An Inspirational Story of Publishing Success: J.C. Hutchins Thriller Novelist

JC Hutchins and his clones

I blog a lot about author platform building and sometimes you might think that it is all just a waste of your time.

Why should you blog, or podcast, or connect with potential readers and fans? Why should you spend your free time building a platform when you don’t directly make any money from it? If you are rejected by publishers, why don’t you just give up and moan a lot?

Well, J.C. Hutchins is a poster boy for the author platform building approach to a successful traditional publishing contract.

5 years ago, J.C. wrote a trilogy of novels called “7th Son”. He sent them to publishers and agents but was rejected time and time again.

Then he decided to podcast the novels, producing all 3 books as free audio in 2006-7. You can find links to them all at Over the 2 years it took to make and release these podcasts, J.C.’s fanbase grew and his podcasts soon had over 50,000 regular listeners. With approximately 100,000 downloads of his episodic fiction still occurring each month, 7th Son is the most popular “podcast novel” series in history.

J.C. set up the Ministry of Propaganda and mobilised his fans to evangelise the podcasts, which they did because the stories are so fantastic! (I tell people about 7th Son all the time. The books were my first podcast novel listening experience, and I haven’t stopped since.)

He built up his global platform enough to attract the notice of St Martin’s Press, one of the US biggest publishers.  In June 2009, J.C. collaborated with Jordan Weisman to create cross-media novel, Personal Effects: Dark Art (see my video review here)

Now finally, on October 27, the first of the 7th Son series of books will be released in print. Congratulations J.C. on a long wait!

You can buy 7th Son: Descent from on pre-order (I have my copy ordered!)

If you want to try before you buy, J.C. is releasing audio episodes with text and PDF of the text for free at this page here.

Also check out this fantastic media kit – you can learn more about J.C. and also an example of a really excellent media kit. (We could all use some modelling for that!)

What can you learn from J.C.’s experience?

  • Don’t give up if you believe in your story. It make take years but you can make it into traditional publishing if that’s the way you want to go.
  • Take action and work hard to build an audience. J.C. is prolific. Seriously. He continuously writes, podcasts, networks, blogs as well as doing a day job like the rest of us. He has not stopped working to make 7th Son a success. It is not a coincidence that J.C. has publishing success now. He made it happen…and so can you.
  • Connect with your fans. If you are interested in J.C.’s writing and his story, then reach out to him. You’ll find he is an approachable, friendly guy (with a lovely voice!) He connects with everyone and once you listen to his podcasts (“Hey everybody!”), he will feel like your friend.

More Lessons Learned from J.C. here, and also a podcast I did with him on cross-media earlier in the year. I will hopefully have another podcast interview with him in November so watch this space!

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  1. says

    I learned about J.C. through Mur Lafferty and her I Should Be Writing podcast. I think it’s SO important to remember that “not giving up” includes, in many ways, moving on. Sure, J.C. had faith in the 7th Son series, but if he’d STOPPED THERE, he’d have been sunk! He moved on to other projects, and his body of a work as a whole contributed to 7th Son finally getting the publication he’d hoped for from the outset.

  2. says

    I also learned about J.C. through Mur Lafferty, and it makes me really happy to read the blog of another champion of DIY writers. Love your blog and tweets!

  3. says

    This is a very inspiring story. J.C has followed the “reverse route” to monetizing his work, giving it away free first, and its great this has worked out for him. Of course, his level of passion and belief in his work helps :-).

  4. says

    Thanks all – I am so inspired by J.C. and his story keeps me going when I wonder if the time input is all worth it. As authors we all strive for that type of success so it’s great when there are footprints we can follow in.


  1. […] An Inspirational Story of Publishing Success: J.C. Hutchins Thriller Novelist: An article on The Creative Penn. […]

  2. […] An Inspirational Story of Publishing Success: J.C. Hutchinson, Thriller Novelist Have you heard of J.C. Hutchinson? He is one of the self-publishing to traditional publishing success stories. After countless rejections, rather than giving up, he released his book series as a podcast. Now, his books a re being released in print format. Would you take this route? Or would you move on to another story? […]

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