Self-Published Author Tops Audiobook Charts with Debut Release

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This week, Jacob Cooper's debut book, CIRCLE OF REIGN, hit the #1 spot in audiobooks for the Scifi/Fantasy and Epic Fantasy genres on Audible.com, the largest seller of audiobooks in the country. On Amazon's audiobook rankings, CIRCLE OF REIGN clocked in at the top for Epic Fantasy.

I'm excited to see what can happen as both I and The Dying Lands Chronicle grow.

Many self-published authors shy away from creating an audiobook to go along with their novels. The cost of production can be high, and, when compared to the cost of releasing a book on Kindle or Nook, appear downright daunting. Jacob Cooper struggled under the same decisions when getting his debut book, CIRCLE OF REIGN, book 1 of The Dying Lands Chronicle, ready for publication. Hiring a narrator and possibly a producer can add up to hundreds of dollars per finished hour. With CIRCLE OF REIGN coming close to 700 pages in hardback form, the choice to have an audiobook produced required a good deal of money and hope. After all, if a book's sales are not strong for an eBook version, the capital investment lost would typically not be substantial. That's not the case for an audiobook that doesn't perform well.

For Cooper, a freshman author, it paid off.

On Monday of this week, CIRCLE OF REIGN sat at the top of the charts for audiobooks in the epic fantasy genre on audible.com, the largest seller of audiobooks in the country. In the broader genre of scifi/fantasy, Cooper's book sat at number 2 overall. The following day, it took the number 1 spot there as well. Amazon also had CIRCLE OF REIGN sitting at the top spot in its epic fantasy rankings for audiobooks.

Describing his reaction, Cooper said, "It's just surreal and I look at the screen in disbelief, certain it has to be a glitch." What are the other books he currently stands ahead of? Some blockbuster bestsellers such as A GAME OF THRONES, THE HOBBIT, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE MARTIAN, A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS and THE WAY OF KINGS.

"This is a fairytale for me," Cooper went on. "I mean, many of those books were foundational for me in creating a love for epic fantasy. Seeing my book next to them is just humbling. I hope one day to write as those authors can and be a permanent fixture in the genre."

Writing was just an occasional hobby for Cooper, a way of letting out some creative steam. After a few years of tinkering with a manuscript, and an encouraging email on writing in general from his favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, he got serious about finishing the manuscript and seeing how the world would receive it. Well, so far, the reviews are strong overall on Amazon, Audible, and Goodreads.

"It was almost more of an experiment," he recalls. "Writing wasn't something I ever thought about doing seriously. I didn't go to college for it and didn't read voraciously in my youth like so many others." Now, Cooper is taking it more seriously. "I'm dedicated to the craft. CIRCLE OF REIGN isn't perfect, but neither am I. I'm excited to see what can happen as both I and The Dying Lands Chronicle grow."

The experience working with a talented narrator was also rewarding and educational. For this project, Cooper chose veteran fantasy narrator Michael Kramer, perhaps best known for his work on THE WHEEL OF TIME, MISTBORN, and THE WAY OF KINGS.

"Ever since I listened to the MISTBORN trilogy years ago, I've loved Mr. Kramer's ability and talent as a voice actor. Having him agree to do CIRCLE OF REIGN and ALTAR OF INFLUENCE [Cooper's newest release] was a dream come true."

John McElroy, 4-time Grammy Award winner, produced the project.

Cooper says he knows the rankings will change and the best thing he can do is simply keep writing. But, for now, the fantasy world has a new bestseller to explore and watch over the years.

In November, 2014, Cooper released a prelude to The Dying Lands Chronicle, ALTAR OF INFLUENCE: THE ORSARIAN WAR. In January, 2015, THE RED GROVE, a short story in The Dying Lands Chronicle, was released.

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