Amanda Hocking may be single-handedly responsible for driving thousands of newbie authors to self-publishing, eager to replicate her astonishing success. But today she gave them a dose of reality. I just wonder how many of them will listen…
Everybody seems really excited about what I'm doing and how I've been so successful, and from what I've been able to understand, it's because a lot of people think that they can replicate my success and what I've done. And while I do think I will not be the only one to do this – others will be as successful as I've been, some even more so – I don't think it will happen that often.
Traditional publishing and indie publishing aren't all that different, and I don't think people realize that. Some books and authors are best sellers, but most aren't. It may be easier to self-publish than it is to traditionally publish, but in all honesty, it's harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house.
I don't think people really grasp how much work I do. I think there is this very big misconception that I was like, "Hey, paranormal is pretty hot right now," and then I spent a weekend smashing out some words, threw it up online, and woke up the next day with a million dollars in my bank account.
She goes on to talk about the years of hard work she put into it…and the difficulty of finding good, professional copyeditors…and the huge amount of time she's spent marketing. And yet, she acknowledges that a lot of her success comes down to simple luck (she points out other self-published writers she thinks are every bit as good as she is and yet still have not broken through). Then she makes this point, which I'm sure few newbies want to hear:
I guess what I'm saying is that just because I sell a million books self-publishing, it doesn't mean everybody will. In fact, more people will sell less than 100 copies of their books self-publishing than will sell 10,000 books. I don't mean that to be mean, and just because a book doesn't sell well doesn't mean it's a bad book. It's just the nature of the business. Self-publishing and traditional publishing really aren't that different. One is easier to get into but harder to maintain. But neither come with guarantees. Some books will sell, some won't.
Great advice…and I applaud her for giving it.