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June 20, 2011

NYT Mag profiles next "Billion dollar author" in Austin, MN

New York Times Magazine published a cool profile of Amanda Hocking, a young author in Austin, Minn. who is is currently the 'It Girl" of the publishing world with what looks to be a very promising career ahead of her.

The piece, written by Strawberry Saroyan, shows Hocking as a down-to-earth woman living a quiet life in Spamtown, USA.

Through online self-publishing, Hocking is selling about 9,000 books a day.

That's a big jump from where she was in February when the Post-Bulletin's very own Matt Stolle profiled Hocking.

Here's some from Saroyan's profile of her:

Amanda Hocking, the star of self-publishing, was sitting in the front seat of her Ford Escape earlier this spring when she spotted a messenger delivering flowers to her home in Austin, Minn. She watched her best friend and roommate, Eric Goldman, get the door.

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Inside, Goldman had set the assortment of gerbera daisies and roses on the coffee table.

“Who are they from?” Hocking asked.

“St. Martin’s Press,” Goldman said. “That’s your new publisher.”

That morning, Hocking’s deal with St. Martin’s was announced: $2 million for her next four books, a series she’s calling “Watersong.”

She casually opened the card. “ ‘Thrilled to be your publisher,’ ” she read. “ ‘Thrilled to be working with you. Sincerely, people.’ ”

People?

Me2 “Well, ‘Sincerely, Matthew Shear and Rose Hilliard,’ ” she said before trailing off, referring to a head of St. Martin’s and the woman who would be her editor there.

If Hocking seems a bit blasé about signing her first deal with a traditional publisher, and a multimillion-dollar one at that, it’s hard to blame her. Since uploading her first book on her own last spring, she has become — along with the likes of Nora Roberts, James Patterson and Stieg Larsson — one of the best-selling e-authors on Amazon. In that time, she has grossed approximately $2 million. Her 10 novels include the paranormal-romance “Trylle,” a four-book vampire series that begins with “My Blood Approves” and “Hollowland,” which kicks off a zombie series whose second book will come out in the fall. Her character-driven books, which feature trolls, hobgoblins and fairy-tale elements and keep the pages turning, have generated an excitement not felt in the industry since Stephenie Meyer or perhaps even J.K. Rowling.

“She’s just a really good storyteller,” Hilliard says. “Whatever that thing is that makes you want to stay up late at night to read one more chapter — she has it.”

Hollywood feels the same way: the “Trylle”series was optioned by Media Rights Capital, which was involved with “The Adjustment Bureau,” among other films; the screenplays are being written by the woman who co-wrote “District 9.’

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415xaWKjghL._SS500_ And Hocking wants to reach as many people as possible among the 85 percent or so of the population who don’t have e-readers yet. “For me to be a billion-dollar author,” she would tell me later, “I need to have people buying my books at Wal-Mart.”

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Later in my visit, Hocking agreed to show me the house she was moving into a few weeks later; it was one of her few indulgences, she said. (Another is a model of a life-size Han Solo figure encased in carbonite that cost “about $7,000,” she admitted shyly.) We drove a few miles, then pulled into a spacious and tidy area in front of a ranch-style home. Compared with her current place, it was the Taj Mahal: well-kept grounds, total quiet, McMansions on either side

Comments

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I remember reading the article awhile back. Such a great story. Congrats Amanda!!

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