by Camela Thompson
I find it amusing that I declared it was time for a break and then proceed to take on ambitious projects. Maybe it's the perfectionistic tendencies or perhaps it's the Protestant work ethic pounded into my head at a young age (my real theory is that is has a lot to do with our current culture in the US, but that's a post for a different blog). This compulsion is definitely borderline dysfunctional, but it sure is productive. With just over two weeks until the launch of book two in The Hunted series, it isn't time to slow down.
Those of us who are authors and have done research know that the chance of being discovered through a blog is slim. That isn't to say I'm not grateful for anyone who takes the time to read this post. I'm only saying I don't expect to be the next Julie & Julia phenomenon (seriously though, I wouldn't turn the opportunity down). In an effort to reach out to more people, my marketing guru suggested a vlog (video blog usually hosted on YouTube). The chances of being discovered through a vlog are also slim, but I love geeking out on stuff and people seem to find that entertaining. I reached out to Z.D. Gladstone to see if she would be up for cohosting. She graciously accepted with the condition that we only use the audio as she is a little camera shy.
Fair enough. We could do a podcast.
Wait. What do I know about podcasts?
That all changed pretty quickly, although there is still so much to learn. Z.D. and I brainstormed on a theme, tag line, and topics (Shadows on the Sound: stories, superstitions, and mythologies that withstand the test of time). I reached out to some author friends and we had guests who also like to geek out on similar topics. With the self-imposed hiatus on lucrative employment, it was important to find technology options that were low cost. Equally important was the need for the interface to be easy to understand and free to access for the people I ask to join me.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options.
From your Google+ account, click on the Home button and select Hangouts.
From there, click on the Hangouts On Air option in the center. Once the Hangout is scheduled
I find people can get confused. It helps to send instructions on how to access events on their
Google+ page and send invite links once it begins.
The easiest for us was Google Hangouts on Air. "She said Z.D. was camera shy!" you say. You're right, but we discovered that the video feed helps us figure out who is talking when. It cuts down on awkward pauses and talking over one another. As an aside, I find it very important to shut off all other programs running on my laptop and ask the husband to go for a run so he isn't taxing our Internet bandwidth.
While the Hangout is recording, it feeds to my YouTube channel as a private video. When you first set up Google Hangouts on Air and associate them with your YouTube account, you can select the download settings to YouTube. Those of you who are comfortable with broadcasting a live recording can stop here. Those of you who want a vlog, I would recommend downloading the video as private, editing it, and then uploading the edited version as public.
Right now I am using Audacity, a free download, to edit my audio. Unfortunately, the library used to convert MP4 (video) files into audio is not working. I've tried uninstalling everything, just reinstalling the package, moving the package, and remapping the package through the preferences. None of these things work, but the software is free so I'm not going to throw stones. As a work around, I use the iMovie program that came with my Mac to do some initial editing, transfer it to an AU audio file, and then import it into Audacity for final editing. Once the final file is ready to be converted into an MP3, I upload it to an audio hosting provider.
Just about every website provider will allow you to upload audio files, and some of them even set you up with an XML (RSS feed) file for iTunes. This XML file is my final frontier before I start focusing on improving audio and bandwidth during recording. I can tell you that I prefer to host through a provider meant for hosting large files. If I ever get a substantial audience, the number of downloads can be taxing on my website provider. Embedding from a third party meant to handle a higher volume made sense. I chose SoundCloud because it's affordable (free for the number of audio files I post per month) and it's easy to embed the uploaded audio in my website. This option is a little hidden in the SoundCloud interface. After I upload my file to SoundCloud, I have the option to share. At the top of the sharing popup, there are tabs - one of these is Embed.
The somewhat hidden Embed option is highlighted orange.
This is on the Share pop up on SoundCloud.
For now I'm posting the podcast exclusively through this website using a blog template and embedded audio. This week I'm throwing myself into RSS feed XML files and attempting to submit to iTunes.
Does it sound easy? Well. I'd be lying if I didn't admit it took a long time to figure all of those steps out. There was also substantial fist shaking at the computer and some swear words. Now that it's done, it isn't so bad.
If you're interested in hearing more about any of these steps or have suggestions for better audio or tech providers, please let me know! I'd love to hear comments and suggestions. We'd also love to connect with more people who are passionate about the paranormal and all of the myths and stories that come with them. Let us know what you think!
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.