Podcasts have been “the next big thing” for a while now. Since its first rise into the public eye in the late 2000s, people have been waiting for the podcasting industry to spike and form its own massive tech bubble. We saw it with blogs. We’ve seen it with social media. With so many platforms and new listening technologies available and with people carrying their smartphones with them every day, why not put it all together in one new platform?
As of my writing this in early 2021, podcasts remain on the shelf. They present an easy entertainment option for listeners and an easy production for anyone interested in starting one, but they haven’t become completely mainstream. Not everyone listens to them, and fewer start their own.
But they definitely keep their share of the market. According to 2020 statistics by Musicoomph.com,
55% of the US population has listened to a podcast,
24% listens to podcasts every week, and
These listeners subscribe to an average of 6 shows each.
What does that mean for authors who are interested in podcast appearances and marketing?
If you’re working out your appearances and promotional presence, podcast interviews can give you a boost--and possibly new fans. But not every podcast will. Because of the perpetual sideline status given to podcasting, lesser-known and newer podcasts struggle to get any listeners or attention. Established podcasts and podcasts tied to large bases will come with an interested and active set of listeners who may well choose to check you out as an author.
Some writers like to take things a step further and start podcasts themselves. Authors like Joanna Penn, K. M. Weiland, and the hosts of Story Studio decided to step into the podcasting ring themselves to boost their own standing in the writing and publishing world. These writers conduct interviews with other authors and discuss strategies and tips they’ve learned along the way.
While this strategy does involve an extra level of commitment and regular chunks of time blocked out of your schedule, it will establish you as more of an authority in the self-publishing field and give you more credibility among readers--and credibility is one thing independent authors lack far too often.
You can set up a podcast easily on many platforms, and no special tools or training are needed for success.
If you're curious, you could set one up in an hour and record a test session before your next meal. It's easy. It's approachable. That makes podcasting an easy grab for anyone who wants to dabble in it with little risk involved.
As the host of a podcast, you could make more contacts in your genre and in the writing world as a whole, and you could establish a more confident future for your books. But if you’d rather ask around and snag an interview or two on more established podcasts, that’s also a great way to go. Many podcasts are always on the lookout for new guests and will be excited to showcase you and your books.
The era of podcasts is far from over, and it’s not too late to get involved. What are your thoughts on podcasts for authors? Have you been featured or are you setting one up yourself? Please let us know in the comment section below or join my Facebook group for self-published fiction authors for further discussion.