OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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 7thSonNovel.com. 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!
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.