My cousin-in-law, Tricia Duryee, is a very successful journalist for mocoNews.net and writes eMoney at All Things Digital. She has been covering the cutting edge of technology for over a decade. A month ago, when Tricia sent me a link to this article about 26-year old Amanda Hocking, a paranormal romance writer making millions self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle, I paid attention.
I’m still pursuing publication of my memoir through traditional routes with an agent and a publishing house, but if that doesn’t pan out in a reasonable time, self-publishing is definitely something I will consider. Ms. Hocking’s success was encouraging to me because it seems that many writers are self-publishing these days, meaning the market is flooding with new, low-priced works, and I wondered if a real person could actually build a financially successful career in self-publishing. When I attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference last summer, the general word from agents was that self-publishing only helped you get a traditional book deal if you were very successful at it, and they made it sound like those odds were very steep.
When my copy of Entertainment Weekly (EW) arrived in the mail yesterday, I was surprised to find a mention of Ms. Hocking in the Book Review section. Tricia really is on the cutting edge of information. The EW article says that Ms. Hocking was recently offered a $2 million, four-book deal by St. Martin’s Press because she’s sold a million copies of her eBook in the past year! The EW article went on to list three other self-published fiction authors who are cleaning up.
What I realized is that I’ve been resisting the idea of self-publishing because its new, it’s change, and its future is uncertain. But I can also see that self-publishing might be allowing the public access to quality works they really love that have been held back by the slow filters of traditional publishing. The paper publishing business is slow and cumbersome compared to the new eBook phenomenon, sometimes taking two years to come to fruition. One agent once told me that she receives 15,000 queries a year and she only takes on perhaps two or three of those writers. We know there are plenty of great undiscovered writers out there, but perhaps e-publishing will help a few more of them be heard.
I have at least one writing friend with self-published books available. Please check out Phil Rink’s middle-grade Jimi & Isaac series, about a pair of science-loving middle school boys and their amazing adventures. His books are available in Kindle and paperback and I’ve read them aloud to my own aspiring twin scientists. I call Phil’s books Judy Blume for boys, although his books will appeal to girls as well.
Maybe Phil will be the next Amanda Hocking?