When you get down to the core of what an online influencer is, these are people who leverage self-publishing tools like blogs, social networks, photo and video sharing sites to create content. Those that create compelling content or engage an audience of people around that content, or both, accumulate a following of people they have some degree of influence over. 

One of those platforms where people create content and build an audience is podcasts. The current wave of podcast explosion which includes the emergence of the one you’re listening to, is actually the second generation of podcasts if  you will. The medium had its first wave in the early to mid-2000s. 

In 2007, an aspiring science fiction writer was turned down by publisher after publisher. And then he read an article about podcasting. After some investigation, he decided to start recording the first part of his book as episodes of a podcast. Fast forward a couple years and his audience of 50,000 listeners suddenly looked appealing to St. Marten’s Press, a well-known publisher.

That author was J.C. Hutchins. The novel was 7th Son: Descent. He was a new media publisher who built an audience in a self-publishing medium and became an influencer. And that led him to the opportunity to sell his work through a traditional publishing medium. Some might call that being “legit” but it’s probably now becoming more aligned with “old fashioned.”

Hutchins went on to self-publish the second and third book in the series. He’s continued his writing for television shows and other side projects, but also leads the content efforts for a content marketing firm. 

J.C. joined me on the show to talk about his episodic life through self- and traditional publishing, becoming influential and putting that into perspective with age. We both share some back and forth of our experience in publishing, so for those of you interested in writing a book or self-publishing something, this episode will be particularly interesting. 

He also says if he had it all to do over again, he would do a few things differently.

Find J.C. Hutchins on LinkedIn or on his website at JCHutchins.net. You can also buy the 7th Son Trilogy at Amazon. Those books are, in order:

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Winfluence, the book! Get a special discount by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price, just for being a Winfluence (the podcast) listener. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.


Winfluence - Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand

Order Winfluence now!

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Winfluence, the book! Get a special discount by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price, just for being a Winfluence (the podcast) listener. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.


Winfluence Transcript – J.C. Hutchins – 7th Son Trilogy

Jason Falls
Hello again, friends thanks for listening to Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast. When you get down to the core of what an online influencer is, these are people who leverage self publishing tools like blogs, social networks, photo and video sharing sites to create content. Those that create compelling content or engage an audience of people around that content or both, accumulate a following of people they have some degree of influence over. One of those platforms where people create content and build an audience is podcasts. The current wave of podcast explosion, which includes the emergence of the one you’re listening to now is actually the second generation of podcasts if you will. The medium had its first wave in the early to mid 2000s.

Jason Falls
In 2007, and aspiring science fiction writer was turned down by publisher after publisher, and then he read an article about podcasting. After some investigation, he decided to start recording the first part of his book as episodes of a podcast. Fast forward a couple of years and his audience of 50,000 listeners suddenly looked appealing to St. Martin’s Press, a well known publisher. That author was J.C. Hutchins, the novel was 7th Son: Descent. He was a new media publisher who built an audience in a self publishing medium and became an influencer. And that led him to the opportunity to sell his work through a traditional publishing medium. Some might call that being legit, but it’s probably now becoming more aligned with old fashioned. Hutchins went on to self publish the second and third book in the series. He continued his writing for television shows and other side projects, but also leads the content and marketing efforts for a content marketing firm. J.C. joined me on the show to talk about his episodic life through self and traditional publishing, becoming influential and putting that into perspective with age. We both share some back and forth with our experiences in the publishing world as authors. So for those of you interested in writing a book or self publishing something along the way, this episode will be particularly interesting. He also says if he had it all to do over again, he would do things differently. Good learnings today, as we catch up with author turned podcaster turned author, JC Hutchins, next on Winfluence.

Jason Falls
This is normally the point in the program where someone jumps in and says, “Support for today’s podcast …” Well support for today’s episode of Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Winfluence the book! Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now from Entrepreneur Press. You can find it in bookstores everywhere, but I’ll have a special place to go online and get a discount in just a second so get ready to jot down a note. Winfluence the book is not just a strategic blueprint to help you employ smart influence marketing strategies for your business or clients. But it explains why our common perception of influencer marketing is all wrong. I take you through how to rethink and reframe the concepts to turn influencer marketing into influence marketing, broaden the perspective and open new avenues of leveraging influential people online and offline to grow your business. Here’s the special URL and discount code just for you the listeners of this podcast go to jason.online/buywinfluence. That’s jason.online/buywinfluence. That takes you to the book on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore, buy the book and use the code FALLS20 – all caps – F-A-L-L-S-2-0 and get 20% off the retail price. The address again is jason.online/buywinfluence. Leave a review on Amazon after you read it because select reviews will be read here on the show. Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now. Go to jason.online/buywinfluence. and use the code FALLS20 today.

Jason Falls
J.C. you’ve been at Motion Point for a bit now. Right? I think you worked your way up from initially a writing position there I think Tell me more about Motion Point in your role there.

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, so Motion Point. Many years ago, it’s in fact we celebrated our 20th year last year and I was probably employee number, let’s say seven or eight I was hired in 2002. And back in the day we were This was before you know really good product information. consistent product information was being provided by manufacturers to retailers for online use, right? So and retailers were kind of suffering and struggling in terms of like how to best represent a product online. And my company back then was like, we’ll do the footwork and the writing for you. And we will create a, you know, what were called at the time virtual product brochures, which is essentially like, you would click click a link at sears.com, and it would create a pop up with all of this great information, but all the pop up content was coming from us. Right? Yeah. And it was, you know, and again, and the business case, the business case wasn’t, you know, was interesting, but it wasn’t very profitable save for a special component of the this experience this user experience, which is, which was that it was also available in Spanish.

J.C. Hutchins
The founders of the company had worked in kind of like the wireless and prepaid phone, business before motion point. And they understood the value of the Spanish speaking US market and and, you know, was catered to it when they were in this this former this former industry. And so they wanted to make sure that was represented in these virtual product brochures. So most of the retailers that they spoke to said, We don’t like to product brochures, but we really like that you can do this in Spanish. And this kind of triggered, you know, a revelation for the business and they did a major pivot. Not, you know, maybe like a year or two later, in which they started using they’re in this is a fancy term that, you know, technologists will will know is like, they started using their proxy technology to predict translate online content, stored in a database and enable an end user if they clicked a special link or toggle on on a website for it to instantly switch over to the language that they were, you know, that they wanted to to enjoy. And this was trailblaze trailblazing at the time and, and motion point, in many respects, like, created, created a market for and was a pioneer in this market many years ago. And it was it was a first mover and my job initially was at motion point was to write the product brochures, right, I had a career in journalism, and I switched over to the marketing field, I was working there as a writer for these product brochures, but we shut that part of the business down. And thankfully, I had some graphic design skills in Photoshop skills that would have been helpful for translating the images of a website. So you’ve got you know, right, so you’ve got like images, static photographs, or maybe even at the time, navigation elements that were gifts are JPEGs, and they had text in them. And I would go in and meticulously paint out the, the the English text, right in Photoshop, and then replicate the font and the font style and whatnot, and create like a Spanish or French version of that. And as the company grew, you know, my skills, they realized that my skills as a writer, and a marketer could be better could be used instead of me, you know, pushing pixels. And so they moved me over into like the one man marketing team, which has, which has grown since then. And now these days, I’m, you know, overseeing our team and overseeing My title is like, senior director of content marketing. And so if, if the, if the part of the website that you read, or any of our emails or campaigns that you might experience online, if I didn’t write it, which is probably what I did, I edited it. So like, I’m still the one man band. I just have a different title.

Jason Falls
Very nice. So and now have you been with him since 2002? I don’t think you have because you you’re a boomerang. Right. You were there. And then you left and then you came back? Because …

J.C. Hutchins
That is exactly right. Yeah. So and I think it was in maybe it was in 2008. When we first I think that’s when we actually first met Jason. I was working for I switched to a start a technology startup called Mixr, which was based also in South Florida. And they were in like the, like mobile content game of essentially like providing a free or paid for ring tones. And this was just before the smartphone explosion. Like Like, we had some blackberries and some pom pom Yeah. But but the iPhone hadn’t even broken yet. And, and that was an interesting job in which I was kind of leaning on some of this, the social media marketing skills and the brand building skills that I had kind of made for myself, when I was doing this kind of side, you know, side hustle as a as a podcaster, which, you know, I’m happy to talk about, but that was some real interesting, harder and kind of like in the trenches, lessons that I applied to Mixr. The rub with Mixr was that they were creating, they were getting users at a rate just for free just through either organic or through word of mouth, that like, we didn’t really need to do any social media marketing. And I found myself like, out of a job, you know, because it’s a startup. So you know, the money comes in the money goes, and within about six months, I’ve you know, I’ve been laid off, not through, you know, any fault of my own, but they just realized that if we don’t need to spend x, y, z money and still get the same, you know, inbound memberships, then let’s just do that. My understanding is that the business, you know, close, not too long after maybe a year or two after. But it was an interesting experience. And yeah, so after that, I Boomeranged back to Motion Point. Then I moved to Denver and was a freelance creator for about five years, and I did some really innovative work in the TV and movie marketing space, like digital storytelling and whatnot. And then boomeranged back to motion point, I think was around 2014, when I realized that I’m a really good creator, but I’m not a very good entrepreneur. I could like, if I’ve got, if I’ve got pipeline, I’m like, I’m happy. And I’m, and I’m very successful, but I wasn’t very good at generating pipeline. And so we’re diversifying my clients. And so I just realized, you know, what, I need that health insurance, I need that assurance of every two week paycheck. And, you know, I loved I love my freelance creative work, and I love fiction writing, which is another passion of mine. But they weren’t going to pay a living wage, and I was in the mood to eat. So …

Jason Falls
Yeah, that’s, that’s an important thing to prioritize there. So you you mentioned you and I met at South by I think it was 2007 or 2008. And you were you were actually just getting ready to publish your first book. But I want to go into before that in the story of how that came to be. It’s not just an incredible case study for how a person can build influence and accomplish, you know, some interesting goals as a result of that. So let’s start with that story, the 7th Son trilogy, give us the synopsis. So we understand the genre and things like that, and then tell me about the early attempts to get that published.

J.C. Hutchins
Sure, sure. So a while I was one of the reasons why I left the dirt my journalism career and went into marketing is because I reckoned marketing would be less of a heavy lift during the day, from a creative perspective, so that I could have bandwidth at night to write this, this novel about it’s, I guess, it was a techno thriller. And it became a trilogy of novels about human cloning, gone, gone kind of South. So the, the, the, the conceit of the book is that, um, you know, one day, the President of the United States is at a political rally, and he’s murdered very unexpectedly by a four year old child, and the and the, which is crazy in and of itself. But like, within within a week, seven different men, in several different places in the United States, are simultaneously kidnapped and brought to like, a beyond top secret facility government facility in Virginia, or something, and they’re all thrown into the same room, and they’re looking at each other. And despite some physical differences, you know, someone might be fat, and someone might be, you know, ripped, and someone might be, you know, kind of, you know, mentally imbalanced, they were all the same, clearly the same person. And it’s revealed that they are unwitting participants in a human cloning experiment called 7th Son, and that they are all they all share the same genetic and memories, so that this is, you know, so they were memory recordings, right? Have someone of their progenitor, right, who is code named John Alpha, right? They all have, they’re all named John. And that and that john, alpha is no longer with the seven sun experiment, he escaped, and is behind the murder of the President. And it’s up to the seven clones who share his childhood memories, to kind of unlock what his where his whereabouts might be, what he’s up to next and to stop him before as we learned later, you know, the the future of the United States is at stake.

Jason Falls
That’s, that’s, that’s a pretty intense book there.

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, thanks. You know, it has these very improbable, you know, kind of beginnings of me, you know, writing in a notebook at at lunchtime, you know, but you know, at work, but yet blossomed into, you know, it blossomed into a single book. That was about 300,000 words long, right. Okay. I’m a long winded writer. And and then

Jason Falls
That’s a big book right there.

J.C. Hutchins
And that’s a that’s that’s a weapon that’s like a book that’s like a doorstop. Right. And yeah, and and the problem with thrillers like this is that the the industry and readers have an expectation to read a book that’s about a third of that length. Right. But I was pitching agents, and with a 300,000 word book, and as well crafted as it might have been, ain’t no one was picking up my Ain’t nobody was replying to my emails, right. So I realized, so this was like, this really put me into a pickle and in an emotional pickle, because I was pretty, I was pretty despondent until I noticed an emerging trend in podcasts again, just for your listeners to frame this. You know, we’re not talking about like, last year, we’re talking like 2005. And these were like, the nascent days of podcasting. Yeah.

Jason Falls
Right. So you’re, you’re frustrated with your rejections. And I certainly know that feeling of having a published product or something that’s to be published that you want to get out there. Mid 2000s, though, your podcasting was going through its first sort of initial explosion, if you will, how did you discover podcasts and take us through the thought process to kind of perform your book rather than publish it?

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah. So I, for whatever, it was, like Kismet, I will I spotted a story in the New York Times that was like, here is this brand new thing called podcast. I mean, it was like reading about, like web blogs, like back when they were called web blogs. And, and, and I was like, well, that’s really some of these shows that they’re recommending are kind of interesting. And hey, I’ve got an iPod recently. So let me try this. And I and I was hooked. And one of the programs that I listened to covered like science, so I’m a science fiction fan, right, and a covered light side science fiction, book news and interviews with authors. And they were covering this interesting emerging trend in in podcasting, what we’ll call about podcasts novel, or instead of an audio book, a patio book, okay? And, and the there were like three, three players in the space in this emerging space, a guy, a best selling novelist, named Scott Sigler, and a dear friend of mine, and another friend and two other friends of mine, Tee Morris, and Mark Jeffrey. And they were all releasing their science fiction or fantasy novels, essentially, one week at a time, let’s say one or two chapters at a time as episodes, because they couldn’t find out, you know, they that generally speaking, they couldn’t find publishers for their work either, or they had worked published through an independent publisher, and found this as an interesting way to market their work, right. And I’m listening to this stuff, and it’s good. And I’m like, Well, hold on a minute, I’ve got three, I’ve got a big big ass novel, that I could do this with, if I can’t sell it, why not give it away for free, and then I stopped, I’m like, Well, wait a minute, I don’t want to read 300,000 you know, words, let’s let’s just like, pretend that this is a trilogy, and like, put the first third on the internet as book one in a trilogy. And if it’s successful, then I’ll record the other two quote, books are just like, you know, the second and third thirds of the of this, this extended manuscript. And it worked. Thanks to my, my, my savvy with with the different podcasts that were out there because I was mainlining a whole lot of them. And my my willingness to, to overcome my introverted my very introverted nature, and and promote it, like tip these people to my work and promote their work on my podcast and have them promote their work, you know, swapping promos, as they as they used to say back in the day, and in doing some savvy kind of like street team and fan enablement. I was able to, by the end of the release of Book Three in I think 2007, we had well over 50,000 people listening to the book, and millions, millions of episodic downloads and, and the success of the podcast did indeed a generate interest from an agent and a publisher and the first book in the trilogy was published in I think 2010. So it actually it was a long at a long walk. But uh, but I got there.

Jason Falls
So in the midst of this, you know, basically podcasting, you know, the first part of your book, I realize that, that, you know, you were you were obviously, you know, promoting it and you were trying to get audience members there. Was there a point at which or, or did it start out with the goal of I’m going to get so many listeners to this thing. I’m going to get this damn thing published, or did it kind of hit you in the middle of it that hey, this might actually get this thing published.

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, the latter. You know, my, my intent was, and I think maybe this is why I mean, now this is a little woowoo. Right? But maybe if I had gone into it with this kind of desperate desire to get published, it might not I just have a feeling that it wouldn’t have worked out that way. But because I was approaching it with just this, like, well, let’s just see if it finds a home. Let me just share this thing that was important to me with people just like me that it is that’s that was the intent but somewhere, you know, probably at the end of book one or the the beginning of book twos podcast release, the bit slipped, and I think was when I realized that the work wasn’t mine anymore. And what I mean by that was like, I was inviting, you know, fans to do whatever they wanted, you know, it’s like, hey, you’d want to write fanfiction, write some fanfiction, set it my way, and I’ll put it on my website, or Hey, you want to write a song inspired by the work, go ahead, or, hey, you want to tell your friends about it. And then it just kind of hit this critical mass where like, people were writing fanfiction and drawing pictures of the characters and like, like, there’s like a, like a top secret jet in one of the one of the books. And they were like, they were creating images of what that top secret jet might look like. And it was like the gene like, I couldn’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Like, it wasn’t mine anymore. And I loved that. And that’s when I realized, well, maybe this thing has longer legs than I thought. And that’s when I began to in earnest reengage agents.

Jason Falls
Very nice. Now, I think St. Martin’s Press, I think came on board and published the first book, and I think, I think you even followed up with a second one, but not necessarily the second part of the trilogy, as I recall, I wonder how did the experience with seventh Seventh Son the book fair compared to the experience with seventh on the podcast?

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah. So, um, I can only comm… like, I can only confidently comment on what St. Martin’s Press said they would do for me in supporting the book. And by all indications, they did precisely what they you know, said they would, which was, you know, reach out to book bloggers and, you know, maybe maybe they did an ad spend, but it was a lot of like, boots on the ground, trying to hustle up, you know, coverage online and, and be, by the way, Hutch, you know, tweet your ass off. And, you know, and promote the book here yourself with your so called platform and, and, you know, and like, at the time, I think that publishing was still trying to find out the power of the author, you know, in that space. Right. And, and that was, that’s it, that’s a fair thing, that’s a fair thing to say. And it’s, you know, it’s not one, it’s not, I’m not been out of shape about that, but I spent a lot of my, you know, my personal time and personal, you know, money, you know, promoting the work. And they, they invested their time, and their money promoting the work. But unfortunately, the novel didn’t, didn’t perform to whatever their expectations were. Now, I don’t know if this has been your experience in the in the in the publishing industry, but like, I was never really told what the expectations were. And, and I always, like, I always do this today, I’m like, Well, you know, if I’d known that we needed to hit a particular number of copies, for instance, sold, then I could tell my fans, hey, look, like we’re 5000 copies away, like, you know, but like, we never got anything, I never was able to get an indication like that. So, you know, I was kind of like, you know, tweeting in the dark in that respect. But I, you know, there was a time there was a long time where I felt, I felt let down by my publisher, and I felt let down by all of my listeners, because if, you know, Mike, the 10s of 1000s of people who listened to the content for free, had purchased a book like it would have been, it would have been a best seller, right?

Jason Falls
Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, I think I would say that the that my experience is, is probably similar business books are obviously different than, than then your science fiction genre. But with business books, you basically have three tiers of publishers. And you know, people like me, at least back in 2009. Were the lower tier and it was if you’ve got a pulse, and you can put a couple sentence together, we’ll give you a book deal. And your they give you a little bit of money as an advanced, but it’s an alone on your royalties. And so you never see another dime beyond that, unless you sell beyond and I asked the question, how many copies Do I have to sell before I start getting paid again to write this book, and that number depends on the book and the publisher, but my number was about 10,000 11,000 copies. If I got to that point, I had paid back my loan from my royalty or from my advance, and then I could start making money. So so no bullshit social media sold about 12,000 copies. So I made, made a little bit of money off of that book after you know the advance which was great, and it did. That’s not why you write a business book, you write a business book, because it’s a big heavy business card, you get clients.

J.C. Hutchins
Because you’re crazy. That’s why you read a business book because you’re out of your mind.

Jason Falls
That has a lot to do with it. But you know, it was it was what it was my second book with DJ Waldo that email marketing book rebels guide to email marketing did not do as well, for probably a number of reasons, one of which was it, I felt like it was DJs book and I didn’t put a whole lot of promotional energy into it. And I take the responsibility for that, because it I don’t know what the number is that might have sold seven or 8000. But it didn’t get to the point where we made more money off of it than our advance. And so I think you’re right, in my experience is similar in that the publisher really doesn’t give you the numbers or the goals or the expectations. They, you know, want your manuscript and they want you to, you know, you know, promote to consumers while they promote to the channels. And that’s the extent of it. Now my experience with with Entrepreneur Press, my new publisher for Winfluence is a little bit different, but entrepreneur press is very different because their owned by Entreprenur magazine, so they they have a big, you know, megaphone that they can use. So it’s a different structure. It’s a different kind of, kind of level. But I the only reason that I probably had a little bit more insight into what the expectations are, what the numbers were, is because I’m a marketing guy, and I just asked, I just went in and said, How many, how many do we need to sell to get to this level? And what do I need to do and so I was just poking, poking, poking, poking. I’m sure the people that keep publishing got really tired of me.

Jason Falls
But I learned a lot and, and there is a reason, you know, to, to your experience and and for the audience to understand, there is a definite reason why it took me eight years to write another book, because it’s a painful process. And unless you get a bunch of great clients and a bunch of great speaking gigs out of it. At the end of the day, it’s not altogether worth it from a lot of perspectives.

J.C. Hutchins
No, you’re you’re you’re right. And you know, and this is especially true in kind of like the fiction writing space where often even those speaking engagements, you know, don’t those opportunities, paid opportunities don’t often arise for a fiction writer is that you’re doing it because well because you’re crazy. You’re doing it because you love because you love it, right? You feel you feel that you’ve got something, you know, interesting or important or unique to say I will say Jason, before we go any further than I did purchase both books, and Winfluence is going to be on its way so I’m doing my part.

Jason Falls
And I’m looking over my shoulder at my bookshelf right now and 7th Son is still there.

J.C. Hutchins
Look at that!

Jason Falls
I have my copy. I need to give it to my daughter because she probably would really get into it.

J.C. Hutchins
That’s cool. You got a cool kid. Yeah.

Jason Falls
She’s a voracious bibliophile. She’s crazy. She reads, you know, three or four books a day. She saw that. That’s so same level. She does Young Adult Reviews on YouTube too. It’s pretty funny.

J.C. Hutchins
Oh, no kidding. So yeah, so like at the end of so at the end, like when the dust kind of settled with, with 7th Son as I was entering either, like entering 2010 or like, mid 2010. I can’t remember pivoting in 2011. I just realized that. Like, the sequels weren’t great with the sequels written, you know, and they still didn’t buy them. Right. And that was pretty heartbreaking. And I just kind of realized that, like, I can’t like I don’t think that giving away like spending the time that I could have been writing a book, podcasting and promoting a book may be the best way to publish a book. Right? And that because the way I approached it was very, was singular, much like the way my friend Scott Sigler, does, it is that we, we lived it, like it was a second, it was a second full time job. And, and the few people will few people, even even authors or beyond, dedicate that much time to their, you know, to their endeavor. So, you know, and so, but by the by the end, it was by the end of it, you know, it took it took me I don’t know, maybe about five years to get over. I don’t I’m not ashamed to say it. I was sad. I was real sad. And, yeah, and it took me about three or four years to get over that and do a self published project, which I’m super proud of. And this was like, I was writing this stuff via, you know, and distributing it on, like Kindle for, you know, a particular amount of money. And I did publish the 277 sequels, and they were very well received by my fan base, you know, so at least they had, you know, the, the book with the three books, right. And, and, and, you know, but that that self publishing divert wasn’t very successful. I wasn’t able to make a living wage off of that. So I got spooked all over again, you know, I’m back. I’m back on an unknown new it’s in It’s like, it’s like a relationship with an abusive partner.

J.C. Hutchins
I don’t know who’s getting abused, the words or me. But I kind of like, I oscillate. I go up and down, you know, with my relationship with fiction writing, but I am happy to say that, you know, I have been able to make a living wage with my marketing work throughout that whole thing. And so, do that, that had that brought its own kind of reassurance.

Jason Falls
Yeah. So I think you would probably qualify yourself as a writer first and foremost, but I wonder if the experience, you know, maybe sort of turns you into, you know, maybe I’m, I’m writing for podcasts versus writing for I want to publish a book, did that ever kind of have a pivot for you in there where you were, like, you know, what, I just need to be, you know, a different type of podcaster than than what you see out there. But I’m a podcaster. And I write for that, or are you still at your core writer?

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, no, I’m still at the chorus as a writer and when I was writing 7th Son, so the relation like the podcasting, a novel, you know, kind of like chapter by chapter, or every few chapter by every few chapter is weird, because like, like, we often consider a podcast as something like this an extended conversation between one or two people or, you know, someone pontificating. And with with a podcast novel, it’s like, five minutes of jibber jabber up at the front, you know, with the author saying, Oh, you guys are amazing. And like, you know, I’m really got a great episode for you. And then like, like, 45 minutes of, and then he said, and then she said, and then at the end, at the end, you know, there’s a cliffhanger than there’s like, maybe like five or 10 minutes at the end say, like, Well, it wasn’t that great. Well, let’s read some of your emails and like, you know, play some of your voicemails, right? And so that but the so the relationship and the dynamic is a bit you know, is a bit unique, but the inner the fan interaction, and remember that this was even before like, I remember, I think, Jason that Twitter was maybe Twitter broke the year before we met. So so like my pod, like and Facebook was for was for kids. It was for it was for students, like Frapper a map application was about as high tech as it got right in terms of like, like the OG, OG, like podcasters and bloggers right. They’re like, “Oh, fuck Frapper. I forgot about Frapper.” But do but or map, this is back when you use MapQuest you know, and not Google, Google Maps. But But despite this lack of interconnectedness through social, I was still able to create like a meaningful bond and relationship with with my listeners, mostly because we began to see the listenership increase, right? And, and the momentum and the appreciation for the work increase, which your channel do these kind of like self taught marketers skills of like, well, how can we figure out a way to promote this? How can we figure out a way to spread the word about this? How can I empower my my fans, you know, to do street team like things and, and that, you know, that component of of podcast promotion has a lot of overlap, at least back in the day with what others were doing. But yeah, that like the the beating heart of Episode Two episode was, was a kind of a unique beast, because it just wasn’t the same as what most folks are accustomed to when it comes to podcasts.

Jason Falls
Right? I wonder if either if either you got inspired and wrote something new today, or if someone came to you and said, Look, I’ve got this book that I’ve written, and I think it’s really good. And I want to use the JC Hutchins, you know, approach to building an audience and actually podcasting this thing. What advice would you give that person? Or what would you do? Would you do the same thing? Or would you do something different if you were doing it again today?

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, so I wouldn’t do the same thing I could see myself. For instance, let’s say I had a novel that was coming out, I could see myself like podcasting, either nuggets about that fictional universe, right as kind of like, information that might pique your interest or maybe character sketches of some of the characters that might appear in the book, or like, the origin story of the villain, right? Or maybe a series of short stories, right, that, that I would then monetize on the Kindle store, you know, like, like one shots, like a series of short stories that kind of either take place before the events of the novel or maybe are the events of the novel told through another character’s point of view? I’m just you know, riffing right now, but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t give away the core product I would use the I would personally use the platform in other kind of ways that cater to the expectations of my listenership meaning whether they’re for Fiction like Yeah, yeah, they’d like me, but they’re there for the story. Right. And I, and I, and that’s fine, right? I got a face made for radio Anyway, you don’t want to see me doing anything other than reading the book. But but like I would, you know, if I had to do it again. And I had a book that was being published either self published or published with the through a, you know, the big whatever big three or big four is that I would use my skills as a storyteller in different ways that still celebrate the narrative, but also kind of promote the narrative in a non obvious or non shity shity way, right? Yeah. When it comes to building, so that’s like promoting the work when it comes to building an audience. Jason, this is where like, I wonder if, like, if I even could do it anymore. Again, because of such a unique time that I was, you know, flexing these muscles and learning these skills where it seemed like, we all were, like, we were all kind of new to podcasting. And it was like, a brand new frontier. And it’s hard. You know, I’m sure for like, younger listeners or listeners who are kind of late to listening to podcasts as a thing that to do regularly. Like, it’s hard to, it’s hard to imagine this, but there was a time it’s like, there was a time I can’t believe it, but there was a time that men hadn’t walked on the moon. Right. And, and there was a time when podcasts weren’t capital P podcasts, right? Where This American Life what’s not on podcast, right. And, and back then it was kind of Wild West. And, and, and I, I think that I could probably do all the best practices of like, beyond the different disparate social media networks and drive myself crazy trying to be relevant and all of those places, but you know, there’s this side of me, dude that wants to just, like, just let the work do do its job. And let the people who paid for this book do their jobs. And but yeah, but knowing chuckle from two authors. Oh, but yeah. And, and, and promote it that way. I think that like, it’d be fun to, to kind of do. And I think that you’re doing a very good job of this too, like with this interview series, for instance, or, you know, again, like ways that aren’t shitty. But But you know, but but kind of lean into the strengths of the Creator. And certainly, I think that the podcasting channel, obviously now more than ever, probably has a lot of promise and, and the conventions of podcast storytelling, and how you get one and promotion are probably more codified than they were back when I was doing it. But of course, now there’s a there’s an issue of like, signal to noise.

Jason Falls
Yeah, yeah, the the wonderful and, and an awful thing about podcasting, then, and now was back then, you know, if you were of any count, if you had any quality whatsoever, your podcast took off, because there wasn’t a lot out there. That’s exactly right. And now there’s so much out there, and the big media companies are producing podcasts, and the celebrities are producing podcasts. And so now, the signal to noise ratio is hard. I mean, they really have to work your ass off to promote your content to get a decent audience. But there’s, you know, a lot more people rushing to podcasts and discovering them and figuring them out. So if you’ve got something niche that some people are interested in, you can carve out an audience where I mean, I I realistically think there might be maybe 10 or 15,000 people in the world who would subscribe to an influencer marketing podcast. And and maybe there’s more, maybe there’s not, but I think if I get to three or 4000 listeners with this thing, I’m gonna be pretty happy.

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, I agree.

Jason Falls
Yeah. But I enjoy doing it. Because it’s something that I think about a lot that I work in every day. And, and so I think the audience that that is listening is enjoying it. And, and so I’m just gonna keep doing it just because I like doing it. Even if I, you know, wasn’t using it to promote a book. I would still be having fun doing this. So I’m gonna keep doing it till it’s not fun anymore.

J.C. Hutchins
I’m glad. I’m glad to hear that. And that’s, I think, again, kind of going back to you know, Hutch Why did you podcast 7th Son and it’s well, because I wanted to share it’s not really because I wanted to, like the bit hadn’t flipped that I wanted to sell it. And I think that and I loved being a podcaster and I love being a part of that, that it’s like a niche within a niche within a niche. So it wasn’t just I was a podcast, or that I was a podcast, storytellers. And I was a podcast storyteller who was doing a serialized novel and there’s like a very there was at the time there were like a handful of other you know, maybe I could probably count on like two hands. You and the six other guys, right? Yeah, right. Yes. Right. Like Yeah, maybe, you know, maybe my work wasn’t as good as I thought it was. It was just like everyone was just desperate to get laid with something in their ears, you know, but, but but but I think that like when the expectations are properly managed, right, and it’s done as such celebratory act and not a mercenary act, you’re definitely going to see like, a lot more personal satisfaction from it. And I think that the audience feels that.

J.C. Hutchins
Like, I think that there is something and it’s like, and now we’re talking now now we’re getting spooky again, because like, I think that there is just something in the voice and then the presentation of a person has this, this medium is strangely intimate, even when we’re talking about, you know, influence marketing, right, which isn’t a very intimate topic, but like, you get to, like, you’re in a person’s ears, and they’re listening to you with with the kind of content and growing familiarity that, you know, I know that by the end of, you know, my run with seven, some people felt they knew me like they did their morning, Drive DJ. And that’s, that’s so striking and, and rewarding, right. But if you’re just doing it to, because you got to have some synergy with the blog, and this and that, like, I think that, that that kind of plastic sense, you know, kind of comes through where, you know, and it’s like, and I’m sorry, I’ll shut up after this. But like, for instance, like, there was like, an HBO show that I was watching. And they had a complimentary podcast where they had, you know, they had like, the writers or the producers of the show on shilling the show, and it just for whatever reason, it felt more like a performance than it did a conversation. And, and I think people and it was one of the reasons why I stopped listening, it was like, you know, and also the show got shitty, but mostly because it didn’t, it didn’t feel it didn’t feel real.

Jason Falls
Well, and I think that’s fundamentally, you know, the the underlying point of the proof point of your, you know, rise with Seventh Son, that I hope that the, you know, influencers or aspiring influencers, who might be listening, or even the brands who are trying to build something for themselves, I hope that that’s what people are grasping onto, because the reason an influencer in any medium on any channel, podcast, Instagram, YouTube, whatever, the reason, they’re typically successful these days. And the reason they build audience is because they’re not doing it for the money, they’re not trying to just make money, they have a passion about something, that they would be doing it, whether they were making a dime off of it or not. And that’s how you, I think, built an audience with Seventh Son. And that’s why you probably got a lot out of the experience, even though, you know, later the publishing experience wasn’t great, I think you probably hold on to that podcast experience as that was really valuable, because I just love doing it.

J.C. Hutchins
Time of my life, and one of the most creatively and professionally, you know, most rewarding years of my life. Absolutely. And, you know, this, this, this extends, I know that we’re talking we’re focusing on the conversation of podcasting, but you know, like, these, I call these like, white guys talking to their, their cell phones, videos that are that are on YouTube that are on LinkedIn all the time, you know, are like, Hi, I’m Hi, I’m a middle aged middle manager who was told by his doctor to take morning walks. So here I am talking to you about business things as I go on my morning walk. You know, it’s like, they’re kind of like, or like I’m the bald sales guy who’s going to scream at my my cell phone camera for a minute or two to try to like shake you out of whatever stupor I think you’re in, so that you’ll eventually become a paid customer of my consultancy. It’s a it’s phony baloney man. And I don’t it’s like, I think that it, like, there needs to be a little more care, or imagination, or an I don’t like the word but it is so true authenticity to these things. And those are the things that I think make a lasting impression, because it’s often not what you say, but how people feel like how you make them feel that they’ll remember.

Jason Falls
That’s true. Speaking of how it makes you feel, how’s fatherhood for you, man?

J.C. Hutchins
It’s great. So, I golly, I’m 46 now and that’s a that’s a that’s a that’s an old timer to be the father of a two and a half year old. But that’s that’s what happened. The great great cosmic forces of good like came into my and my wife, my wife’s life two and a half years ago, and we were able to adopt a son and it is like he is truly awesome when he’s not being a jerk face because he’s two, right.

Jason Falls
Hey, wait till he’s 16 like mine is. The jerkface comes back.

J.C. Hutchins
With a ven… with a with a vengeance, right?

Jason Falls
It goes away for a little while, and they’re cute for about five or six years within it’s like, they’re back to being a turd.

J.C. Hutchins
I reckoned, um, but but like it’s, it’s, it’s terrific. Of course, it gobbles up your time and like, especially now I know why people Have these things when they’re in their 20s and 30s. And not when we’re in our 40s because it’s exhausting. But it’s also, you know, interesting, it’s, it’s a, it’s affected my, my professional life in that. So, you know, I’m this, you know, I have this director position at my job, for instance, and I oversee a lean marketing team, and we’re all kind of like, Swiss Army knives. And we, but like, I’m kind of, I’m kind of in charge, right. And I don’t often feel like I need to be in charge because everyone is so skilled at what they do. But there are times where, you know, the lessons of patience, right? Of just like, take a deep breath, close your eyes and don’t scream have come in handy. You know, when working either with you know, either with my team are often more likely, like, you know, someone from a bonehead from another department, right? But it’s like there are these lessons that in so many ways, I’d wish I’d kind of learned earlier in my life because they really do make me a better a better teacher as a mentor to my team, or a more patient or a better listener to my team. And it’s really helped me like delegate like let go of loosen the reins a bit because I would used to be a guy that would really wanted to do it all because I could only trust myself to do it well and ever since I’ve had a kid like my hands on those reins have kind of loosened and not and not coincidentally you know as I’ve seen that I don’t need to hold him so tight my son You know what I mean? So it’s been a it’s been an interesting transformation. But yeah, you know, it’s it’s also like my hair is my hair is falling out and it is and it is getting grayer by the day.

Jason Falls
Welcom to the club my friend.

J.C. Hutchins
Yeah, there we go.

Jason Falls
J.C. thanks so much for sharing tonight I thought about your story when you know of building your own influence as I was writing the book and I’m glad you were cool. With me telling it again to everyone where can people find you online if they want to follow up or learn more connect with you?

J.C. Hutchins
Oh, sure. So I am completely off Twitter and Facebook because I think they’re evil that does I’m not passing judgment on anybody else but and and probably the most evil is LinkedIn because I don’t want to be there but I am. So you can you can find me on on LinkedIn and you know, you probably look for JC Hutchins, H-U-T-C-H-I-N-S and you’ll find me there but I also have a website that is infrequently updated, but it’s very pretty. And that’s at JCHutchins.net.

Jason Falls
Awesome. Thank you so much for being here, my friend. I appreciate it.

J.C. Hutchins
It was an honor and a pleasure Jason .Thank you so much.

Transcribed by otter.ai

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


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