Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Minnesota 'Kindle millionaire' signs four-book deal


The next time someone mentions “the young adult paranormal genre” … try not to look so stupid. News that 26-year-old Minnesotan Amanda Hocking, aka the “Kindle millionaire,” has signed a seven-figure, four-book deal with St. Martins Press got around very fast.  On the New York Times blog Media Decoder, Julie Bosman writes: “A heated auction for the rights to publish her books began early last week, and several major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, dropped out as the price climbed into the seven figures. The bidding eventually rose beyond $2 million for world English rights ... The first book in the series will be released in fall 2012, a spokeswoman for St. Martin’s said.
Ms. Hocking, who lives in Austin, Minn., began self-publishing her books last year, selling them through online retailers like and In doing so, she became a reluctant spokeswoman for the practice of self-publishing, which allows authors to sell their books directly to readers without the help of a traditional publisher. ... St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan, will publish Ms. Hocking’s ‘Watersong’ series, four books in the young-adult paranormal genre.”

More reaction on the possible/likely Michele Bachmann presidential run: The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin blogs: “One can speculate that with Sarah Palin increasingly unlikely to run, Bachmann is seizing an opportunity to become the top firebrand conservative woman. One can cynically say this will simply raise her speaking fees and profile, or one can imagine she might actually be convinced (however unmoored from reality) that an inexperienced congresswoman with a propensity for saying outlandish things could win the nomination. It’s not the first time an ambitious politician ran for a high office to build his or her resume.”

David Weigel (who once had Rubin’s job), now writing for Slate, says: “Pollster and political guru Frank Luntz flew to Iowa last month to conduct a survey for Fox News. Twenty-six Republicans, likely to vote in the next caucuses, were shown video clips of 11 politicians who might run for president. They twisted dials, scored from 0 to 100, to rate the candidates. One of the clear winners was Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. ... The Iowans couldn't twist their dials fast enough. ‘She hit 90 at the end,’ said Sean Hannity. ‘Those are solid numbers for anybody.’ Luntz explained that the voters liked Bachmann's talk about business and constitutional principles. ‘Sarah Palin came in with significant support,’ said Luntz. ‘But after these voters watched Michelle Bachmann, Palin's numbers came way down and Michelle Bachmann's numbers shot up.' "

With every potential GOP presidential candidate pulling out the stops to demonstrate Tea Party cred, and that would mean both Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, USA Today’s Alan Gomez writes: “Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, compared the chances of a Tea Party-supported candidate to those of Barack Obama when he was running for the Democratic nomination. Phillips said Obama beat Hillary Rodham Clinton partly because of the grass-roots base that the Obama campaign forged through its website. He said the Tea Party, through its various umbrella groups and websites, already has a similar system in place, meaning any Tea Party-supported candidate will have a small army of volunteers ready to go. Who that will be is a mystery. Tea Party voters won't blindly rush to a self-described Tea Party candidate, but will rally behind those who have walked the Tea Party talk, said Whit Ayres, co-founder of Resurgent Republic, a group that promotes conservative free-market principles. Ayres said governors who have balanced their budgets and cut spending could fare better with Tea Party voters than candidates who simply pushed for such initiatives in Washington.”

A study that followed a group of Minnesotans for 27 years and chronicled their intake of all sugars, not just in sodas and candy but also processed foods, found that — guess what — more sugar equals more fat. Kathleen Doheny at US News Health writes: “While other research has looked at sugar-sweetened beverages and their effect on weight and overall health, [the U of M’s Huifen] Wang wanted to look at added sugars — what is added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table. ... For the the study, she used data collected in the Minnesota Heart Survey, a surveillance study of adults aged 25 to 74 living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. ... The survey looked at diet, height and weight of the participants from 1980-82 through 2007-2009. Over the 27 years, intake of total carbohydrate and added sugars rose among both men and women, while total fat intake decreased. Added sugar consumption rose by 51 percent in women from 1980-82 and 2000-2002 and then declined somewhat, according to the research. Men followed the same pattern. ... Overall, men consumed about 15.3 percent of daily calories from added sugars in 2007-2009, a nearly 38 percent increase from 1980-82. Women ate 13.4 percent of total calories from added sugars in 2007-2009, up from under 10 percent in 1980-82.”

An AP story by Amy Forliti explains a Supreme Court ruling that may assist prosecutors in certain rape cases: “In a 24-page ruling Thursday, the state's highest court said that in cases where a defendant is claiming consensual sex, a lower court has discretion to decide whether prosecutors can offer expert testimony that deals with how rape victims might behave after an attack, if that testimony will help educate a jury. Specifically, some victims might delay reporting a rape, or there might be no physical evidence of a sexual assault. The court record shows many people wrongly believe a rape victim would fight, be severely injured, or go to authorities immediately, and expert testimony on typical victim behavior could help jurors understand, the justices said. The Supreme Court issued its opinion because it said judges throughout Minnesota were interpreting prior case law too broadly, and categorically barring prosecutors from presenting expert testimony about typical behavior of rape victims.”

Along with revving up union forces and recall petitions, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's jihad against collective bargaining has steeled the resolve of at least one public workplace. Phil Pfuehler of the River Falls Journal reports: “[F]aculty at the UW-River Falls voted 148-16 out of a unit of 222 in favor of union representation through AFT-Wisconsin, a statewide labor federation affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). ... The UW-RF vote occurred as state courts review the constitutionality of the governor’s ‘budget repair’ bill that would eliminate academic staff and faculty’s right to collectively bargain, and a budget bill that would drastically cut funding to the UW System. ‘What we’ve seen at UW-River Falls today is an extension of what we’ve seen across our state since Walker announced his disastrous bill,’ stated Wes Chapin, a professor of political science and chair of his department.”

Kathie Jenkins of the PiPress files a story on expansion plans for Cossetta’s restaurant, the West Seventh staple/landmark. “[A] substantial expansion of the existing space at West Seventh and Chestnut streets near downtown St. Paul is gearing up. When the $10 million makeover is finished, the restaurant's seating capacity will double and there will be a new parking lot with 100 spots. Plans also include a bakery, meat market, gelateria, basement wine cellar and rooftop restaurant. [Owner Dave] Cossetta is negotiating with the city for $2 million — money available through the Rebuild St. Paul program designed to spark growth and create jobs. ... In order to qualify for city financing, the project must be ‘shovel ready’ by July 1, Cossetta says. In the meantime, he already has consulted with top local chefs Tim McKee and Scott Foster about the rooftop restaurant and Biagio Settepani at Pasticceria Bruno, one of the best Italian bakeries in New York, about the bakery.”

And for a finale this morning, how about the Wisconsin billionaire charged with years of sexual assault on a girl who is now 15 years-old? The AP story says: “A billionaire executive whose family has run SC Johnson for five generations was charged Thursday with having sexual contact with a now 15-year-old girl over the course of several years. Samuel Curtis Johnson III, who goes by Curt, faces a count of repeated sexual assault of a child. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Johnson, 55, is the former chairman of Sturtevant-based Diversey Inc., a cleaning-products company that was spun off from SC Johnson in the late 1990s. Privately held SC Johnson makes household products including Pledge, Glade, Windex and Ziploc. ... The criminal complaint accuses Johnson of having inappropriate sexual contact with the girl 15 to 20 times, starting in the summer after she finished sixth grade.”

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (2)

The WashPo writer has it wrong when she calls Michele Bachmann an "inexperienced congresswoman with a propensity for saying outlandish things could win the nomination."

Bachmann told an interviewer this week that she was a "United States Senator."

In addition to a "young adult paranormal genre," I see a section at Half Price Books marked "paranormal romance."

I hope Cossetta's is able to complete its project without disturbing an inch of the exterior of its building or those on either side of it.