Just as book trailers are gaining popularity as book marketing tools, so too are their audio siblings – podcasts. The Wikipedia defines a podcast as a digital audio file that is distributed over the Internet using RSS syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers.
The time and cost required to produce a podcast falls somewhere between writing a blog and producing a video. But the effort can be worth it. Why should authors who are blogging consider producing podcasts?
Podcasts provide a voice to the author. This can help personalize the author for audience members, especially when the author has published a book.
Podcasts travel. They can be listened to on a PC of course. But more importantly they can be downloaded to MP3 players and cell phones equipped with MP3 playback capability. With over 100 million iPods sold in the last 5 and half years, this proides a large potential reach and makes it convenient for listeners on the go. The author can provide the blog address as part of the podcast and do a little audience building to individuals who might not have discovered it.
Podcasts can help you secure radio time. Podcasts are a great way to showcase your radio appeal if you are trying to line up interview slots on radio talk shows.
Podcasts can become part of your press kit. A sample podcast adds a more personal and compelling piece to all the usual components of your book’s press kit – bio, book description, press releases, etc. – and may convince a member of the media to do a story on you and your book.
Podcasts open up a low cost way to keep you in front of your audience. If you produce a regular podcast (say weekly), it gives you another opportunity to build your profile with audience members. Over time that profile can translate into higher book sales.
Multiple distribution venues. You can distribute your podcast on your site, or on any of the many podcast portal sites that are springing up.
Amazon recently announced its new podcast programs. Depending on the success of this experiment, podcast may become an important tool for online booksellers to hawk new titles on their sites.
Podcasts may also emerge as the new audiobook. The New York Times featured a story recently about Scott Sigler, a horror science fiction writer who offers podcasts of his stories for free from his website. He was initially snubbed by print publishers. But after building a podcast audience of over 30,000 listeners for his second “podcast novel,” Mr. Sigler has been able to attract mainstream publishers. Podcasting may turn out to be an effective way for new authors to build an online audience for fiction.