Sunday, March 04, 2007

Is podcasting the new marketing?

A Tennessee writer friend of mine, frustrated in his efforts to get an agent or publisher interested in a novel he’d written with SciFi overtones, once described his plight as “no room at the genre.” If you were an unpublished author, he said, and your book didn’t fit neatly into an existing genre, you were probably out of luck.

That was 10 or 12 years ago, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. In fact, with the loss of so many independent bookstores and the continuing consolidation of publishing houses, if anything it’s gotten harder to get a first book published.

So determined writers are having to change tactics and find other paths to publication. My friend now publishes his stories online at his website, Tall Tales to Go. Here's a link to one of his tales, Can Aliens Be Angels? Or the Search for Armaggedon in Ol' Man Kelsey's Woods, a science fiction novelette.

Other writers are turning to podcasting to get their stories in front of an audience…and to attract the interest of a publisher.

An article in the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times, Authors Find Their Voice, and Audience, in Podcasts, focuses on one such author, San Franciscan Scott Sigler, who writes “science-fiction horror novels.” The article notes:

After being snubbed by publishers for years, Mr. Sigler began recording his first book, EarthCore, in 2005. He offered it as a podcast in 22 episodes (roughly 45 minutes each) that he posted online and sent free to subscribers for downloading. Before long, Mr. Sigler had 5,000 listeners; by the time he finished releasing his second novel, Ancestor, last January, he had 30,000, as he does for The Rookie, which is playing now.

“A lot of no-name authors like me are getting massive grass-roots exposure, and some of us are going to percolate to the top and get on the best-seller list,” said Sigler, who now has a publisher and an agent.

Here’s the link to the prologue to Sigler’s first novel, Earthcore, which he recorded in a walk-in closet that serves as his podcasting center. You’ll note that it includes background music and sound effects, characteristics that distinguish it and many other podcast novels from audio books.

One web site now offering books as podcasts is It now lists about 100 titles, including many science fiction and fantasy.

(Cross-posted on Jour 163 class blog.)

1 comment:

Scott Sigler said...

It is the new marketing - a billion people online, and if you're focused and dedicated you can grab a small piece of that audience.