THIS month, Switched, a novel by a young author hit the shelves of British bookshops in Spain. But before a single book had been printed, it had already sold more than 1.5 million copies in e-Book format. EWN reporter Nicole Hallett reveals in this exclusive interview.
BEING a struggling author is not unheard of. But going from broke to millionaire practically overnight does not happen often, unless one is speaking of JK Rowling now world famous for the Harry Potter series.
In the summer of 2010, American Amanda Hocking, 27, was working with the disabled earning $1,000 (€750) a month.
In under two years she has risen from would-be author, repeatedly rejected by publishers, to a self-publishing phenomenon and millionaire.
Switched, the first of her bestselling Trylle Trilogy, which is a new angle to Scandinavian troll mythology incorporated into a teenage girl’s journey of self-discovery in an urban fantasy setting. The main character Wendy Everly a flawed hero.
Wendy first knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although she’s certain she’s not the monster her mother claims she is, there is a secret she keeps from everyone.
Her mysterious ability to influence people’s decision, without knowing how, or why. By 2010, a still unpublished Amanda had already written nine novels in quick succession.
“Each book took me about two or four weeks to write,” she said. Amanda would “just sit at my computer for eight to 12-hours at a time,” fuelled with Red Bull, her drink of preference.
After finishing each novel she would take a break for a few weeks before starting the next one. Despite numerous rejection letters, from publishing houses, with each new novel she hoped that it would accepted, that “this time they would like it.”
“They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, so I realized I had to change what I was doing.”
She researched self-publishing on the internet and put the first novel, a vampire romance called ‘My Blood Approves’ online in April 2010, followed by her eight others.
“I began self-publishing my ebooks when the market was taking off,” she said. “so it was much less saturated than it is now.”
She sold thefirst book in each series for the lowest amount she was allowed, 99c (€0.77), which is what she says she would be willing to spend on an ebook.
“The sequels I put at the higher rate of $2.99 (€2.32), since if readers liked the first one, they would see the value.” Speaking of change, despite her millionaire status, the young indie novelist says she still does things same things she did before she struck gold.
“My day to day life is pretty much the same; except I no longer have a day job and I do not have to worry about money anymore.”
The other books in the Trylle Trilogy, Torn and Ascend, are due to be published in February and March respectively.