Podcasting: A New Publicity Tool for Writers By Charles Hodgson

A few weeks ago I noticed an article in WritersWeekly by Jimmy Moore in which he talked about how blogging was helping him build a market for his book. The piece rang a bell for me because it closely parallels my experience with podcasting. The American Oxford Dictionary declared “podcast” to be its word of the year for 2005. In a little over a year, the technology went from non-existent to hosting thousands of shows (National Public Radio alone puts out 234 podcasts).

I bought my kids iPods last spring to reward them for a great school year. This prompted me to think about the iPod phenomenon, podcasting and what it might be able to do for me as an author. It didn’t take long for the light to go on. Here is a technology that can make people feel like they know you more intimately than even your writing can. Although it’s called podcasting, listeners don’t actually need an iPod. What’s more, podcasting relies on a technology called RSS – standing for Real Simple Syndication – the upshot being that listeners don’t have to keep coming back to your website to get your latest missive, it is delivered directly to their computer (or even their iPod) each time you post new material. I thought that someone who decides they liked hearing my voice on a regular basis will feel like they know me and may be far more likely to buy my book.

I figured this out late on a Thursday afternoon and, by Friday evening when I went out to dinner, I was already a podcaster. My strategy was to produce a short show every day, closely aligned to the genre of my book (but not using the book’s content directly). There are other ways to do it, of course. A fair number of writers who haven