Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tale Of Two Writers

This has been an interesting week writing-wise.  With Bad Apple 2, I'm just about on the same day as the characters are in the story and, yes, it ends on Dec. 31.  I expect I'll be finished with the writing before then.

I have another idea percolating, unrelated to Bad Apple 3 caused by this week.

As an observation in general about ebooks, there is no greater cachet to selling one category over another.  If you sell well, it's all good unlike in the tradpub world where a big commercial bestseller is a lot better than a YA (barring the Twilight books).  You will receive greater accolades and credibility for Danielle Steele or James Patterson books than anything else.  This doesn't seem to be the case in digital.

This week Joe Konrath introduced us to Amanda Hocking.  She's 26, apparently never been published/gotten the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval from tradpub.  Up until just months ago agents were rejecting her if she was so lucky to get a response, but mostly ignoring her.  She decided to take her career in her own hands.  Now she's selling like 10,000 copies a week. 

No, that's not a typo.  She's selling 5X the books Joe Konrath aka The King of Kindle is selling.  She's writing very commercial fiction in a genre that everyone is clamoring for--yeah, vampires.  She has lovely covers and a good work ethic (edit edit edit) and obviously does what she does really really well.  Brava, Amanda!

A tradpub writer on a mailing list I'm on (nevermind I'm not saying more than that) just had another book published and even though it got excellent reviews, it's not selling well and she's experiencing dismay and despair.  "What am I doing wrong?"  She wrote to the list.  (The book is $26 and we're in tough economic times, let's start with that point.)  Everyone, feeling rightfully sorry for her plight, began patting her on the head and reassuring her.  No, she shouldn't quit, all will be well, just do more of the same.

Off list (because I am usually not a welcome addition to any discussion) I told her about Amanda and Joe and me.  I said ebooks are the future and she should explore what's going on, do some research and know that once tradpub collapses from its own motivated stupidity (I didn't say those exact words to her) there's a new life to be found with lots of readers ready to embrace good stories no matter where they come from.  I want to think I planted the seed of hope in her the way Joe and now Amanda planted seeds of hope in me.

I love Amanda's story.  It's better than Konrath's because he is traditionally published and has books out there and has an agent (I think it's actually an agent I worked with for a while, she was the "best" agent I ever had in one respect).  You have the traditional publishing model not able to comprehend what's valuable about Amanda, not able to see the potential in her projects, nor the stellar storytelling skills she possesses.  So in an overnight success type situation, altho it's months, she goes out on her own and without intention, proves them wrong.  What's not to love about this.

She delineates well on her blog the contributing factors to this success.  Go there and study.   We can all learn from her.

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