Audio vs. Video Podcasts for Authors

This Age of Independence offers the author unlimted innovations to interact with their readers. And among the most innovative is the podcast.

I’m considering using podcasts for the release of my next novel, The Orphans of the Creek. Maybe I could read from the first few chapters in easy-to-digest chunks, leaving cliffhangers so my readers will download the next segment.

I know…it’s been done before. But not by me!

The question would be whether to go with just audio or create a YouTube channel with a reading on video. I’m leaning more towards audio; one can close their eyes and listen rather than stare at my mug as I warble through my work!

But a video podcast could also be presented as a narrative enhanced with still imagery that compliment the material being read. A live reading before an audience captured on video might prove entertaining as well, especially if poetry is your thing.

So I’m interested in your feedback here. If you’re a reader, what kind of podcast would you prefer?

And writers: same question, different perspective.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Author Richard S. Todd’s Free Self-Publishing Speaking Series!

Do you belong to a writers’ group in the GTA? Wondering how to navigate the perilous path of self-publishing?

I’ve been there. And I’ve learned a lot. Let me share my experiences with you and your group as part of my Self-Publishing Speaking Series. The seminar is free but the information is gold.

I’ve spoken before writers’ groups all over the GTA, including Markham, Richmond Hill, Barrie, King City, and Bradford West Gwillimbury (read just a couple of testimonials here). You’ll enjoy a humorous, insightful presentation based on real-world experience. And when it’s over you’ll be armed with the wisdom and knowledge you’ll need to make sound buying decisions and avoid the scams designed to exploit your dreams.

You’ll also be treated to readings from my work to break up all the serious business stuff!

Click here to learn more and find out how I can help you. Because it’s your money. Keep as much of it as you can.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Direct Marketing for Authors – A Good Investment?

There’s a highly profitable industry out there that not very people are aware of: customer acquisition through direct marketing. In simpler terms: list rentals.

You know those unsolicited pieces of advertising that appear in your mailbox addressed to you personally? Chances are, you’re on a mailing list somewhere that the advertiser rented to send you his mail piece.

For well-known brands this is a great way to gain new customers. But what about the ambitious author looking for an innovative way to reach potential new readers? How cost-effective is it for them?

The first challenge would be finding a list that targets potential readers. Book club membership lists are great fits. Or you could try a publicly-sourced list that allows you to target your audience by age, location, dwelling type, etc so you can reach the right people. For example, if you’ve written a book about home renovations, you might want to avoid mailing out to apartment buildings.

Next you have to merge the data to remove all duplicate names and addresses within a list and with any other lists you procure. Then you have to design and print your offer, stuff it into envelopes, pay for postage and mail them away. And because many list suppliers won’t release their data to the end-user (insisting that you retain a bonded 3rd-party lettershop), you have to pay someone else to do the work.

Direct mail campaigns can add up to thousands of dollars. How many books would you have to sell to recoup your investment? And how many of your mail pieces will wind up in blue boxes?

The same goes for email campaigns, which are always up against spam filters and junk mail detectors. A quick message through SMS marketing might be effective, especially if you can use GPS technology to detect when the cell phone user is walking by a bookstore!

But again…what about the cost?

I’ve been a long proponent of Social Media marketing. It’s quick, cost-effective, and a great way to meet lots of people all over the world. And you actually interact with them too. I still believe that it’s the way to go for authors, whether traditionally or self-published.

By the way – social media marketing campaigns are easy enough to execute yourself. Never do it through any third-party, even your self-publishing company (if you self-published your work). They’re overpriced – grossly overpriced.

So hats off to the bold author who invests in other forms of direct marketing. As long as they don’t have to sell said hat (and other apparel) to eat.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

How to Inject your Friends into Characters (and Hopefully Keep Them)

Sometimes, in reference to a character in one of my books, a reader will ask, “Was that about you?”

It’s an interesting question but with an unclear answer.

Sure, there’s a little bit in me in all of my characters. I think most writers could make the same claim. And why is this? Because as writers we know enough about ourselves to share our best and worst traits in our work. It’s also because as writers we never go out.

The challenge, however, is to be able to take on different personas to keep characters as individual as humanly possible. This goes for everything from back story to physical appearance to, most importantly, dialogue. Unless you’re of multiple personalities, you run the risk of giving your characters the same voice.

Last time we discussed taking acting classes to overcome this. Another method would be to augment your characters with the personalities of people you know.

I’ve met a lot of people over the years, some of which are so bizarre that no writer could ever dream them up! But a writer could be inspired by their speech patterns, their dress, or those other peculiar little nuances that make them so unforgettable. Even their seemingly harmless habits can help you.

For example, you must know someone who has an obsession with their handheld device. Give that trait to a character and build on it. What does their obsession tell you about them? That they’re easily distracted? Inattentive? Insecure? Paranoid? And then think about what may have caused them to have that trait. Perhaps they had a negative family life. Or they’re doing something they’re not supposed to be doing. Or they’ve lost people close to them so they’re afraid to lose touch.

Voila! You’re on your way to a well-rounded character.

If know me personally, chances are a little piece of you has been or will be the inspiration for a character in my universe. Take it as a compliment; you’ve left an indelible impression on me.

Even if the character turns out to be evil, I’m using you as a blueprint for their humanity, not for their deeds.

But to protect our friendship, I think I’ll keep the truth to myself. People in my fictional universe are usually destined towards grisly ends. It’s nothing personal. If I like you I might even kill the character with a little more love than usual.

Anything for friendship.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.