New Media, Part 1

“I’m sure this is marketable, but it isn’t right for our list.”
“You have a compelling character and an interesting premise, but we don’t think this book fits with others on our list.”
I had lots of requests for partials and some requests for completes. I even did extensive re-writes for an agent (not complaining – it made the book better).  I sent the first 10 pages for critique at SCBWI conferences and got encouraging feedback from both Libba Bray and Cynthia Leitich Smith. They had some wonderful insights that I think improved the story arc. I took it to critique groups until they were probably sick to death of reading it. But their questions and suggestions made the story better. I had beta readers review and comment. Still, I continued to get “good” rejections.
Then my husband heard about Podiobooks from a work colleague. He urged me to let him make podcasts of the book. It took me a while to warm up to the idea, I admit. After the last rejection I received (with the agent saying it was a marketable project, but…), I decided to let him do it. Why not? Nothing I was doing seemed to be making any headway. He started recording – reading, adding text and sound effects. We loaded the first episode on March 31 and got 444 downloads that day. There is only one review so far, but the book has gotten 5 stars in all four categories. One of the most exciting things for me is looking at my stats and seeing where my listeners are. The vast majority are in the US. But there have been downloads in 38 countries. I check every day to see if we’ve picked up a new country.
Another reason I decided to try the “New Media” route is that the publishing industry is going through some major evolutionary changes. I have never gone to a conference and met an editor or agent that I thought Wow! How does this person dress themselves and find their way to work in the morning? These are not stupid people. The industry does, however, have huge capital investments in the current business model. It doesn’t make good business sense to chuck it all out the window to do something completely different, especially when that something is still in the formative stages.  They are all scrambling to figure out how to keep producing a quality product at a profit in a quickly changing technological landscape.
As an individual, it is easy for me to try different approaches and see what does (or doesn’t) work. There are a lot of New Media trailblazers: Seth Harwood, Scott Sigler, J.A. Konrath, Karen McQuestion and “Kindle-rella” author Gayle Trent, among others. I’m watching and learning.