How Amanda Hocking sold 1.5 million on Amazon: I’m revealing the secret!

You might have heard of Amanda Hocking, the indie superstar who sold 1.5 million on Amazon and got picked up by a big house and signed a movie deal for her Trylle Trilogy.

This is the exact quote from her explaining how her sales exploded after the book bloggers spread the word:

Then in June, something truly magical happened. I discovered book bloggers. I had no idea such people existed. They just read books and write about them. And I don’t mean “just.” These people take times out of their busy lives to talk about books and have contests and connect with followers and writers and other readers.

These guys are honestly my heroes. I’m a little in love with all of them.

I asked several if they would be interested in reviewing my books, and most of them said yes, even if they didn’t generally review self-published work.
Then something surreal started happening. My books were selling. Like, really selling.

Here is the whole story in her own blog: http://www.hockingbooks.com/an-epic-tale-of-how-it-all-happened/

She mentioned she owes her great success to book bloggers in many interviews as well. So, many indie authors took the cue and started flooding book bloggers with review requests. But the thing is, she didn’t approach the book bloggers, she asked people to review her book in her own blog. She started blogging in 2009 and had been very active. She talked about herself, her life, her books. She interviewed indie authors on her blog. She published a load of books on Amazon, and answered the questions of her readers. She also talked a lot about movies and music. She interacted with people and wrote in a very sincere manner, as a friend. She built a reader base over the months, ran giveaway contests, did author interviews and promoted other authors.

This is the blog post where she asked the book bloggers and Amazon reviewers to review her new book: http://amandahocking.blogspot.fi/2010/07/switched-free-books.html

Look at the comments. Dozens of people said they are interested in receiving a review copy. They asked for it. So she didn’t go around pestering book bloggers, she already had a whole bunch of them among her followers and she got them interetested. After these people reviewed her new book on their blogs, Amazon and Goodreads, her book sales have exploded and avalanched from there.

I think as indie authors we all have a lot to learn from Amanda Hocking’s experience. There really is no secret recipe to it: Be active in the blogger scene and the social media, interact with people, write sincere posts, write about your life, write like you are writing a letter to your friends. Write comments to other bloggers. Find the people who are reading your genre and interact with them, but refrain from promoting your book. Promote their blogs, their books, do author interviews featuring other indies in your blog, be a nice person. Chat with other authors and bloggers on social media, ask how their day has been, what they are reading, actually care about people (this comes natural to me cause I’m an extrovert and very friendly by default, but it’s really not a hard thing to do!) You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You will meet some awesome new people in the book scene and make friends.

If you act like a human being and not a spam bot, people will eventually ask to review your books. I myself would rather promote a friend than a stranger. I promote the books of people who are nice to me on Twitter and help me out in my writing journey. Not even one of them asked me or offered ARC copies, I purchased all of the indie books I review or plan to review soon. I wanted to be nice and I believe in supporting indie authors, so I purchased the books of the indie authors I have befriended and I review them as I read. If a friend offers an ARC and asks for reviews, I will drop everything else and give their book the first priority. If a random stranger contacts me for a review, they will wait for a long time. That’s basic human psychology.