If you’ve ever had doubts about the power of the groundswell or social media, allow me the opportunity to introduce you to J.C. Hutchins. In 2006, the Louisville native (only one of the many reasons I dig the guy) was dutifully submitting his sci-fi trilogy novels called 7th Son to book publishers. No one would give him the time of day. The stories were about human cloning, complete with a conspiracy sparked by the assassination of an American president, but they were probably a bit too “out there” for publishers at the time.
But J.C. Hutchins had access to something many struggling authors weren’t aware of: social media.
Hutchins decided if he couldn’t sell the work, he’d give it away, only not by putting the full thing online, but narrating readings of the work via podcast. With little more than a computer, an Internet connection and the want to do it, Hutchins began building a community around 7th Son – A beta clone army, if you will.
How did he do it? Here are some snippets of his podcast/book marketing plan:
- Hosted a launch party for the podcast in Second Life
- Conducted the first nationwide podcast book tour by doing more than 50 phone interviews with podcasters around the globe
- Got 7th Son fans to contribute short stories, images and videos to an anthology of the first “book” in the series
- Coerced celebrities from sci-fi and horror films, books and more to appear in the original podcast series.
Today, his podcast, conveniently accessed on the website at 7thsonnovel.com, has over 100,000 monthly episodic downloads. The downloads are free.
Why is this a story? Because today – October 27, 2009, St. Martin’s Press releases the actual, hard copy, tactile and printed version of 7th Son: Descent. Hutchins used three plus years of groundswell and social media marketing to realize his original dream of publishing 7th Son as a novel. The works have already been optioned by Warner Brothers for motion picture development as well.
(I’m standing and clapping as I write this.)
Because J.C. is a friend and fellow Louisvillian, I asked if there was something special I could do to help him today besides tell his story. He turned it around and gave all of us something.
You can get a 10 chapter PDF of the book, by clicking here. It’s a free preview, so to speak. Once you’re hooked on the story, you should go buy a copy of the book and a few others for gifts for your friends. (Amazon links here are my affiliate links, FYI.)
Better yet, check out the Google Reader embed below to check out the preview.
I’ll be the first to admit sci-fi thrillers aren’t necessarily my thing, but I’m halfway through the book already and have been brain sucked into becoming a Beta Clone myself.
Hat’s off to J.C. for the wherewithal and faith to build his own groundswell and realize his dream. It’s an inspiration to all of us, individuals and businesses. If we believe in it, someone else will. If we use these tools to connect those dots and build community around our ideas, we can realize the success we know is possible, regardless of those who tell us it isn’t.
Today is an historic day in social media thanks to J.C. Hutchins. How will it inspire you?
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