Tuesday, August 23, 2011

To podiobook or not to podiobook: that is the question

I recently completed a three-part interview with Mark Jeffrey, CEO of ThisWeekIn. At times when he has not been a CEO, he's been working on an intense sci-fi/magical realism series about a character with Highlander nuances named Max Quick. His first book in the series is out, his second is finished but not out yet, and his third is outlined and he's about to begin writing it. Also, the prospect for Max Quick movies is very big right now.

Where did all this Max Quickness begin? With a free podiobook. Mark Jeffrey didn't want to go with traditional publishing since that would take several years and have no guarantees. He tried self-publishing, but without much success. Eventually an acquaintance recommended free podiobooks. Sure, it wouldn't make anything, but it would get his name out there.

The result? Over a few years, he built a tremendous audience and got over 2.5 million downloads. One of his fans was Abigail Breslin, who mentioned the Max Quick mp3 in an interview. This helped him get a good agent, and the rest is history.

I love success stories like this. An author's life is hard enough just when it comes to normal sales, assuming they can even get published in the first place. Blockbusters like Max Quick is likely to be are rare, especially in children's literature.

What do you think? Is it worth it to podcast your book, even if it means no money at first, or possibly ever? Are you, as an author, willing to try something radically different to rise above the crowd? Are you confident that your writing is strong enough to create a loyal audience base?

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