Just the facts…

An interesting article was brought to my attention earlier by a link shared on Twitter. Being interested, I clicked the link and read this article in which the author describes the overall service Podiobooks.com provides with general accuracy. She then seems to disparage the authors that would be content to give away content for free.

Being myself, and always willing to state my opinions, I decided to write a comment showing a few inaccuracies in the report. Unfortunately, comments are not allowed.

So, I present said opinion to you here. I realize it is quite likely it will never be read by the intended audience, but I hope that someone will benefit from the facts that I provide here. And again, I say thank you to all of those that give so unselfishly.

“Interesting report. Not entirely accurate, but very interesting. Podiobooks is indeed a portal for books that were released in a serial fashion. And most of the books on the site have not yet, and never will be, picked up by a large publisher.

Some of the author’s on the site however, have been, and are currently published by large houses.

Tracy Hickman, author of many book – including the Dragonlance series – and published by Harper Collins and others is a Podiobook author. He released the immortals, a book also available in print form, for free on the site.

Scott Sigler, NYT best selling author of Infected and Contagious, released his books on Podiobooks first, and was picked up by Crown Publishers. Both of these books are available on Podiobooks.com as well.

J.C. Hutchins, author of the 7th Son trilogy, published by St. Martins Press has all three books available on Podiobooks.com.

Philippa Jane Ballantine has stated that releasing her novels in podcast form was instrumental in receiving a contract with Ace books.

Finally, Nathan Lowell, who is indeed one of the most popular authors on Podiobooks has recently received a contract from a small house publisher, Ridan Publishing, to publish all eight of his novels.

These are just a random sampling and I know I have missed some.

I agree. Not every novel on Podiobooks.com will see print. Nor should they. However, for some authors, it has been part of a strategy to get their works into the masses, which in turn has helped them achieve larger goals.

I hope the pile of books near your bed doesn’t topple and harm you before you’ve had a chance to hear some of these wonderful stories. I’ve read all of the titles in that stack that you mentioned. None of them are superior to the best Podiobooks.com has to offer.

Thank you for your time.”

~ by odin1eye on 16 February, 2010.

18 Responses to “Just the facts…”

  1. My response to the author of the original article, as comments are now closed: So the only work of art that’s wothy of attention is art that has been filtered and approved of by “those who know art”. That is not only ignorant but also insulting to those who appreciate and support this “hopelessly unpublishable literature”.

  2. I’ve been an avid reader for years and I would offer a few additional positive attributes of the books available on podiobooks.com .

    I’ve been able to consume so many more novels in the past few years thanks to Podiobooks.com, since I can listen as I work. The quality of the novels I listen to on Podiobooks are as good as the novels I used to pay full price for. Just look at Odin1eye’s reviews for an excellent starting point for some of the best https://viewfromvalhalla.com/podcast-review-directory/ . The top audiobook page at http://www.podiobooks.com/charts.php is a great start too.

    Also, the novels I’ve enjoyed on Podiobooks tend to be better fit for audio than the audio version of traditional print novels. The format of podiobooks range everywhere between straight reads and full audio play productions. That being said, the novels that I’ve listened to on Podiobooks and also bought in print still hold up in well in print.

    The Podiobooks are free, but that doesn’t make them worthless. Most of these novelist are trying to gain audience and exposure in hopes of a paying gig. How many really good novels don’t get published or take years to be published? – News Flash: A LOT!! With Podiobooks, I get great stories without having to wait on publishers. And I get to try them out and if I don’t like some, I get to move on and try another.

    Oh and Podiobooks.com does have standards, I’ve heard enough to know that these books have to meet certain production standards to make it on the site. That doesn’t guarantee that you’ll like them all, but walk down bookstore shelfs – you’ll find thousands of books you’d never buy.

    And last but not least, a lot of these novelist are people you can get to know on the internet. And you can meet fellow listeners online. I’ve even met some of them in person at conventions – and they remember me (in my case, usually from Twitter). If you like a Podiobook, check out the authors website, contact the author and let them know what you think. Write reviews (short or long) at Podiobooks, iTunes, the author’s site, … wherever. With these books, YOU can get involved. And for that matter, your comments might end up making a future published version of some of these books even better than they are now.

    • Thanks again sir… You make some compelling arguments and I hope somewhere they find an ear that is listening.

  3. Of course, I am compelled to point out that many Dragon Moon authors are published on Podiobooks.com. Speaking as an art director, I find the idea that our authors are somehow lessened because they give away a free version ridiculous. PB.com represents the free-market ideal that we should all strive for. I think if you can make it on there, you can make it anywhere.

    But then again, what would I know, right?

    • I was much remiss for not mentioning Dragon Moon. It was an oversite, but as the original article seemed to think that only major publishers were important, and then specifically seemed to target Nathan, that is where I turned my effort. However, DMP should be mentioned as giving many fine authors the opportunity to show the world their talent.

    • Just a quick thanks to you and Dragon Moon Press, Alex. What you all do for the authors and we readers is appreciated. It is so heartening to know that at least some publishers out there “get it”. 🙂

  4. Great post, Odin. Spot on. The most amusing thing about the original post to me was the tag line suggesting that the author had no patience for “book snobs”. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, I don’t think that term means what the author thinks it means.

    Citing Salinger, Dostoevsky and Heller with a superior tone? I’m not quite sure how one could more aptly embody the concept of book snob.

    • I couldn’t agree more with your last statement. Embodied indeed. Extra points for quoting Inigo! Thanks for the comment and kind words!

  5. I really liked Evo Terra’s response to the matter.

    • I did too. In fact, I hadn’t seen Evo’s response when I wrote and posted mine. I even considered removing this but enjoyed the considerate and well thought out comments posted here. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Okay, so I finally read the article. What a bunch of opinionated libel. The facts are wrong, the assumptions are preposterous and the writing reads like that of a spurned lover. Please don’t think I’m being reactionary, either. I’ve only stated actual fact.

    This sort of second grade book report journalism doesn’t have a place in an actual, respected publication. However, I believe the times may be changing. After all, it is difficult and time consuming for members of the established media to go out and… research things…

    Could it be that bloggers are beginning to supersede the newspapers in terms of credibility? What sort of world is this becoming?

    • Well, I believe it is a college paper so maybe they were expecting not to reach much beyond their own student body. However, that is an assumption people need to quit making. Whenever you are reporting about something or someone that people regularly google, the likelihood that the person/organization being written about is going to stumble across the article is high. This being true, it should be important to know what you’re talking about or clearly state it as an opinion. True for all of us. Thanks for the post!

  7. One of the many fallacies that underlie the whole “Why would you give it away for free?” argument, and one that I don’t think anyone has addressed yet, is this odd idea that publishing companies publish great literature. They don’t. Never have. Publishing companies don’t make money on great literature. They don’t even make money on good stories. They make money selling books. That’s it.

    When a publisher looks at a manuscript, all they’re thinking about is “how many people would buy this?” Will it sell in their target demographic? How wide an appeal does it have? How much money will need to be spent to market it? Is there anything about the book that can be leveraged for free publicity? A publisher just looks at how much it is going to cost, and how quickly can it be made back. Which explains why there are so many poorly written tawdry romances in print. Make a cheap paperback with Fabio on the cover and they’ll fly off supermarket shelves. It doesn’t matter what is *inside* the cover.

    There is no nobility to being in print.

    There is great nobility in having your story told and retold.

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