Miss Snark is interested in your views

I think this is really interesting.
Let me know what you think.

thank you, beth, for the linkage!!


nir said...

I think the virtual launch party is a fantastic idea!

Re: publishing via podcast ... I dunno. I'm not much of an aural person, I like to read books myself. But whatever floats your boat.

Lorra said...

Weird and wonderfully fascinating!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's interesting.

I think the tipping point for the Second Life initiative will be dependent on the richness of the experience - i.e. better imaging, more access station devices that indulge the senses.

I'm not a member and am in fact looking from the outside in. But I do intend to join (maybe now) and I can imagine how the social interaction and anonymity satisfies existing users.

Inkwolf said...

I am in Geek Heaven. I never even heard of the book, and I want to go to the party! :D


(And mildly tempted to do my own books this way. But I suppose only a few get lucky this way...)

Anonymous said...

After 10 minutes of browsing, I fear for my country.

I'm no stranger to wasting time on a computer, but to think that at least half a million people sink enormous time, thought, and money into the virtual uselessness of this virtual world is just freakish.

Putter away, imaginomicons, whilst China is unravelling your economic security, your president is authorizing torture, and your jobs are being sent to Malaysia. Maybe when the big one blows your brain will be virtually suctioned into Second Life. Go ahead, wait on that. I'm sure everything will be fine.

Dave said...

Fascinating, and they are recreating the setting of the novel in an artificial environment.

DARKHORSE Comics has placed several full length books out onto the internet and then afterward released them in print. The latest is a fine telling of War of the Worlds.

I can't listen to books on tape (or CD) in my car because it distracts me and I wreck the car. But there is a huge market for books on tape. PODCAST is just an extension. I prefer books printed on paper but I can see the market for writing presented in electronic form as downloads.

I know I am talking to an Agent making a living in print, but the book industry is so snobbish, clannish and clique-ish (yuck bad english)... it is ripe for missing out on a big, cultural change. That's why Print-On-Demand is thriving.

They are creating their audience online. One of the Anime - Full Metal Alchemist - an animated story, has been released in at least 10 volumes on paper at $10 apiece.

skybluepinkrose said...

I think his pub method is more specific to his genre than it might be to others.

My first impression was that those who like audiobooks would be the most interested, and in fact he says, "I'm a big fan of audiobooks."

I like to curl up on the couch with a book. If all storytelling were audio in some form, I don't think I'd be the voracious reader I am. I'd guess visual learners like print, and audio learners could get into "podio books."

Andy said...

I love seeing some of the creative ways that authors find to market their books. A similar example is NationStates. Of course it's hard to measure how much it actually helps, but projects like this can be a fun break from writing.

Marsha Sisolak said...

It's a very interesting means of promoting your fiction, and not the first I've seen of this, either. Cecilia Dart-Thornton began with something along these lines for her first book in her Crowthistle series. The Iron Tree (2004).

With the Well of Tears (2005), she includes the virtual representation of the world on a free CD including music and elements to search for, although it is in no way a game.

I found it an amazing concept two years ago, and I'm surprised it hasn't caught on more.

Folklore Fanatic said...

I think the more successful aspects of his ventures will turn out to be the serialized publication of his book into podiobooks, or audiobooks installments, if you will. Any time you can integrate written words into a lyrics-saturated market and infiltrate the technology is a good thing. Audiobooks will stay around indefinitely, whereas Second Life may have a much shorter shelf-life than participants want to believe.

The graphics are really outdated, even when compared to the old X-box, which has been around for almost five years. I've also heard about lag problems.

Of course, for someone who's old enough to remember Atari and such computer 'icons' as Sopwith and Q-Bert, 3-D graphics from the *nineties* still manage to impress me...

Andy said...

LOL After posting about NationStates, I noticed the Max Barry link in your side column, so you probably alread know about it. I should pay attention more ;)

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of some drugs I did in the 70's. The hell if I know. Seems kind of weird to me. Well, hey, the guy's had 9,000 visitors. Maybe they're all in his head, but he seems happy so wtf. Me personally, I'm trying to get through this life without the drugs. For the time being,anyway. You are going to the party, aren't you?

Georgia Girl

cudd said...

My only real reaction to the article was that I would never attend the publication simply because I hate audio books and much prefer their paper counterpart.

One of the best things about a book is being able to read the same passage over and over until you're satisfied with its meaning. You can't do that with audio books, at least not without endless hassle.

There are also many persuasions for me to read books over listen to them thanks to a noisy apartment, poor hearing, and a tendency to get distracted when I don't have something to fix my eyes on. I do know some people prefer audio books though, but usually due to busy schedules that prevent them from such entertainment outside of their commute.

Kimber An said...

Nothing there to interest me. Whoever did the graphics has a fascination for women's bottoms. No hunky barechested men at all. Boring.

Nell Dixon said...

It's interesting but boy, I suddenly feel old.

Anonymous said...

Hmm..I like books. Words on paper. All the CGI and avatars and music etc.. any book that comes out of it seems tangential..
I give the guy credit for his work and creativity, for sure.
Is it the promotional aspect of it Miss Snark admires?

Robin L. said...

I probably wouldn't do it myself, but I would listen to a book that way. I love listening to stories on Escape Pod and think it's a great format - especially as dependent as I am on my iPod. I wish I could podcast all the blogs I read. ;)

I.J.Parker said...

Juvenile stuff! Comics for the less literate. Could make a lot of money.

Stacy said...

Interesting, but only in a 'They can do that?' kind of way. I'm definitely not the target market, even though I am a fan of scifi, computers and comics. Go figure.

marie-anne said...

I hate audiobooks and I hate people who say they "read" them even more. It's not reading. It's mindless listening where half, if not more, of the words are lost in a daze of self-induced stupor.

Also, I listened to the first chapter of this particular book. Well, part of it. It's not very good. THe dialogue is silly, the prologue is one long flashback, I wouldnt read this book if it was in print. Not for me.

And how disconnected are you from the real world that you have a party on-line? Are you afraid of the big, bad people in the real world?

Maya said...

The issue isn't whether an individual likes or dislikes the medium in question.

The real issue is the growing diversity of entertainment mediums. Every day our choices for delivery systems are increasing.

This fall, a number of network stations offered their premieres of new television shows as free computer downloads. It's a great example of getting what you want when you want and how you want it.

Mark Cuban was one of the first people to recognize that, in the future, on-demand will refer to more than a printing technology. His Landmark Theatre system is a pioneer in "simultaneous release," offering a film in multiple formats on the same day: in the theatre, as a computer download or on your television.

The Annenberg Center of the University of Southern California is working on an initiative called "The Future of the Book," that is also exploring this subject of service delivery.

The Annenberg Center's mission statement includes this: "Starting with the assumption that the locus of intellectual discourse is shifting from printed page to networked screen, the primary goal of the Institute for the Future of the Book is to explore, understand and influence this shift."

I wrote an article on this subject back in January called "It's the Delivery System, Sister." You can access it at: http://www.mayareynolds.com/article_01_06.pdf

Anonymous said...

I don't get it - read half the page and couldn't figure out what was going on. Maybe I'm just not "with it".

The graphics are horrible (speaking as a 3D artist) but as a sci-fi fan I'd love to do images to promote my own sci-fi writing.

Jo Bourne said...

It's a form that needs writers and looks like it could be commercial.

Best of luck to 'em,
says I,
who loves to see writers make money.

That said,
this is Not For Me. I need higher quality visuals and more complex writing, whether they're together or separate.

But maybe this is the 'Steamboat Willy' of a new form ...


eric said...

Meh, I think the virtual gin pail of a virtual launch party would virtually suck.

But then again, I just want those damn cyber kids offa my front lawn. I've yet to join the podcast, youtube wave currently cresting just offshore.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that I'd rather read a book than listen to one, and as a writer, I'd rather have it for sale than give it away for free. But the author says a couple of times that this is his way of getting it into print - that hopefully this audience of 10,000 that he's built will either contain an agent or editor, or that the sheer size will get the attention of one. (After all, hasn't he now gotten the attention of She Who Must Be Obeyed?)

I don't think we should dismiss podcasting out of hand. There's a huge market for podcasts out there, and the women's market is woefully under-represented. If it works to get his book into print, I say, "Good on ya." The Second Life thing is only a small part of what he's doing, but it's a pretty cool idea.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Miss Snark, I was going to ask you about Hutchen's podcast of 7th Son, and then I find this!

I listen to a lot of audiobooks because I'm in a car several hours a day. Last year I spent a lot of money on audiobooks, too.

This summer I discovered podcasts, and have been plugging my iPod in for all sorts of fiction series. I found 7th Son and got caught up in the story.

I think it's well done (some podcasts aren't) and I find the story very entertaining. It's not what I think of as a blockbuster type of novel, but it's become very popular in podcasting circles.

Hutchens may create a buzz because he's the first to be really successful at it--and more power to him--but will publishers want to purchase novels that have been self-published on iTunes in a serial fashion?

It seems to me the first time somebody is successful with this kind of promotion might also be the last.

Regarding the "In the Grid" publication, I don't know how successful it will be, but that little offhand sentence, "Oh, and I'm omnisexual, too" made me laugh. It's such a crazy little thing to say, but here he explains he's referring to his virtual personality, and I realized this kind of thing is targeted at the geeky fringe of the gaming and technology society.

Janet Black said...

Guess I'm too old school. Didn't hang around long looking at the site.

David said...

It might work the first few times, because of the novelty, but what will happen to the twenty-fifth person to try something like this?

mplgyh said...

I guess I just don't get it. Isn't the point of books to, um, actually read them?

Dee said...

I admit to being a Second Life person, but to be honest...I never seem to find great places to go there...I'll have to look this one up.

As to what he's doing...it works for him...he's happy...and he should be, he's creative and getting his creativity out to the world.

Myself...well, I'm plodding along, looking for an agent, but I'm happy too...

Marva said...

I'm of two minds:
1) Glad that I'm so old I'll die before this becomes the only way to "read" books.

2) Sad that I'm so old, I won't be able to get into this format.

Anonymous said...

Don't join Second Life.
You're wasting your $10.

Yes, all the still pictures of the game make it seem like it's beautiful, but just try walking around in it. It's one of the few games out there that encourage people NOT to play it to reduce lag (ie, Don't build anything, don't wear anything. Then you'll have a top-notch playing experience!).

All of the most creative people were chased out long ago thanks to Linden Labs and their poor security. Here's an example, but you can find more:
link here

Every month or so, someone else breaks into the game and steals content, or, in this last case, your credit card.

Apparently, Linden Labs can't stop them. "Geeks" often try to promote this game as being a "real world" but it's really little more than a poorly designed 3d world.

I don't even want to go into the perversion you can find accidentally anywhere. You think internet porn is bad? You haven't seen anything. Don't get me wrong, I like sex, too. Sex between PEOPLE, not animals or machines or 5-penised whatevers. Don't get me started about the pedophiles.

Spend your money in a better developed game or world, one that WON'T let people steal your content and where you can avoid the worst of what the internet has to offer.

Tattieheid said...


I can't help wondering had he put the same effort into finding an agent/publisher and promoting his book to them, would it have made publication?

His "book" has ended up in the SF genre and attracted a cult following in a narrow niche market of online "geeks". Originally he didn't feel his book fitted that genre but was willing to go along with it, in his eagerness to obtain a fan base he may well have shot himself in the foot as he will have difficulty attracting a wider audience.

He has done a hell of a lot of work in both writing and marketing terms for no financial return and what may turn out to be short-lived adulation and limited fame.

Few publishers would want to put money into printing something that people can already obtain on the Internet for free. Ok his fan base has reached 10,000 but in terms of financial returns that is not wide enough to attract major publishers. Besides give people something new/interesting/different for nothing and they will lap it up (for a while) ask them then to put their hands in their pockets to pay for it and they will probably find other priorities for their hard earned cash.

What he should do is find a way of charging for his second book/audio podcast and see what happens. If people like his first one as much as they make out they may pay a reasonable amount for the next one. They may not. Such is life.

Audio books/podcasts have their place but will never replace the printed book for the majority and therein lies the rub, naturally limited market.

All credit to the man for his effort, courage and hard work but I think he may need his day job for a while yet.

xiqay said...

I think it's interesting, too.

The graphics are well-done. The interview is good. The concept of the author--podiobooks, web-launch convention in "built" world--very forefront tech.

I love audio books. Sounds like this author has learned from this that reading your book aloud helps you make it better.

He's also built a fan base among the techno-savvy, book-hungry, readers. And proven that they exist and are a "force."

Part of this scares me--I'm a luddite, unfortunately. The only podcasts I've listened to are on Nanowrimo's site. So I'm feeling more and more left behind.

And I'm also just a tad concerned about "second life" replacing real life for too many people. I want to say, run outside, breathe fresh air, touch something real. When they talk about "textures" in the second life set, it makes me sad--visual texture can not replace the real thing.

But yes, Miss Snark, it's interesting.

theraspberrycordial said...

This reminds me of the imaginary games we would play as children. Someone always orchestrated the main storyline and characters and everyone else played their parts

Maybe a new word needs to be coined for this genre (probably one already I know)?

Grendel's Dam said...

I work at a computer all day. When I relax, I like a nice book. Paper. Ink. A portable entertainment device that does not require a power source. Isn't publishing supposed to be about books, not video games? Are readers obsolete? OK. I guess I'll have to go back to amusing myself by eating Beowulf's friends...

Anonymous said...

I, too, may just be a Luddite about all this. But for me, holding the book and opening up the pages, reading the print on the page, is the only way, by DEFINITION, to "read" a book. I love my laptop, I watch a little TV, go to a movie once in a while. I know what "multimedia" is. A book, a good book you've read before and will read again, is more than just the ideas and creative wonders inside it. It's also the experiencing of those things as your mind engages with the pages themselves.

Let me READ the dogdamn thing!

Anonymous said...

tattie made some of the points I was thinking. 10,000 downloads might be impressive for a collection of short stories but for a mainstream SF novel, I don't think it's enough. But maybe it's enough to catch a far-thinking publisher's attention. That is, if a bigger promotion effort was put behind it, he might see success. On the other hand, how many of the 10,000 would have downloaded if they had to pay to download?

The other thing I thought of is how this author has joined the "long tail" at the far end of the tail. He's not getting any financial return on his efforts but he is getting social currency. He's being read (heard). His work is out there. That may be enough for him.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood devil's advocate.

Of course we all want to curl up on the couch with a real old fashioned book. We are writers. For [X] number of years we have struggled and struggled to get someone to agree to put our books into print form. This means naturally we slaver over a nice hunk of paper between a couple of covers.

What do readers want?

Though I, personally, (being a writer) much prefer the printed word, I have to say that I've never, ever heard a heated discussion among casual readers defending print tomes. (And I could be wrong about that. I'd be happy to be wrong about that). But you know what? I write because I want to be read. And if readers would be more interested in my stories when presented with a bunch of cool looking virtual settings, I'd be all over that.

Yeah, that probably makes me a hack. So I'm a hack. So is Tess Gerritsen. :-)

And I am by no means an authority on this subject. Just stands to reason that, being writers, we might be overlooking a few salient points. The most important thing is what the reader wants.

You may break out the tar and feathers now.

Kendall said...

I greatly enjoyed J.C.'s audio/podcast book already, though I was not interested in Second Life. I'm amused by the print snobs; what, there's no other way to enjoy litrachure? ;-) Le sigh. Audiobooks have been around for decades; they seem to be enjoying a renaissance (available online, e.g., Audible.com & iTunes Store; new stand-alone players with a single book on them in the store, though I don't understand those; etc.)

I used to only be intersted in audiobooks of books I'd actually read, but I've branched out a little since discovering Scott Sigler, Mark Jeffrey, & J.C. Hutchins. The audio format isn't new, but it seems to be gaining some popularity thanks to the Internet and cheap or free books available for download.

To the one who said people don't even pay attention or whatever; well, maybe you have that problem, but no one I know who listens to audiobooks (or podcasts, for that matter) tune them out or hear every other word. What a waste of time that would be -- if you can't concentrate on what you're hearing, then audiobooks aren't for you; there's no need to denigrate the form or those who enjoy it, however.

To the person who said "if he'd put effort into finding an agent"...foot, meet mouth. He did, and he's having more interest now, when agents/publishers hear about the popularity of the podcast version of it. (Gee, if these people like it, maybe others will, too! Whodathunkit.)

To the one who makes it sound like J.C.'s the first successful one doing a podcast/audiobook online...try again. Scott Sigler, Tee Morris, & Mark Jeffrey were there first (and Sigler, at least, has a large and very dedicated following).

To the one saying "most publishers won't be interested if it's available for free"...well, there have already been exceptions to that, books that got major publisher deals after being available free in PDF or audio. Yes, it's very rare...but not unheard of. Just like there have been self-published books that've gone on to get book deals. I believe audio rights are separate from print? ;-) And some of J.C.'s listeners want it in print after listening to it (like me). Much like some (again, like me) like audiobooks as a way of "rereading" (okay, reenjoying?) books they've already read.

Virginia Miss said...

Not a format that interests me, but there's an audience out there.

katiesandwich said...

I agree that this idea works so well in part because the book is SF; most SF enthusiasts are computer savvy. I'm so technically illiterate it's embarrassing, especially given that I'm 23 and my generation is supposed to know how to use podcasts and ipods. Eek!

I'm happy to see that the author has found something to help him on his way to publication. It's not a technique that would work for me, but it's inspiring to see that there are still new and exciting ways of promoting your work if you "think outside the box."

Anonymous said...

Audio books are the salvation of insomniacs. Nothing like reading a book of course but absolute heaven at 4 in the morning. The trick is to find the right book and reader.

flannerycat said...

marie-anne said,"I hate audiobooks and I hate people who say they "read" them even more. It's not reading. It's mindless listening where half, if not more, of the words are lost in a daze of self-induced stupor."

Marie-anne, have you talked to any serious writers who do this? Here's the other side to aural reading. I did it exclusively for 2 years when my hands were so damaged I couldn't hold a book or turn pages. First I learned to keep my attention focused--that took perhaps a dozen books. Ultimately I learned to listen with separate ears, much the way I read, as writers do, with separate eyes: one absorbs the material for pleasure, the other is analytical, reading or listening for structure, elegant understatement, seamless transitions of time, how the author builds tension, etc.

What active listening brought me that reading on paper cannot was an ability to perceive structure from inside the story or novel. It's like standing inside a work of fiction while it revolves slowly around you, and you get to examine its internal scaffolding.

This assumes, of course, that you get a reader who doesn't overact or go falsetto on the women's roles. And that you don't listen to anything abridged, ever, on principle. But even while commuting, it is possible to listen in the active way that writers do so that it's really valid to think of it as reading.

I'll agree with you on one point, though. I never say, "I read that book." I say I listened to it. The experience is too different to merit the same verb.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys are hip, happening, and in-the-know, man. And you're totally right about this "podcasting" thing. It's a fad, like "downloading music" and "TiVo." Media on-demand is clearly a niche fetish for sad geeks and certainly not the natural evolution of technology plus entertainment. Who the hell wants their electronic entertainment delivered instantly and at their leisure often for free? I'd be SHOCKED if every company in every market on the planet were utilizing podcasting five years from now, especially when you consider how that whole "website" thing failed to catch on.

As far as the Second Life launch goes, the inherent flaw in any argument against what Hutchins is doing is this: It worked. You know why it worked? Miss Snark posted it and now we're all talking about it.

B. Dagger Lee said...

I'm godmother and sometimes babysitter to an eight-year-old boy. I bought a Playstation and a couple of games to entertain him. I was happy and surprised to see how smart some of the games were.

When he's 15-25, I suspect this type of online entertainment book will be standard, and he'll have been totally primed for it by video games and computers and even books.

I've had sublime moments running with my iPod, and great, sublime, intimate moments in the blogosphere as a fictional construct writing to other fictional constructs. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have imagined I'd spend so much time on these activities.

Controlled, mediated, entertainment, interaction and intimacy is what we want.

There will still be paper books and magazines.

yrs, B. Dagger Lee

Jpatrick said...

Yes, I think this is the logical marriage of comic books and audio books. Frankly, it's the direction that I think e-books should go.

Anonymous said...

I found this part (in the comments) to be most interesting of all:

"At my old job, I worked with many talented designers and creative people who came up with interesting and inventive campaigns -- which were then almost ceremoniously killed by advertising directors. When shown several different layouts (say, one standard, one off-the-wall and one quirky but beautiful), advertising directors almost always default to the layout that looks like every other ad they've ever done. We are even told to design ads that look exactly like past ads, or use this exact same color, or that exact same effect on the book jacket. Occasionally, when they do choose a layout with a different look, someone somewhere down the line of approval usually ends up forcing it back into its uniform, squashing any creative impulse it might have once had. Tiny things, like the placement of a comma, are obsessed over, while larger issues -- i.e., "This ad sucks," go largely unaddressed."

As a whole, the publishing industry (publishing houses, booksellers, distributors, authors, and yes even agents) is killing itself. But then so is the movie industry.

Jason Pettus said...

Hey, thanks for linking to my article, Miss Snark! I wanted to let your readers know that I do articles on a regular basis regarding interesting things going on in Second Life; and I also do a separate blog (cclap.org) about interesting artistic experiments happening in the real world as well. If anyone out there has something coming up that they'd like to see covered, please just drop me a line at ilikejason [at] gmail.com.

As far as audiobooks versus printed text, I admit that I have mixed feelings about it too; I personally prefer reading paper books, but then I also live in Chicago and take public transporation everywhere, so have lots of spare time to read paper books as well. Most of the audiobook fans I've heard from over the years, frankly, are suburbanites who face long car commutes each day; and these people tend to love the chance to listen to a novel over the course of a few weeks or months, versus the wacky morning radio DJs who are the only alternative on their car's stereo. Although podiobooks are not for me in particular, they are definitely opening up the world of literature to a whole group of people who don't usually partake of it.

And finally, I wanted to point something out about Second Life, to all those people here who say they feel old reading this article; that the median age of players there, believe it or not, is 34, and also split evenly between men and women. I'm 37 myself, and before Second Life had not played a videogame regularly since Galaga in 1983; I felt that same intimidation going into it that a lot of other commenters here mention, and at first felt impossibly old everywhere I went. What you learn quickly there, though, is that all the kids are still gravitating to World of Warcraft and other games with pre-determined (mostly violent) aims; that Second Life is a place for a little older of a crowd, that likes its virtual environment a little slower and not so much based on blowing other people's heads off. It was a pleasantly surprising discovery to make, and is what convinced me to start "In The Grid" in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I love it when an author teaches publishers how to sell books! The medium doesn't matter--what matters is sales.

Creativity belongs to the author. The corporate environment of publishing is not conducive to risk taking. The author, on the other hand, HAS NOTHING TO LOSE.

Love it, love it, love it. We should support the efforts of any writer who dare.....

Anonymous said...

From the interview: Is there any way you know of to parlay all this into a way that helps you pay the bills?
JCR: ... It's my hope that with the current and ever-growing fanbase of the podcast novel, that I can attract the attention of an agent or publisher, and head down the road for eventual "real" publication of the work. Bookstores, etc. That's where the monetization comes in. In the meantime, I'm giving the content away -- and making hundreds of friends in the process.

Errmmmm. That was my question exactly: Where's the money in this? Finding new ways to give your stuff away for free still comes down to that: You're giving it away for free.

-Just Me

Writerious said...

Well, the artwork is vile and the plot doesn't interest me -- can see why this was turned down, actually -- but if this guy has found a fanbase and is making a success of it, who am I to argue?

writtenwyrdd said...

Some will go for the podcast idea, but it seems like a bandwagon (!) I can cheerfully ignore. I will always prefer the written word, on paper, with a pretty picture on the cover, and the lovely scent of ink fillign the air.

Termagant 2 said...

Great, if you know what the bejabbers he's talking about. I zoned out around "SL" -- am I supposed to know what that means?

T2 who needs more coffee

The Review Chick said...

Podcasts are not going away. They aren't a fad, if they were, do you think that networks like ABC, CBS, TNT, CNBC and others would be creating podcasts of their own.

Podiobooks is just another arm of this that will gain acceptance. We already have books on audio.. hello been to the library lately they have huge audio books sections. There is a demand for books in other means than print. I am a firm believer in holding a book in my hands, but I can get just as much enjoyment out of listening to someone read it aloud to me.

As for the monetary aspect, though these may be free now, eventually like everything else, we will have to pay for it. Additionally, how are all publishers going to ignore a writer who has a built in fan base in the 10,000 range before a book is even printed? Eventually JC Hutchins (spelled correctly) will find someone willing to print his work. Or possibly turn it into a screenplay and sell it that way.

Second Life isn't necessarily something that I am completely into, it's a lot like live SIMS, but the idea of taking an authors work and realizing it graphically is something everyone can enjoy!

illuminati said...

I love books in any form. I had a stroke a few years ago which affected my eyes ability to track, for a time.(until I 'retrained')

Since that time, I've DEVOURED books on tape, books on CD, audio books. I used to read at least two books per week, and now I go through 2 in audio and 1 in print every week.

I use an ipod because they can play the books formatted for audible.com (of which I'm a member) and I avail myself of services such as provided by podiobooks.com.

For those not familiar, podiobooks.com 'publishes' books in a serialized podcast in mp3 format. Many of the authors are new to the game; some are not.

J.C.Hutchin's launch party was for his second book in a trilogy and the first book appeared as podcasts on podiobooks.com .

The launch party was a great success and lots of cyber-people were in attendance. It was a hoot, and an ameazement for an old coot such as myself.

The audio book is not a genre/style/format for everyone, but I am glad it's there. Some of us don't have the time we'd like to devote to reading and others simply, for physical reasons, cannot read print.

The audio book is not, as some have intimated, something for "people who like those types of books". My library of audio books includes fiction and non-fiction. Classics and sci-fi. Self-help and reference. Poetry and drama.

The 'cyber-launch party' may very well qualify as a gimmick for the sci-fi and 'unusual tech' fans. It was a far from flawless presentation as there were some choppy graphics and some lags in the total visual response, but I have to give the guy 'props' for using what works for him and his audience.

Is this whole podcast thingie a way to break into publishing? I don't know. I'm giving it a shot. Book 1 of my first trilogy is being audible encoded right now, chapter by chapter. If it is well received, I may have more leverage with a traditional publishing house for books 2 and 3.

I've could tell you some horror stories about books of my poetry and what publishers will and will not do regarding them. (ended up getting chap books printed and selling them at poetry readings and slams)

Anyhoo, I was entertained at the launch party and would probably do it again for the sake of novelty.

As for audio books and serialized podcast books, they are definitely here to stay and may, I hope, help good writers get paid for good work.

aka silverbear at gmail dot com

Kendall said...

Another thing re. monetization. I'm all for paying for and/or "rewarding"/"tipping" authors for their work. Most authors serializing their work have some way for you to donate to them; guess what, people do. (Some might call this a return of patronage, whatever.) Podiobooks.com lets you donate towards a work you enjoyed, and they split the money with the author. Escape Pod and the new Pseudo Pod are two regular SF/F (Escape) and horror (Pseudo) audio fiction magazines online; again, they are free, but you can pay and even "subscribe" by setting up a recurring PayPal payment for them.

I've patronized (in a good way, with money) podiobooks.com, Escape Pod, and other venues. I like the stuff and would pay more (buying new or even from Amazon) to a traditional publisher for similar content -- and have.

So my rambling point is that some of these people are already getting money, though perhaps at first not much and/or not enough to cover expenses (but again, building a fan base is important).

Allyson said...

I've been interested in podcasting since I first learned about it a couple years ago, but just too busy/lazy to do anything about it. It's yet another form of delivery of stories that we should pay attention too.

Five years ago, when e-books started to be "the thing" the gasps of horror could be heard around the world. "I will only read things in print!" was the outcry, and many did not consider e-published authors "really published." (Even though they were with publishers who have contracts and pay royalties, like New Concepts and Ellora's Cave.)

I was already print published and doing ok, but I became so interested in e-publishing that I submitted a story to Ellora's Cave, changing my name to protect the guilty (me). My first check from them convinced me that e-publishing was certainly viable, and again, yet another way to reach people with stories. Let me put it this way, if the sales had been reported to Bookscan, I would have made the top 100 list in romance (seriously). Since then my EC checks have broadened my smiles again and again. (Most of these delightful checks have gone to replacing the air conditioning, repairing the plumbing, replacing the computer, but what can you do...)

So what people couldn't believe was a viable way to reach a market is making me a very nice side living.

I have the feeling podcasting is going to become somewhat the same. In what genre or shape or form remains to be seen.

Pennyoz said...

No. I like to sink my nose into that binding -
Flip the pages and feel that faint breath of wind on my face -
Possess the object for my bookshelf and know that the only crash that will happen to it is when it falls off the shelf.

Anemone Flynn said...

I have been an avid reader my entire life -- I started out with real books, and I still enjoy them very much. However, when I began to run out of good material at my local library (which is quite small), I turned to e-books. I visited the Baen Free Library quite a bit (and I know I've just given away that I like scifi -- I read just about all genres, though), and I've looked in Gutenberg and other places.

I discovered podcasting through my ipod and iTunes, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the stories and books I could soak up through those. Starting with Escape Pod, and continuing through podiobooks.com, I am still looking for all the material I can find.

I have never published anything; I call myself an Avid Listener of podcasts.

This is a great medium, and personally I am all for whatever gets the story out there. Every time I hear about a rejected story or book, I want to read it.

Ha, I know I'll never read everything before I die -- but I'll certainly try.

Peter L. Winkler said...

I would be interested in a virtual environment that was as rich a sensory experience as real life. Failing that, I might still be attracted to one that was aesthetically interesting.

This (SL) is neither. It provides an impoverished experience. Oh well, there are lots of eternal 12-year-olds out there.