The Advent of Podcast Novels Scott Sigler is breaking new literary ground. He's the author of some of the first podcast novels — books delivered first by audio, in serial form. Will this new form of "book publishing" become a successful trend? Sigler offers his insights.
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The Advent of Podcast Novels

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The Advent of Podcast Novels

The Advent of Podcast Novels

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Mr. SCOTT SIGLER (Author, "Infected"): (Reading) Alita Garcia stumbled through the dense winter woods, blood marking her long path. A bright red comet trail against the blazing white snow…

LIANE HANSEN, host:

That's Scott Sigler reading from his soon-to-be released podcast novel, "Infected." Scott is one of the most successful podcasting authors to date, with each of his novels hitting the number one spot for audio books on iTunes. Scott's in the studios of member station KQED in San Francisco to tell us more about his podcasting success. Hi there, Scott.

Mr. SIGLER: Hi.

HANSEN: Tell us what is a podcasting novelist?

Mr. SIGLER: The first release of the book tends to be as a podcast, as a weekly serialized podcast. So you put out 30 to 45 minutes of the book every week that usually runs 20 to 25 weeks, depending on how long the book is. Then when that is done, then you take the content and then you roll it out into print, if that's an option for you.

HANSEN: How exactly is it done?

Mr. SIGLER: Well, everybody who's doing this is mostly recording at home. So it is the author is doing the reading, the recording, editing and processing the file then putting - in effect you're just doing a blog and you are putting an audio enclosure in each blog post. So people who subscribe to it can get it in their iTunes and it automatically shows up every week as soon as you post it in any other blog reader or blog catcher.

Or what most people do is just treat it like a normal Web site and they just come back every week, and they click on the little link in your Web site and they listen to the episode.

HANSEN: How did you get to the head of the pack of all these podcasting novelists?

Mr. SIGLER: I was just lucky enough to be one of the early guys doing it. My first one was called "Earth Core." And because it was only available as a podcast - you couldn't go get a PDF and you couldn't buy the book - and there was something magical about them not being able to get the story that kind of drove them a little crazy, made them enjoy it and start to spread the word to all their friends. Since it was free audio, it just spread across the Internet and they were emailing each other and saying, check this out.

HANSEN: Are you making any money if you're giving away the stories for free?

Mr. SIGLER: You can make money. Right now my podcast is hosted by a company called PodShow and PodShow goes out and sells advertising against the thousands of shows they have. So it's basically the same thing as a television or radio network. It's just all online.

HANSEN: Is there a ripple effect when your podcast novel "Infected" gets printed?

Mr. SIGLER: The ripple effect is in reverse. So when the book comes out in print, I'm able to communicate with all these people who are all signed up on my Web site or getting my emails, say, hey, the book's coming out, you enjoyed this. Go buy it.

HANSEN: It helps, though, too, when you begin your kernel is a really good story.

Mr. SIGLER: If you got a book that you feel real confident about, by all means, podcast it. But if you're halfway through your first draft, you got to remember, most people are only going to listen to you once if they don't like you and then that's probably going to be it and they're not going to come back.

HANSEN: Scott Sigler. The hardcover version of "Infected," his novel, will be released on April 1. He joined us from the studios of member station KQED in San Francisco. Scott, thanks a lot. Good luck with both of them.

Mr. SIGLER: Thank you.

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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