you love! Congrats...it is SO well deserved! :)
    Best,
    Cait

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  110. I may be a bit late in the game but I wanted to say good for you.

    I have a similar story and eventually my work attracted a publisher and an aritst. We as writers live in an amazing time. Revel in it and enjoy it as much as you can. There will always be people who will not like your work, but write because you enjoy it and because you can't NOT do it. :)

    I wish you only success.

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  111. Thanks for ALL this great advice. Much appreciated.
    Cowboy

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  112. Congratulations! As a first-time self published author, I'm so inspired by your story. Thank you for posting this!

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  113. Thanks Amenda, I may not be the one who would start by saying,"I like your roommate ." Nor say, "Did you write the so and so, book." I must say, you are a fantastic writer, I have not read any of your books but your Blog speaks more ...Congratulations...keep writing...You have motivated me to follow your footsteps...
    Ajeet,
    From India.

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  114. Congratulations on your success Amanda! Can you provide some resources on how to find book bloggers.

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  115. i have read none of your books...that said i am finishing my first book and need to make publishing and marketing decisions...your sharing is inspirational to me..thanks

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  116. You said you "did research." I guess this is for marketing your ebooks. Can you be more specific?

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  117. Thank you being so open -- you're an inspiration for all authors traditional and self published. I am excited as my first YA book is coming out shortly! Look out for, The 58th Keeper by R.G.Bullet

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  118. research: should i self publish? -immediate gratification or the traditiona?-probably no gratification...where can you sell?anywhere?
    i want ebooks but paperbacks are so real..i want them too..agent?
    i just appreciated the way you laid it all out there...it sure helps as i stumble along here...my book is old school romance

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  119. This was definitely a good and most inspiring read. I'm working on being a breakthrough author and it's really good to find your testimony. Many of my friends have suggested self-publishing but I've always been averse to the idea thinking that I would only end up self-publishing because my work isn't good enough to be picked up by an agent or publisher. But after reading your story I realize I'm totally wrong. Now I will be researching the option more.

    Also, it's amazing how swift you write. Not really a paranormal girl and usually like the lovey-dovey boy meets girl and vice versa where they eventually fall in love story. But will check you out.

    All the best Amanda! And one more thing...your roommate sounds like a cool character for a novel...if it hasn't crossed your mind yet.

    Blessings!
    http://chevonesefender.blogspot.com/

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  120. I gleaned from some other postings that you're a little overwhelmed by the attention due to the new publishing deal with St. Martin's... but that's how I found your books and I'm really enjoying Switched right now. You're a terrific inspiration to us genre-writers, not only because you made it by working hard, but because you have shown through self-publishing that THERE IS A READERSHIP OUT THERE and they are always hungry for more! Hooray! I'm thinking the next step is to form a self-publishing writing *group* so that the individual doesn't have to feel like a full-time publishing house as well as as full-time writer and editor...

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  121. well, Amanda i want to read your books, do you suggest one to begin with?.. i feel an akin to you not only because you shared yor story but because you responded to my blog..you were my first!!( Okay room mate, don't get in a Huff ! :)i am old worn out!) also amanda, do you suggest an editor..that is my next research job.i think indie was mentioned by someone somewhere in my travels on the internet

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  122. I just 'discovered' you and am so inspired by your writing story. thank you for sharing it with us. I appreciate the insight. As a struggling writer, I am so impressed with your work rate. WOW, to the way you finish books so quickly and work in such a focused fashion. Next time i get lazy/procrastinatory, i will remind myself of how Amanda Hocking writes and writes till its all done...Congratulations on your success!

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  123. I bought Switched on my Kindle and couldn't put it down, I was HOOKED! I am like an addict with your books, I had to buy the next one, then the next (which I consumed in 8 hours). I have gone through the Trylle Trilogy and now I'm off to MBA (I'm excited, since I love vampire novels). Thank you for self-publishing, otherwise, we may not have been able to enjoy your wonderful tales. Oh BTW, I can't believe how quickly you write a book, I'm at awe!

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  124. Just another comment from another admirer - I admire you. This blog (and especially this post) is my happy place. Thank you.

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  125. Love your roommate and think Carrie is a great idea. Congrats on all your past and future success.

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  126. I am not sure I would be into your Vampire romance novels, not my genre, but you definitely seem like the kind of person that I would want to catch a great break. I should buy your zombie thrillers.

    Thrilled that it worked out for you, and now I can dream. Also, I need to kick it into high gear and finish my projects :)

    Congrats on your recent print deal btw! Wish you continued success.

    chukmaty.blogspot.com

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  127. What a journey Amanda. And you still manage to stay grouned in it tall. Well done. Wishing you the best.

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  128. Do you have a list or a link to a list of some (many) of these book bloggers you mentioned? I'd love to contact some of them about my paranormal romance novel Breathless, which is now available in eBook format at both Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com...

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  129. Thank you so much for sharing this! I needed to see this, agents don't know what they're missing in unpublished authors.

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  130. Just adding to the slew of "I adore you"s. You're an inspiration to us all.

    Samantha Warren
    Blood of the Dragon now available on Kindle and Nook!

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  131. Please don't laugh at me for asking - but you write so fast - do you work with an outline? how did you learn about plotting?

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  132. Thanks for sharing this story with us! I wonder if this sort of success would also be possible with non-fiction books. I read a good one about WordPress which was a self-published e-book (though not via Amazon, the author has his own e-book store), but I have no idea whether he sells like hundreds or thousands of copies...

    By the way, I found your website through a German magazine's article.

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  133. You know, considering all that's happened since this was posted, it would be SO COOL to get an updated version of this post. :) You know, for all of us writers out there who dare to dream big. *thumbs up*

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  134. Amanda: Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspiration.

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  135. Great stuff Ms. Hocking! I'm new to eBook publishing, but am pushing hard in all aspects of marketing. I find it enjoyable, and difficult, and tiring, and exhilerating. But overall, I like reading stories like yours to give me hope. Thanks and Cheers! Dean Lappi. http://deanlappi.blogspot.com/

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  136. P.S. Nice to see Minnesotan succeed. I'm up in Monticello MN. :-) Cheers! Dean

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  137. Thanks so much for your honesty...especially about the money. Most people would have left that out. I am inspired by you and hope to finish the project I started :) You rock!

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  138. At first glance it seems like perhaps your conflict isn't so much business oriented as it is related to your desires.

    The journey of getting to the success you've found was so draining that you never actually thought you'd reach the top of that "mountain" and yet you did... to your own surprise. You never dreamed BEYOND the mountain because you figured it'd take a lifetime just to get there.

    Now the possibilities are endless to the point that you're beginning to look beyond... yet part of you still can't believe there even IS a beyond.

    If this is you and how you feel, then the question you're asking isn't "what do I do next?", it's "what did I really want in the first place?"

    Perhaps you could be a little more selfish with your writing? You spend a lot of time thinking about your audience and not only do I think that's wonderful, it's obvious that it's working out for you. But perhaps there's points of intersection where what you want is also what your fans want.

    Maybe the research you do for your books could serve a dual purpose, one for yourself as well as your fans. Perhaps putting you into situations that challenge you as a person as well as a writer. Just as a lame example, lol, say you're afraid of heights, maybe one of your characters could conquer their fear of heights... but to know what it feels like to conquer, you yourself would have to conquer your own fear.

    Now you haven't just written a book, you've changed your life, you've become stronger THROUGH your writing. Imagine one day having a fan say you inspired them to conquer their own fear.

    Maybe there's a cause or charity that means a lot to you that you could now attach get involved with.

    To a point, the combination of yourself, your fans, and your cause, especially if they are all in line with each other, could help focus and add perspective to all of these options you now have.

    What's your point, what are you trying to achieve, personally, emotionally, spiritually, almost like your dying words in your every day life, what's that thing you're trying to say to the world before the page says "the end"? Whatever the reason is that you're doing all of this, it could be anything. I'm just throwing out silly examples, lol. Whatever it is, though, solidify it. Once you know that, ask yourself how these choices you're currently faced with help you to achieve your ultimate goal.

    If an option helps you achieve your goal or improve your ability to achieve those goals, then go for it 100%, if it's not really going to do anything for your goals, chuck it. If it only MIGHT, then get some more information before deciding.

    The success is there, now what did you want in the first place?

    Just a thought,
    Kephra

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  139. Thanks for sharing, Amanda. --- Cattt

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  140. I like your roommate, and think your story is phenomenal. You kind of remind me of myself, but I don't have the guts to try the traditional publishing route. I have a huge fear of rejection. :( I'm sure your books will continue to sell and as long as you feel good about what you are doing, keep doing it! :)

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  141. You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story! :)

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  142. what a great story! Power to your pen & thanks for sharing.

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  143. Amanda, you're the only author whose blog I've read that mentioned JIM SHULTZE. BULLY is one of my favorite true crime books! Did you ever watch the movie by Larry Clark? Ha ha! If so, do you remember the song "Work That Pu$$y" playing in the background of like EVERY scene? If you didn't see the film then please forget that last comment. But you said some of your romances were like BULLY o.O ? But how: it was basically about them killing Bobby Kent. You mean the romance between Marty Puccio &...I forgot the girl's name he was with. Oh wait, it's LISA! Yeah (just came back to me). Glad that you're a true crime fan! I sort of like Blake Nelson, even thought he's crime fiction. Paranoid Park was pretty good & Detroy All Cars was Amazing to me! Think I'll check out this other book you mentioned when you talked about Bully. I haven't read your books yet but the titles of your books are VERY catchy! And from what you've described in your blog, your ideas sound catchy, too. Different. That's that "true crime genre" coming out. And true horror (zombies, demons, ghosts, vamps). Yeah, they call it paranormal & Urban Fantasy but we know what's up, don't we? IT'S THE HORROR GENRE! Ha ha!

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  144. Amanda, I am really inspired by your story. I have for years been writing, but had no idea how to get anybody to see my work. The paper publishing world is so daunting, and I had no idea until recently how many people were taking part in the e-book revolution. I am currently writing genre fantasy that I hope will turn into a graphic novel. I have no idea yet as to how that could work online, but I am really excited about these new avenues for all us writers to explore. Thanks for being so open about your experience. Much luck in the future!!!!

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  145. You truly are an inspiration. Now I'm focussed. Thank you very much

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  146. Thank you, Amanda, for taking matters into your own hands. I've started writing short fiction for the first time in a very long time, and the ideas are flowing. I've had a few people read my stories for feedback, and so far, so good. I plan to e publish as well. If nothing else, my work will get out there. You are an inspiration to anyone who creates ANYTHING. Thank you for trying!

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  147. This is an absolutely awesome story. I wonder if others will be able to replicate your success, or if you were a true pioneer (gold rush, and all that). So cool. I know at lots of conventions, your name is mentioned all the time. Not only did you hit it big -- but you did so without a publisher.

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  148. Just wondering what programs you use to convert Word/PDF into epub files. I'm a cheap bastid and don't want to pony up $200 for lulu.com to do it for me. I snagged Calibre and Sigil, but the formatting problems vex me.

    Any advice?

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  149. Congratulations on your wonderful success. You're an inspiration to many indie authors.

    Lakshmi

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  150. I know that there are so many responses that you probably won't read this one, but thank you. You gave the perfect amount of detail and I couldn't be more appreciate for your input. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being a sarcastic ball of fun!

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  151. After reading your post, it gave me hope. I am impressed and awed. Amanda, you're my hero. I wish you much success. :-)

    ~Sherry

    http://sherysoule.com

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  152. Very inspiring, especially to young aspiring writers like myself. I'm thrilled for your success and wish you the best in your future endeavors into writing!

    oh and CONGRATULATIONS of course!

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  153. You are awesome!! and my hero as a successful fellow self-published author!!!

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  154. I like the part about the Xbox...good call ;)
    Arkham Asylum is a great game! I can't wait for part 2!!

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  155. Congratulations on all of your success. I started writing a story back in December simply because I enjoy writing. The story slowly evolved and I am happy to say that I'm now about halfway through it. I never considered trying to get it published, I just wrote it because I felt like it. After learning about ebooks and your success I think I'll give it a shot.

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  156. www.sportsterandme.comAugust 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    I read your blog the first of the year and was inspired enough to self publish my first book..it was published in july and i have sold 5 on amazon..but 21 to friends. I am traveling in my motorhome now and am selling along the way I will be in gillette Wy and doing a Writer's Workshop to sell my book..anyway amanda..you inspired me to go on this journey and i am having a ball!!www.sportsterandme.com

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  157. This is such a cool " American Dream" story if I ever heard of one before. I am so happy for you, and I do not even know you. keep it up, jobs are hard to come by. I have been laid off and have had only 1 interview ( and it was a bad one ). Work is hard to find. So keep this up so you do not have to rely on Corporate America to feed you.

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  158. Amanda , I was just wondering if you could post the links to some of the book bloggers who agreed to review your books? I just put out my first self-published ebook and haven't had any luck finding a book blogger willing to take it on. Thanks :)

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  159. Hi. Well done to you! I've loved reading this. Hope you continue to have as much success. Personally I love paperback books but have to say the ebook (kindle) sales of my books have far outstretched my paperback sales. It's a new world out there!

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  160. Hi Amanda - I don't know your work (and it's probably not my thing - plus I'm too old for it!) - but this is a really great post! Inspiring for all of us, whatever age or genre, in the self-publishing world. It's that drive to write that keeps pushing us on... Best of luck with continued success...

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  161. This is a very helpful and fantastic post! I've debated over going self published and now it doesn't seem like a bad idea. But I agree, I think making my own covers would stress me out.

    I bought the paperback and Kindle version of Switched :) and now that there are new covers, I'll most likely end up buying those too lol.

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  162. brilliant! thanks for sharing your journey! I've read quite a few of your books (still waiting on a sequel to Hollowland, btw) and I really enjoyed them!

    It's very encouraging for me to know that it is possible to succeed as an author, even if you're self published! I have been considering self-publishing too, but as I haven't tried querying the traditional way, so I think I'll wait a while :)

    Congratulations on your successes and I look forward to many more of your books in the future!

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  163. Hi Amanda,
    I'm fairly new to self-publishing and I just wanted to say that I found your story an inspiration and very helpful too.

    Joanne

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  164. Hi Amanda
    I have self-published a biography - miles away from your genre, but I seriously AGREE with your comments about editing. I'd love to get it on electronic media, but am OLD, and not techi savvy. How did you start doing that? (And doesn't Amazon take a big cut?)
    Judith

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  165. Really inspiring stuff, it's amazing how much the digital book world has changed things for writers.

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  166. Awesome article, probably the most useful thing I've read on self publishing.

    Thanks!

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  167. Thanks for taking the time to write this! It's such an awesome story! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments:)

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  168. Thx for sharing Amanda. I was just wishing I could sit down and talk with you when I found this article. It's almost the same. You are so generous to share. I'm a blogger. Sandra

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  169. Bravo. Just never forget your roommate who has been supporting you in the tough days. Let her have some/any sort of role in your future success as well. Or you will have lost important things with it. Take care.

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  170. Great blog and a great inspiration to start a dream and never stop till your love is shared with the world. I appreciate the honesty and candid chat with you today as I sit looking for ideas and inspiration to begin a new path. God bless and all the best for the future. Amazing story!

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  171. Well done, Amanda! Every ebook pioneer leaves a wider trail for other writers to follow. Keeping e-rights all depends, I suppose, on whether you're happy with the word of mouth / organic development of your reader base. I signed my first work of short fiction, The Silent Hills, to Musa Publishing and they eased me into the world of ebooks. I liked that they took care of the cover and the edit and generally made my work professional. It's horses for courses!

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  172. I so love that you love to write and were able to do it outside the traditional publishing venues. Keep at it. And I saw that you are going through writer's block. Don't worry, your work will come. Congrats.

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  173. Thank you so much for this! Your comments were the little push I needed. My book, Diana's Dreams, went live on Kindle on 11/20/11 and it's selling! It's so exciting to finally have it out there!

    I bet all those rejecters are kicking themselves for not picking up your books!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Brenda Coffman

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  174. Hi,

    I know this blog post has been up for awhile. I've read it a few times. I just wanted to (finally) post a comment.

    My comment is this- Thank you!

    I've always enjoyed writing and reading. I've carried a notebook and pen with me everywhere since the 8th grade, when my English teacher, after reading my final exam story (which ended up roughly 30 pages, the requirement being 1,000 words,) said "Lisa, carry a notebook with you. You have stories in you that people will want to read."

    What 13 year old doesn't want to hear that, right?

    Writing little things, short stories, poetry, etc, I shared them with close friends and family only. Life got in the way, as it always seems to do, and although I'd jot a thing or two down, never was able to find the time to physically sit and concentrate, devoting myself to the stories I had rumbling around inside.

    This past March, a story idea I'd had forever just pounded away. I felt sick, trying to ignore it. Finally, I looked at my husband & the heathens..ahh, I mean adoring children ofcourse, and said "Look- Mom's putting on her ipod and going to write. There's a frozen pizza in the oven. Leave me alone."

    The story just fell out of me like word vomit (and what a picture THAT brings to mind!) I finished it, read it, edited it, then, well, you know the drill- wash, rinse, repeat, until I gained the courage to ask a friend to read it.

    They loved it. Which, if they wanted to maintain the friendship, I figured they'd say. I ended up posting it on a website for, dare I say it, strangers, to read.

    Much to my surprise, they seemed to like it, too.

    I tried sending query letters and emails. I've kept the first rejection one, just in case I happened, in a pinch, to be out of kleenix.

    I ended up submitting a short story, that is nothing like the actual book I wrote, to an anthology collect. As I stood guard over the five Monster High dolls this past Black Friday (only one is for me, though) I received an email saying the publisher loved the story and it would be included in the holiday anthology. As everyone in Walmart ran around, grabbing the special deals, I bawled. Very classy...

    I've edited the book I wrote again, and am going to make it available as an eBook.

    I'm hoping that you really realize that your journey into getting your books out there is an inspiration, whether you realized it or not. I'm not worried about selling a million copies, frankly, I'd be happy selling 5 and having readers love it.

    So, again, thank you so much for having the courage and faith in your unbelievably talented writing and willingness to share it with us readers out there.

    Lisa Morgan

    By the way- any hints as to how to beat Poison Ivy's giant flower thing in AA? If I get incinerated by those flying things that plant shoots one more time I may throw the xbox out my front window!

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  175. Congratulations. Your story is very inspirational. I recently self-published an ebook and plan to self-publish more in 2012, so your story ( notwithstanding your warnings about what is realistic) has encouraged me to put in more time and effort into it. I also sent a link of your blog to two of my writer friends, because we could learn a lot from your experiences. BTW, did you ever write the novel like Carrie? LOL!

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  176. Wow, this is so inspiring. You've done almost everything I'm currently doing with my novel. Its been up for 2 weeks and so far I've made about $100ish from lulu and Kindle. iBooks and Nook are STILL pending, wasn't sure if you went through them too, but I assume you stacked that in with the generic 'lulu' sales.

    I tried advertising on Facebook and a few other places, I got a lot of clicks, but not sales. However, you talking about book bloggers really motivates me. I know I have a fan base of about 200 from deviantArt, but the word isn't going very far. I might need to ask some book bloggers to see if I can get some success that way.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Truly an inspiration. FYI-my book is about werewolves, so its in the same popular genres that are selling right now. I just hope people don't sluff it off as some Twilight wannabe (did you ever have that problem?) cuz it totally isn't.

    Anyways, thanks again, Happy Holidays, and I hope you continue to be successful! :D

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  177. Extremely Inspiring!

    Like many, I have stories inside of me that needs to be birthed and reading your site has triggered off writing contractions.

    Very honourable of you to share your journey. It gives us hope.

    I wish you continued success.

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  178. I found this post a few weeks ago. I just wanted to let you know I have printed it and I carry it around in my notebook. It gives me hope and inspiration. Thanks for that :)

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  179. What's Next for Amanda? Why not teach what you know, Do some webinars...Put together some resources for all to Benefit from. Why not interview average people and write about them. Why not give back to the community! Visit low income neighborhoods and Promote Reading to our Youth...Hand out some Kindles...Do it Do it Do it...

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  180. Anderson Cooper, wow! Now you can say you have made it! Enjoy every minute of the thrill. You have worked hard and deserve it! Congrats!

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  181. That's it Amanda! Keep the e-book machine running and don't worry about the traditional channels...although...it would be nice to see your work in a bookstore wouldn't it? However much longer bookstores will be around that is. Best wishes and keep going in all directions even!

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  182. Thanks for posting this, Amanda. It in NOT too much detail. As a writer who could paper her living room with rejection letters, it gives me hope. p.s. I saw you on Anderson (which is actually how I heard of you), and you were delightful. Congratulations!

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  183. Poking through the archive of your blog as been inspiring. I'm on the start line of my own writing career, barely out of the gate, if even at all. But, like you, I'm determined to make things happen.

    Although I know you have many fans and will likely never read this particular comment, I felt I wanted to post anyway. Thank you for sharing the inside scoop on your experiences, it is very uplifting for authors on the self-publishing route. I'm not new to writing, but I am new to the business of writing and publishing, and trying to find my legs.

    Seeing your success and your beginnings really gives me hope for my own success. You posted that you sold 45 copies total of two books in your first published month. I'm happy to report some awesome numbers myself: with the only marketing I've done being posts to my personal FaceBook and Twitter accounts, I've sold 79 copies of my book in 5 days. I'm very grateful and very happy.

    I wish you all the success in the future. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed some of your books and am adding your other works to my library. :)

    http://smoberhansley.blogspot.com/

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  184. Amanda, your'e an inspiration! I'm going to be exploring eBooks soon and I very much appreciate the detailed info. What you said about editing is incredibly important. I stress that to writers as well. So many people asked me about book writing that I wrote this post explaining why they couldn't get their book published. I thought you might enjoy reading it: http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/unpublished/

    btw, I'm from Minnesota too, although I just moved to southern California at the end of 2010.

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  185. Fascinating story, Amanda! I wish I had your ability to pump out material at such a brisk pace!
    Congratulations on all your success! I hope i can grab some of that magic for myself.
    it's nice to see hard work pay off for someone who actually deserves it and not a Kardashian sister!

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  186. Amanda, I see two things that are truly important in your column:
    1 - Hard work pays off -- focus, dedication, whatever, it's all hard work, and your emphasis on that is extremely important.
    2 - You (meaning anyone who writes)really do need a second pair of eyes on your finished draft to reduce plain old typos such as 'by' instead of 'be'.
    You do write well and are very positive in what you say about your progress. I am very impressed with your gumption and your willingness to take the path least followed and find success. Keep this blog going and continue to encourage others to follow in your footsteps.

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  187. Realy glad it has all started to come together for you now :) may your success continue :)

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  188. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! (and in such a humble way!) You're an amazing writer and an inspiration!

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  189. I'm a bit older than you. When I was young I was seriously into fiction and read novels in bunches. Couldn't get enough ... or so I thought. Wrong!

    Eventually I found myself sated, turned to non-fiction -- and for the past 15 years hadn't looked at any fictional work. Then a month ago my wife bought me a Kindle. So I did some research and found you were one of the most successful authors on Kindle.

    I'd never read a vampire story, not my thing, and I wouldn't cross the road to see a vampire movie. But Hollowland was free so I thought I'd glance at a couple of pages, just to check out your writing style. Astonishingly to myself, I was hooked from the first page.

    Remy is the strongest character I've come across. I found her incredibly real, so I was delighted to discover she features in at least one follow-up book. I hadn't had my fill of her in the first.

    I love your writing style. And thanks for turning me on to fiction again and proving to me that vampire books can be a great read.

    PS: I'm sure a Hollowland movie will follow, although I'm not sure that there's an actress out there who would do justice to the role of Remy.

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  190. Oops, I just showed my lack of experience in the genre. I said vampires when of course I should have said zombies. : )

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  191. I just wanted to say that you are a true inspiration, Amanda. I absolutely love your attitude and the advice that you give other writers. You've inspired me to follow my dream and do what I've always wanted to do: write. Thank you for that. Maybe someday you will read the book that, in hearing about you and getting to know you through your blogs, gave me the courage to finally write. Wishful thinking - a popular, successful author reading a newbie's work...But if you ever have the time I would die and go to heaven if you checked it out. It's called The Dreamer and I just released it on Amazon yesterday.
    I'm looking forward to reading a lot more from you.
    Thank you for being so amazing.

    -Ariana Zamora

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  192. Thank you so much for this post. I am a first time author as well and I am doing as much research as possible. I say, don't stop writing. I am quite sure that your next goal is right around the corner, perhaps a screenplay should be next on the agenda. Just a thought. God Bless!

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