Has podcasting helped in the area of book sales?

I'm finding more and more authors promoting their work through podcasting as well as giving away .pdf copies of their books. Some of these authors build up large podcast followings (over 100,00 subscribers) and the hope is if they can get 5% of them to buy a book of the same material they are on their way.

What are you thoughts?

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I think it can work, since it's again an exposure thing. It promotes a certain voice, which hopefully would show up in the book.

It doesn't work for me, though, because I totally do not listen to podcasts. I almost had to for a grad school course and it made me all twitchy. ;-) I don't focus and don't retain much of anything when I hear it. Though I might download a pdf. Maybe.

I don't know about giving away full copies of a book... I'm always kind of leery about that. I tend to wonder-- maybe $0 is all it's worth... A sample is a different matter.
Well, it's worked for Seth Harwood & Scott Sigler - to name a few. Both podcasted readings of their books, then got a small press on board to publish a print version, pushed hard to get their fans to buy on Amazon and landed decent deals from larger publishing houses. I don't think Seth had 100k subscribers (I could be wrong), but through podcasting, he built up a hard-core base of fans willing to organize and hit up Amazon on the book's release day. Very clever marketing strategy that got him the big house attention he was hoping for.

Basic podcasting is not hard at all. Doing something that doesn't sound completely amateurish is another story. A lot of folks will plug a USB headset/microphone into their computers & start blabbing. That's okay, but for decent sound quality there are a few technical things that need to happen - decent sound card, an additional/external pre-amp and/or audio-interface. And, oh yeah, decent editing. The editing can be a massive time suck - I won't even tell you how long I spend editing for a half-hour interview. And then there's just getting folks to know about your podcast - if nobody knows about it, who the hell's gonna listen?!

Besides the marketing and technical issues, I think the key is that it fits the writer's personality and skills. It's something that'll work for some, and not for others. It's not super hard to improve your basic speaking skills, though I suspect there are some writers who will never quite get over the 'I can't stand the sound of my voice' weirdness.

Anyhoo, podcasting is a growing niche that hasn't hit its peak yet. It'll be really interesting to see what happens in the next few years. As with anything, it's about what each writer is comfortable with and how much time is put into actually learning about your listeners/potential print ed. buyers.

I think podcasts are much more than just something to promote books with, although I can say it must work to some degree because I've been listening to Seth Harwood's "Jack Wakes Up" and now I want to buy his book! There are some really great fascinating, informative, and funny podcasts out there dealing with crime fiction from the perspective of authors, their readers, and even publishers. Two very noteworthy ones (besides Seth's) are "The Future Is Bleak," the official podcast of publisher Bleak House Books, and "In For Questioning," a podcast featuring author interviews (listen to the one with Ken Bruen, its a total scream) which is apparently the audio evolution of a blog by the same name. I belong to a small, private Yahoo Group of readers and writers called "Dlot" ("DorothyL Off Topic") and we are developing a crime fiction podcast of our own called NETDRAG...just for the fun of being able to take our online relationships with each other to a higher level through personal interviews about our writing lives, and personal lives. And hey, if it peaks some listener's curiousity out there, and causes them to buy a book or two, then so much the better!
Just for the record, IFQ, the podcast is more a hijacking of a blog than an evolution. The blog was originally planned to be a source for small press industry news (I was supposed to be a contributer, but never had a damn thing to say about industry stuff!). I had an idea for a podcast, loved 'In for Questioning' as a title for the show & basically asked Sandra Ruttan (who started the blog) if I could rip off the title. She went one better, and let me pretty much take it over as a home for the 'cast.

Glad to hear you've enjoyed it - I have a blast & love being able to share news about cool crime fiction peeps! Best o' luck with NETDRAG - sounds like a great idea.
OMG! It's you! YOU, are "Angie"! I swear I can hear that distinctive laugh of yours right now, Angie. How very cool to run into you like this. I looked all over the internet, trying to find out who the mysterious "Angie" was, and here you were all the time...just a reply away from me. :)

PS: Which software are you using to produce your show?
Yep, that's me. Er, I'm me...whatever. I just googled myself (that sounds so weird) and my page here at Crimespace is the first thing that pops up, followed by IFQ. Go figure. Then again, my last name is misspelled so frequently, it's no wonder I seem more mysterious than I am!

My set up for the show is pretty simple, though I'm betting most folks don't have a Yamaha AW1600 audio workstation (hard disc recorder). We've got a small recording/radio studio, so basically I plug in an external mic and a nifty little device I got from Radio Shack to capture audio from the phone. Then I mix the whole deal down, take it home & load it into my computer (a mac). I do all the sound edits in GarageBand, add in the music cues, author pic, etc., send the file to iTunes & then convert it to an MP3. Then it gets uploaded to the podcast host site (I use Libsyn, though there are some hosts that offer cut-down free accounts) and then I write up the blog post/'cast info and make a new post. Presto! Podcast complete.

As I said above, you can do a podcast just by plugging a headset/mic combo straight into your computer (you can actually record directly into GarageBand). The biggest problems are a)computer noise - can be solved relatively easily, b)most computers have crappy standard sound cards and c)it helps to have some sort of a pre-amp, or the sound quality is 'thin.'

Again, best of luck with 'casting!
The "nifty little device" you got from Radio Shack isn't by chance the Model # 43-2208 Multi-Phone Telephone Recorder, is it? I picked up one of these over the weekend at our local R.S. store in Grants Pass. The only problem is that we have cordless phones in our house....uh, I mean...in our multi-million dollar broadcast studio, and I'm still trying to understand exactly how this thing is going to work with them. As far as the computer noise goes, I definitely have some of that, feeding back through my USB head set mic I guess. It was REALLY bad at first, and then I realized what I was hearing on playback was the sound of me chewing my cheeseburger after I'd forgotten to put my microphone on mute while still recording some background music. I still have some computer noise. How do you make it go away? Throw a blanket over the CPU or something?
Um...no. It's the #17-855 Wireless Phone Recording Controller (reading it off the thingie as I type). I think it cost me something like $25. I use my cell phone, which is mainly why I beg folks to talk to me on a landline whenever possible - sometimes chatting on 2 cell phones makes for really nasty sound. It should work for a regular ol' cordless phone, too. I'm not exactly sure how you'd run it into the computer...probably some sort of adapter is available.

The computer noise...yeah, a blanket is a quick, down 'n dirty way to fix that. Actually blankets are great for reducing room noise overall. You can hang them around you (kinda like a kid's tent), cover walls, windows, doors, etc. to cut down on sound reflection. If you really decide you like podcasting, you can build a sort of foam-lined box (cut up a foam mattress pad & be sure to leave room for the 'puter to 'breathe') that you can set over the unit. That's pretty easy to do and less set up. And yeah, eating and slurping are generally frowned on in podcasts. ;)

Believe me, we don't have a bazillion dollar broadcast studio, either! We've got a little more equipment than your average joe, but not a lot. And I think Seth Harwood is still recording in his laundry room.
I've pretty much trashed all the Radio Shack gear since my last post due to lack of ease of use, poor sound quality, too many wires, etc. and instead will be using (I hope) ConferencePro.com to record the two way telephone interviews. I will be doing some test runs this weekend using the site's software. In the meantime (and even before the first episode of NETDRAG has been produced) I have received an invitation from Ben LeRoy of Bleak House Books to be a guest on one of his "The Future Is Bleak" podcasts! I have of course accepted, but on the condition that I have at least one episode of NETDRAG in the can first. So I can sound at least a little like a podcaster, and not just some "fraudcaster." What was your first time like, Angie? No, I don't mean THAT first time. I mean your first podcast?

Well, ya gotta get the gear/set-up that you're comfortable with. Whatever works, right? And very cool about your first interview over at The Future is Bleak - give you a chance to let everyone know where to find your 'cast. Once NETDRAG is up and running, just make sure to list it with all the podcast directories you can think of and give a shout-out over at DL.

Crimespace founder Daniel Hatadi was my first guest. I've known him (cybernetically, at least) for quite a while, so it was slightly less nerve-wracking. It wasn't until I started interviewing peeps that I knew strictly from their work that I got the jitters (Charlie Huston was the first...he picked on me a little, so I got over it fast). Now there's not much that I get too uptight about. Okay, Ken Bruen had me worried, 'cause I was terrified I'd fall into blithering fan-girl mode. But I had a great time talking to him & forgot all about being nervous two minutes in. Ken's just an all 'round great writerly dude and genuinely warm person. No news there, huh?!
I know we're not supposed to do self-promotion on Crimespace, but I just upgraded my webpage and added a few audio flash fictions. I wonder if you people who know what you're doing could tell me if they work (artistically as well as technically) or not?

I listened to your audio clips, John. Sound is pretty good - your diction is great.

Just a few things to think about. You might want to do a fade on the intro music (or a longer one, right now it seems to just end) before your vocal starts. Also, there's a pretty dramatic diff. in the volume of the music compared to your vocal - bumping up your voice would help (music sounds about right...have to crank the volume to clearly hear you after that, though). Oh, and I've got no prob with profanity or subject matter, but a warning/rating might be an idea to consider. I mark all my extra cussin' shows as 'explicit' to avoid confusion - even if iTunes didn't require it, I'd do it just as a courtesy.


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