Austin author on to the big timePublished 11:03am Friday, March 25, 2011
Amanda Hocking cashes in on vampire craze, signs $2M deal for new series
It still feels weird for Austin native Amanda Hocking. All the success, that is.
Her four book deal with St. Martin’s Press – reportedly worth more than $2 million – was officially announced Thursday after days of rumored multimillion dollar deals. Yet despite selling more than a million e-books in under a year, she’s surprised she can garner this much media attention.
“I can’t imagine anything in my life that would be leaked,” Hocking said. “That part’s crazy.”
Hocking, at 26 years of age, is the epitome of a success story in online self-publishing. Although she had always dreamt she’d become a famous author, Hocking is coming to grips that she’s not quite the normal person she used to be.
Hocking’s story is well known by now. She’s spent years writing and rewriting books, always dreaming of becoming an author. She’d been thinking about paranormal novels before the “Twilight” craze hit the pop culture scene, but the vampire mania helped her decide on paranormal romance as a genre she could have fun with. Since then, she has written about teens and vampires, troll princesses, zombies and more.
She sold about 25,000 books online in mid-October, and was steadily working to put out one book a month on Amazon.com. Fast forward a few months, and as of Wednesday, Hocking has sold 1,030,768 books and counting.
Her novels cracked USA Today’s bestsellers list in February and she’s scheduled to appear in Elle magazine’s April issue.
She woke up Thursday to constant calls from reporters, unaware that St. Martin’s Press would confirm its deal with her.
There are more reporters from the New York Times and New York Times magazine in town to interview her. She’s hit it big, but the only way she can describe it is, well … weird.
“It feels weird. It’s super, super weird,” Hocking said. “It’s weird because I live here. I still do. My life is so normal.”
Since her initial success and subsequent switch to writing full time last August, Hocking’s bought a new car, a new house and started paying off debts for herself and her family with the money she’s made from her sales. She’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to her parents, who she said gave her everything she needed growing up, despite being in a lower-middle class household.
“My parents gave me a lot when I didn’t have much,” Hocking said. “Now that I can afford to do for them what I want to, that’s what I intend to do.”
She’s even hired her best friend and roommate Eric Goldman as her personal assistant, which was a dream come true, of sorts. According to Hocking, when the two were students at Austin High School, they’d joke around about her becoming a rich and famous author, with Goldman acting as her personal assistant.
“It’s really cool,” she said.
Hocking’s book deal with St. Martin’s revolves around her “Watersong” series, a story arc involving sisters and sirens (the Greek monsters who lured sailors to their doom) she’s been toying with for some time. While the first book is due out by fall 2012, she’s free to publish other books online so long as they don’t interfere with the “Watersong” publishing schedule.
She’ll have to find time to start writing, however. Since her rise in popularity, the media requests keep coming and it’s becoming more difficult for her to write in peace, even with Goldman’s help.
“Right now, the hardest thing for me is trying to organize my time,” she said.
Hocking has plenty of ideas and novel outlines in reserve for quite some time, even if she’s not able to sit back and enjoy her success yet. Becoming famous went much differently than what she thought it would be. Instead of caviar dreams and a relaxing time, it’s the uncertainty and stress of keeping her position as the e-book queen intact, or at least continuing, that makes up her life now.
“It feels different than I thought it would,” she said. “There’s more of a sense of uncertainty then I thought. I have to figure out a way to make this last, to turn this into a career instead of a one-hit wonder.”
She’ll eventually have the time she needs to make that happen. Her passion for writing is as strong as ever.
“I still love writing and I am excited,” Hocking said.