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About podcasting your book

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Podcasting your book can be a good marketing strategy to promote your self published work.

There is a strong and thriving novel podcasting community out there, with a few folks like Scott Sigler and JC Hutchins who have broken out and secured major NY publishers for their novels. Even though podcasting has been around for several years now, there are still people who aren’t completely clear on what a podcast is or how to make one.

In the simplest terms, a podcast is just a downloadable mp3 file. You don’t need to have an ipod or other mp3 player to play it, though you can certainly use one. You don’t even have to have an ipod or an mp3 player to make a podcast of your own. Many people download and listen to their podcasts right on their computer.

Fiction podcasters generally record several 20-30 minute “episodes” of their novel or a certain number of chapters at a time. (Maybe just one chapter at a time, if the chapters tend to be long.)

These episodes are then released serially generally in weekly installments from the podcaster’s website, podiobooks, and itunes. (And anywhere else they can find to host it.)

While there are podcasts out there that are paid subscriptions, most of the podcasting community is built on “free content.” Podcasters also tend to reach out and help each other, trading time and audio guest spots, or promoting each other’s podcasts in their own podcasts.

Serially produced audio fiction allows you to start building an audience over several episodes. You’ve constantly got something “new” to market (new episodes), but at the same time it’s really just the one book you’re promoting. So when you make a weekly mention of your novel it’s a “new episode is out” not just a repeat of the exact same message.

About podcasting your book

Podcasting requires an entirely different skill set than writing, editing, or producing a print or ebook novel, and there are pros and cons to podcasting a novel.

Once you decide to podcast …

There are a few different things you’ll have to do and educate yourself about to create a high quality podcast. Just slapping together a poor audio recording will do nothing to increase your reader base or improve your sales. If you aren’t committed to putting out the best podcast possible, to positively showcase your work, then it won’t be worth doing and may end up hurting you more than helping you.

Before getting started, you’ll need to set up your studio. There is a wide price range of equipment and software, but there are some items you definitely need.

You’ll also want to decide on the format. Besides episodes, and how long you want your podcast, you’ll need to decide if you want to make it more like a radio play, or narrate it like a normal audiobook.

There are a few things you’ll need to learn about recording.

And then of course there is post-production. Some things you can fix, edit, or tweak in post-production and some you’ll have to re-record.

There are several places you can go to find podsafe music and sound clips (meaning: you can legally use it on your podcast for free.)

You’ll want to learn about distributing your podcast and how you’ll get it out to an audience. Podcasts are a great marketing tool for your work, but they aren’t magic. You also have to market the podcast itself.

There are several podcasting resources you can go to to gain more in-depth knowledge.

I’ve done some internet audio before, and this kind of thing can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of energy and work, and requires a certain skill set and temperament. It won’t be right for every indie author, but it may be right for you.

One caveat: If you do decide to podcast, be sure the novel is absolutely complete and edited. It’ll reduce your stress load considerably. And if you choose to do a print release, having a print release available simultaneously while releasing podcast episodes can increase your sales, especially among readers who can’t wait weeks or months for all the episodes to air.