As I indicated in my last post, the publishing of The Devil's Deep as a podiobook is taking a good deal of time. I spent several hours just learning how to get an episode up and running and it takes a couple of hours for each new episode. All of that, just to post the book on a site that gives away the books for free.
First, I'm terrible at networking, marketing, or social media. I need some way to connect to readers and this seems like a good way. I hope that I can have conversations with readers about the book on podiobooks.com. Writing is a solitary business, and there are very few opportunities to engage with the reader as they're reading the book. I once wrote a fantasy book and sent out chapters, as they were written, to coworkers, who would then discuss the book at lunch and in conversations. I found this energizing. Hopefully, I can capture a little of that feeling.
Second, I've been thinking about the "one thousand true fans" theory of success in writing. Most people who read a book will devour it, toss it to the side, and never think about it or the writer again. If asked a few weeks later, they might have a hard time remembering the name of the writer. This is true whether or not they liked the book.
Every so often, however, you will connect with a reader. I have found a few people who have loved my books and will snap up whatever else I write. My books, for whatever reason, connect with them personally. They connect with the same discussions, the same dilemmas, and the same fears. Since I'm writing the books that I want to read, I imagine that we'd have many of the same books on our shelves. Each of these people represent not just one sale of each book you write, but talk about your books, review them, and otherwise spread the word of mouth. Each one might represent twenty or thirty additional sales.
So if you find a thousand true fans, you've got it made as a writer. You will always have buyers for your books and in sufficient quantity to encourage you to write the next. I believe that the personal connection of having a reader enjoy my book while listening to my voice is more likely to make a true fan than simply buying and reading my book over a few short hours.