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My thoughts on Amanda Hocking's deal

First of all, a disclaimer. I consider Amanda Hocking a friend. Not only a peer in this author thing, but a friend. A-Money and I are part of a little writer's clique called The Indie Author Mafia, which includes several of today's top Indie authors. In the time that I've known her, I've found that Amanda is a true lady. She's humble, talented, and not only that, she's one of the nicest people you'd ever want to sit down and talk with about anything -- except American football. Nosireebob, Amanda doesn't like the throwball. But seriously.

That being said, I don't speak for Amanda. I don't represent her. But as her friend, I have to defend her. I have no qualms in saying this: I am truly happy for Amanda and her new publishing deal with St. Martin's Press. For those of you who aren't, and are questioning her for doing such a thing, well shame on you.

There's been plenty of talk about the blogosphere today about what this means. Some are decrying her for "selling out." Some are saying that it just means traditional publishing is the way to go, and that Barry Eisler is off his rocker for turning down $500,000 from -- stop me if you've heard of these guys before -- St. Martin's Press to self-publish his new two-book set.

Let's cut to the chase right away. It means this: Amanda is doing what she feels is best for her career, much like Barry feels saying thanks but no thanks to SMP earlier this week. She doesn't want to wear all the hats that we in the self-pub side of publishing do. She wants to write, and she'll let Steven Axelrod, a man she trusts, and her new staff take care of everything else. The people at St. Martin's have treated her like gold.

Now, for those of you putting her down for this... seriously: who wouldn't take what she earned (that's in italics for a reason) for her new series? Four books with a MAJOR New York publisher with an advance in excess of $2 million. Seriously? People are riding her ass because of this? Seriously?

Quick aside: Amanda writes in her blog that it's not about the money. With her, it's definitely not about the money. She's made plenty. The money just happens to be a pretty effing sweet perk of the deal.

Put yourself in Amanda's shoes. Would YOU, in Amanda's place, with her already large readership that grows exponentially by the minute, turn down a four-book deal worth more money than you would ever see in your lifetime? Would you, in Amanda's place, turn down a deal that would put you in front of a whole new segment of READERS (remember, it's the readers that we do this for) that had, until this week, never heard of her/you?

If you answer no to any of these questions, you need to make an appointment with your psychiatrist. Tout suite. I don't care if this pisses people off. You're crazy if you think she shouldn't do this.

I repeat: Who wouldn't take that? I certainly would. Dangle in excess of $2 million -- and let me keep my merchandising and film rights (George Lucas taught me well) -- in front of my nose, with the opportunity to reach many more readers than I am reaching now, and yes, I would sign that deal, and then pull a Roger Clemens, misremembering anything I said in the past about self-publishing over traditional. For $2 million, definitely. For $1 million, definitely. For that number, I'd be a brainless buffoon to turn it down.

Quick aside No. 2: Baseball season starts in seven days, and if you think that and taking a swipe at Roger Clemens in the same sentence puts a smile on my face, well, you know me too well.

Amanda's writing is worth that much. She worked her ass off. She put out some pretty solid books; paranormal romance is hot. She became the darling, her books took off, and boom! a publishing deal has landed in her lap. Good for her! I do not blame her one bit. Take the money and run, kiddo.

Now...

Amanda said on her blog that she has several more books that she will self-publish even before this new deal kicks in. Perfect. This news will help her self-published titles, new and old.

She has the already built-in fan base of over one million books sold for nine books. Pretty damn sweet if you ask me. More than likely, those people who bought those books will buy her new self-pubbed titles. With the news of her new deal, those who read the New York Times (and the LA Times, which also followed her path to this contract) will want to know what Amanda Hocking is all about. They'll either a. Buy a Kindle or a Nook, or b. download the Kindle/Nook app for their iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android, PC or Mac, and then c. buy/read Amanda's books. She will have new fans, and those fans will buy the new books -- regardless of price -- starting in 2012 when her deal with St. Martin's kicks in. Amanda will more than likely earn that advance out, and will make St. Martin's plenty of money to recoup its investment in Amanda's work.

In all seriousness, she's in a position that many of us would consider a soggy dream come true. Let's stop the jealousy, stop wondering if this is a sucker punch for indie publishing, and let's just be happy for Amanda. She deserves this.

And who knows? Maybe this will happen to one of us someday. Just work hard like Amanda Hocking, and the world is at your feet.

www.johnfitchv.com

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Lorraine Corporon Felt
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
As Amanda's mom, I want to thank you for a wonderful post! You seem to understand her completely and I'm glad she has friends out there like you :)

Lorraine
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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