Pod People

I’m a little late on this very interesting New York Times article (“Authors Find Their Voice, and Their Audience, in Podcasts,” by Andrew Adam Newman), but if I’m behind in my reading, maybe you are, too. The short version is that some unpublished authors are narrating their own novels and making them available as podcasts — and some of them are actually getting book deals.

Any snide remark I was planning to make about the kinds of books that are taking this route —

Scott Sigler writes science-fiction horror novels, the kind one fan called "steel-tipped boot on your throat, speed-metal fiction."

— kind of dies in my throat when I see the kind of readership — er, make that “listenership” — some of these authors are getting. Twenty or thirty thousand listeners? So I guess this is one of those cool DIY stories about artists blazing a new trail and finding an audience waiting for them in the middle of the forest.

Of course, there is a dark side to this. Just as many publishers are expecting authors to do more and more of the work when it comes to marketing their work, if we extrapolate on this trend, maybe publishers will start expecting authors to arrive on their doorsteps with a large fan base already following behind.

"It’s a much more attractive package to the publisher if you have a built-in audience," said Mr. Leavell, the agent, who along with Mr. Sigler represents others who have built Internet followings, including Tucker Max, who detailed his drunken exploits on his Web site before publishing the best seller "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell."

Then again, if this does even qualify as a trend, maybe it’s the next books-by-bloggers mini-frenzy, just a blip until the next new thing pops up.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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