Q: What software do you recommend for creating podcasts?
A: Audacity, Levelator, and iTunes. These are all free online.
- Audacity is the best recording software for those of you starting out. It’s free and has a lot of features that will be fun to play with. If you are a Mac user, they have Garage Band.
- Levelator which will bring your audio levels, level. Sounds pretty basic, but very important. If you have ever been watching a television show and a commercial comes on that is super loud, this means they have different audio levels. You don’t want that to happen on your cast. Especially since most of your listeners are wearing earbuds. If they get a loud blast a couple times in the ear, that’s the last you’ll be seeing them.
- iTunes: The easiest way to tag audio files.
Q: What equipment do you recommend for podcasting?
A: For me, I still use a cheap mic because the bigger ones that most podcasters use tend to make my voice sound even higher than it does normally. They also pick up a lot of background noise. Mine, which is under $10 on Amazon, is a desk stick mic. It doesn’t pick up as much noise and I just use a portion of pantyhose and a rubber band as a pop filter. Not high tech, but it works for me and I never get any complaints on sound quality because I use the Levelator and Audacity’s noise removal option to clean it up and bring it up to standard.
Q: What is the difference between an audio book and a podnovel?
A: Generally an audio book is produced by a sound engineer and (usually one) professional voice actor. They are usually handled through the publisher and often don’t use voice changing software or special effects. A podcast novel (or podnovel) is usually produced by the author on a shoestring budget. They are usually read by the author and/or friends or colleagues. The author is usually the one who does all the sound editing and producing of the show.
I say usually because there are always exceptions to the rule. In the old days, this is how it was done. Now, there are more and more authors hiring sound technicians, voice actors, and sound effects specialists to produce their books.
The question is, do the fans/listeners like the author produced or the professionally produced books better? I myself cannot stand audio books because they are straight-read and I find no interest in them. When I did my first podnovel, I promised myself I would do as much voice acting and excitement building through music and sound effects as I could. For me, books with this sort of excitement are better, but that’s my preference. For people who have been listening (and enjoying) audio books for years, you will find them leaning towards the straight read.
As far as professionally cut podcast novels vs. author cut, there is also a split. My fans like author produced ones because they feel closer to the story creator. It’s like the difference between reading an author’s Facebook page who is actually participating and one that some press person is taking care of. If you’re Stephen King, then you can afford to be this distant from your fans, but if you are a little fish like most of us these days, you need to try and make those personal connections with your readers. And if you are a brand new writer, without a book, but podcasting your novel to try and build a fan base, it’s even more important for you to connect in a more personal way.
Q: Where do you distribute your podcast books (or podnovels)?
A: For beginners, I like Mevio.com. You can produce audio or video podcasts there, it’s free, and you can test your stuff with an audience who is less critical than the major books sites. They also don’t have quality assurance that will kick back your files to you because of length, bitrate, audio volume, etc. Once you are polished, you should join Podiobooks.com community. Podiobooks has strict guidelines about their audio files and how they want them delivered, with what tags listed on them, etc. This is the best podnovel site out there, they have thousands of dedicated fans that will give you a chance, but if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t do your homework first, you will be sorry because the fans are harsh. Where Mevio is kind of a free for all to test out your content, Podiobooks should be where only your most polished work is submitted.
Stay tuned for more info on podcasting from Emerian Rich!
Emerian Rich is an author, artist, and Horror Host. She has been podcasting since 2007, has made hundreds of guest appearances and hosts HorrorAddicts.net, which will begin its 7th Season in 2012. Her vampire series, Night’s Knights, has amassed a million downloads. Writing under Emmy Z. Madrigal, she also has Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series, which was the first romance novel series to be podcasted. There are now three novels up for listening pleasure, with a fourth on the way. To find out more about Emerian, go to: emzbox.com