Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What is the podcast/podiobook business model?

OK, let me start by saying this is a loaded question. All I can do is give you one take on it. What I will present is based on listening to and reading podcasts, interviews, and blogs featuring many different authors taking this approach. I welcome and encourage anyone with opinions to share with all in the comments.

I see the business model as more of a progression, a set of building blocks that you assemble over time. Here are some of the steps involved in this progression.

Step 1: Write some great fiction - It may seem obvious, but until you have some fiction to offer up, you will be stuck at step 1. The beauty is that because you are planning to podcast, you can write short story length, novella length, or novel length. You will probably be podcasting in fifteen minute segments, so you longer source material just means more episodes. It may even be preferable to start with a shorter story to cut your teeth.

Step 2: Reformat for a podcast - In the same way that you can't just act out a novel in front of a camera and get a movie (thus, the screenplay), you may want to do a mild once-over on your story to make it more suitable for audio. Consider how narrative and dialogue will play out in the spoken word by reading your story out loud to yourself. I'm guessing that just as with story writing, the more you do it, the better you get at hearing what works best.

Step 3: Record the episodes and post them - I'm not going into all the details on recording or where to podcast your podiobook in this post, but this is where you really put yourself out there. You are now putting your fiction out into the universe to see what happens. It is important to note that you are giving your fiction away for free. Many people also offer their fiction in PDF format along with the podiobook. More ways for people to consume your fiction. Which leads to the next question. What if no one listens?

Step 4: Market yourself like crazy - This is where you have to spend most of your education time. Learn how to use combinations of social networking, blogging, interviews, podcasting, newsletters, and many other methods to increase the profile of your podiobook and your name. Your goal is to become a recognizable name and a very searchable name on the Internet.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 1 through 4 - The first podiobook is just the gateway to your second podiobook, your first novel, your online collaboration, etc. I won't pretend to know how many times you need to do this to "arrive." The goal here is to build a fan base. With each podiobook you release, you are developing this fan base. Once they are posted, they are there forever so people finding you one year down the road will find a year's worth of content. The growth of free, quality content over time combined with a unique level of customer content is how you will develop a following.

Step 6: Publish you novel - This should probably be one of your podiobooks or a new story taking place in one of your podiobook worlds. It could come in the form of traditional publishing supported by the strength of your online following, or in the form of self-publishing leveraging your online fans who are willing to pay for more of your fiction.

Think about it logically. With the millions of books out there, how do you choose what to read? You read authors you know you can count on for good fiction because you have read their work before. The podiobook approach allows a large group of people to hear your fiction without risking anything but the time to listen. If they like what they hear, they don't think of buying one of your books as taking a risk.

It is a whole new way of thinking. A radical change from traditional publishing.

I'm not saying one way or the other what I will ultimately do, but I know this is a viable model that can produce results if you have the talent and are willing to put in the hours.

Until next time, let's keep on writing.


1 comment:

Yvonne Perry said...

Great info on podcasting! I'll link to this article from my blog http://onlinepromotionmadeeasy.blogspot.com