I’ve recently begun podcasting. It’s not writing related, but I do think podcasting is a great way to promote your writing projects. The different ways podcasting can be used by writers is only limited by their imagination. I’ve been listening to different podcasts. Some writers are broadcasting their poems or reading excerpts from their novels. They may be selling songs, e-books, or audio books to go along with their podcast. Some writers have collaborative podcasts, and use their podcast to announce writing related news and conduct interviews. Others are using podcasts to teach the mechanics of writing or promoting.
It’s fairly easy to start podcasting. You just need a sound card and a microphone. If you have sound on your computer, then you should be fine. If you don’t have a microphone, you can pick one up at Office Depot or Best Buy for under $30. I purchased a great headset at Best Buy for $24, but I saw one online at Office Depot for under $5.
I signed up for an account with podbean.com. Originally, I was using Sound Recorder on my computer, but I didn’t care for it. For one thing, it only allows for sixty seconds of recording time. There is a way around that, and it wasn’t difficult to figure out. However, I didn’t like the sound quality that I ended up with. Even though it was a blank tape, I kept getting some static in the final recording.
I then switched over to mypodcast.com. They have a great recorder that can be downloaded for free when you sign up with them. You can also earn money through commercials that are embedded in your podcast. Unfortunately, their website is confusing — to put it mildly — and not well thought out. I believe it is still in the beta stage, and it shows. I ended up going back to podbean.com. There are many other podcasting sites, and a quick google search will help you track them down. I believe Blog Talk Radio is considered to be the best, but I found it confusing.
If you do decide to start podcasting, there is quite a bit of information online about how to get started. I lack the patience to wade through all of that, so I just jumped in and started podcasting. I found it to be straight forward. Podbean is very user friendly, and I had no trouble getting started. The site is very slow at times, and be sure to save your work frequently or you’ll lose it — especially if it takes several minutes to write out your post.
Your podcasts can even be subscribed to through iTunes. Which I think is pretty cool. You can also share them on Facebook, My Space, and at blogs.
Podcasting is a great way to promote your books and your self, but I find it to be somewhat addictive. I’m not very good at it, but I’m hoping I’ll improve with time. The episodes where I ad lib are by far the best, so it’s probably best to be prepared but still be flexible.
I believe most podcasting sites are free to join. However, if you plan to do quite a few podcasts, you’ll run out of disk and archive usage, so you will probably need to upgrade in order to continue podcasting. It’s inexpensive though, and it might be worth the small investment. I think it could help readers connect to you in ways that your written word might never achieve. It gives voice to your writing.