podcasting a novel?

A couple of people have floated the idea that I should podcast one of my novels. Read it aloud, post a chapter a week, and see what happens.

Now, for starters, that scares the living daylights out of me. I don’t exactly have the best reading voice.

(My Patient Husband has an amazing voice. He used to be a lector at our church, and he always Proclaimed The World Of God with that “Wow, this is the way it should sound” kind of voice. Not booming or James Earl Jonesish, but rather, with heart and depth. People stop him after church to say they’ve heard him singing and invite him into the choir. You will note that I have never been invited either to lector or to sing.)

As I mentioned a few days ago, I do like reading my work aloud. This chain of thought started because I want to record my own book for my own listening. PM Griffin of Star Commandos fame does that with her books, and sometimes she’ll just pop in a tape (because she started this back in pre-computer days) and listen to one of her books while cleaning house.

The thing is, I don’t think I’d get an audience. I might try with Honest And For True, which you’ve heard about on this blog and which got shopped around by my ex-agent. I could still take that novel into the secular realm. I’m not sure. (I herad from one agent who asked for sweeping changes but might consider it again after I rearrange the plot.)

There’s another which is a coming-of-age story, again Christian fantasy but with more of a speculative element. A boy’s uncle is killed while practicing black magic, leaving his cousin mute. While he’s trying to figure all this out, he encounters a pair of creatures who are pulling out one of the threads God uses to hold the world together. There are demons, middle-schoolers, jinn, angels, and video games. The whole book is a fun ride and it’s enough of a page-turner that people might tune in for a serial.

I’m just…ugh. I don’t know. I’d have to speak. You know. Like to people. 

If you haven’t realized after reading my weblog for so long, I’m a terrible chicken.

So I’ll toss the idea out to you guys: if I were to engage in this kind of project, would you give it a listen? Or would you not? It’s fine to say no; I’d rather hear “no”  now than after I put any effort into it.



  1. Conrad Rice

    I would certainly listen. The story sounds like it would be very interesting, and the concept of what you’re doing, reading a chapter a week for an audience, is also quite intriguing.

  2. Illya

    I would listen to it — absolutely. So, this is a YES vote

  3. leasa

    Yes vote from me too! I can imagine the uncomfortable-ness of doing this. Worst case – people don’t tune in but you gave it a shot and add to your skills… BEST case – people DO tune in, LIKE it, and YOU find that you are good at it. Here’s a thought – what would you tell your kids to do if they had a challenge and didn’t know if the outcome would be a success? 🙂 Go for it! Good luck!

  4. Bunny

    I’ve actually been hoping you’d get into this. And I’d love to help spread the word for you to the people I give recommendations to as well as the other authors I talk to on a semi regular basis.

    If you get a chance, talk to Evo over at Podiobooks.com. He keeps a wonderful selection of audiobooks ranging from family friendly to “How the heck did he think of that?” horror.

    If you need ideas on how to promote it, I’d advise talking to Mur Lafferty, Rhonda Carpenter, Scott Sigler or J.C. Hutchins. They are great with online guidance and very easy to talk to.

    Hey if nothing else, you never know til you try. Darn it if I have to don pompoms and one of your cheerleaders I will!! 😀


  5. Julie D.

    Girl! As pod-mistress of Forgotten Classics I say yes, Yes, YES! For one thing, if you try it and don’t like it then you lose nothing. If you try it and like it (testifying now as a sistah who’s been there) then you’ve got not only a new outlet for creativity but a way to build buzz.

    You also find a whole new community. I would think that the podcasting community would embrace your books as sci-fi is predominant there. If you do it and like the results, you should look into Podiobook.com where Scott Sigler began reading his own books (now has books in print and has made the NY Times book list) and J.C. Hutchins premiered the Seven Sons trilogy (which I just read has a movie option just bought).

  6. Bunny

    I also forgot Phillipa Ballentine. She just got signed. 🙂

  7. Wendy

    Having read that story you described, I would say go for the podcast–definitely!

  8. cricketB

    Go for it. I’ll read / listen.

  9. Ivy

    Definitely go for it. If you’re planning to record it for yourself anyway, it’s not that much more effort to just put it out there. The reading is the bulk of the work.

    Bunny, shall we set her up a Facebook page for the book and assemble her street team? When she’s ready of course, and if she decides to do it.

  10. Julie D.

    You might want to chat with Natania Barron. She’s been podcasting a novel and writing about writing for a while.

  11. Julie D.

    Forgot to put the link:

  12. Jason Block

    Yes…and I will record the book if you want LOL

  13. Teresa

    I’d totally listen.

    Charging up my iPod right now…

  14. philangelus

    Uh-oh. You guys were supposed to reply, “No, there’s so much out there already and no one wants to hear you anyhow.” Thank you for the support — I’m surprised!

    Jason, I couldn’t ask anyone to do that amount of work. CricketB says it’s about 2 minutes per page reading. That’s about 400 minutes of reading. I’ll figure out that part if I do it.

    Leasa, it’s a good point about what I’d tell my kids. I’m thinking about it.

    1. cricketB

      For the record, the “2 min / page” was a very rough average for my first two attempts, and that’s for the final product, read at something between live-audience (slower) and “half-asleep, read the novel to the kid” speeds. Then you have the time spent proof-listening (can be done by a different person), and corrections (which hopefully become both fewer and faster with practice). Others may get very different numbers.

  15. tgz

    I would certainly do! I am just starting to get into podcasts, and would be delighted 🙂

  16. philangelus

    If I do this, keep in mind that it won’t happen for a while because I’ll need to get a better microphone (I just tested the one in the house; it does nothing) and figure out how to record it at all. Get the chapters recorded. Get it submitted to Podiobooks. Figure out all the podcast stuff. Etc.

    That’s even before the whole “publicize it” begins — thank you, Ivy.

    There’s lots to think about here. **worries**

  17. karen ^.,.^

    my vote is yes, you should do it.

    having said that, i must confess i am the one person left in the world who doesn’t own an ipod. maybe by the time you do it, i’ll have one. i’d certainly listen to your podcast.

  18. ivyreisner

    Karen, you don’t need an iPod to listen to podcasts. All you need is something that can play mp3 files. This includes a computer.

  19. Lane in PA

    I would listen, and I’ve never listened to a podcast before, so this would be a big step for a INFP like myself. 🙂

  20. Evo Terra

    You said:

    The thing is, I don’t think I’d get an audience.

    You have 19 posts — OK, 2 are your replies — here telling you that you should take the plunge. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Many of the titles — heck, MOST of the titles — on our site are put up by authors who don’t have nearly the kind of network you obviously do. So if your primary excuse is “no one may listen”, I can categorically tell you that you are very, very wrong. Just look!

    But you obviously care how it will sound. And for that, I commend you. Get a decent microphone. Spend lots of time getting your recording environment sounding great (try the closet, and I’m not kidding). Do dozens of trial runs, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Listen to *gobs* of stuff and see what sort of presentations you like to listen to.

    Then promote the heck out of it. 🙂

    1. philangelus

      Promotion is not my strong suit, sadly. But maybe the three things together (novel in print, novella to be released, podcasted novel) might all work with each other to promote each other.

      We do have a nice sized closet here… I bought a headset mic yesterday for proof of concept. I’m going to record some of my shorter pieces to see how it works.