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June 16, 2007

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PaulJ

'New media' in general, and podcasting in particular, is a way that creators can gain exposure and feedback for their work without waiting for the snail's pace of traditional publishing to get around to even reading submissions, let alone responding.

But new media has yet to crack the monetization puzzle. Scott Sigler is blazing the trail here -- his 3-book deal as a result of his novel Ancestor blasting up the Amazon.com bestseller list is clear evidence that traditional publishing WILL take notice of a new phenomenon.

We lesser creators wait in the wings, watching with fascination and longing. Although new media has great potential, it's still the traditional route that leads to wide recognition, multiple book deals and film rights (not to mention fame and money).

mike dunn

agreed paul, obviously scott is working very hard and has attracted traditional publishing folks that seem to get it (not sure that amazon did though given all the ordering and fulfillment gremlins that occurred)...

Seth Harwood

I've been thinking a lot about this very issue myself, and here's what I've come up with: I think part of what Scott was able to accomplish with Crown was in large due to the fact that Ancestor was a paper book and selling on Amazon, documenting real sales. I'm not sure that Crown would ever (or at least not for a long time) see the possible sales potential of what Scott and many of us are doing without that.

So a) I think it's necessary to work toward finding a publisher no matter how big or small, just so you have an opportunity to promote the sale of the *book* through your podcast when it comes out. b) Though many of us may think of agents and editors as a knee-jerk idea when it comes to this (I know I'm guilty of this) I agree with you that we don't need them. Truth is, they don't get it and don't see the facts, and even if they did get behind you their lag time is really long. So I've come to the decision that publishing ourselves or by whatever means we can is a big part of the trick to monetizing and getting larger recognition from traditional publishers. Since I'm not spec fic, I don't have the ability to go to Dragon Moon and so I'm left with a hole for who I can get to help me publish my Jack Palms Series. It's a hole I'm looking to fill and I'm increasingly starting to look away from agents and editors.

Pete Prodoehl

In a similar vein I'm still amazed at musicians who are looking to "get signed" when it's so damn easy nowadays to get exposure and make people aware of yourself, your music, your presence. 15-20 years ago you had to rely almost completely on fanzines and word of mouth, but with the power of the internet today, coupled with the ability and relative ease to record, mix, produce, and release music with a common desktop computer... Well, I find it staggering.

mike dunn

right on seth, and agree your jack palms world doesn't fit in dragon moon's sci-fi focus, you'd need a similar niche publisher focused on crime noir - which should exist sooner rather than later since its a huge area of focus for mainstream - i think you're just the first to take off w/in podcasting...

mike dunn

concur pete - the music industry has the same shift happening...

Seth Harwood

So I might have to create that publisher myself, or work with some people I know. It's definitely a market that seems to be right to get into sooner, rather than later. Thing is, even the small crime places I've contacted, even one with their own podcast--they still don't get it.

Charles Sheehan-Miles

Seth,

That's exactly the route I went. I set up my own house, and published the books, and now I'm taking submissions from other authors who are writing in my own very specific niche. Go check out Aaron Shephard and Morris Rosenthal -- their blogs and books -- about self-publishing with a digital, online focus.

Dragon Moon is actually a perfect example of the phenomena -- based on the two titles I've purchased from them so far (both by Scott Sigler) -- they use Lightning Source to print their books one at a time when orders come in. Perfect model for someone like me who wants to get a publisher off the ground but focuses on a tiny niche (not to mention being undercapitalized).

Charles

Rob Safuto

I jumped on the Podiobooks bandwagon early on in the process with my Welcome To The Beehive audio book.

IMHO the best way for a new author to promote their work is to give it away. This is the investment phase. You invest in creating and distributing to the widest audience possible with the fewest barriers possible.

Once people are aware of a work, authors should then build a community around their brand. Engaging with the audience just like bloggers and podcasters can bring great benefits.

New web services like Podiobooks and Ning make it easier than ever to distribute content and build communities.

Once an author has a body of work and a community to back it up, publishers will start to take notice. This takes some time, effort and a little bit of money. I think its a worthwhile process though.

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