The Next Step In Book Publishing

Laura Huntt Foti

A year or two ago Laura Huntt Foti, a long time business friend of mine, told me she was going to write a book that included a soundtrack. I had never heard of anything like that so I was totally intrigued. Laura was a writer and she spent many years in the music business so I figured if anyone could do it, it would certainly be her. I didn’t quite understand how the words would be integrated with the music but I clearly got the premise. 

Laura said that when she read books that were influenced by music she craved to hear the piece that was mentioned. She was especially influenced by Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life.  “As I read it, several times I went to my desk to play songs that were mentioned—and even buy them when I didn’t already have them. If I’d had my Kindle Fire then, and if the music had somehow been integrated into the book, it would have been a much more satisfying experience. That became my long-term goal for book publishing.” 

Laura has just pioneered this concept with her debut novel, The Cusp of Everything, which includes a 1970s era sound track. There are references to more than 200 primarily 1970’s-era songs throughout The Cusp of Everything, setting tone and time frame. “The original concept for the book was that it would be published as an e-book on Amazon or iTunes so that you could play clips seamlessly while you were reading, and buy the songs if you liked them,” she explains. “But I couldn’t figure out how to do it without completely interrupting the reading experience. So readers can go to the book’s website, www.cuspofeverything.com, and listen from there. It’s not ideal, but it will have to do for now.” 

The Cusp of Everything is published by Prince Willow Publishing and available now from Amazonfor $11.95. The cover was designed by NorthSouth Studios. Cusp on Barnes & Noble (print): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cusp-of-everything-laura-huntt-foti/1110951939?ean=9780615628400

Cusp for iPad/iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-cusp-of-everything/id528864949?mt=11 

Since 1996 Laura has worked as an independent writer/editor, researcher and social media marketing consultant through her company Sound Input. Prior to starting her consulting practice, Laura developed interactive programs as Senior Vice President of Philips Interactive Media. Previously she was Director of Marketing for RCA Video Productions (BMG) and Video Editor of Billboard. I met her back in the early ‘80s when she was Managing Editor of Audio Times. 

In conclusion, other authors have tried to incorporate music into their fiction, but from what I can see Laura has taken it to its logical extreme. Rather than just a playlist of music to listen to, or music inspired by the book, music is almost a character in her book. It is completely integrated throughout the story in a way I don’t think has ever been done before. 

Here are some other books utilizing a playlist or soundtrack in some way: 

Leave it to Michael Nesmith: way ahead of his time! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prison:_A_Book_with_a_Soundtrack

Sex & the City 2 book/soundtrack CD: http://store.hbo.com/sex-and-the-city-2-book-and-soundtrack-set/detail.php?p=262840 

Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli: http://www.kindlepost.com/2011/11/author-spotlight-jim-fusillis-playlist-for-narrows-gate.html 

Reversal by Eric Galvez: http://www.ericgalvezdpt.com/?page_id=6  (music starts playing immediately on this website) 

Love Is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield: (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Is-Mix-Tape-Life/dp/1400083036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334962197&sr=8-1

Twilight (music that inspired author Stephanie Meyer) http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight_playlist.html

THE MIRACLES OF DIGITAL FUNDRAISING

It is amazing how the world has changed. When we were growing up, we were expected to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, accountant, secretary or something where the foundation of the business was well established. All we had to be is smart enough to jump on the already established bandwagon. If we told our parents we wanted to become writers, musicians, inventors or artists of any kind, they would go directly to a house of worship and pray to their higher power to give us proper guidance. 

I know you are chuckling reading this, because it happened to all of us, whether rich or poor. Our parents wanted us either in the family business or settled somewhere they didn’t have to worry about. 

Jump forward 40 to 50 years. Today, parents are asking children, “Why can’t you be one of those geniuses who invent something on the Internet? Do you want to work for the rest of your life and report to a boss who will use and abuse you? “ 

Times have certainly changed. Today hundreds, if not thousands of 20 and 30 year olds are all trying to be the next Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Steve Jobs (Apple) and Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Instagram).  Even if someone has a job, their minds are working overtime to come up with that one idea that is going to allow them to make a lot of money and sit at home in their pj’s all day. 

A lot of the young creative types were dissuaded over the years, because venture capitalists and angel investors require a lot of paper work and financial proof that proposed business models are going to work.  Raising money is more difficult than creating and building the invention.  You have to stand in front of the suits to prove that your idea was more worthy than the thousands of other proposals they’ve seen before. 

All that has changed as noted in the front page of the New York Times today. Kickstarter, a website that raises money from the public (the digital term is crowd funding) for creative projects (films, music, games, food projects and digital inventions, etc.). raised over $7 million in just a few days for The Pebble, a watch that was developed to work with the iPhone. You have to read the story to see how the money came pouring in. http://nyti.ms/Ixx1gj . If you know anything about fundraising, you would quickly realize that the money raised by Kickstarter for The Pebble was equivalent to a second round of capital financing. That means that The Pebble didn’t have to prove itself like others to command millions of dollars.

Kickstarter is one of those ideas that most investment people probably thought was not a going to work. Who is going to give money to a project online? Guess what? Kickstarter has raised more than $200 million for 20,000 projects so far, or about 44 percent of those that sought financing on the site. Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised. Amazon charges an additional 3-5%. The entire evolution of Kickstarter is amazing and what they did for The Pebble is nothing short of a miracle of the digital world.  You have to digest what I just told you about and think to yourself, “Who would have ever thought?”