C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

One way to find new audiences for your books might be…

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?

War.

But a close second choice choice? My dumbass, simian vocalization as I try to find the next word:

“…Um….”

~ 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.

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Filed under: All That Chazz, ebooks, My fiction, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, What about you?, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Catana says:

    My only experience with podcasting is that too many people who do it assume that everyone is willing to listen to a podcast. If the material isn’t also available as text, you lose the people who’d rather read than listen.

  2. Chazz says:

    I don’t think everyone is willing to listen to podcasts. There’s nothing everyone is willing to do. I’m assuming you’re referring to book consumption as audio in particular. My thrust with this post is more that authors may want to explore expanding a listening audience to gain a larger reading audience.

    The advantage of podcasts is that audio allows you to hear a book (or anything else) in many situations where you can’t read. People listen to podcasts while on the treadmill, driving to work or during any physical activity, not with singular focus. Reading is actually a much more demanding activity. To read, I have to sit still and focus. Podcasts are often background, like any radio, but they are one of the few entertainments I can indulge while accomplishing something else.

    There has been a massive expansion in podcasting in the last year. Look for further expansion as people delve deeper into niches and move away from comedy, political and sports-oriented podcasts. I think this will lead to more audiobooks in the near future (at lower prices than have been possible in the past with CDs and audiocassettes.) The same technology serves both ends and mp3s are so much less expensive than CDs. Audible.com dominates that market at the moment, though I suspect many authors will begin to sell their works as audiobooks straight from their websites soon as more people get comfortable with the tech.

  3. Catana says:

    I have no argument against podcasts or audio books. All I’m saying is that if an audio version is the *only one* available, you cut out all those people who prefer to read. Believe it or not, there are people for whom listening takes more effort and is more difficult, and not necessarily because of hearing problems. Difficulty in processing and retaining audio input is a known disability. It also takes less time to read a given text than it does to listen to it.

    The only reason I brought this up at all is because I already see a strong trend toward podcasts that have no accompanying text provided as an alternative.

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