Wednesday, May 11, 2011


   Yesterday I read Scott Sigler's blog and marveled at his success doing podcasts. He reads chapters of his books and posts them on his website and on various podcasting sites for free. He also sells the podcasts as a whole, which apparently people are buying by the buckets. And his fans love it. I've never done a podcast, barely even listened to more than a few, so I went to his site and checked them out. Growing up within the music industry I know what studio quality sounds like and this was it. It was smooth as silk; he even had some intro music and on some of them he did advertisements for Go daddy. The boy is cashing in. But it ain't easy.   
   I decided to give it a try. I read my short story "Progenitor." It's approximately 9100 words and takes about thirty to forty minutes to read. I'm told this is the perfect amount of time for a podcast. I don't have a series to read from, which would be ideal, but this was just as an experiment, just for fun. We've all heard books on tape and it seems pretty straight forward: The author reads his book, doing the narrative and all the dialogue.
   Take 1: I hooked up my Ipod headphones and microphone to my computer and used Sound Recorder. There was noticeable hiss in the background. Sounded like crap.  A little research suggested that I had either a crappy microphone or a cheap soundcard. Microphones range from $25 up to Elton John. Sound cards cost $200 up to Bill Gates. Already this is costing me money.
   Take 2: I hold off spending money and consider using the Voice Memo feature on my girlfriend's Ipod Touch. The sound quality is actually quite nice, no static, no hiss, my voice is clear even with the cheap microphone. So now I'm on my way.
   Take 3: One problem. I can't read more than a few sentences before I'm flubbing my own lines! The story I wrote is tongue-tying me! I think about doing it in increments. I start by trying to get through ten pages, then five pages, and finally two pages, but every time I flub at least one word, which ruins the whole take. Now I need editing software. $100 up to Phil Specter. I don't have PS money.  Next I learn, if you want to upload the podcast on a site like, they only accept particular formats, ID tags, and Bitrates.  More to know.   
   Moral of the story is that Podcasting ain't easy. You have to be Elton John smooth, Bill Gates savvy, and Phil Specter educated.  I just wanted to record myself reading my story so my readers could listen to it on their way to work.  I'll do it eventually, but it's going to take time to learn the craft first. Meanwhile I have a chapter to write.  


  1. My new BFF Robinson Mason had this to say: Chris, I use Audacity, a free editing tool. It allows me to go back and cut out sections that I flub. Here's something I put together - If you skip in about 5 minutes you'll see I was also able to edit in audio responses in an interview later in the same podcast here: I've done audiobooks before but don't have one hosted currently. (GEEK ALERT for content!)

  2. Be careful when you download audacity to do a virus scan. It also automatically attaches browser toolbars, which have to be remove by going to control panel, uninstall.

  3. Drop me a line if/when you decide to give it another go, I'll be happy to give you a quick run-thru on the quick-and-dirty way to get a decent self-read posted. You can spend a lot of time chasing up blind alleys and/or buying equipment you don't need when you get started doing this. When I came to it from audio engineering I was pretty shocked at the rigmarole a lot of my friends were going through.
    -Dan Sawyer
    podcasting fiction since 1

  4. Thank you J. Daniel, I could use the help.