It’s not easy to make a steady income from writing, but it helps if you evolve and improve your skills as you go, keeping abreast of the latest trends. Something that has risen to prominence in recent years is podcasting. For the uninitiated, a podcast is an episodic series of spoken word digital files hosted on a website in either audio or video format, from which they are downloaded or streamed by the consumer. Even the most cursory search will uncover popular examples focusing on every sphere of human existence, with a growing number now specializing in fiction. The one thing each of these podcasts have in common that they all require a steady stream of material in order to function efficiently and maintain an audience.
This is where the savvy writer comes in.
Some would-be contributors shy away from submitting to podcasts in the mistaken belief that they don’t possess the required skill-set. The truth is, it isn’t much different from submitting to a traditional market. While many podcasts wouldn’t be adverse to considering audio files sent in by potential contributors, the vast majority employ professional narrators to do the heavy lifting. All they need from you is a script. They obviously prefer these to be well-polished and error free and, like traditional markets, some have specific guidelines which need to be adhered to and more emphasis may be placed on the word count due to time restrictions. Should you need to calculate your story’s approximate running time in minutes, simply take the total word count and divide it by 100, which is the average speaking rate for someone in their native tongue.
Bear in mind you are writing for a narrator, so try to keep the writing smooth and concise, moving the story along at a steady pace, and avoiding complex, overlong sentences and uncommon words or phrases. It’s a good idea to read your work out loud to help identify potential stumbling blocks.
When you’re ready to submit, here are some markets to get you started.
The No Sleep Podcast
Seeks horror stories. Horror is a diverse genre, and this is open to interpretation, but the main focus of a story should be to, “scare or unsettle.” The guidelines state that stories should be written in first-person. While there are occasional exceptions to this rule, first-person tends to work best for the show. Pays $100 for short stories up to 2,499 words and $125 for regular stories.
Specializes in horror and dark fiction, describing itself as a genre magazine in audio form. They say, “Our audience can’t skim past the boring parts, so stories with beautiful language at the expense of plot don’t translate well. We’re looking for fiction with strong pacing, well-defined characters, engaging dialogue, and clear action.” They pay the pro rate of $.08/word for original fiction, $100 flat rate for short story reprints, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints (stories below 1500 words).
Escape Artists, the people behind Pseudopod, also run a companion podcast dedicated to fantasy fiction and all its sub-genres, “From magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between.” Both titles pay $.08/word for original fiction up to 6000 words, $100 for reprints, and $20 for flash fiction.
Chris Saunders, who writes fiction as C.M. Saunders, is a freelance journalist and editor from South Wales. His work has appeared in over 80 magazines, ezines and anthologies worldwide, and he has held desk positions at several leading UK magazines ranging from Staff Writer to Associate Editor. His books have been both traditionally and independently published, the latest release being a collection of short fiction entitled “X: Omnibus.”
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