Twenty-three episodes ago, I started a podcast to help market my short story collection, Self-help for Stoners. The Self-help for Stoners weekly podcast evolved in directions that surprised me. At first I thought I would just talk a little and read a lot of my fiction. I did that, but then I ended up doing a lot more. I found that podcasting was as creative an outlet as writing is, and in many ways it’s a similar process. Since last November, I’ve talked ancient personal history, TV shows, odds, ends, trivia, movies and ranted about all the ills of the world. I appeared on seven other podcasts, played around with a few skits and scenario (writing some out at first and later, improv). Often I delivered a word spew in my accursed, stilted, Shatnerian delivery. I’ve gone on too long, repeated myself and sometimes I went too far and got boring, just like real public radio! I’ve done it all for free and for fun. It’s still fun. Before I started, I saw it in the cold terms of a marketing device. What I didn’t expect was to have so much fun doing it. I even got a bit better.
Now it’s time to change it up. What’s past is prelude.
I looked at my stats and, unlike stats you study in school, podcast stats are fascinating. You learn geography lessons looking at podcast stats because the breakdowns are so detailed. I could see where people downloaded my nonsense and conscience from around the world. California (especially San Francisco) loves me. My family back east aren’t too keen. I’m guessing 129 people in Beijing are using my podcast to help them learn English. (God help them.)
All podcasts drop off in terms of how long listeners can stand to listen. There’s a formula (no one knows what the formula is) that correlates how interesting your podcast is/listening time/length of commute and/or how long people can stay on a treadmill while listening to an angry man rant and ramble. I looked at my drop off and decided shorter, punchier podcasts with only the best, high energy stuff was the way to go. As fun as podcasting is, I can’t let it cut too much into writing and revising time, so shorter is better for me and for listeners. I’ll take the time to be more brief and more frequent.
1. Shorter podcasts will arrive twice a week starting immediately (first new one’s Tuesday and, by the way, MITT ROMNEY IS GOING TO GET IT! GIRD YOUR LOINS WITH THAT SPECIAL UNDERWEAR AND COVER YOUR EARS, WOULD-BE PRESIDENT MITTENS! PREPARE FOR A STERN TALKING TO!) A note to people who are very easily offended: I don’t care for you. I’m not trying to piss anybody off, but weak opinions are boring just as opinions without facts are stupid. Some people think authors should never say anything controversial that might offend and avoid any discussion of religion or politics. On the other hand, those same people believe in paint-on hair for bald guys. I do not hold with being weak on opinions. You wind up making friends with people who’d hate you if they knew the truth instead of being honest and gathering friends you understand and who understand you. Readers and listeners want authenticity more than they want bland and stupid. People who want bland aren’t my readers, anyway, so they can move elsewhere. Via con dios.
2. I will podcast my new crime thriller (coming soon!) one chapter at a time, on Fridays.
3. The new book will be available free as a podcast, but for those who can’t take the rising tension and tearing suspense, they’ll be able to purchase it as a download from Audible.com, in paperback or, of course, as an ebook. The crime thriller will be a series.
4. Surprise! An instructional book is coming this summer.
5. I’m writing The Poeticule Bay series (suspense in rural Maine) and another, apocalyptic book, is on its way.
6. I’ll be going with Amazon’s KDP Select, at least at first.
7. I’m really excited about publishing with Audible. Had I not got into podcasting, the prospect would be intimidating. After experimenting with 23 podcast episodes, recording a book isn’t scary at all.
8. If you aren’t podcasting, choose a niche, get a friend and consider how you can make podcasting part of your book promotion. You might even find you enjoy it. As an indie author, you love creativity, so the mic might have allure you never suspected. 2011 was the year comedians took over podcasting. Maybe this is the year many more of us podcast our books into earbuds worldwide.
Here’s what I announced on my author website today:
Hi fellow babies, as Dr. Johnny Fever used to say. I’m going to be taking the Self-help for Stoners podcast in new directions soon. Hm. That sounds like corporate-speak uttered by a soulless robot in a suit at a vast corporation easily parodied on The Simpsons, so let’s put it this way: I’m changing the format for the Self-help for Stoners podcast starting this week.
I was shooting the wild crapola on the Skype serengeti with my buddy Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting the other night and he mentioned he likes the variety I present here weekly. Another way of putting it is that I’m all over the road, ranting one minute and doing a skit the next and reading short stories from my collections here and there. I podcast like a chimp with ADD.
So here’s my nefarious plan for world domination: I’m going to podcast twice weekly, but with shorter episodes. I will podcast my new crime thriller, one chapter at a time, once a week, as soon as it’s ready. That’s just a few weeks away as I finish revisions etc.,…. The full version of the book will be available as an ebook, paperback and with Audible.com so if you can’t wait to get your suspense doled out a week at a time, you can go get the whole thing in one fell swoop (or one foul swoop if you don’t care for my peculiar brand of whimsy.)
In the meantime, expect a couple of episodes of ranty fun each week as I go off on my lefty liberal rants, confusing an Ought with an Is and suffering from I Wish I Were King of the Universe Syndrome. There are lots more goodies to come as I ramp up my book and podcast production, my web presence, my readership, my listenership and my army of ninja monkey clones. Stay tuned.
If you like the podcasts, please leave a happy review on iTunes or hit the thumbs-up button on Stitcher. It really helps with the ranking so more happy people can join in the fun, too. And your grudging approval keeps me from jumping off this high, thin ledge. Thanks for listening.
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