Self-publishing, however, also involves a very long learning curve that requires the acquisition of so many skills. So long, in fact, that writing a book often seems to be the easiest part of the process. Discovering that a book will not sell itself, new authors have to learn how to leverage the online world through social media, websites, blogs, advertising and promotion. All of these require at least a basic technical knowledge, and for those authors who are willing and eager to learn, they develop very good Internet and technical knowledge.
Share via Email Amanda Hocking: What the historians may omit to mention is the crucial role played in her rise by those furry wide-mouthed friends, the Muppets. To understand the vital Muppet connection we have to go back to April We find Hocking sitting in her tiny, sparsely furnished apartment in Austin, Minnesota.
She is penniless and frustrated, having spent years fruitlessly trying to interest traditional publishers in her work. To make matters worse, she has just heard that an exhibition about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, is coming to Chicago later that year and she can't afford to make the trip.
As a huge Muppets fan, she is more than willing to drive eight hours but has no money for petrol, let alone a hotel for the night. What is she to do? Then it comes to her. She can take one of the many novels she has written over the previous nine years, all of which have been rejected by umpteen book agents and publishing houses, and slap them up on Amazon and other digital ebook sites.
Surely, she can sell a few copies to her family and friends? To which Eric replies: I'll believe that when it happens.
Over the past 20 months Hocking has sold 1. All by her lonesome self. Not a single book agent or publishing house or sales force or marketing manager or bookshop anywhere in sight.
So let the historians take note: Amanda Hocking does get to Chicago to see the Muppets. And along the way she helps to foment a revolution in global publishing.
I've come to Austin, legendary birthplace of Spam the canned as opposed to the digital versionto find out what this self-publishing revolution looks like in the flesh. I can report that, from the outside, it's surprisingly conventional.
Hocking no longer lives in that pokey apartment, but then she's no longer a struggling would-be author. She's bought herself her own detached home, the building block of the American dream, replete with gables and extensions, its own plot of land, and a concrete ramp on which to park the car.
But step inside and convention gives way to a riot of colour. It is just before Christmas, and Hocking has decorated the house with several plastic trees bedecked in lights and two large Santa stockings pinned expectantly over the mantelpiece.
The sofa is scattered with animals, some of the cuddly toy variety and others alive, notably Elroy the miniature schnauzer and Squeak the cat apparently they get on very well.
She greets me at the door and, without preamble, we talk for the next two hours about her extraordinary rags-to-riches tale and what it means for the future of the book. At 27, and with only a few months in the limelight, she is patently new to the fame game.
She seems nervous at first, answering my questions in short bursts and fiddling with her glasses; but gradually she relaxes as we discuss what for her has been the central passion of her life since an infant.
She was brought up in the Minnesota countryside on the outskirts of Blooming Prairie about 15 miles north of Austin. Her parents divorced when she was young, money was tight and there was no cable TV to wallow in.
I would go to the library, or get books at rummage sales. I got through them so quickly I started reading adult books because they were longer. I remember my mom giving me a box set of five books to last me all summer; I devoured them all in two weeks. It was a way, she now thinks, of coping with the depression that troubled her childhood.
There wasn't a reason for it, I just was. I was sad and morose. I cried a lot, I wrote a lot, and I read a lot; and that was how I dealt with it. The child Hocking began telling her own stories before she could walk. She was forever inventing make-believe worlds, so much so that the counsellor to whom she was sent for depression concluded that her incessant storytelling was an aberration that had to stop.
Fortunately for Hocking, and for her many fans, her parents took her side in this argument, and she was never sent back to see him. At 12 she had already begun to describe herself as a writer and by the end of high school she estimates she had written 50 short stories and started countless novels.Online shopping for Research - Writing, Research & Publishing Guides from a great selection at Books Store.
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The online MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing is designed for students who want to pursue a career as a writer of novels in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, or young adult.
Not a single book agent or publishing house or sales force or marketing manager or bookshop anywhere in sight. So let the historians take note: Amanda Hocking does get to Chicago to see the Muppets.
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