Many young authors dream of writing a bestseller and of making a living through writing. Stephanie Hoffman McManus of Hoquiam has turned this dream into reality. At 29, she is an Amazon bestselling author with 16 popular new adult romance novels to her name.
“I was lucky. I hit the indie market at the right time,” she says. The term indie refers to an independently published book. Many indie authors use platforms such as Amazon.com’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to self-publish e-books and print-on-demand paperback books. Stephanie Hoffman McManus was among the first wave to do so. KDP makes it possible for an author to publish a book without advance costs. Stephanie took advantage of this opportunity – with great success. Her first book, a new adult romance titled “Finding Ever After,” has achieved the status of Amazon Best Seller.
Stephanie Hoffman-McManus was born and raised on the Harbor leaving only for her college education in Spokane. She studied culinary arts and business applying her knowledge to the launch of The Recipe Box, a bakery she opened in Hoquiam in 2012. Sadly, the bakery had to close its doors only two years later. Stephanie was in the process of adopting her son Skyler. The work required to manage and bake for The Recipe Box singlehandedly proved too much at that point in Stephanie’s life. However, the apparent misfortune turned into a wonderful new career opportunity.
“I began to write ‘Finding Ever After’ as a stress reliever without any plans of publishing,” Stephanie remembers. “I had always been writing and did all the young author’s programs in school. I had started several novels, but had never finished one. This time, I told two friends about writing this book and I finished it! They read it, loved it, and encouraged me to publish. I researched how to e-publish on Amazon and taught myself how to make a cover. The book went live on April 1, 2014. Meanwhile, my friends had encouraged others to buy copies. Still, it was a huge surprise when I found out I had sold 100 copies in the first week, and that was on the US market only.”
Amazon.com will promote books according to sales levels. “Finding Ever After” sold well enough in the first weeks after publication for the Amazon marketing machine to take over. A month later, when Stephanie’s friends threw her a 1000- copy- sold party, sales had already climbed above that number. Three months later, the brand new author was applying for jobs at bakeries. At the same time, her second book, Pieces of Forever, became another publishing success and royalties kept flowing in. Stephanie realized that writing could become her career. She has been a full-time writer ever since – with 16 published books and counting.
Even though Stephanie attributes the success of her first novel to luck, she continues to sell books because of her consistent hard work. Romantic notions of a leisurely writer’s life are soon shattered when one realizes that Stephanie writes from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day. These are the hours her son spends in school. It takes a lot of discipline to work consistently without any outside authority. Moreover, once a book is published, marketing begins. Stephanie has found a lot of support within the indie author online community. She runs her own Facebook author page and is active on many other social media groups and blogs. Online marketing is essential for sales. Imagine the time it takes to announce a new book on hundreds of sites.
Book signings in book stores and libraries are also important marketing components. Stephanie attended her first book signing in January 2015 in Las Vegas. She mostly visits the East Coast, but she also occasionally travels to Seattle and Spokane.
All the marketing in the world cannot sell books people don’t want to read. Why do Stephanie Hoffman McManus books consistently receive five-star ratings on Amazon.com and Goodreads.com? The author explains: “I have always been a romance junkie and a sucker for redemption stories. My first book, ‘Finding Ever After,’ is an angsty new adult twist on my favorite fairy tale, The Beauty and the Beast. I succeeded in creating lovable and relatable characters who readers like to come back to. I was surprised when some readers voiced disappointment about my second book, which was a stand-alone unrelated to the characters in my first book. I learned from that and began to write in series.”
Stephanie wrote five more books forming the Ever After series. She has completed three more series since. The four-volume Shades series consists of dark murder mysteries with a touch of romance. The author wrote these Pacific Northwest stories for her mother who loves mysteries. Stephanie is entering new territory with a paranormal series, “Touch of Chaos,” set in New Orleans. Book one, “Born of Darkness,” is now available on Amazon.com. Get a copy and enjoy our very own Grays Harbor bestselling romance author.