Thank you to Sacha for this wonderful opportunity of being able to guest post on her amazing blog.
Who AM I?
Good question. I am a writer, a blogger and now a podcaster.
I write romantic comedy fiction and I have a Wattpad
novel ‘The Diary of Roxy Collins.’ Wattpad is a free reading platform. Authors can publish their work for free and readers can read, comment and vote. My novel has been a huge success on Wattpad and the reader feedback has been really positive. So much so that I have got completely carried away with it…and started a fictional podcast.
I could have turned Roxy into a book but after a lengthy heart to heart with her (I speak to all my characters and I always take on their views, suggestions….on fiction and in life in general) we decided that she would find being kept inside a stuffy book stifling and boring. So I brought to her life via a podcast.
She seems happy but I think she is craving overnight fame. This is the trouble with letting characters do their own thing, They tend to get ideas above their station and don’t understand how much work is involved in turning something big.
I have a blog ‘BlondeWriteMore
’ which you may have heard about or you may have seen me doing some rapid air punches on a video clip when I won the ‘Funniest Blogger Award’ in 2015 & 2016 at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards.
What is a podcast?
Another excellent question!
If you had asked me at the start of the year to tell you what a podcast was I would have given you my standard vacant blonde writer expression – eyes glaze over, mouth opens slightly and head cocks to one side. I did not have a clue.
Back in March I was in a bad literary place. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing. I think we all go through these phases. This bleak mood made me want to sit on my sofa, stuff Oreos into my mouth and watch TV box sets. For a low mood it was quite enjoyable. Then someone told me about a motivational podcast called MWF motivation. I gave them my vacant blonde writer expression as I was clueless about a podcast. They then let me listen to one. It was like a 10 minute radio show. I could download it onto my phone and listen to it whenever I wanted. I loved the MWF podcas
t so much I started to listen to Rob Dial every day. I could download all his shows and listen to them again and again.
Via the podcast Rob got me off the sofa and writing again. He showed me how important it is to do exercise. get up earlier and have goals. From then on I fell in love with podcasts and started to listen to more. To my delight there were writing based podcasts as well as comedy ones. My commute to work was transformed. At the same time I got my literary act together Roxy became successful on Wattpad. The beauty of Wattpad is that you publish your novel in chapters and its like bite sized fiction on a regular basis. As Roxy took off the idea of being able to listen to bite sized fiction came to me.
So, in summary a podcast is like a little radio show which you can listen to whenever you want. It is free and you can download all the episodes to listen to in your own time. In their simplest form podcasts are a series of digital audio files that users can download or stream from MP3 players. They are very diverse and personalised.
Can anyone start a podcast?
Yes! Even a blonde writer like myself can create one.
Why would a writer start a podcast?
My podcast is part of my future author platform. Through my podcast I want to build a direct on-on-one relationship with my listeners and future readers.
I am also really interested in comedy / comedy writing and I am looking for new ways of establishing myself in this area.
The romantic fiction book market is saturated. New writers like me have to do different things to stand out now.
How do you start a podcast?
Ok you will need:
1. A load of powerful reasons as to why you want to start a podcast. Just like blogging is tough, so too is podcasting. These reasons will keep you going in the small hours when no one is listening to your podcast and when you are hitting record for hundredth time in one afternoon.
2. An idea on what to talk about. What are you going to talk to your listeners about for 15 – 20 minutes every day, week or month?
3. A Format. Decide whether your podcast will be guest based or solo. Are you going to use your podcast to interview people or are you just going to present it?
4. Content. Luckily I had reams of Roxy content to convert into podcast episodes. I have found that 1500-2000 words gets me a decent 10 min episode including music at the start and end. It also has to be content that works on an audio basis. I have learnt that you have to bring your content alive for audio to work.
5. An idea about frequency. You need to decide how many times a week or a month you are going to podcast. I am twice a week at the moment but there are daily podcasts, weekly and monthly podcasts out there.
4. A microphone.
I took advice from someone already podcasting and bought a Blue Ice Microphone.
It does the job and is fairly cheap. I am sure there are better ones out there but this works for me.
5. A quiet place to record on a regular basis. I don’t have the luxury of a recording studio so I have to record at home. As I have a family and a busy house finding quiet time is a challenge.
6. A memorable and catchy piece of intro music. Luckily my brother in law is a musician and whipped me up something quickly. You need 10-15 secs of music for the start and end.
7. Artwork to promote your podcast. I purchased an image and used that for my podcast. It has to be high-resolution and eye catching to stand out on iTunes.
8. Sound editing software like Garageband or Audacity. I use Garageband and its fairly easy to use. It did take me several weeks of practice to get it right and there is still improvement.
9. A host. You need to be able to find a home for your podcast on the internet. I use a podcast hosting company called Libsyn. I upload my MP3 file to Libsyn who then feed it into iTunes and SoundCloud. There are other ways of hosting and I think you can do it via WordPress.
10. Guts. You would not believe the guts it takes to launch a podcast. I have had to dig deep and just go for it.
11. Social Media to promote it.
Then you take yourself off into a quiet room and start recording. Be prepared for the following:
– Unexpected fits of giggling.
You would not believe how many times it took me to say a ‘bumper pack of prunes and a warm bath’ . You will also be interrupted by a menagerie of sounds, like these eleven unexpected sounds.
-. Hate your voice. You will hate the sound of your voice for the first 10 recordings. Then you get used to it and the hatred goes away.
– Editing nightmares. I struggled with this at first. Watch You Tube videos on editing. I learnt my Garageband tips from a 7 year old in Japan.
Ok so now you have some podcast episodes. You need to launch more than one episode at first as listeners like a couple to get them going.
So you apply to iTunes via their ‘submit a podcast’ link on their main podcast page. They can take up to 2 weeks to approve your podcast.
Then you can go live.
Things I have learnt so far:
1. It is a different world to blogging. The podcast listener does not listen to them straightaway in the same away a reader reads a blog post. It is a different interaction with you and plays hell with your instant gratification issues!!
2. It takes time to grow. You have to go back to entertaining 2-3 people for a bit. Remember those early blogging days where you would post something and not a single view? Yep podcasting is a bit like this. You have to stick with it.
3. Not everyone has access to iTunes so you need to create a SoundCloud feed. Libsyn set mine up for me.
If you do have ten minutes please listen to Roxy Collins and give some support to my fledgling podcast 🙂
Head over to BlondeWriteMore if you want to contact me or find out more about Roxy Collins.
I have set up this blog page
to promote her.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!