Audiobook Review: FICTION UNBOXED by Platt and Truant (Narr. Simon Whistler)

Fiction UnboxedFiction Unboxed – How Two Authors Wrote and Published a Book in 30 Days, from Scratch, in Front of the World. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (Narrated by Simon Whistler)

Book Description: Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process, as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world.
In 2013 Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant wrote and published 1.5 million words (a Harry Potter series and a half worth of fiction). The next year, they showed the world how they did it.
In May 2014, Johnny and Sean, along with their third partner David Wright, launched a Kickstarter campaign to see if their fans wanted to see how they wrote behind closed doors. They promised to start their newest project without knowing their story, characters, or even their genre, and publish the final draft before their 30 days were up. They promised to capture every email, every story meeting, and every word from every draft. They promised to show every molecule of their process, warts and all.
They had 30 days for their fans to green light the campaign. It fully funded in 11 hours. Fiction Unboxed is as revealing as it is inspiring, empowering readers and writers as much as it will entertain them. With actionable advice that will benefit any writer, this book is a true gem for anyone who loves a well told story.


I think this book’s appreciation largely depends on the audience’s experience listening to the Self Publishing Podcast, whether or not they have read The Dream Engine, whether or not they are looking to do a Kickstarter campaign any time soon, and whether or not they plan to use all the free tools ( that expand upon this recounting of the Fiction Unboxed project. I think I fell into the worst category of listeners because I listen to their podcast regularly, so I’ve heard much of the recap of this experience, especially the Kickstarter campaign struggles and lessons learned. I almost skipped the first part because I didn’t want to hear that recap again. It’s okay that I didn’t because there was some new reflections in there.

That could summarize my thoughts on the book as a whole: while most felt like a rehashing of what I’d already heard on their show, they are still my favorite group of writers to hear talk about the process of writing, so it’s a good book, but I could have gone without the repetitive inspiration. I mean, some inspiration is good to hear twice, but I would have rather listened to their latest six episodes than listen to this.

If you are not like me and have not heard what they encountered on this monumental Kickstart project of writing a book from scratch in thirty days, then definitely give it a listen. Their podcast isn’t as cohesive as this, so it is actually a very good recap.

The Dream EngineThe Dream Engine sounds like a great book, but I wish I had read it before listening to them discussing plot points. I almost stopped this audiobook again when I heard about a plot point I thought was very cool. They gave forewarning, but my reading schedule didn’t have time to put this down and read The Dream Engine prior to continuing. My loss, truly. These guys are super-talented authors, and it sounds like The Dream Engine will be great. That said, it wasn’t as enjoyable listening to story points and what they decided to do or not do without having the context of having read the story.

Lastly, this Fiction Unboxed experience is really best suited for someone, I think, who has a lot of free time to read The Dream Engine, then watch all the videos and special free bonuses on their website as they break down scene by scene and whatnot. This feels more like a college writing course that I tried to experience in the few hours available in this audiobook, and lacked achieving the potential it would have offered had I done all the extras, made writing exercises comparing what they did with my work in progress, and probably most important, had I been involved from the beginning, where I could have seen what they did each day, both in writing and in marketing.

As far as authors go that aspiring authors should follow and take note of, Platt, Truant and Wright are near the top of the leaders of the indie author revolution. Listening to this book with no other plans on following up on the extras, or if you haven’t read The Dream Engine prior, and if you’ve already listened to every podcast during their time working on this project may not be the best method to enjoy this stage of their advice.

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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