Amanda had a following because of fictionn (at least I think it was fiction) she posted before on her blog. She had a big blog following which helped with her visibility. Plus she dominated and published 3 books in less than a month. She never needed reviews they just came to her.
Amanda Hocking doesn't really need defending because her origins are a matter of public record on these boards.
Yes, I believe her career launch pre-existed Fivvr or whatever it's called.
I do not find evidence on her blog of her posting her novels there before they were published. So I'm not sure where you get that idea. The first time she posted fiction to her board was in 2010's Zombiepalooza event, and I think all of that was flash fiction by other authors she wanted to help out. (I was one of the fortunate 30!) By the time Zombiepalooza 2010 happened, Amanda was already a Big Deal, though not quite as big a deal as she eventually became.
Amanda got her start the hard, honest way
: she sent review copies to individual book bloggers, one blogger at a time, and hoped for the best. She worked her tail off. I'm pretty sure she only published one book a month, though.... but she had, like, six books out in 6-7 months.
Also, I call highly suspect this guy's claim that Amanda "bought" 500 reviews, because most of her early, pre-Big 6 Publishing books don't even have that many reviews.
Except My Blood Approves, which is her first and oldest novel, and has a 3.8-star average (not good enough for review blogs that demand a 4.0-or-better rating) and has had over three years to accumulate that many reviews. There's no way the accusation against Amanda is legit.
Some of this is hard to follow because the Trylle books were republished so the date on those has changed on Amazon but here's her timeline:
March 17, 2010: My Blood Approves
April 25, 2010: Fate (MBA 2)
May 25, 2010: Flutter (MBA 3)
July 20, 2010: Switched (Trylle 1)
August 22, 2010: Wisdom (MBA 4)
October 05, 2010: Hollowland
November 15, 2010: Torn (Trylle 2)
December 19, 2010: Letters to Elise (MBA 4.5)
January 13, 2011: Ascend (Trylle 3)
I got an approximation of the original Trylle dates by scanning Amanda's blog.
Nine books in 11 months: And I'm sorry, but there was no "three books in a month" incident. Her first three books came out between March 17 and May 25, so that's three books in 10 weeks... still impressive, but hardly "in a month."
This is what helped Amanda Hocking launch her career and land her a Big 6 publishing contract.
Oh, and just an historical note: Amanda WAS the first indie to reach 1M ebook sales. John Locke came just a bit later, but Amazon poured a ton of PR behind him because he achieved 1M sales on Kindle-only, whereas Amanda did it across all platforms, and extensively blogged about her results, documenting those sales with screenshots.
Amanda hit 1M on Kindle-only shortly after Locke, but Amazon never did her the PR favors they did for Locke.