Several weeks ago, I started a series on podcasting for self-publishing authors. For more explanations of why podcasting is an important tool for authors, check out last week’s post. I’m back this week to talk about the nitty-gritty of recording and editing those podcasts!
Generally speaking, there are very few requirements for putting together a fairly decent podcast, and most of the platforms are free. (Or, they only start charging fees after a certain number of podcasts have been uploaded. I’ll touch on distribution platforms and their fees in my next post on the subject.)
The recipe is simple, the ingredients few:
- something with a decent microphone
- a robust Internet connection for conducting interviews without lag
- a software program to allow Voice Over IP (VOIP) conversations for the same
- a software program to record and edit your audio
That’s really, truly, about it. And if you’re not interested in conducting interviews as a part of your podcast (although I highly recommend it as a way to alert other authors to your work, and to make your podcast feel more collaborative), then you don’t even need to worry so much about the Internet connectivity or the VOIP software. If you do go that direction, and you don’t already have Internet at home, you can probably reserve a study room at your local public library and use their wifi. (Some libraries even have recording studios you can book for free!) I recommend using something like Skype or Google Hangouts for the VOIP software, as they’re both free, and there are other, higher-quality services which you can pay for if it becomes important to your podcast.
The microphone is also negotiable! I have friends who have invested in high-quality standalone mics that plug into their laptops, but I’ve always found that my laptop microphone is decent enough at recording that I don’t need to worry about quality. When I’m traveling, I use a little handheld, battery-operated digital recorder that I bought used on Amazon a decade ago for other reasons (mainly, I had my best writing ideas while driving, and I kept forgetting them by the time I got to my destination, so I picked up the recorder to make recording them easy; I don’t recommend writing while driving). But really, the simplest option is usually the best, and the option you’re most familiar with.
The software you use for recording and editing is by far the most important component of this recipe! As with the VOIP software, there are lots of great options which you can download and use for free; I recommend Audacity, which is robust enough to do all the things you’ll need it for, and used by enough other people that there are lots of “how-to” videos online to explain the more obscure details, like how to reduce background noise and merge two audio files together. Audacity is free, and while it’s not pretty, it gets the job done if you take some time to familiarize yourself with how it looks and feels. I don’t recommend downloading programs from the Internet if you’re not one hundred percent sure you’re getting the right thing and from a reliable, virus-free source, so chat with your local Technology Specialist Librarian or other tech-savvy individual before choosing a program and a source to download it from. If you’re just not comfortable with downloads at all, take a look at the audio editing software programs available for purchase through Amazon; there are lots of options, some of them affordable.
For those of you already deep into the podcasting process, what do you use to record your podcasts?
You are not alone. ♣︎
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.