What do these things have in common?
1. Learning German from Hogan’s Heroes.
2. My first fight.
3. My other fights.
4. James Bond’s brand of lighter.
Answer: I talk about these things on my podcast.
I had a surprise last night as I examined my podcast statistics. I’m being found. Listenership is trending up. Even better, I’m being found by people I wouldn’t encounter otherwise.
What is podcasting? It’s radio, on the Internet, usually for free. In a craven ploy to market my books, I named the podcast after one of my books, Self-help for Stoners. When I started the podcast a few months ago, I thought that if I ran out of material, I could always fall back on reading from my fiction. I’m amazed to find that each week I find new things to talk about for a weekly comedy/narrative/sometimes ranty podcast. It’s a lot of fun. It’s harder than blogging, but it’s different from a blog in good ways, too. When I podcast, I’m free to talk about whatever I want so it often ends up going in some weird directions. Surreal, even. Anything goes as long as it interests me and I think it’s fun or funny.
Must you have a voice (and face) for radio? I had a little experience with radio in university, but I don’t have the best radio voice. My delivery can sometimes devolve into such a spasmodic cadence that it’s positively Shatnerian. But it is still fun despite my vocal handicaps. I didn’t think the podcast was taking off and I vacillated between blaming my stammer and my material, among other bits of very personal self-loathing. When I saw the improvement in the stats, I decided I had been too harsh and impatient. (Thing is: I would podcast anyway. I enjoy it that much.)
Why podcast? I’ve already mentioned it’s a fun creative outlet. Through podcasting I’ve met some really nice people and, more to the marketing point, more people are finding me and my books who otherwise would never have heard of me. What’s really cool is seeing all the places the people are listening from! People listen from all around the world: Madrid, New Jersey, Ireland. I have a pocket of love with 22 downloads in Belgium. A whack of people in Alberta listen to my podcast every week. Somewhere in the streets of Beijing, someone’s got my voice in their ears as they take a bus to work, presumably to learn english (I’m guessing.) By far, the podcast is most popular in the SanFrancisco/Oakland area. Does that play into a stoner stereotype? My podcast may suffer the same problem as my book of the same name: in an effort to get a hook, I might have screwed myself up in the early going with the Self-help for Stoners title. People sometimes assume my stuff is only for stoners and that’s not at all true. All my books are mostly suspense. In the podcast, I talk about anything I like, tell stories (true and false), read excerpts sometimes, recommend other books and podcasts, and say some really stupid stuff for laughs. Sometimes I come up with something deep…usually by accident.
Is podcasting for you? I listen to podcasts somewhat obsessively. It’s how I get through non-writing tasks like bringing in the wood, doing the dishes and folding laundry. Having my own show seemed like a natural extension of going indie with books. It’s not expensive to do, though the tech stuff was daunting at first. After some initial one-time expenses and some experimentation with the mic and editing program, the only ongoing cost is that I use a pocast host service (Libsyn) for $20 a month. (I don’t drink so that would have been beer money.) If you decide to go ahead with podcasting, I suggest you save yourself a lot of time and headaches and get Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting to help you with the set up. I’m reasonably tech savvy, but there were so many little nuances, I eventually decided I’d only ever get it started if I brought in an expert.
How will people find your podcast? People can download my podcast from Stitcher Radio (which streams it to any device), straight from my author site or from iTunes. There are podcast directories and google searches, but mostly, people find my podcast through Twitter. Here on Chazz Writes, I speak mostly about book marketing to fellow indie writers (and that’s great! Thanks for being here. You’re who this blog is for!) AllThatChazz.com is the blog for readers interested in my fiction and who want to hear the podcast. What might have also helped my listenership was that I appeared on six other podcasts recently in some capacity (including reading one of my stories from Self-help on The Word Count Podcast in support of Indies Unite for Joshua. Donate if you can, please. It’s a great cause.)
Last night I published my sixteenth podcast. It’s taken me a while to find my stride. I still stammer, though I edit better than I used to. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be fun, and yes, some of the jokes are just for me.
If I could eliminate one word from the english language, what would it be?
But a close second choice choice? My dumbass, simian vocalization as I try to find the next word:
~ Robert Chazz Chute has a whack of short stories available on Smashwords and his novella (The Dangerous Kind) and dark collections of suspense (Self-help for Stoners and Sex, Death & Mind Control) are available just about everywhere. He’s such a sweet guy that when he writes about himself in the third person, like right now, he collapses even deeper into a well of self-loathing.
- PODCAST: The Forays in Self-consciousness Edition (allthatchazz.com)
- Self-help for Stoners: The Mind Bend Edition (allthatchazz.com)
- The My Bloody Throat Edition (allthatchazz.com)
- Podcast: The Death By Fire Edition (allthatchazz.com)
- Hot Sweaty Hottie Motivation (allthatchazz.com)
- Podcast #3: How to Beat a Murder Charge with a Skunk and a Smile (allthatchazz.com)