Posted in Book Stuff

Unknown Millionaire Author

When Amanda Hocking was a depressed 17 year old, she wrote a novel about a girl who falls for vampire brothers. It was rejected by 50 publishers and it isn’t hard to imagine why. Ten years later, she decided to self-publish it as an e-book, following it up with romance novels about trolls. The first month a couple sold, the next month 36, and now one million ebooks later, St. Martin’s Press paid 2 million for the privilege of signing her up. There is also a movie deal.

So what’s the message here? Some people will say if you want to succeed, write YA romances about trolls or better yet, some creature of the night not yet picked up (Golem anyone?). But that’s not what I take out of this.

If you’ve got food on the table and a roof over your head, do what you love and f-iretr-uck success. At least “success” as it gets shouted into our ears: make money, make news. That sort is a crap shoot.

Amanda Hocking was lucky that way. She got 2 million dollars and a feature in The Independent.

I don’t know anything else about her life or whether she is also lucky in personal happiness. I hope she is. But that is something all of us have a say in as well as a stake in.

Do something you love today. See something you love and share it. That’s success, and we all really know it is–we just forget because of all that noise that insists it’s something else. Someone hand me the ear plugs.

How do you define success?



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

10 thoughts on “Unknown Millionaire Author

  1. I very much agree with your definition — doing something you love is a wonderful success. It doesn’t matter whether that something you love brings you fame or fortune.

  2. I completely agree. Although just at the moment I’m having trouble finding a project to pin my heart on. But never mind – serious focus on time out might have its own advantages, too. I do think that you should let life unfold as it will and follow your instincts as far as possible.

    1. Litlove, do you remember the name of the famous writer who said in a recent interview that she allows herself to lie on the couch and noodle now that she’s old and only wishes she had when she was young, too? I know the interview is somewhere in my blog.

  3. Props to Hocking – I take the same thing as you from her success, though I do worry this time will forever be known as Generation V… what’s with the vampire fetish? Anyway, bloodsucking aside, I think you’re absolutely right, Lilian. If conventional success comes off the back of doing what you love, that’s great, because it can make certain things in life a lot less stressful (mortgage, bills, car detailing etc), but there is no substitute for the success inherent in pursuing a dream.

    1. LOL Di–generation V indeed. I’d only add to what you said that the success is in living the pursuit, running through the woods in different seasons and across different terrain, not in catching the deer.

  4. “Do something you love today. See something you love and share it. That’s success, and we all really know it is–we just forget because of all that noise that insists it’s something else.”

    Yes indeed… Doing what you love brings a satisfaction that cannot be measured or tied to money and kudos from others. A little money from one’s efforts once in a while is nice though. It doesn’t compare to taking a wonderful photo of something one loves, but it WILL allow her to purchase a fancy macro lens now and then.

    Lilian, this post is a gem!

  5. Yes, yes, yes! There are great rewards in doing the thing you love. Even if sometimes you have to do something you don’t love so much in order to eat!

    1. Becca, totally! Though I do think sometimes writers are taken advantage of by people whose attitude is that you shouldn’t care about eating if you’re doing something you love–uh, no. 🙂

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