Lore TV Show Finds a Home

Many of you have been waiting for months to hear news regarding the Lore TV show. The announcement in April was focused on the fact that I had partnered with the producers of The Walking Dead (Valhalla Motion Pictures) to create a television adaptation of the podcast, but no network was announced at that time.

Thankfully, I have news to share, and it's exciting! I had the pleasure of being the secret guest on a panel at New York Comic Con on October 6th, and along with Valhalla's Gale Anne Hurd, to announce that Lore has been picked up by Amazon Studios. A full 10-episode season has been ordered, and the show will be run by X-Files alum Glen Morgan.

The show is still in pre-production, but Amazon is hoping for a 2017 release. As more info becomes sharable, I'll keep you posted here and in the bi-weekly Epitaph newsletter.

From Ears to Eyes

Two days ago, my life changed. Well, not really. The truth is, my life started changing months ago. Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

I launched Lore in March of 2015. It was a hobby and a last ditch effort to market my fiction, so you have to understand, I had no idea what might happen. Given my track record with projects — like my novels, my Frictionless tools, and the Read & Trust network — I thought it would run for a while, appeal to a couple hundred people, and then fizzle out.

Then it exploded. I’ve kept listeners up to date on a lot of milestones since then. My first million downloads. My second. My tenth. At the 1-year mark, Lore had been downloaded over 12 million times, and monthly downloads were quickly approaching the 2 million mark.

At the 5-month mark, I was able to sell enough sponsorship spots for the show to replace my design business income. That meant, after less than half a year, Lore had become my full-time job.

Understand: there are a bazillion podcasters out there, but very few of them draw their sole income from their audio shows. I feel very blessed to be in that small minority, and I got there after just 10 episodes.

Along the way, though, there were other milestones. Secret milestones that I couldn’t share. Not yet, anyway. You see, in August I was approached by a production company. Then another. Then another.

All told, over a dozen companies reached out to me over the course of a single month. And that gave me the chance to think it through and find the best choice for the future of Lore. In September — just 6 months after the show began — I was signed on and working to create something new and amazing: a Lore television show.

Not just a television show. Lore is becoming an hour-long anthology series from the producers of The Walking Dead. It's taken me months to wrap my head around that, so I'll give you a moment or two to do the same. Crazy? Yep. Reality? Amazingly, yes!

No, the podcast isn’t ending. That’s my day-job and my top priority. But it also means I’m going to be pretty darn busy, so if you’re emailing for an interview or advice or you have an idea, be patient. I have a lot on my plate now.

The television world moves slowly, so don't expect updates on a weekly basis. But stay tuned here and on Twitter or Facebook, because I’ll share news as it develops. Trust me, I’m eager to introduce all of you to the next evolution of Lore, and you're going to love what we're making: a visual storytelling experience unlike anything you’ve seen before, but as familiar to you as your favorite podcast.

A Year in Review

Lore turns one-year-old today. And that's a crazy sentence to write, as I feel like I just started the show. As the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun. And let me tell you: this has been a lot of fun.

No long post here, but some key numbers. Because in some ways, numbers are a good way to judge a show's impact. And, boy, do I have numbers:

  • Over 12.2 million listens.
  • Lore was voted Best of iTunes 2015.
  • Over 1,500 Patreon backers.
  • Over 2,600 5-star reviews.
  • Dozens of fan emails, as well as dozens of tweets and Facebook comments, each day.

Summary: people absolutely love Lore, and it's not just a bunch of talk. The numbers back up their passion for the show through constant, positive feedback and 8-digit downloads.

As powerful as the first year has been for Lore, it's just the beginning. I've been working on two major projects and a third smaller one for a few months now, and when they finally see the light of day, I have a feeling that the past year is going to look like a "slow start".

10 Million Humblebrags

I’ve said it in a million places, it seems, but it’s still true: Lore was a happy accident. An ‘accident’ in the sense that I didn’t even intended for it to be a podcast, and ‘happy’ because I never imagined it would be enjoyed by so many people. How many people, you might wonder? Well, just two days ago, Lore passed the 10 million listens mark. 10,000,000. That’s eight digits. And that’s happened in just a little over 10 months.

Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? Bill Simmons is a legendary sports commentator. Between his work at ESPN, The B.S. Report., and Grantland, he’s worked hard to build a massive audience. And this past October, he launched his own podcast after leaving ESPN for HBO.

In a tweet from earlier this week, Simmons announced his show had been download 27 million times over the first four months. That’s huge! But it’s also a number that spans 61 episodes, making the per-episode average something around 443,000. And let me say how amazing that is. In a world where most podcasts don’t get 1,000 downloads a month, Simmons is crushing it.

In comparison, Lore reached 10 million with only 26 episodes. That’s a per-episode average of around 385,000. And that’s not too shabby for a guy (me!) who never had screen time on ESPN, or the backing of a cable network like HBO. I don’t have a team of employees or an expensive studio. For better or for worse, Lore is just...me.

Now, numbers aren’t super important on most levels. I prefer to look at reviews, honestly; Lore currently has over 2,500 reviews and ratings on iTunes, and over 2,300 of those are 5-star, with another 100+ giving it 4 stars. That’s a huge measuring stick. Not only do a lot of people listen to the show, but they LIKE it.

Lore has been written about in big places, too. Places like The Guardian, the Huffington PostEntertainment WeeklyUSA Today, and the Nerdist.com. And in December, iTunes declared the show one of their Best of 2015.

And then there's Patreon, which is yet another way to measure success for a lot of creators. People love a lot of things in their lives, but they don’t love most of those enough to put their money where their hearts are. So when I see that Lore has over 1,200 backers on Patreon, it’s humbling and encouraging and down-right mind-blowing.

My point is this: Lore has some of the best listeners out there, hands-down, and I’m grateful to all of you for being a part of that community. You talk about the show with your coworkers and friends and relatives. You proudly wear your Lore t-shirts to the gym and the office. You talk to each other about episodes and have listening parties.

Lore is growing. The podcast, the audience, the opportunities — all of it. There are some amazing new things coming in the next few months, and I can’t wait to share them with you. In the mean time, twist your mouth into a huge smile, straighten your shoulders, and hold your head high.

You helped make Lore what it is today, and you should be proud of that.

Podcast Movement 2016

You can always tell that an industry has fully matured when there are conferences for learning more about it. Conferences are a great place to learn, network, grow, and celebrate your industry. Even podcasting has one, called Podcast Movement, which will hold it's 3rd annual gathering this July in Chicago.

The reason I bring that up is because this year, I'll be one of the speakers there. So if podcasting is your passion, and you want to learn from dozens of professionals about production, creation, marketing, monetization, and everything else, you should really put this conference on your list for this summer.

Learn more about it here.

10 Months

It was 10 months ago today that I hovered my cursor over the Publish button, nervous and unsure about releasing this weird thing I made called Lore to the public.

I had zero expectations, to be honest. I just thought it would be good to share something I had created. I had poured a couple of months into writing some historical essays that focused on folklore and superstition, and hoped that audio was the right format for sharing them.

Sharing my side projects has been a practice of mine for years, but they've never been successful. The was the Read & Trust Network, which topped out at maybe 150 "true fans". I made and sold some custom stationery for a while under the Frictionless banner, and while it was better than R&T, it never grew much beyond the break-even point. Even my fiction was struggling.

So 10 months ago, I assumed I was absolutely horrible at launching side-projects.

I assumed Lore would be no different. My podcasting experience amounted to 3 years of talking into a microphone with my buddy Dave, sending him the audio file, and then watching the episode magically appear days later. Suddenly, 10 months ago, I found myself neck-deep in a sea of podcast hosting tutorials, iTunes instructions, branding, and a SquareSpace website.

Then I took a deep breath and clicked the button. I'm not sure I've breathed since. I've been too busy.

Lore quickly became my full-time job. I started to spend over an hour a day replying to listener emails. I've held a number of sell-out live shows, been interviewed by some of the biggest news sites in the world (Huffington Post and the Guardian, to name a couple), and was even included on the iTunes "Best of 2015" list a few weeks ago.

I'm not bragging; I'm just trying (heavy-handedly, I know) to illustrate how my "zero expectation" attitude has been shattered over the last 10 months. And yeah, I get it, I've done something people like, so I must be good at it, but I honestly think all of this success is simply due to all of the amazing people who listen to the show.

If that's you, let me say this: thanks for an amazing 10 months, and here's to many, many more to come.