26-year-old self-published ebook sensation lands 7-digit deal

Joe Pompeo
Media Reporter
The Cutline

In The Cutline's piece Wednesday about the growing number of news outlets marketing their journalism in the form of ebooks, we referenced "the runaway ebook renown of 26-year-old publishing-house reject Amanda Hocking," who has sold more than a million copies of what she describes on her blog as "young adult paranormal romance" and "zombie urban fantasy" tales via digital platforms like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

As of Thursday, the former indie author from Minnesota is a vampire-hot New York publishing house property. Hocking has inked a four-book, $2 million-plus deal with Macmillan imprint St. Martin's Press, the New York Times reports. The agreement comes on the heels of what the Times described as a "heated auction" that apparently became a bit too heated for Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins. The first book in the series is set for a fall 2012 release.

But it's unclear how Hocking's royalties will compare with the profits she was reaping on her own. The author has said she was selling 100,000 copies of her nine ebooks every month for as much as $3 a piece; she keeps 70 percent of the revenue per the standard agreement between content creators and electronic vendors like Amazon.

Hocking and her agent, Steven Axelrod, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Nor did St. Martin's. But we'll update here or in a separate post if we hear back.

In the meantime, a blog entry Hockings posted on Tuesday sheds some light on her decision to enter the traditional publishing arena.

"I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full time corporation," she said. "My goal has always been to put the highest quality product I can out in a way that is the most accessible to readers."

You can learn more about Hocking's rise to fame in the video above.