If you're wondering how to write a New York Times bestseller and become a millionaire, you should probably take Amanda Hocking's advice.
The Austin-based writer went from working as a dishwasher to being employed as a group home worker to writing a series of best-selling novels. Hocking started writing for fun as a child and finished her first book at age 17. It went nowhere, but she kept going. Along the way she started self-publishing e-books (at one point selling 9,000 copies a day), signed a $2 million publishing contract, quit working at the group home and sold film rights to her three-book "Trylle" series.
Hocking is one of 13 local writers who will be attending the Third Annual Celebration of Rochester-Area Authors, which is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Rochester Public Library Auditorium.
At most of her appearances, Hocking said potential writers ask her for her recipe for success.
"I do get that question and I tell people to read a lot and research a lot. I think people can never really read enough," Hocking said. "You can always read more than your writing, even if you're writing a lot. Also, do a lot of publishing research because there are so many different opinions and paths you can take right now. One path that works for one person might not work for another. You should do your research and see what path works best for you."
When asked why she has been so successful, Hocking talks about her early "vocal readers."
"A couple people really enjoyed them and kind of through word of mouth everything snowballed from there. As to why people enjoy them in the first place, people seem to like the romance in the book and my romantic leads."
Hocking has published 15 books and has a brand new novel coming out in January. When she first started writing it was a fun diversion from her day job. Now, writing is her career, and her publisher, St. Martin's Press, expects Hocking's books to sell millions of copies.
"I try not to think about it when I'm writing. When I'm outlining and brainstorming I think more about what readers are into and what they're looking to read, want to read," she said.
Hocking's fan base loves her stories of paranormal romance. And while she's not about to leave the genre, she is trying new things within it.
"I try to change it up and push myself and try to look at even similar situations, but from different angles, and approach them in different ways," she said.
Along with writing her next book, Hocking is keeping an eye on the potential film versions of her "Trylle" series. She admitted that she saw the characters on the big screen when she was writing the novels.
"I actually did want the Trylle series turned into movies when I was writing it probably more so than my other books because I think visually it would be a fun thing to watch," she said. "But I also did feel like if it happens, it happens. I'm not going to put my eggs in one basket because I know how finicky the movie industry can be. But I do think it would be fun."