Those who read my last blog post, How to Kick-Start Your Writing Day, about establishing a morning Power Hour routine, will recall I talked about spending 20 minutes of that hour listening to podcasts in order to get inspired and motivated to work. This got me thinking about the way people prefer to connect these days, and how useful audio could be to my own business as well as its benefits for indie author brands.
Benefits for listeners
Benefits for indie authors
My audio setup experience
Last week I decided to dip my toes into the audio pond - well, dived right in actually - by purchasing my own equipment. And I did so with a few ideas in mind as to how audio might work for me:
Microphone – Fifine Studio USB Condenser Microphone Plug and Play £21.99 Amazon
Adjustable Stand – Aceletronic Desktop Suspension Arm Stand £10.50 Amazon
Filter – WANWAY MU-7 Microphone Swivel Pop Filter £3.47 Amazon
Audacity – Audio production & recording software, free download
Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 – Video creation software (screencasts), free download
It’s early days in the process but so far setting up the equipment has been straightforward and the basics of the software relatively easy to pick up. The microphone and stand arrived within 2 days of ordering and with only a little wrangling were soon attached discreetly to the edge of my office desk. The microphone doesn’t fit easily into the stand – I’m either missing a connection piece or the mic is simply the wrong fit for this stand; as a result – and due to my stubborn persistence! – I now have a small split in the stand’s plastic mic holder. But it is at least in there snugly and it works. If you decide to purchase your own audio equipment, you might want to bear this in mind as you shop. The stand, though, is now ideally placed to be pulled towards me and into position when needed, but also folds back nicely against the wall when not in use.
I’m still currently waiting for the Pop Filter to be delivered, and this is definitely needed as there is obvious distortion when talking quite close to the mic. The further away from the mic I get, however, the more it sounds as if I’m in a very long tunnel. So there’s still some work to be done yet on experimenting with sound levels, but all in all the sound quality is better than expected, and I’d say it is possible to be set up and using the equipment within only a few hours.
I use Windows 10 on my PC and I'm pleased to report all software downloaded without issue, and the plug and play mic installed instantly. My website is published via Weebly, which allows me two options for adding audio – either to pay an extra monthly fee to embed audio and HD video files on it, or to embed them via YouTube which is free of charge. Again, it’s early days in the process, so I will need to assess exactly what purpose audio will serve on my website and potentially experiment with both methods (paid and YouTube) to judge what the most effective method is. I’ll be doing this over the coming weeks and months, and will post a follow-up blog to this effect in due course.
As with everything, audio may or may not be for you. Perhaps you prefer video (easy to create and upload; you want people to see your face), or maybe you’re still happier with the written word. What’s most important is what feels right for you – there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, and there’s nothing to stop you getting creative in your methods either. Or, do as I do, test the waters: give audio a go and see how you feel about it. If it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted too much time or money (I spent less than £40 in total). But if it does work out, you’ve found a quick and easy way to reach out to your audience.
If you get to like (or at least withstand) the sound of your own voice, then podcasts open up a myriad of opportunities for your indie author business: think interviews with your fellow author colleagues, with editors, with book designers; or a chat about your last book, your upcoming one, other authors you admire and books you love... The list is endless, but all offer the opportunity for your reading audience and/or your writing colleagues to get to know you a little better and make that all-important connection.
I’m not going to lie, my biggest issue now is getting over the sound of my own voice! It’s become apparent that the voice in my head is not the one that comes out of my mouth (heck, I’m older and more Welsh than I thought I was!). But for now at least I’ll persevere because I know a) it could allow me to help more indie authors, b) it adds new skills to my repertoire, and c) I might finally accept that I’m Welsh and getting old! If you too decide to take the plunge, let me know how you get on. Or, if you’re an indie author who is already way ahead of me on this one and you have some useful tips and advice, please don’t hesitate to share them in the Comments below.