- Anthony – Great & Terrible | Twitter @gr8andterrible
- Michelle – Unplaced & Serendipity City | Twitter @_chelleshock
- Coni – Zoo Podcast | Twitter @zoopodcast
- David – Skyland Chronicles (In Progress)
- Lilith – Ghost Puncher C.O.R.P.S | Twitter @ghostpvncher
- Flavio – My Earthling and Me, Interstellar Sunrise (forthcoming)
- Joe – Author of Interstellar Spring, and Interstellar Sunrise
- Rick – (no show at the moment)
- Dany – Subjective Truths | Twitter @good_pointe
- Jamal – Bigmouff (business) | Twitter @bigmouff
- Alicia – Voiceover & (Exploring show ideas)
If I missed you or got something wrong, please let me know.
It has been a few months since the fiction, narrative, audio-drama podcasters got together. There was a lively discussion and I learned so much, so why don’t I share my highlights?
How to get listeners?
Joe, with a new forthcoming show, wanted to know the best way to grab listeners for his show. Many shared promoting their show on Social Media platforms such as Twitter. Many added that promoting your show directly to podcasters is one of the best methods as you are directing your show to a known audience that consumes spoken word content.
Mark listed a few services that he knew of where you could actually purchase advertising spots to reach podcasters directly:
Another method of advertising is being interviewed by other podcasters and swapping ad spots (you and another host cross advertise). One method is to use the service Podchaser which has recently added a Connect beta that allows you to connect with other podcasters based on your defined interests and whether or not you want to be interviewed, or you are looking for an interview subject.
Mark’s Note: Whatever platform you choose, you should be where your listeners are.
How to adapt a book for a podcast?
If my memory is accurate, while we had this question, we did not deep dive into this topic directly but we did touch upon related points in our discussion on Sound Design that partly answers this question. When adapting material, things have to be translated for the medium you are working in. In audio, you would not have visual queues to drive scenes and you would instead have to smartly rely on dialogue and sound design. More on this below.
Don’t limit yourself in thinking when using sounds. – Lilith
I am paraphrasing here, but this was really a great quote. Lilith went on to explain an example of a character repelling down a building and wondered how exactly to make that sound. A suggestion of using a zipper provided the solution.
How do you find the level of sound?
This question was posed to determine, how much sound work do and should you actually provide for your show. Michelle stated that “you need as much for the story.” When designing her show, she uses music for transitions between scenes or for a tonal shift in the story.
Anthony stated that determining how much to include for sound effects, is just a feeling. Half a season of Anthony’s show either had no music or sound effects because it didn’t need it. In designing your show, you will get a sense of what “feels right” and you will know when you make the edit when you should fade out the music, or add in the effects. Once you get past technical skills, the feeling takes over.
Michelle also agreed and added that you should listen to a LOT of shows to develop your palette. Dissect them and see what you like and what you don’t like. When you make your own, those choices will make their way into your decision process.
Dany noted that:
Audio (music/sfx) should be a character in your work.
I love this quote because this is SO RIGHT! Dany continued, that your music is playing a part to create emotion, to add/release tension and like any speaking character, you should use them with care.
Create dimension in your scripts by practice
Anthony noted that as you become experienced, you start to think about sound and other actions as you write. Instead of using sound effects to make a bug appear in the scene, maybe a character references the bug in a natural way. Coni noted that she learned not to write sound into her scripts. Simple things like this lighten the editing and design load.
Anthony recommended creating a Sound Bible which contains short clips of each character so that you are familiar with that characters “voice”. Alicia also confirmed this practice amongst audiobook narrators. All you need are a few sentences of the character speaking as a reference point.
This was a great and lively discussion. Anthony asked, what the next steps were if you have a good-sized audience downloading your show. This became a discussion in which it was noted that monetization doesn’t have to be part of the process and that if doing so, the process will be about building your platform to create your “1,000 True Fans” who would buy anything you create.
For advertisers, if you reach their requirements, you can make the pitch for sponsors or advertisers for your show to either purchase a pre or post-show spot. Some narrative shows had mid-roll ads but these would normally command a higher fee.
Coni noted that they add extra content at the end of the show so that the ending ad spot gives way to focus on another character to keep the listeners engaged. Lilith shared that she has had “in-world” advertising to not have the listener break out from the show.
Lilith noted the success of using merch to match what they receive on Patreon. In being smart with their merch, the t-shirts being sold on TeePublic isn’t just a log of the show. The shirts are quotes, and other designs, that go beyond the show and are being bought by those who don’t even listen to the show.
Michelle noted that she wants to set up a “pay what you want” section to get access to scripts and other special items as many patrons may not be able to give monthly, but would still like to support the creator’s efforts.
Michelle also made excellent notes about membership platforms and ownership of data, for example, if using Patreon an you wanted to migrate elsewhere, the encrypted billing info would not migrate.
We briefly discussed being locked into a platform where you are at the whims of the platform holder and arbitrary rules that would impact your income overnight. Such as hosting a show with not-work-safe content, story content that is more adult-themed, that could be decided to violate a terms of service and impact your income. Combined with not being able to export certain user data, you are left out in the cold. One example podcast with not-work-safe content is the podcast Dreamboy by Nightvale.
How do you build community?
Lilith shared that she has a discord server to interact with listeners. One such example is that the word “C.O.R.P.S” is abbreviated and a competition was run to have listeners guess what it stood for. The winner won show merchandise.
Coni noted that she also has a Discord server and hosts a monthly Q&A with listeners. She had also found a community on Tumblr and interacts with fans there.
Joe shared that he uses a weekly newsletter and uses Bookfunnel to give out free ebooks to the first X number of subscribers.
Topics for future deep dives:
- Sound Design
- Marketing / Promotion
- Show funding
- Writing (for podcasts, style, etc)
- Voice Actors
Interested in speaking:
If I missed you, let me know.
That’s it! That is all I got. Thank you all for making this event so much fun and for making the discussion AMAZING. If you want more info, then you need to be at the next event.
Until next time!