Here’s my teaser tweet from last night:
I've got a little announcement I'll, uh, announce tomorrow. It has to do with 2 of the following 3 words: publishing contract killer
— Steve Umstead (@SteveUmstead) September 11, 2013
While “contract killer” would make for a very interesting announcement, it’s not that. As a friend pointed out online, I’ve already got two jobs – I don’t need hitman as another one.
Not that I’ve got people waiting with bated breath, or any type of breath, but it’s fairly big news on my end. As many of you know, I’m self-published and happy to stay that way. I’ve got a long-time business owner background, so maintaining full control, full decision-making, and full royalties (disclaimer: as full as Amazon, BN, Apple, et al pay; no publisher/agent/marketing cut) is extremely important to me. Extremely.
I have absolutely zero interest in signing with a publisher. Zero. Keeping my work “in house” so to speak is a no-brainer to me. Formatting the ebook/paperback, designing (or hiring a designer – big plug for my man AJ Powers and his work on the Gabriel series), editing (or hiring an editor – big plug for my girl Jennifer Gracen for her editing goddess skills), and promoting the book(s) are all right up my alley. I can’t imagine outsourcing those facets of the book I can do myself, and in many cases, feel I can do better than someone else who’s handling X number of other authors and won’t give my work the time and effort it deserves.
But there is an aspect of publishing that is a bit outside my skill set, and it’s an aspect that’s been on my project list for the future: audiobooks. So with all that being said above, here is the official announcement:
I’m excited and proud to say I’ve signed with Podium Publishing for the audiobook versions of the entire Gabriel series (books 1 through 3, plus prequel), and they’ll be hitting Audible.com in the near future.
How did this happen? I will say, it was a bit out of the blue. I certainly wasn’t seeking a publisher; audiobooks were on my project list to do, but admittedly in the far-future section. Podium found me through a referral of a referral, read book 1, contacted me, and after a long conversation, offered me a contract. Ordinarily I take unsolicited business emails with a grain of salt (especially if they say “Dear [%&NAMEHERE&%]), but James at Podium was very convincing and professional, and they have several very well-known authors in their audiobook stable (most notably Edward Robertson, whose Breakers series is excellent, and Andy Weir, whose book The Martian was just picked up by Random House and signed for movie rights). Robertson had excellent things to say about Podium, which is probably what tipped me over the edge, and yesterday the contract was signed.
Podium has the ability and technology that I simply don’t have right now, and may never get to. My focus is the writing part, and while I again have zero interest in ever signing with anyone for the paper/ebooks themselves, the audiobooks are another story. I know I’m giving up potential royalties versus doing things in house, or even hiring a narrator and keeping it mostly in house, but this is an opportunity and a growing outlet that I’m not going to be able to get to anytime soon. Podium gives me the ability to get professional audiobooks out there well before I’d ever get to them.
Stay tuned (hey, an audio pun!) – the process has just started, but I’m looking forward to it.