Amanda Hocking

Amanda's Blog Post

Pretty Much Everything I Have to Say About How to Do What I Do

February 11th, 2011 by
This post currently has 35 comments

Today I planned to blog about Jacqueline Susann, and how she really is a huge inspiration for me (be charming, be everywhere, work hard, and write romance). I think there’s some really good advice in there for aspiring authors, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions from them lately.

But because I really, really need to turn of the internet and get some serious work done, I’m going to keep it brief, but give you the best advice for authors that I have in a nice bullet point form.

-If you’re looking for good advice on how to be a better writer, check out Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s a great book, and he’s a better writer than me, so his advice is more sound.

-If you’re looking for info on how to e-publish your books and get into it, check out J. A. Konrath’s book A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Also, check out Smashwords style guide for tips on formatting, as well as the KBoards (formally Kindleboards).

-If you’re wondering how I managed to self-publish and end up being a best seller, you can check out my post about I got started in an epic tale of how it all happened.

-If you’re wondering if/how you should publish your book, you can check out a couple posts I did My Thoughts on Indie Publishing and Indie vs. Traditional. And you might possibly want to check out How Everything Went the Opposite of What I’d Been Told.

-I pointed out a lot of great places that helped me out when I started in this, but the stuff I’m showing you is only the beginning. The number one thing you need to do before you decide to publish is RESEARCH. Look up and learn everything you can about everything involved with writing and publishing, even if you think it doesn’t affect you. It’s vital that authors understand the market and their readers. And if you think you don’t have the time or inclination to do that much research, then the sad but brutal truth is that you do not have time or inclination to self-publish.

-And if you want the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, watch this video.  I posted it before, but it really, really bares repeating. You can watch the whole interview if you want, but the question/answer starts at about :55 seconds in and goes until about 2:10, so it’s short and sweet. They’re talking about music, but it applies to everything.

And, now, I have to step away from the tantalizing interwebs, and go do what I do: write.

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  • Hello,

    When I visit your blog, my virus scanner goes crazy because of something called “twitter buttons”. I’m sure it’s a false positive, but I thought that you should know.

    Buy the way, I bought your book “Switched” after I saw your interview on CNN. Riveting!

    I think it’s because we rarely get to connect with writers, artists, or anyone on television in a genuine way. And you have an amazing story to tell.

    I like reading the “advice” parts of your blog and wish there were more.

  • Thank you! You’re such an inspiration to me… I recently fought through a bought of really bad writer’s block/agony, and you (along with Gennifer Albin) REALLY inspired me through your blogs. I forgot my roots… and found them again. 🙂

    I wrote about my experience on my blog, if you’re interested.

    Thanks so much for doing what you love, and sharing it with the world.

    – Esther

  • David Mills says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I”m a retired guy from the UK and I want to get my Biography published. It relates to the growing up of a boy during and after the 2nd World War right through my Teens up to adulthood and covers my encounters with the female sex which included women much older than me as well as girls of my own age. It also covers what young boys got up to in times of austerity.
    I personally believe it to me a very interesting book which includes humour,crime and lots of sex, but as of now no publish is willing to give it a chance. Any ideas.

  • Kat says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for this helpful post! I’m pointing readers of my blog here so they can get an overview of all the things you’ve done to reach your present success.

    I’ve also listed your blog in my top 10 of publishing blogs worth reading for ebook authors.

    Love the Pete Wentz quote, by the way. Just dead on target.

  • Anonymous says:


    How do you create your characters? I am an aspiring writer and wondered if you have an tips on how to create characters and how to go about actually starting writing the book? (I know it requires writing, but how do you start it off so you can get it into a flow?).


  • Dan says:

    This is a great guide, but I’d *really* like to know what Amanda and then byoung210 meant by “research.”

    Research what exactly?

    “Knowing your market” seems a little vague to me, and as someone who’s interested in self-publishing and willing to work, this kind of vexes me.