Friday, August 12

The Secret of Amanda Hocking's Success

Kristine Kathryn Rusch hits the nail on the head. In her words, Amanda Hocking has "major storytelling chops".
Critics loathe folks who can tell stories but whose prose isn’t English-major perfect. Once Hocking got her deal with St. Martins, the literary critics all downloaded a copy of her e-books then came out guns blazing, calling St. Martins stupid for buying such a seriously bad writer.

As usual, the major literary critics—the same folks who dismiss James Patterson and Nora Roberts as hacks—fail to understand what readers read for. We don’t read for beautiful language (well, some of us do some of the time.) We read to be entertained. We read to get lost in a good story. We read to forget about the plunge in the Dow and the European Debt Crisis and the war in Afghanistan and the Somali famine. We read so that we can relax after a long day of searching for a job, or trying to figure out which bill to pay, or taking care of our ill parents. We read to go somewhere else.

Hocking takes us there. So does Patterson. So does Nora Roberts. Some do it with better prose than others. But they all take us out of our lives for the time we’re inside the book.

The writers who, year after year, continue to sell books through indie publishing or traditional publishing tell great stories. Bottom line: those writers aren’t really writers. They’re storytellers.
Read the rest of Kristine Rusch's article here: The Business Rusch: Comparisons

When I bought My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking -- it was the very first ebook I bought, by the way -- I couldn't put it down and finished it that day. Yes, I wanted to find out what happened at the end of the story, but it was more than that. She got me to care about her characters, about her universe.


  1. Seems to be the general consensus about her writing. Good for her. It can't be that bad if so many people bought her books.

    In fact, I'm fairly sure it was her, and not John Locke, who was the first indie author to sell a million ebooks. Maybe I'm wrong. Thanks for writing this post, it needed to be said.

  2. I'm reading Switched and find it mediocre. But as a writer I'm glad to know it's not the prose that counts. Maybe I should be less critical of Hocking's story due to that concept. But I'm still finding it hard to read the story without wondering if she did as many rewrites as she should have on it. Or maybe I'm just SO GOOD at writing myself I find it easy to nitpick everyone else?

  3. I think that's so true, it's the story that matters. Judging from Hocking's success it does seem that readers are willing to pass over the odd bit of rough prose if they're interested in the story.

    Thanks for the comment! :)

  4. I have to remind myself every time I 'close' a book in GoodReads...that as a writer I am much tougher than the typical reader.

    I should shout it out on the top of every review


    1. It's great that you have, as it were, a tough hide! No one can please everyone all the time, so we are bound to be criticized. The tragedy would be if it stopped us.

  5. I think this simply shows the illiterate nature of the post Millenia population - especially of the United States. It is all downhill from here on in.


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