Word of mouth success from author Colleen Hoover
NEW YORK (AP) – Colleen Hoover’s years as a published – and self-published – novelist have been a long and pleasant surprise.
The Texas-based writer broke through in 2012 when, through an Amazon.com program, she published “Slammed,” which became a showcase for how an author in the Internet age can be successful through luck. and to the value of the mouth. Bloggers and social media helped the book grow online, and within months, “Slammed” was on the New York Times e-book fictional list, despite the lack of organized publicity. By the end of the year, Hoover had self-released a hit sequel, “Point of No Retreat,” and signed a deal with the Simon & Schuster Atria brand.
She has since been a prolific and reliable novelist (sometimes referred to as “New Adult”) and writer of thrillers, with over 20 novels and short stories including “Maybe Someday”, “Confess” and the upcoming “Reminders of Him.” “. His work has been in particular demand this year, but not because of a new book, movie, or other topical event.
Because of TikTok.
His novel “It Ends With Us”, first published in 2016, has sold tens of thousands of copies per week and tops bestseller lists thanks in large part to its popularity on # BookTok, the TikTok niche where young readers talk about their favorite works. Hoover joins a growing list of surprise recipients of #BookTok over the past two years, including Madeline Miller for “The Song of Achilles” and Matt Haig for “The Midnight Library.” Barnes & Noble even set up special tables for #BookTok favorites.
“Colleen Hoover has been a huge driver for clients over the past few months,” Shannon DeVito, director of books for Barnes & Noble, said in a statement. “‘It Ends With Us’ has been trending on #BooKTok since June and we sell over 10,000 copies a week.”
In a recent phone interview, Hoover seemed both astonished at his fortune and afraid of putting it in jeopardy. She says she and her husband still love to eat Hamburger Helper, and she reluctantly admits that she no longer has to worry about paying for her three sons’ education.
“We’re afraid of really changing our routine or acting like the sales are going to last, or even going out and celebrating with a good dinner,” she says. “It takes time for things to sink in for us.”
Born Margaret Colleen Fennell, Hoover, 41, thought about becoming a writer since she was a girl, but put it aside while working at Texas A & M-Commerce, when she married Heath Hoover and had her first child. She continues to follow an unpredictable path. Atria released “It Ends With Us”, but Hoover still enjoys releasing some of her own work, including the thriller “Verity”.
Even before #BookTok help, she helped expose her own work to new readers by donating some of it for free in 2020 as a gesture of support during the onset of the pandemic.
During his interview, Hoover spoke about luck, inspiration, editing and self-publishing:
ON HIS FIRST NOVEL
“I did social work for several years and started writing my first book at the age of 31 because I was bored; it was just a hobby. I was doing it just because I love to write. When I finished it, I remember my mom got a Kindle for Christmas, so I wanted to get the book on her Kindle. I researched how to post on Amazon and came across their self-publishing platform. I loaded up the book on New Years Day and told my friends on Facebook, “Hey, I wrote this story. I didn’t even call it a book.
” It all started from there. It was a word of mouth bestseller. I had to use the Amazon tracking device to find out how it was going. Every day we were following the sales, and my husband and I were like, “Six people bought the book,” and it went up and eventually it was in the hundreds. “
HER MOTIVATION TO WRITE ‘IT ENDS WITH US’
“I got the idea because of the relationship between my mom and dad. He and her divorced when I was 2 years old. I don’t have a lot of memories of what they went through, but I knew he was violent, and I never understood how it happened because she was such a strong and independent person. And I want to know how she got into this situation. I wanted to write the book from my mom’s perspective and how she experienced it. I always say that I write to entertain, I do not write to inform or to educate. But this book was a different beast.
WHY SHE IS STILL SELF-EDITORING
“I’ve been doing this for so long. My sister is a writer and cover designer, so I have people in my family who help me with some aspects. I truly appreciate it. Also, I feel like when I publish to a publisher, the successes are theirs, but the failures are mine. It’s just something that I feel, or make myself feel. But with self-publishing, all successes are mine and all failures are mine.
HIS ADVICE FOR YOUNG WRITERS
“A lot of people ask me ‘What’s your secret?’ And my answer is, “I don’t have one. There have just been a lot of different things that have led to this point. There is no magic answer.