My Podcast journey
Like many authors I’m an introvert but for my day job I’m forced to stand in front of a lot of people and teach. So I know there are certain places where you can shine without having to worry so much about your insecurities. Podcasts appeal to me as I don’t have to show my beautiful mug to anyone. So if you can stand the sound of your own voice then this is definitely something you can attempt.
The next step is to decide what you are going to talk about: a mission statement if you will. I got into the podcast because my writer’s association Specficnz put out a call for anyone interested in hosting or participating in a podcast. So we knew that whatever we did it had to benefit the members of Specficnz as they were the ones instigating and paying for the venture. (I’ll get to costs in a moment) But as an author you can decide on any topic, just keep in mind there are a lot of podcasts for indie authors and starting to write so you’d need to offer something new. We decided, though we were going over some similar territory as say Writing Excuses or Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, that we could offer a unique slant by interviewing New Zealand authors. Being on the other side of the world from our biggest market does make it tricky to figure out how to dive into the market so that would be our approach.
Setting up was easier for me as I had once tried my hand at audio books and so I had a decent mic along with some basic understanding of how sound works. You don’t have to have anything super expensive. But you do need to put in some cash at the start. The mid-range mics don’t have as many bells and whistles as the ones that will cost you an arm and a leg but they have very similar sound. I managed to pick up a Samson while on sale but that was while I was looking for a Snowball or a Blue Yeti which also came recommended. Some advice on any mic; don’t put it up to max and you don’t have to yell. They are all pretty good at picking up your voice so no shouting required. To top off my hardware list was a laptop and that is it for hardware. You can pick up a good set of headphones but only if you are the one fixing up the sound at the end. I use a cheap pair from the dollar store for recording as they are easy to hide and I have another set for listening to the playback. But I got those for listening to music on the go so it wasn’t like I had to fork out extra cash.
Software is even easier as there is really only one to recommend and that is Audacity. Free, professional level, and lots of Youtube videos to show you how to use it. You can straight up record with Audacity but since our team is all over New Zealand and we interview people also all over New Zealand we needed something to bridge the gap. We started off with Zoom. It has a free version that does pretty much everything the paid version does except you can only use it in 40 min bursts. We’ve since splurged for the paid version but there is no reason not to be able to use the free stuff out there. If you have a day job you probably are familiar with at least one form of video calling and most will have the capacity to record. We are hoping to one day be good enough to put our podcast on Youtube so starting off with a video calling service like Zoom means it will be an easy transition.
I don’t do the editing of the sound. That was what had me fail miserably with audio books. So that was one of the benefits of working with others as one of us is more techie than the others. Instead I help plan the craft podcasts and my co-hosts organise guests. We have a simple outline. Nothing too strict as you want that conversational tone to come across and you don’t want people to think you are reading everything. But having something down reduces the Um’s and Argh’s.
The main cost of everything was to put it out there for the world to hear. The graphics came from us as my co-hosts and I all have various skills that help with the setting up but also create dynamic dialogue as we are all so different. One of us is Traditionally published, I'm indie and another who writes short stories and yet to be published.
The trick is about opportunity and confidence. Put your hand up or try something out when the opportunity arises and make a conscious effort to lock impostor syndrome in the closet as it has no place in your life if you have already jumped the hurdle of planning, writing, self-editing, producing and finally publishing a book or any other amazing thing you have accomplished in life.