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Hocking says no to Amazon

13 February 2012

Hugely successful self-published author Amanda Hocking has grabbed the headlines again with her decision not to go with Amazon's new publishing venture, in spite of their offer of a higher advance, but to stick with St Martin's Press, which she felt would be better able to get her books into bookshops.This deal was for her new four-book seriesWatersong,with the first title,Wake,to be published this autumn.

Hocking said that:"Everything they are doing has improved what I was doing. I don't enjoy the publishing process that much: what I did well was the marketing and building a connection with an audience".Since her books have sold 1.5 million in ebooks but only 1500 in print editions, mining the print audience clearly represents a huge opportunity for both author and publisher.

Hocking has said that what she always wanted was to get to as many readers as possible, and this meant getting into print, and most importantly being displayed in bookshops.

"Most of my readers have supported my decision, but other writers who wanted me to be a kind of indie hero were the ones who were the most angry, and I never wanted to be an indie hero, so I don't mind that they are angry.I don't believe there is a war, everyone is trying to write books and sell books, and I think we are all kind of on the same team."

"I am in a really unique position where the publisher is going to try and make an example of what they can do for an author -- which is great for me. I am getting the best they have, and I know they haven't always been able to offer the best."

So, how helpful is this for other authors? It does show that an author who has managed to establish a mass audience on the web will be welcomed by publishers, which is not surprising as a large part of the marketing job will already be done. Even if everyone went for ebooks, some of that audience will want print editions and many others will be up for anything the author writes, if she's already been successful enough. What they're really after is her novels and her writing ability will easily transfer to a slightly different medium