21st Century Farmer’s Market?

Last weekend, while doing some marketing research, I stumbled across an author named Seth Harwood. Seth has recently gotten a novel published, called “Jack Wakes Up.”
I have not read Seth’s book yet, but after reading a bit about Seth, I was introduced to a book publishing concept that I had not heard of – “serialized podcasted books.” It seems that Seth was a fan of audiobooks, and learning from a few authors who had done this before, Seth recorded his book in the form of podcast “episodes.”
A few clicks later in my research, I was directed to a site called PodioBooks.com “PodioBooks” is the term coined to mean POD-cast audIO Books.
Here’s the basic model; an author writes a book, then records “episodes” in the form of a podcast MP3 file. When the episode is finished, it is uploaded to podiobooks.com. From there, listeners can browse from available episodes and download them to listen to at their leisure – for FREE. Users can subscribe to a book, and then set the frequency of the downloads which can happen automatically. Once a day, or once a week – whatever works for the user.
Not all books on the site are completed works. This is indicated to the user while browsing. If the author has finished recording all episodes, then the work is labeled finished. If the author has not yet recorded the entire work, the book is labeled as such.
I mentioned that all of this content if free – but users can donate money for the books they consume, and are encouraged – not forced – to do so. If a user listens to a book and then donates money, they are asked to identify the book, as the author gets 75% of the donation. The remaining 25% goes to the website to help defer costs.
It seems that Seth and others have built a fan base by giving away free podiobooks, which in some cases helps the author get a tradional publishing contract.
After reading about this model, it reminded me of an old-fashiond Farmer’s Market. The farmers work hard to grow their produce, then bring them to market to sell to consumers. They may even give away free samples to the crowd. In this case, the author writes a book, records the episodes, and then brings it to market at PodioBooks.com. Selling to the consumers directly, and perhaps giving away free samples to entice people to buy (or donate) and hopefully generating a fan base for future works.
Nifty idea. I like it. I plan to record my book and submit it to podiobooks.com…

Good Reads

This past week I have become aware of two websites that should be of great interest to up and coming writers.
The first one I want to write about, is called Goodreads.com
Think of Goodreads as a facebook-like social networking site for book lovers. Readers, writers and others in the business should be visiting Goodreads. On this website, you can make friends and join groups, send messages and generally keep in touch with others – based on books.
Each user can stock his or her virtual “bookshelf” with the books they have read, (along with ratings and/or reviews) the book they are currently reading, and books they want to add to their “to be read” list.
If you are a published author they have an “author program” where you find your book, then add your profile so readers can get to know you. Even if you are self-published and your book is not in their database, you can manually add your book and then complete the profile. The “Authors Program” page says that Ebook authors and POD authors are also welcome to join and add their work.
I have not had much time to spend on Goodreads yet, but I can assure you that I will. I’ll be adding my own novel to their database and completing a profile – perhaps even give away a few copies (you can do that on Goodreads as well.)
It looks like a pretty neat site and I think it’s a great idea. Kudos to the folks who put Goodreads together and I hope a lot of people ejnoy and join the site.