Podium Publishing

The wait is over! THE BLACK BOOK: The Cycle of the Scour #2 is out on audiobook right now. You can pick it up on Audible and Amazon.

If you haven’t read the first book, then what is wrong with you? It is about the life of young Cally, set 100 years before he and Dante ever met. I (quite literally) couldn’t think of anything more fun in this world than that.

I mean, uh, you can get it on Audible and Amazon too.

As for what’s next: I am within a month of finishing the first draft of Galand #7. Normally that’d mean it’d be out mid-January or something, but I’m going to start releasing them at the same time Podium puts out the audio. So look for the ebook and audio to go live in March or April.

…and for a completely unexpected surprise before then.

In the meantime, thanks for reading/listening/osmotically absorbing these, everyone.

It’s here.

THE SPEAR OF STARS: The Cycle of Galand #5. You can pick it up on Amazon, Amazon UK, and paperback. And yep, it’s currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

Tim Reynolds is working on the audiobook recording as we speak. With any luck, it’ll be out in August or September.

TSOS-ebook 600x900

This is the longest book in the Cycle of Galand by a good bit—637 pages, just a hair shorter than THE GREAT RIFT. Even so, I didn’t get to cover everything I wanted to in this one, meaning there pretty much have to be two more books in the series.

Let me know if you’ve got any questions. If not, go forth and read!

I am excited, stoked, and chuffed to announce that Dante and Blays are back in the saddle! THE WOUND OF THE WORLD: The Cycle of Galand #3 is now live. You can find it on Amazon and Amazon UK.

TWOTWIf you’re not a Kindle user, the Kindle app should work on most devices. If you can’t or won’t use Amazon, please email me at edwrobertson AT gmail and we’ll work something out. If you’re a paperback reader, I hope to have that version out within a week or two.

By the way, I get the impression a lot of people think this series will be a trilogy. Well how does it feel to be WRONG? Does it feel great? It should, because this series will actually be five or six books long. My intent is to start writing #4 by December (I have something else to wrap up first) and publish it by April 2017.

When will the audiobook for THE WOUND OF THE WORLD come out, you ask? Well, I’ve just sent the manuscript off to Podium, the audiobook publisher for this series. Tim Gerard Reynolds is slated to record it next month. After that, it’ll take some time for post-production, and a couple-three weeks to be submitted to and approved by Audible.

This is a long-winded way of saying it won’t be overnight. That said, it should be out early next year, perhaps even January. I know Podium will be eager to get rollin’ with it. Speaking of all these things! The Voice Arts Awards have nominated Tim and THE RED SEA for 2016 Best Narrator in a Fantasy novel. Winners will be announced November 13. *glares at VAAs* I’m sure the VAAs will make the correct decision.

Getting back to THE WOUND OF THE WORLD, I always feel a certain amount of trepidation publishing a new book—what if I’ve suddenly turned into a pumpkin and can’t be trusted to write a manual for a coffee machine, let alone a worthy sequel to my previous books??—but I am, at the moment, feeling pretty good about this one. It expands the world while leading to a story that I think will be pretty epic.

Enough blathering by me, either you’re going to buy it or you’re not. My recommendation: get it.

silverthiefI have a release date! THE SILVER THIEF: The Cycle of Galand, Book 2 is coming to audio on May 24th. You can order it on Audible and Amazon.

As with the previous books, THE SILVER THIEF is narrated by the immensely talented Tim Gerard Reynolds. I can’t say enough about Tim—he’s brought these characters to life. I hope I get to continue working with him for a very long time.

I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Cycle of Galand next month, meaning it should be out in ebook and paperback sometime this fall. The audiobook will take a little time to produce from there, but I’d bet my publishers will have it out before the year’s up. (Oh—still no word on the remaining Breakers books, but I’ll keep asking.)

Okay, back to work for me. As always, hope you enjoy. The 24th can’t come soon enough!

For audiobooks, the Audie Awards are kind of a big deal. They’re the format’s equivalent of the Oscars for movies, or the Hugos for science fiction and fantasy.

And THE CYCLE OF ARAWN has been nominated for one.

Best fantasy novel! I’m shocked and thrilled. Even in the midst of my initial euphoria, however, I knew a great deal of the credit belongs to my narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds. This is no false modesty: Tim’s up for an incredible three Audios this year. Besides ARAWN, he’s also been nominated for Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword, and Golden Son, the second book of Pierce Brown’s incredibly popular Red Rising trilogy. Tim’s talent is remarkable and I’m extremely lucky to have his voice reading my words. I have a feeling he’s on the verge of becoming a superstar.

You know who else has three nominations? My audiobook publisher, Podium. Back when I signed with them, it was a bit of a gamble, as their track record was very limited. Since then, however, they’ve racked up all kinds of award nominations and incredible titles, including the #1 selling digital audiobook of all time, THE MARTIAN.

You might fairly label THE MARTIAN as an outlier, what with the whole “Hollywood movie up for a Best Picture Oscar” thing, but Podium’s produced multiple legit bestselling audio series. Along with THE CYCLE OF ARAWN, they’ve also put out Stephen Moss’ FEAR SAGA and Joshua Dalzelle’s BLACK FLEET trilogy, among several others. At this moment, they’ve got 200 titles up representing dozens of authors. The road with them hasn’t been without its bumps, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to sign with them.

Anyway, win or lose, I’m completely honored to be nominated. Winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 11. I can’t wait to hear the results.

Just like the title says, THE RED SEA: The Cycle of Galand, Book 1 is coming to an audiobook store near you. With the series picking up after THE CYCLE OF ARAWN, I’m immensely happy to announce THE RED SEA is also narrated by the wonderful Tim Gerard Reynolds.

The book goes live on January 19th. Preorder it on Audible or on Amazon.

Cycle of Galand_2400px 2400px_300DPI

Tim is a huge reason THE CYCLE OF ARAWN has done so well on audiobook, so it’s great to have him back. He’s in high demand these days—narrating for RED RISING, Larry Correia’s new epic fantasy, and the Riyria novels, among others—but he will continue to be the voice for the rest of this series.

My understanding is that the sequel, THE SILVER THIEF, is scheduled for audiobook release this spring. The third book should be out on ebook late this summer, so I’m tentatively expecting the third book will be out before year’s end as well.

Initially, it looked like Dante and Blays’ adventures were going to end with THE CYCLE OF ARAWN. It’s been immensely gratifying to see the series explode like it has—it’s allowed me to keep writing in this world. As long as you all keep reading them, I could see myself writing them for a long time.

THE RED SEA: The Cycle of Galand, Book 1.


A few months back, I was approached by a group called Podium Publishing about the audiobook rights to my post-apocalyptic Breakers series. Recently, I’ve been getting several emails about the decision, so I thought I’d run down my experience with Podium in specific and my thinking in general.
I tend to get windy, so a quick summary: I’m very happy with both Podium and my decision to sign. Although it’s still very early in our contract and they’re a pretty new outfit, they seem legit. My initial sales seem pretty good, too.
But some of my reasons may not apply to everyone. There are some advantages to producing your own audiobooks, and other advantages in letting someone else handle them. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut right and wrong.
So. Time for lots and lots of words on the subject.
As for how things went down, I was initially emailed about the rights by Podium’s executive producer, James. A quick google turned up little about the company. Although they’d signed a handful of indie authors I recognized, including Andy Weir of The Martian fame, they looked small. Legit, inasmuch as they had indeed produced audiobooks present on retail sites, but I was unsure they’d be able to do much if anything for me that I couldn’t do for myself.
But I didn’t know that for sure. And audiobooks had been on my mind for a while—as one of those many things I needed to get done someday, but didn’t have time for just then.
So we set up a call. And James had quite a pitch. Not only did he mention “algorithms” before I did—a man after my own heart!—but it turned out he and his engineer had experience producing traditionally published audiobooks for the big houses. This, to me, was a big point in their favor. If I were to sign the audio rights away, I would want to do so with someone who could probably put out a better quality product than I’d be able to manage on my own. Otherwise, what’s the point?
We talked a good deal about indie publishing, the history of the digital audiobook industry, what Podium was, etc. Over the course of all this, I got the feeling James knew what he was talking about. So by this point, I wasn’t worried about them being a small startup, because it felt like they were capable of good work (and I’d already heard a few samples)—and that they might know how to sell it, too.
Which made things very interesting. Because I had two basic concerns I wanted met before I’d sign with an audiobook publisher:
a) Can they do better work than I can?
and obviously,
b) The specific terms of the agreement
If those were met, however, I was ready to sign. Which I think runs counter to the conventional indie wisdom that, barring an overwhelming offer, you should produce your audiobooks yourself. And ideally, pay a flat fee to a narrator. Then all those sweet royalties are yours forevermore.
This thinking makes sense for many of the authors presenting it. People who are, in other words, a big enough deal that we want to hear their advice on this stuff.
But I see two key differences between self-publishing your ebooks and self-publishing your audiobooks. First, the cost of audiobook production is generally much higher than the cost of ebook production. At the rates many professional narrators charge, an audiobook can easily cost $2000-3000 to produce. That’s significantly more than most ebooks, which I would generally peg in the $100-1000 range. And second, the audiobook market, while growing, is much smaller than the ebook market. Meaning it’s going to take you longer to recoup that investment.
Meanwhile, there’s an opportunity cost to waiting until you can pay for those production costs. There’s a point at which it’s better to start earning, say, 50% today than it is to wait until some undetermined point in the future to begin earning 100%. (Not to mention the audience growth you lose out on by waiting, too.)
That point differs for everyone and every book, and is ultimately unknowable. And should include the possibility that you might never get around to it by yourself.
Okay, enough blathering about the monetary cost. Because it also costs time to produce your own audiobooks. Ideally not much, certainly not as long as writing a book, but you’ve got to locate a narrator, set terms, deal with any problems that pop up along the way, proof the finished product, publish it, blah blah blah. I’ve watched several friends go through this process. For some, it seemed streamlined, and probably only required a few days total. For others, it sounded pretty hellacious. Sometimes the projects were aborted midway through.
With this in mind, I’d done some research and thinkin’ before speaking to James. I was looking at a backlist of three books in the series, a fourth going live in the near future, and writing two or three more within the following year. Each book could cost me a couple thousand bucks and an unknown amount of time to produce. At that point in my career, I had neither to spare. And when it came to time, I’d rather spend it writing a new book.
So by signing with a publisher and giving up a cut of the royalties, I would be free of nearly all logistical details—and of the risk of never earning back the production costs.
In other words, as a very savvy friend pointed out while I was mulling this over, I was using the exact same reasoning that writers use to convince themselves to sign with traditional publishing houses. But as I’ve laid out in what is surely tedious detail, I feel like the economics of ebooks and audiobooks are much, much different. To where it’s apples and oranges.
Anyway, back to the phone call. After a long, fun talk, James offered terms. I negotiated just a bit and was happy with the outcome. Generally, I love being as transparent as possible, but I don’t think I can get into hard details with this; Podium is my partner now, and it would be improper to compromise their ability to bargain with other authors. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters what they offered someone else—I think what matters is whether you’re happy with what they’re offering you.
According to my email records, this all went down about three months ago, in late June. I exchanged a few emails with them in the meantime, but nothing heavy duty. With very little involvement on my part, the first Breakers book went live on September 5 on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
Two weeks later, here is where it’s been hanging out on the iTunes Sci Fi & Fantasy charts:

#9 in SF&F! Whee! #133 in the whole store! Champagne party time!

…so, what does that mean in terms of sales? I have absolutely no idea. Nor what its ranking means on Audible. I do know that, if iTunes’ bestseller lists are straightforward, it’s currently outselling all but one of GRRM’s audiobooks, all the Ender novels, hot new stuff like The Bone Season, etc. Additionally, though it’s not ranked as highly on Audible, its reviews are favorable–4.3 on both story and the narrator’s performance. (And the fact there’s already 15 of them is a positive sign for its early sales totals, too.)

What’s unknowable, of course, is.. well, everything. Would Breakers have done this well if I’d produced it myself? I can’t know. Would its ratings, preliminary as they are, have been on par? Again, absolutely no idea. It does seem that most audiobooks get a lot of visibility purely as new releases, regardless of who published them, and I’ll be surprised if it holds its ranks for too much longer. And while Podium did some marketing for it, it didn’t look like anything overwhelming.

Still, it sure looks like a good start.

Are there tradeoffs? Absolutely. Obviously, I make less per sale. I don’t have direct control of anything. I won’t even know how many it’s selling for some time. Heck, for all I know, Podium is a hyper-elaborate ruse and I’ll never see a dime. That would make this whole post look pretty ridiculous!

All I know is that, right now, it’s doing well, I’m happy with the contract, and that this audiobook wouldn’t exist at all if I hadn’t made this decision.

Yet I know it’s not a decision that would make sense for every single author. That’s why I tried to break down my thinking. I hope it’s useful. Any comments or questions, fire away.

About Me

I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.


My Book Genres