Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've only recently become aware of the self-publishing phenom that is Amanda Hocking. Today, news came out that she has translated her popularity in publishing novels through e-booksellers into a seven-figure book deal with St. Martin's Press.

Her amazing success has led to quite a lot of discussion in blogs and on message boards about electronic self-publishing and whether new writers should go that route or the traditional route (which includes agents, publishing houses and editors). For a great breakdown on how the two business models work, check out Nathan Bransford's posts here and here. For a little snark, there's John Scalzi's e-publishing bingo card. And James Van Pelt has some good points on the subject, too.

(Edited to add: There's also this fascinating conversation between authors Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, the latter of whom recently turned down a traditional publishing contract for two books and half a million dollars.)

As for me, I'm leery of jumping into e-publishing. For starters, for every Amanda Hocking, there's a million writers whose works languish in obscurity. I figure that her success is akin to winning the lottery. Sometimes people get lucky. Most of the time, they don't. I'm sure there's more than luck involved for Ms. Hocking, who has been writing novels for several years and probably does a hell of a lot of promotion and publicity.

My long-term plan is the same as it's always been: Learn the ropes in writing short stories until I (hopefully) make enough professional sales to be eligible for the SFWA, then try my hand at novels. If that takes me years or decades, so be it. I'm not in a hurry.

Today in real life: I'm wire editor at work, which means my shift starts three hours earlier than usual, which means I got nothing done before heading into the office. Actually, I take that back: I played Candy Land with my 3-year-old.

Today in writing: Over the past three days since my last post, I've written probably 750 to 1,000 words. I'm one scene away from finishing a first draft.

Bits and pieces:

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