Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questions About Amanda Hocking

Everybody is talking about Amanda Hocking selling ebooks to the tune of 450,000 copies. I don’t buy that number for a minute, by the way. She’s a young adult author. Do half-a-million adolescents even have ebook readers? Amanda herself admits to selling 2,000 paperbacks since October. I assume this means the physical commodity.

Which raises the questions: What are the real numbers? What’s the breakdown? Does sales by ebook mean on the various readers, or as attatchments online? What’s the demographic breakdown of those with ebook readers?

One gets an idea about the “How” she sold many copies of her novels. Apparently she’s written seventeen of them. Mark of a complusive personality. Presumably spent day and night twittering and Facebook networking, which takes tremendous mental energy and a unique personality. Through her efforts, a critical mass was achieved where the buzz began feeding on itself, like a nuclear reactor busting out of its containment facility. (I’m trying to stay timely!)

Those with answers to these many questions, let us know what they are, please. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

the only contribution I have is that any PC can double as an E-reader.

Amanda Hocking said...

I'm happy to answer the questions. I've actually sold over a million copies at this point, but I can explain it to you.

First, I haven't sold a copy to a million different people. I have 9 books for sale, and I haven't sold a million copies of any one title. That's combined for all my titles, and many of my readers are repeat customers, who go on to buy all my books. So I would say I've probably sold to more like three or four hundred thousand different people, possibly more. But not a full million.

Secondly, most of my readers are not young adults. I would say 80-90% are adult women. Teen fiction is very popular among adults.

Third, many readers don't own ereaders. They read ebooks on apps on their smart phones - like iPhones and Android - and iPads, as well as laptops and computers. But the Kindle and nook are becoming increasingly popular.

Fourth, I have reported my sales to two reporters. One reporter has physically seen the reports directly from the websites (like Amazon and Barnes & Noble). He sat down next to me, and I logged in to the websites and showed him my sales. He reported it here in the Pioneer Press: The other reporter was with the Associated Press, and that story hasn't gone live yet.

Fifth - and perhaps the most telling - I have seven books in top 100 Amazon. That is easily verifiable. Other authors who are selling books in the top 100 can attest to how many books they sell to get their books there. I also have 3 books the top ten best selling books in PubIt at Barnes & Noble.

Sixth, here's a link I posted in blog with screenshots for the first time I sold over 100,000 books in one month back in December:

To answer you other questions: Every time a person buys my book to read on their Kindle or nook, it counts as one sale. However, that one book can be read on their account on multiple devices via the Kindle and nook apps.

And while I think twitter and Facebook are helpful, I think what's helped my sales the most are book bloggers who read my books, enjoyed them, and then spread the word. Word of mouth has been the #1 seller for my books.

I hope that cleared up all your questions! :)

Frank Marcopolos said...

Karl, You may want to check out Konrath's blog:

As well as Robin Sullivan's:

They're both pretty enlightening on the topic of e-books, and specifically self-published e-books.

King said...

Frank, after hearing from Ms. Hocking herself, any other contribution is anticlimactic. Do you have an idea what she's accomplished?
She's the most powerful person in literature right now and doesn't even realize it.
If a complete outsider can sell one million copies DIY, the monopolies are over. This is truly revolutionary.
There must be a lot of pants-shitting going on right now in Manhattan skyscrapers. . . .
Yo Ms. Hocking: Beware the sharks. Stay true to yourself and enjoy the ride.

Frank Marcopolos said...

Karl, I agree, but a perhaps even more interesting thing is that Ms. Hocking isn't the ONLY success story in the field right now, she's just the biggest (by far.) Konrath and Sullivan blog about the industry overall, including all the ancillary issues, such as cover design, marketing, etc.

Anonymous said...

15 years ago, I managed to make contact with an author named Margaret Switzer regarding her book "Existential Folktales". It took me a week and several long distance phone calls. Internet was virginally young.

She was good enough to tell me about a newer book she was shopping publishers for; the basic premise, I believe, was Red Riding Hood versus HMO's. I suggested she self-publish on the internet. I've never seen the book.

Today, Amanda Hocking does this as if it's natural. Anyone ever hear of Margaret Switzer?

King said...

One has to ask now: What's the point of the New York Publishing industry? What do they offer?
The "System" is bureaucratically topheavy and wasteful, beginning with the "agent" taking 15% from the start. Think of the waste, today, of leasing office space in Manhattan. No point to it. If you are going to have an office-- even several floors, or an entire building, there are entire office buildings downtown Detroit to be had cheap. You can live two blocks away unbelievably cheap. (Er, downtown detroit is quite safe.)
Or, you can live/work in Philly and still easily access major media. The current model in the age of the Internet, electronic publishing etc, has not been competitive.
So what do they offer but barriers, snobbery, and expense?
(Don't tell me marketing and publicity. Their promotion is backward. If nothing else, I proved that with the ULA, when we were getting huge writeups in Black Book mag, Village Voice,, seven(?) writeups in Page Six, and so on, outdoing the congloms, and we did it with no money.)
If Amanda sells a million with no real promotion, if she had someone like me working for her you could triple that.
The dinosaurs are dead.
Time to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

King, I don't understand. Most of the time you're talking about how literature needs to be infused with a kind of realism and relevancy, but now you're going gaga over Amanda Hocking, who, whatever her virtues, seems to write fantasy novels.

Are you mostly interested in a new economic model for production and distribution, are you interested in aesthetics, or is there someplace where the two meet? Just curious.

King said...

Life isn't an either/or black/white column A/column B place-- though if one follows established media one might think that. I'm allowed to applaud Amanda's success as a DIY writer, while at the same time promoting my own aesthetic ideas.
Yes, I hope success and ideas can meet.

Anonymous said...

What say ye now, Kingy baby?

King said...

I say all credit and congrats to Ms. Hocking.
I believe I'll do a post on this.
Watch for it.