Ok so HERE is an indie author you want to know about!
Colleen Hoover is on her way to become the next Amanda Hocking, with a self-publishing fairy tale that’s just a little over 6 months long.
A friend recommended Colleen’s book, SLAMMED to me back in May, right around the time she was able to quit her day job to write full time and just prior to when everything really began to blow up for her (in a good way!). To show you just how crazy that 7 months has been for Colleen, let me fill you in on her publishing timeline:
– Colleen wrote her debut book (SLAMMED) in a month. A month! She self-published it on January 1st 2012.
– Her follow up book, Point of Retreat (Part 2 in the SLAMMED series) was published on February 1st 2012.
– Both books are currently in the Top 100 on Amazon (at the time of writing, SLAMMED is at #18 with 313 reviews, Point of Retreat is at #50 with 129 reviews.)
[UPDATE 7/12: Slammed is at #16, Point of Retreat at #20!]
[UPDATE 7/20: Both books have made the NYTimes bestseller list for July 29th. AMAZING!]
Last week Colleen wrote something on her blog that made me tear up. I wanted to share it with you below because it’s a crazy beautiful story of how writing, indie publishing, and yes, Amazon have dramatically turned someone’s life around. It was written on her blog to her readers and for her readers.
If you’re a regular reader of 30 Day Books, you know that I’m all about showcasing real indie author stories; not the megastars that we all hear about in the mainstream media, but those who are making consistent, sustainable income and a full time living from their indie author journeys. I want to show that being an indie author – a smart indie author that is – IS a valid career in this sucky economy.
I joke that Colleen is a rockstar but she also didn’t get this far, this fast, as a fluke or stroke of luck. There are so many lessons we can all learn from Colleen. Here is what I think Colleen is doing RIGHT:
– Pushes out GOOD books thick and fast (She’ll have at least three out this year)
– Blogs regularly (3-4 x a week) and shares herself in these posts. They are truly from the heart (see below)
– She’s super funny & doesn’t take herself too seriously
– Treats her readers EXTREMELY well. Appreciates each and every one of them and shares her successes with them and replies to every single email, FB post etc. Last week she sent out 200 signed copies of her book. That’s a huge investment she made in her fans.
Also, in a recent interview she shared that “The majority of my marketing is spent thanking people who have read the book rather than asking people to buy the book.” Way to create loyalty, huh?
– Adheres to the standards of traditional publishing. Her book covers are of professional quality and her manuscripts are extremely well edited and free from errors.
Here’s that blogpost I promised, posted last week at http://colleenhoover.com (shared with permission)…
“So, this post may be a bit personal, but I don’t really care. I just want you all to know what a difference you’ve made in my life.
I married my high school sweetheart (been with him since I was 16) when I was 20. We had our first child *ahem* five months later. You do the math. I was in college and we both worked full-time jobs. We lived paycheck to paycheck for the next four years (yes, it took me six years to graduate college) and in the meantime we had two more boys. So…three children and six years later, I finally had a degree. Little did I know, I picked the lowest paying career out there. I think my first post-degree job paid about 27,000 a year. (Social Work, go figure.)
So, we struggled some more. And some more and some more and some more. Everyone with children knows how tough it is to get by. It’s butterflying TOUGH! Anyway, we finally bought a “house.” I use that term lightly, because it’s a single-wide mobile home that is really quite ugly. The decor looks like a 1970′s porn movie with black and gold trim everywhere. No joke. UG-LY!
We have lived in this house for SEVEN YEARS! That’s a long time to raise three children in a house that is barely over 1000 square feet. And not to mention HOT. It never gets below 90 degrees inside during the summer, no matter what we set the A/C on.
What the hell is my point to all of this? I’ll tell you.
We moved today. Into a REAL house. A house with doors that work and an air conditioner that cools and electricity that doesn’t shut off if you run two electronics at the same time. My boys are 7, 8 and 11 and this is the first time they’ve had a REAL HOUSE. And granted, it’s a rent house. We decided to move while we work up plans to build a house within the next year. It’s surreal. Seven months ago, we were struggling to make ends meet. Now, things are finally coming together and it’s all because of you guys. Every single person that spent a few bucks to buy a book that I wrote deserves a big THANK YOU from my whole family.
It’s hot and I’m tired and we’ve been moving all day long, but I’m soooo happy. I get to sleep in my bed tonight for the first time without worrying that a gust of wind will blow our house over.
If you made it to the end of this post, I’m sorry. I just had to get that off my chest. Now, in return for everyone making my dream come true, I’m going to give away a CRAPLOAD of signed books. I’m serious. I’m picking ten winners. No…TWENTY! Okay, fine. I’m about to give away thirty signed copies of Slammed. That’s right! All you have to do is comment here and tell me your SWEET for the day. No sucks! This is all about the GREAT things in life. I’ll pick winners at random in a few days.
Oh, and I guess I’ll give away another kindle fire, too. You guys seem to like those! ;)”
I recommend both SLAMMED and POINT OF RETREAT, even if you’re not typically a fan of YA – I’m not but I loved the writing and stories. If you want to find out more about Colleen, check out her blog here or see this interview she was kind enough to give me on Ladies Who Critique.com.
Remember, you saw her here first folks!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.