Digital vs. traditional. What a discussion! I've always considered my writing career one giant experiment, so it should be no surprise that I'm quite happy being e-published. I've even taken to reading e-books myself (yes, really!) now that I have a decent device to read them on. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to have a library of books on my little Asus EEE netbook. But the net book wasn't my first means of getting my fiction fix digitally, nor were e-books my only means of getting electronically published.A few years ago, at a science fiction convention not too far from my home, I attended a workshop on podcasting. I had no clue about what podcasting was, only that it had something to do with iPods. This particular workshop was billed as a must for writer interested in promoting their work. Since I was a new writer who had just signed a contract for my first e-book, I decided to look into it. That's where I met Tee Morris, the godfather of podcasting.
Tee is one of many authors, and I believe the first, to create an audio recording of one of his book and post it to the internet for free. He has not been the last, not by a long shot. That weekend, I sat through several hours, listening to Tee and Rich Sigfrit and others talk about the benefits of creating free these free audio recordings and giving them away. I got my degree in broadcast journalism, so it wasn't hard to convince me. that this was somethng I wanted to try. All I would need was a USB mic, some audio recording and editing software (which I could get for free), enough space on my hard drive to store my recordings, and a website to post my work.Oh, and I needed a topic.
Yeah, that last part was tricky. I was all a-buzz with the want, the need, to get my work out there on the intertubes, but I had no idea what to say. The one thing Tee Morris had emphasized over and over again in his workshop was the need for good content. A podcaster could get away with an okay technical set up, so long as what they recorded would grab the audience's attention.In search of ideas, I bought a tiny little iPod and downloaded a bunch of other people's podcasts. I listened to fiction and non-fiction, full length books and short stories. There was Tee Morris' Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword, Scott Sigler's Ancestor, Mur Lafferty's I Should Be Writing, Danni Cutler's Truth Seekers, and dozens of others. Pretty soon, I was getting my geek fix with Escape Pod, Psuedo Pod, and then Podcastle, all podcast magazines of short genre fiction. There was even an erotica author out there, Nobilis Reed of the Nobilis Erotica Podcast. I was in heaven, listening to all these stories while I exercised and cleaned house, taking them with me anywhere I wanted to go.
But I still didn't know what **I** wanted to podcast myself. I was getting desperate. I so wanted to get out there on the net and have my own show. The amazing ability to whisper my thoughts, my stories, my ideas, into people's ears seemed like such power ot me. The answer of what to record finally came to me while listening to Jared Axelrod's Aliens You Will Meet. This was my favorite podcast of them all. It was simply a very short spiel told by a computerized assistant to a galactic ambassador, detailing the aliens he would meet that day. It sounds strange. It's hysterically funny. As a story telling device, it's brilliant. Imagine what your day-planner would say to you if it could talk!But the thing about it was, it was short, really short. I suddenly had the idea that perhaps I could write a series of flash ficiton pieces and record them. Writing flash fiction made sense. I had a tight schedule. Any new project I took on couldn't take up too much time. So I made a plan to write twenty or so pieces of flash fiction, to see how that would fit into my schedule. I would write the stories first before recording a single line, to give myself plenty of lead time on the techincal aspect of things. I knew it would be important to keep up with regular output. Once I got started, I'd have to keep going to build an audience, and that meant writing in well in advance of recording and producing and posting my work. What I didn't know, didn't count on, was that I would fall in love with what I was doing right off the bat.
I wrote my first piece of flash fiction for the podcast, a horror piece that I submitted to the storytime group at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. No sooner was it done than I was suddenly inspired to write a whole series of horror stories. "That's it!" I thought to myself. "I'll start in October, with a monthly theme of horror stories. Then in Novemember I can write about feasts. For December, I can write about gifts..."It was already the first week of September. My plans to write 20 stories in advance went straight out the window. I spent the rest of that month knocking out four more horror erotica stories, buying a mic, setting up audio software and getting an RSS feed for my show. I mixed my own music from some free sound loops I had, and over that in as sexy a voice as I could muster, I recorded the following:
Warning, this podcast contains sexually explicit material, and is only intended for listeners ages 18 and older...In the background, you could hear what sounded like the engine of a space ship revving up. Then the bomb sirens kicked in, along with the music, and "Welcome to Heat Flash..."
Heat Flash, the intense burst of heat that accompanies a nuclear explosion. Also, short erotic fiction available in audio format every week. That was my show. And it all started two years ago. Since then, I've written, recorded and produced over 100 stories for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast. It's science fiction, fantasy, and horror erotica, the stuff I love the most. It's also completely free to anyone who wants to listen. I don't make any money off of it, at least not directly. I do think it keeps me out of the slush pile when I submit for anthologies, and it goes a long way toward promoting me and the other projects I work on. Last winter, I was picked up by Radio Dentata for part of their erotic story time line up on Thursday evenings. Again, still no pay, but you know what? I don't care. I'm addicted to the format. Each week, I can't wait to sit down and read my stories into the mic. I can't wait to mix those recordings together with some music and then send it out to whole wide world. I've had over 40,000 downloads of my show in the last 2 years. That's a lot of ears to whisper into. And I'm no longer the no-name writer with a handful of publishing credits to her name.I'm a podcasting star, baby. And you could be one too. All it takes is a USB microphone, some free audio editing software, a little hard drive space and a website with an RSS feed.
Oh, and content. Something you want to record, something you desperately need to share with the rest of the world, to whisper into eveyrone's ear. That's the hard part, but it's also the best part.