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  1. , Year of Poets & Writers by Jane Pierritz, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
  2. Spring 12222 Poets & Writers Series
  3. 2012, Year of Poets & Writers
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To make matters worse, she has just heard that an exhibition about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, is coming to Chicago later that year and she can't afford to make the trip. As a huge Muppets fan, she is more than willing to drive eight hours but has no money for petrol, let alone a hotel for the night. What is she to do? Then it comes to her. She can take one of the many novels she has written over the previous nine years, all of which have been rejected by umpteen book agents and publishing houses, and slap them up on Amazon and other digital ebook sites.

Surely, she can sell a few copies to her family and friends? Let's jump to October Over the past 20 months Hocking has sold 1. All by her lonesome self. Not a single book agent or publishing house or sales force or marketing manager or bookshop anywhere in sight. So let the historians take note: Amanda Hocking does get to Chicago to see the Muppets.

And along the way she helps to foment a revolution in global publishing. I've come to Austin, legendary birthplace of Spam the canned as opposed to the digital version , to find out what this self-publishing revolution looks like in the flesh.

I can report that, from the outside, it's surprisingly conventional. Hocking no longer lives in that pokey apartment, but then she's no longer a struggling would-be author. She's bought herself her own detached home, the building block of the American dream, replete with gables and extensions, its own plot of land, and a concrete ramp on which to park the car.

But step inside and convention gives way to a riot of colour. It is just before Christmas, and Hocking has decorated the house with several plastic trees bedecked in lights and two large Santa stockings pinned expectantly over the mantelpiece. The sofa is scattered with animals, some of the cuddly toy variety and others alive, notably Elroy the miniature schnauzer and Squeak the cat apparently they get on very well.

She greets me at the door and, without preamble, we talk for the next two hours about her extraordinary rags-to-riches tale and what it means for the future of the book. At 27, and with only a few months in the limelight, she is patently new to the fame game. She seems nervous at first, answering my questions in short bursts and fiddling with her glasses; but gradually she relaxes as we discuss what for her has been the central passion of her life since an infant. She was brought up in the Minnesota countryside on the outskirts of Blooming Prairie about 15 miles north of Austin.

, Year of Poets & Writers by Jane Pierritz, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Her parents divorced when she was young, money was tight and there was no cable TV to wallow in. I would go to the library, or get books at rummage sales. I got through them so quickly I started reading adult books because they were longer. I remember my mom giving me a box set of five books to last me all summer; I devoured them all in two weeks. It was a way, she now thinks, of coping with the depression that troubled her childhood.

Spring 12222 Poets & Writers Series

There wasn't a reason for it, I just was. I was sad and morose. I cried a lot, I wrote a lot, and I read a lot; and that was how I dealt with it.

Fall 12222 Poets & Writers Series

What went in had to come out. The child Hocking began telling her own stories before she could walk. She was forever inventing make-believe worlds, so much so that the counsellor to whom she was sent for depression concluded that her incessant storytelling was an aberration that had to stop. Fortunately for Hocking, and for her many fans, her parents took her side in this argument, and she was never sent back to see him.

2012, Year of Poets & Writers

At 12 she had already begun to describe herself as a writer and by the end of high school she estimates she had written 50 short stories and started countless novels. The first that she actually completed, Dreams I Can't Remember, was written when she was She was very excited by the accomplishment, and printed it out for friends and family, as well as sending it to several publishers.

I don't blame them — it wasn't very good," Hocking says. Hocking went on to develop an intimate relationship with rejection letters. She has somewhere in her new house a shoebox full of them. Yet she would not give up. She wrote unpublished book after unpublished book.

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This time it was bound to work. In she went into overdrive.


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She was frantic to get her first book published by the time she was 26, the age Stephen King was first in print, and time was running out she's now Once she got going, she could write a complete novel in just two or three weeks. By the start of , she had amassed a total of 17 unpublished novels, all gathering digital dust on the desktop of her laptop.

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She received her last rejection letter in February Hocking says she hasn't kept the letter, which is a crying shame because it would surely have been an invaluable piece of self-publishing memorabilia. As far as she can remember, the last "thanks-but-no-thanks" came from a literary agent in the UK. If that agent is reading this article, please don't beat yourself up about this. We all make mistakes April 15 should also be noted by historians of literature.

On that day, Hocking made her book available to Kindle readers on Amazon's website in her bid to raise the cash for the Muppets trip. Following tips she'd gleaned from the blog of JA Konrath , an internet self-publishing pioneer, she also uploaded to Smashwords to gain access to the Nook, Sony eReader and iBook markets. It wasn't that difficult.

A couple of hours of formatting, and it was done. Within a few days, she was selling nine copies a day of My Blood Approves , a vampire novel set in Minneapolis. The only publication of its kind, this annual anthology is made up exclusively of work by writers who have not yet published a full-length book. The work of the fifty writers represented here provides the best perspective available on the continuing vitality of poetry as it is being practiced today.

Much of the editing and preliminary reading was done by emerging poets themselves, which results in an anthology that's fresh and eclectic, and may actually represent a significant portion of the best new poetry being written by the next generation The youthfulness of the anthology, combined with the wide scope of its contents, is apparent in the poems, which are edgy and daring.

His poetry has appeared in the Missouri Review and the New Yorker. University of Virginia Press P. Skip to main content. Edited by Matthew Dickman.