Way back in the Time Before, when blogging was just making the scene, writers were quick to pounce on Blogger and other platforms, seeing the perfect opportunity to get themselves noticed. And for (almost) free. It was great. We had readers. We killed because, hey, we were the only bloggers who actually knew how to write!
Then a funny thing happened on the way to fame and fortune. Everyone with a keyboard and ten minutes to spare started a blog. Nowadays, blogging as a means of getting noticed is like offering free Hershey Kisses to the people swimming in a chocolate ocean.
But there's something new out there, as always seems to be the case. No, podcasting isn't terribly new, but the fact that it takes a bit more preparation, equipment, and new skills for the author to learn than blogging does, few of us have taken the plunge.
Podcasting, of course, is not for everyone. If you currently blog about your cat or kids, there's a good chance you won't get a following if you were to podcast the same topic (though...it's free to try). I'd argue, though, that any author can find a topic to podcast. We each have something we're particularly passionate about (on this here blog, we all have One topic we're especially passionate about). So let's start our list there:
- A weekly devotional (daily if you're really crazy...record them in batches).
- Weekly compilation of current events as they relate to the Bible, the End Times, or the moral situation of your country.
- A reading of a public domain Christian classic that is not in audio book.
- Christian book reviews and\or first chapter(s) readings.
...and non-Christian topics
- Hobby farming
- Cats (yes, really)
- Writing (there's a thought)
- Weekly\Monthly writer interviews
- Living on a writer's budget
- Living with teenagers (on a writer's budget)
- First time moms
- Stamp collecting
- Any TV series (it's being done)
- Why you hate podcasting
The list is, as they say, endless. If you can blog about it, you can podcast it. So why bother? The fact is, there are something like 490x10 to the 99th power blogs out there. Chocolate. Ocean. Yet there are not nearly as many podcasts. If you go into iTunes right now and search the podcast selections for "Christian Writing," you get one page--ONE PAGE--of results. Try that with blogs.
Now, there's some learning what you got to do here, folks. There's software (Audacity--free) and hardware (a decent $60 microphone), and a storage account (libsyn.com, $5-$15 per month). But most of it is free. iTunes doesn't charge you to offer your podcast on their site, neither does Stitcher.
I started my podcast, Teen Writers Publish! (teenwriterspublish.com), last month. That means I've recorded about six episodes with my partner, Gina Conroy, who has a much better radio voice than I do. We use Skype (free) to do our show together and a fun little recorder (ecamm) to capture our Skype conversation. We can even record a split-screen video if we want to put the show up on YouTube as well. We haven't posted on iTunes yet because of the 4th of July holiday. Not a good time to launch. So look for us shortly thereafter.
So, if you're discouraged with your blog hits and think you've got a good idea for a podcast, give it a try. There are several free videos available on how to start a podcast. I used the Podcast Incubator. He provided seven free videos and offers more intense training for $97. Of course, if you have any questions, shoot me an email at email@example.com. By the way, I'm lining up author interviews. Let me know if you're interested.
And oh by the way again, everybody hates their own voice. Has something to do with how our ears are calibrated to our own frequency. Deal with it. I'm sure you'll sound wonderful!
If I get enough feedback, I'll talk more about equipment and software next month.
Until then, happy podcasting! See you next month.
Ron Estrada is the author of the Cherry Hill YA Series and now co-host of the Teen Writers Publish! podcast.
You can find him sitting at his computer. With or without headphones. He's either writing, podcasting, editing his writing, or editing Gina's mistakes in the podcast.
You can find out more about his books at his real-author website or subscribe to his podcast in a couple weeks and leave raving five-star reviews on iTunes.
Ron is not proud. Begging is not beneath him.