In an update on a story from a couple of days ago, the New York Times reports that self-publishing star Amanda Hocking has signed a four-book contract with St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan.

The Times reports that bidding eventually rose beyond $2 million, though St. Martin’s declined to reveal the exact figure. The first book in the 4-book “Watersong” series should be released in fall, 2012.

Responding to the rumors on her blog a couple of days ago, Hocking explained that she wanted to be able to spend more of her time writing, and less taking care of other chores that a traditional publisher could manage for her. Self-publishing was a full-time job, and took away from her time to write, as well as do other things she enjoyed.

There’s several factors that go into my decision making about any possible future endeavors. The biggest factors are my readers and the longevity of my career. My goal has always been to put the highest quality product I can out in a way that is the most accessible to readers. My goal has never been to be the "darling" or the "poster child" for any movement.

Certainly, a traditional publisher will be able to help her put a greater polish on her work, as well as make it available to a wider audience (albeit at higher e-book prices). And getting an advance in excess of $500,000 per book means she’ll be able to afford to take it easy for a while—when she’s not busy writing, anyway.

(Found via GalleyCat.)


  1. One thing you can say about traditional publishers: They’re not shy about jumping onto a bandwagon! Especially one with YAs all over it. Six figures! Yup, that’s the way it’s done… good for Amanda!

    Hopefully Krozser is wrong in her belief that Amanda won’t get out her next book through traditional publishing in time to hold onto the “All Twilight, All The Time” zeitgeist… I think that is probably the biggest danger to going traditional, and watching your production schedule stretch from months into years.

  2. Interesting dynamic. She is very young and I suspect this together with her new wealth has contributed largely to this decision. Her characterisation of the self publishing process seems suddenly and suspiciously deeply prejudicial.
    I suspect there is little to learn from this except that each person makes his own decision according to his skills, income, personality.

  3. Howard, what about her “characterisation of the self publishing process seems suddenly and suspiciously deeply prejudicial”?

    As far as I can tell, she’s been pretty consistent with her opinion on how she wants to create a career out of writing, how difficult the self-publishing process is, and how she’d rather focus on ‘just writing’. I think that your feeling there is something worth being ‘suspicious’ about says more about you than her.

  4. I’m fairly certain that in the future there will be a lot more author’s taking the route Justin Halpern and Amanda Hocking have, and a lot fewer taking the route J.A. Konrath has.

    Theoretically, it isn’t in their best financial interest- but then neither are sports agents. Business sense isn’t a prerequisite for being a best-selling author (and if you write books ABOUT business, business sense is probably a liability).

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  5. @Peter: You’re assuming most authors will have a choice; it’s not as if publishers are chasing down all indie authors to give them 6-figure contract offers. Or 5-figures. Or even 4.

    I suspect more authors will be turning to self-publishing as the major publishers continue to ignore them. The publishers may stay the same, but the authors have better choices now.

  6. @Steven
    You’re absolutely correct.

    In fact, I’ll go a step further and say NO independent authors will get book deals anymore, at least not based on submissions.

    You have to climb your own way to the top of the ebook charts first, then the publishers will talk to you.

    I AM, however, assuming, that of the handful of lucky author’s who do make it to the top on their own; few will actually have the nerve to turn down the same publishers who wouldn’t give them the time of day at the bottom. It’s cruel, it’s stupid, it’s inefficient, but its how life works.

    And I can’t blame anyone; If macmillan called me, I know I’d pick up.

  7. Never forget that she tried for years to be accepted by any publisher before going indie.

    So it’s more than understandable her making use of that sealf-earned (!) fame and finally letting publishers outbid themselves over her next novels.
    And there certainly is a lesson for each indie, self-publishing auhtor in there: Take care of yourself, and if an oppurtinuty comes by, grab it.

    Face it. This isn’t about ideology or art for the sake of art; it’s still about making money and get yourself being published.

  8. Good for Amanda! Good for the Publisher who picked her up! Although Amanda didn’t expect to be the “poster girl” for e publishing success….she is! Her success spurred me on to try e publishing FIRST! Of course, without marketing a good product could just sit there. Amanda is talented in that area as well. Some of us will have to learn marketing as we go along. It takes away ALOT of time from writing and so kudos to Amanda for grabbing the brass ring and spending full time or her craft!

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