I self-published my last book "The Montezuma Secret" as an experiment, largely due to what I had read about the success of such authors as JA Konrath. As a business owner and entrepreneur for many years and someone who believes in self-study, I thought this was a great achievement--people making it on their own. Then I heard of Amanda Hocking. That really convinced me. Now that I'm a published author with Amazon's Kindle, I receive a wonderful blog several times a week called "Kindle Writers." I read yesterday that self-publishing legend Amanda Hocking has signed a seven-figure deal with Macmillan after a "heated auction" for the rights to publish her books. Several major publishers, including Random House, Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins, were involved. According to the The New York Times, the bidding "rose beyond $2 million for world English rights." The first thought that popped into my head was "Wow, she's really made it now." And then I stopped myself. Does this somehow "legitimize" her success? And then--whoa--wasn't her amazing success as an indie self-published author enough proof of that? Ms. Hocking states on her blog that she took the deal because she wanted to spend more time being a writer and less time on being a publisher, though she still enjoys marketing. She says she didn't do it for the money or the validation but because she wanted more people to have access to her books (Even Barnes and Noble can't order them for people) and because she wanted better editors and career stability. Whatever her reasons, it's still a fantastic achievement and one that should be celebrated by writers and readers alike and makes people in the publishing world stand up and recognize indie authors as a talented bunch, many of whom are capable of appealing to millions in the same way established authors like Nora Roberts or James Patterson can. On the other hand, New York Times bestselling author Barry Eisler recently turned down a $500,000 book deal in favor of self-publishing. He said that based on the experience writers were having with self-publishing, he thought he could do better long-term on his own. These inspiring stories certainly open up the options for writers interested in achieving success on their own terms and I hope it continues. And whether she took the deal or not, Amanda Hocking's success is still legitimate, whether it's self-published or not. What do you think?
Next week: Romance and the Kennedys