In 2010, Greg Lawrence and James Tonn started talking about the impact of the digital revolution on their respective industries – about the rapidly expanding indie economy, and the diminishing role of record labels, publishers, and brick-and-mortar retail.
A partnership took root between two founders with very complementary backgrounds.
Greg, having graduated from the prestigious Trebas Institute, established himself as one of the foremost audio engineers in neuroscience-based audio products, before designing and building an independent recording studio – from which he produced indie bands and provided voiceover recording and post-production. After a natural transition to audiobook production, Greg has since worked on over 700 audiobooks to date, with over 300 of the best narrators in the world, and has become a multi-award winning audiobook producer.
James, having received two international procurement designations, consulted on the strategic spending of public money including a number of multibillion-dollar public-private partnership projects. Along with his understanding of strategic partnerships, he also developed his publishing expertise as an editor of a business magazine that features best-selling authors. James is a life-long lover of audiobooks, has been the Executive Producer on every one of Podium’s titles, and is Vice President of Acquisitions.
In July of 2012, after much research and strategic planning, Greg and James launched Podium Publishing. Focusing exclusively on audiobooks, Podium set out to create revolutionary partnerships with authors that acknowledge the changing publishing landscape.
In numerous genres, Podium has been able to demonstrate and replicate success for authors:
Within less than 3 years from their launch, Podium has:
…and that’s just the execution of the foundational plan: Phase 1.
Phase 2 begins now!
When launching our company, we needed to make a good first impression on the audiobook publishing industry and get the attention of all the awesome authors we wanted to work with. So, here’s the story of the FIRST fiction audiobook we published…
We took a risk on an unknown author we believed in. Andy Weir was giving away the ebook for free on his website and selling it for 99 cents on Amazon, purely for reader convenience.
Podium heard a story that needed a voice, and that voice was R.C. Bray. Hailed by many long-time Audible members as easily one of the best combinations of story and narration they had ever heard, the resulting audiobook edition was an immediate hit!
The Martian has hit milestones of #1 selling audiobook across all of Audible.com, #1 in audiobook bestsellers and #1 bestselling audiobook in Contemporary Science Fiction on Audible.com – the largest audiobook seller in the world. It was a runner-up for Audible’s Best Science Fiction Audiobook of 2013.
The Martian won the award for Best Science Fiction Audiobook in 2015 for the Audies as well as nominations for the Voice Arts Awards, the two most prestigious accolades awarded to an audiobook. And it won the Listener’s Choice Award (Best Audiobook of the Year) from the Armchair Audies.
After Podium released the audiobook, we supported Andy Weir in pursuing a major publishing deal for print and ebook editions and almost a year after our audiobook release, Crown Publishing (Random House), released the hardcover print edition in 21 countries. It became a New York Times Bestseller in its first week.
20th Century Fox optioned the film rights and after the massive success of the audiobook and the other editions, the film became a reality. The Martian will hit the big screen October 2, 2015! It will be Produced and Directed by Ridley Scott with the lead role of Mark Watney played by Matt Damon!
Needless to say, the author has quit his day job as a computer programmer and is now focused on writing full-time.
We love to hear from authors, agents, print publishers and listeners, so feel free to use the contact form below. Before you do, please take a moment to understand how our publishing philosophy is unique.
The publishing landscape has drastically changed.
Similar to the recent ebook revolution, the audiobook market is growing exponentially.
And while most publishers are slowly trying to adapt, Podium Publishing is already perfectly positioned – now.
Authors are becoming increasingly well-informed and are taking things into their own hands: growing their platforms, negotiating their own agreements and looking for the earnings they deserve.
So, at Podium Publishing, we do things differently.
We reach out to authors that are a good fit for us, rather than accept author submissions.
We prioritize the author’s interests, which may or may not include working through a literary agent.
We maximize author earnings through royalties, rather than advances.
Thank you for stopping by.
Today, Podium Publishing is proud to announce an innovative narrator payment program that will provide increased revenue and ownership to the voice talents that perform on its audiobook releases.
The Podium Publishing Narrator Residual Program is tailored specifically to meeting the diverse health and financial needs of narrators in a manner relevant to the working environment in today’s audiobook industry.
“Narrators today have more freedom and options than ever before in how and for whom they work,” says Greg Lawrence, Co-Founder and VP Production at Podium Publishing. “We are immensely excited to initiate a provisions program that reflects these current realities.”
This residual will take the form of a royalty, calculated directly on gross (retailer) sales of each audiobook title, so that narrators can be confident in their royalty amount, regardless of Podium’s operational choices.
“This is what our slogan ‘the fairest of them all’ means to us,” says James Tonn, Co-Founder and VP Acquisitions at Podium Publishing. “Anticipating the future interests of everyone we work with, and meeting those interests proactively.”
Podium believes this program will achieve exactly that for the narrators they work with, well beyond the completion of each project.
In this time of rapid growth and evolution in audiobook production, Podium’s primary goal is to deliver on one of its founding principles: to create partnerships — rather than unilateral business agreements – – that exceed requirements, and maximize benefits for all involved.
The Podium Narrator Residual Program perfectly aligns with this goal and is something that Podium has perceived to be in keeping with the current interests and needs of its narrators.
“We’ve seen royalties for narrators before,” says Tonn. “But not in a manner that is truly on top of competitive pay rates, and that begin from the very first sale.”
“Narrators already enjoy some great provisions across the industry,” adds Lawrence. “We believe the introduction of a fresh approach will ensure that all provision options are at their strongest for years to come.”
Podium believes this new residual program will best serve voice talent working on its titles. However, narrators can choose to opt out of the residual program on a title by title basis, and have the project run through a traditional ACTRA or SAG-AFTRA Union approved paymaster and/or producer.
For more information on the details of the program, Podium has provided an FAQ page here.
Podium Publishing is at the forefront of the rapidly evolving audiobook industry.
The company was founded on the idea of nurturing progressive change in the audiobook world and has enjoyed remarkable success over the past three years, including:
Podium prides itself on fair and forward-thinking policies that benefit audiobook authors, narrators and listeners alike, and continually strives to remain relevant in the industry. Podium’s relationship with its narrators has always been particularly strong. It works closely with narrators to ensure they receive fair compensation on each and every title, and always feel valued, respected, and heard. As the company’s name suggests, its goal is to put narrators – and everyone else it works with – on the podium!
Q: When does the program start?
A: The residual royalty will apply to all new projects cast after the date of this announcement.
Q: How do I apply?
A: There is no application process. Every narrator will automatically receive the residual royalty unless they decide to opt out upon casting, and run the project through a traditional paymaster/producer.
Q: Does the royalty replace my finished hour rate?
A: Definitely not. All narrators will receive their full competitive rate for the work they do. The royalty will be in addition to competitive finished hour rates.
Q: How much is the royalty being offered?
A: The residual royalty is 1% of total gross Retailer Sales Revenue.
Q: Does the royalty apply to hard goods (CD/MP3CD, etc)?
A: The royalty applies only to digital download sales at this time, which comprise more than 99% of Podium sales as of the date of this announcement.
Q: Why is the royalty based off Retailer Sales Revenue?
A: Quite simply, anything else is a percentage of a percentage of a percentage. A royalty calculated off retailer revenue is more transparent, making it easier for the beneficiary to calculate projected dollar amounts. It also allows recipients to reap the benefits of Podium’s promotional efforts without taking on the risks associated with our operational choices. Royalties for our authors have always been on gross retailer revenue, and we’re happy to now offer that same structure to narrators.
Q: When do the residual earnings start?
A: Upon the very first sale. Narrator residuals will start to accrue immediately upon the launch of each audiobook (from the very first unit sold) and will be paid quarterly, within 30 days of Podium receiving the earnings from distributors and/or retailers. Royalties will be paid out to narrators once they exceed $100.00.
Q: When do the residual earnings end?
A: After $1,000,000.00 in retail sales, the narrator will have received $10,000.00 in residual earnings, which is where the residual is capped, per audiobook title. Also, Podium can only pay, or continue to pay, narrator residuals while it retains the exclusive license to sell the audiobook title.
Q: What are the anticipated earnings for the average Podium narrator?
A: We calculate that the average narration project will match equivalent dollar amount compensations found in other existing provision packages in 3 to 9 months.
Q: Can you give an example of an audiobook project?
A: Sure, here’s a 10 hour audiobook, for example.
Initial Payment: $225/finished hour, multiplied by 10 hours = $2,250
Residual Payment: Year 1 Total Retailer Sales of $100,000 = $1,000 ($250 paid quarterly)
Q: What type of narrators are best suited to this residual program as opposed to contributing to union H&R for a project?
A: Narrators have diverse needs and interests, so an option like this residual may appeal to:
Q: Why Now?
A: Podium is a very young company – just over three years old. We’ve been working internally towards an initiative for narrators for nearly half of our existence. But it took time to ensure we could implement something that was sustainable for many years to come, and that it would acknowledge the diverse needs of the narrators with whom we work.