This story is filling up my inbox.
You can check it out here:
There’s a backstory here, and I don’t know exactly what it is.
But the bottom line is this unheard of twenty six year old woman has sold over 900,000 copies of nine different books since she first put her work on sale April 15, 2010. There are paperback editions, which retail for $8.99 or $9.99, but the big money’s in the e-editions…four are ninety nine cents and five are $2.99.
This woman is getting rich!
She didn’t start yesterday, she’s written nineteen books. And she writes genre fiction, stuff about the paranormal, but this is an unheard of success story. And she did it all herself.
Or did she?
Somehow, someway, her audience found out about her.
Then again, Ms. Hocking works it via social networking:
"TP: What has been your strategy for marketing and publicizing your books?
AH: I didn’t really have a strategy. I think one of the advantages I have is that stuff considered marketing is stuff that I do a lot anyway. I’ve been active on social networks and blogs for years.
I also send ARCs (advance review copies) out to book bloggers. Book bloggers are a really amazing community, and they’ve been tremendously supportive. They’ve definitely been a major force that got my books on the map."
And the books didn’t blow up immediately. She was selling fewer than 1,000 a month in the spring, but sales blew up in November.
That’s the power of the Internet. Everybody can know at once, something can blow up overnight. But unlike some nitwit getting hits on TMZ, a book actually takes some time to read, it sticks with you.
So what does this mean for music?
Turns out your best marketing may be the Web. Assuming you’re going independent. And bloggers are not people who steal, but passionate friends who will promote your work.
Now in the music business we’ve got gatekeepers. Talk to any big time label or manager and they’ll wax rhapsodic about radio. You’d truly think it’s the twentieth century. You see that’s the way you reach the most people instantly. But if you want to go that route, you’ve got to please so many intermediaries, not only the aforementioned managers and labels, but the program directors and the people at TV… If you’ve got something unique and different, they’re going to say no.
But the mainstream media means less than ever before. A late night TV performance is for fans only, it closes almost no one new, there’s a negligible sales bump.
And there’s a good chance your target audience isn’t even listening to the radio.
If you make metal music, could you replicate Amanda Hocking’s success?
I’d say so, if you were good. Any genre music that doesn’t fit a radio-ready format could blow up online, because these genres have Net infrastructure.
But for all the mainstream companies and media outlets saying nobody ever breaks online, that you can’t do it without them?
Amanda Hocking is proving you wrong.
Hocking’s version of the truth:
Meanwhile, isn’t it interesting that I heard about this via the Internet. People e-mailed me and I could immediately go to the Web. That’s how you reach people today, one on one. But this digital word of mouth is faster than speaking, if you’re good, if you hit a nerve, you can become a star seemingly overnight.
P.S. Music isn’t underpriced, it’s overpriced! Albums should be as cheap as Ms. Hocking’s books. Go for mass consumption, make the hurdle low, allow people to indulge and build a career…and make a hell of a lot of money.