Amanda Hocking is an incredibly successful writer of young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels. Hocking, author of the USA Today bestselling Trylle Trilogy and My Blood Approves series, gained prominence shortly after she began self-publishing in 2010, selling her novels as low priced (99 cents to $2.99) eBooks. Since then, she's become the exemplar of self-publishing success in the digital age, having sold over one million copies of her novels.
Circalit: Out of the three series you've written which was the most fun to write?
Amanda: I would have to say I had the most fun writing the Trylle series. I became pretty attached to some of the characters, and creating their world was a lot of fun.
Circalit: What kind of writing process do you have? Do you write your books out in one intense rush, or do you piece scenes and chapters together from notes made over a long period of time?
Amanda: Both. I spend a lot of time laying out ideas, researching, and outlining so that when it's time for me to start writing I already have everything figured out, and I can just focus on getting it all on paper.
Circalit: Do you think of yourself writing for a particular audience, say the teen market, when you write? Do you find yourself shaping your story with an awareness of what your readership would like to hear? In other words, do you think about the commercial aspect of your books when you write, or does it just come naturally?
Amanda: The most important part for me is to write an entertaining story. I wouldn't say that I gear my writing towards any one group, I just try to write something that I know I would like to read, and then hope that other people also want to read it.
Circalit: What's it like working with St. Martin's Press after originally self-publishing the Trylle Trilogy? As one of the few people who has done both successfully do you have any particular insights into self-publishing vs. being a published writer? Are there any perks you get?
Amanda: I love working with the team at St. Martin's. Everyone there has been so great and supportive, it makes things a lot easier. I was getting bogged down with all of the aspects of releasing a book, it's nice to be working with them and doing it together, so I can focus more on writing.
Circalit: Even though everyone talks about ebooks it must be nice to see your book in print, right? Or don't you have any attachment to paper books?
Amanda: Its great. They kept me involved every step of the way, so I got to see all of the changes that were made to get the book the way it is now. There's a display at my local Wal Mart of Switched and Torn, so I get to see them every time I go shopping. That's pretty fun.
Circalit: Did they ask for any changes to the ms. when re-releasing the Trylle Trilogy?
Amanda: I talked with my editor about a few little things I was thinking of changing, and she was all for it. There were some things I wanted to do in the original manuscript, but I was nervous about them. Now that I've made the changes I think the story is stronger for it.
Circalit: Who edited your work when you were self-publishing and who edits it now? How closely do you work with your editors? Are they important to you?
Amanda: When I was self publishing I hired several freelance editors, but occasionally there would still be errors. That was one of the most stressful things about self publishing. Now I work with Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, and she's awesome.
Circalit: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers on how to build a readership?
Amanda: I think the best thing I did was talk to book bloggers. Book bloggers are amazing, and if you can get them to give your book an honest review (good or bad) it helps a lot, just to get your book out there, and to have someone talking about it.
Circalit: Following on from that - you're pretty big on Twitter. Is Twitter an important thing for a modern writer, should all modern writers be tweeting?
Amanda: I enjoy twitter, just because I think it's a great way to connect with readers. If people are using twitter just to constantly remind people that they have a book for sale, I don't think it's a good use of time
Circalit: What are you working on at the moment?
Amanda: Right now I'm working on my next series which is called WATERSONG. The first book, WAKE, will be out in August.