|Posted by Matt Posner on July 24, 2012 at 6:40 AM|
I'm pleased to welcome Collin Earl, who used podcasting to share his entire long tale House of Grey in serial form.
Here is Collin's website with his sales and podcast links: http://www.collinearl.com/
Tell us about your decision to become a writer. Reasons, events, details?
Reading mostly. When I was in college my wife and I worked opposite schedules, she worked during the day while I went to school in the morning and worked at night. We didn’t have cable then so I spent a great deal of time reading, averaging a couple of books a week for a about year. At the end of a certain series, and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was, I was so upset at the ending—I started writing. Been doing it ever since.
Indeed -- to get a book that is exactly what you want to read, sometimes you have to write it. That definitely motivates me. Where do you hail from and what is it like there?
I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have a wife, 3 children and a dog. I have a couple of cars that are way too old and too much in student loan debt. Life is pretty awesome. Something interesting…I hate conflict and sometimes wish I was magic...shh...don't tell anyone.
I had a dream last night that I could levitate objects by gesturing. Just like a Jedi. Don't tell anyone about that either...
Podcasting a novel is a fascinating idea. Talk about the genesis of this idea. Include the best download link.
The podcasting idea as the same roots as every other marketing idea related to any artistic endeavor -- “Obscurity is the author's greatest enemy” (something that Tim O'Reilly, among others stated.) We went into the podcasting game because we thought it would help us develop an audience and maybe find an agent. The agent thing never panned out, mainly because we didn’t look, but we certainly developed an audience that has been a primary factor in the success that we’ve had.
For the technically oriented, what software and hardware did you use to record and distribute The House of Grey as a podcast?
This question is more complex than it might appear on the surface. Before going into the technical --you need to decide how you want it done first. Do you want to do it yourself or have someone else do it for you? There are pros and cons for each. I would recommend at least TRYING to do it yourself. It can help with branding, but more importantly it will save you some money and everyone knows how poor most authors are.
If you want to do it yourself, the Podiobooks.com community page is great resource and your main distribution center. Some of the old timers there are very helpful. You should look at Podiobooks.com for the specs that you need. Also there are many podcasting books out there, Evo Terra’s Podcasting For Dummies included, that can be helpful.
On the technical side, the very first thing you need to look into is software. You shouldn’t be spending any money on this. Audacity, which is a free download and GarageBand, which comes with a Mac, are more than enough for your podcasting needs. Next you need a decent microphone and windscreen. Simply Google a decent run of the mill mic – you shouldn’t be spending more than a few hundred dollars on this. That should be more than enough to get you moving.
If you want to do it the other way, and have someone do it for you. Just email me: there are options.
What is your general advice about attracting an audience to your podcast? We'll take "making the podcast good quality" as a given. What else?
Many of the podcast marketing strategies are similar to ebook strategies that people are already implementing like tagging the project properly, reviews from bloggers, email campaigns, etc. I like to use pass along cards. They are promotion cards that are bigger than a business card, but smaller than a post card. They have your cover art on one side and a “pitch” of the book and where it can be found on the back. I passed those out to everyone and their brother and they worked well. Trading “promos” with other podcast novelists is a great way to spread the word as well. Some will do it and some won’t, but you can always ask and you’d be surprised at how helpful our little community can be.
The great thing about the podcast novel especially while it’s being serialized, is that it’s different. There are only 600 hundred titles on Podiobooks.com, which is the biggest distributor for podcast novels that I know of, compared to thousands upon thousands of traditional audiobooks and millions of ebooks. The audience of the podcasting community is growing every single day. It’s a different experience than the ebook or trade paperback. You can be a part of that community, which is growing faster than ever before. Its a lot of work though so be prepared.
Any ironic/snarky comments about Fifty Shades of Grey vis a vis your own title or work?
Actually I don’t know anything about Fifty Shades of Grey except that it has blush-inducing material. Yes I said blush-inducing material. I know the women in my office are obsessed with it.
Your thoughts/feelings/comments about the creative process.
For me, the creative process starts with just being prepared. Inspiration comes at the strangest moments; you need to be ready and willing to snag a hold of it when it does. It is also something that has to be forced sometimes. You need to push yourself to be creative (mostly in the form of writing) even when you don’t want to be. It’s the only way you can be successful in the writing work, whether that be books, journalism, blogging or some other type of writing endeavor. You got to work at it and sometimes that is hard.
Involved in other arts fields besides writing?
I like music and taking pictures, but I don’t have much of an eye for pictures or talent for music. Honestly I am not very artistic (Shhh, don’t tell anyone)
Don't tell anyone what? I didn't hear anything...
Do you have another job or career in addition to writing?
I am an attorney in Colorado Springs, Colorado I focus mostly on business litigation, bankruptcy, personal injury and I.P work, which is a funny career choice because as I said earlier, I don’t like conflict.
Have you ever had a brush with death? What happened?
Yes, only once, I lived in the Philippines for a couple years when I was younger and almost got cut in half by a flying piece of sheet metal during a level four hurricane. That was not awesome.
Describe your favorite teacher.
Profession John Carpenter – a former sawmill worker turned English professor at my community college before I transferred to Boise State. He was brash, opinionated, stubborn and one of the greatest teachers ever. Didn’t just teach me about writing, but about thinking and it was one of the most important lessons that I ever had.
Thanks, Collin. It has been a pleasure to meet you, and I intend to follow your writing from now on. I hereby appoint you Official Guest Podcaster of School of the Ages.