My guest in Kit’s Library today is author JANE RISDON, with an insightful and interesting article on one way to reach out to readers, one well worth considering.
Podcasts: a revolution in the way we get up close with our readers.
Kit, thanks so much for having me on your blog. I am thrilled to be here.
It’s turning out to be one heck of a year, 2020, what with Covid-19 keeping us all prisoners in our own homes and counties. For some it has been devastating, not just because of the health of loved ones or themselves, but financially as well.
With so many businesses finding it impossible to operate I am glad I am not in the international music business any longer. I cannot imagine how musicians, management, and touring agents, even actors and all the related skilled support people are surviving.
There is only so much you can achieve via the internet. Eventually, fans need to see their favourite performers up close. The experience of a live show featuring a band or singer is so special and each show unique, I doubt the internet can recreate that, however wonderful the recorded performances are. It makes me feel so sad. I fear so many skills will be lost forever such as sound-engineers, set builders, and lighting specialists.
I’ve really enjoyed watching the various podcasts from performers and the up close and personal chats they have with their fans, but there is no getting away from it, live performances are the key to success and of course, for most musicians, their most lucrative source of revenue.
I spent many hours as an artist manager promoting musicians, songwriters, and record producers, as well as placing their material on to movie and television soundtracks – even placing music on in-flight programming on international long-haul flights for airlines, and if we’d had access to the internet in the way we have now, I can only imagine how much more successful everyone would have become. But the downside is the live part. Artists need to perform live to hone their craft, to try out new material and to get pleasure from playing – the main reason they are musicians is because of their love of music and performing; the buzz.
Downloads have been a tricky topic and the music business almost collapsed because of the millions of tracks downloaded free – how does one earn if everything is free? Record companies cannot survive if they cannot make money from sales, music publishers cannot make money from broadcast (use) and the musician/writers cannot earn any royalties. The solution for many has been touring, touring, touring. Merchandise and ticket sales out-weigh income from recording sales. It is a sad situation. Now touring has been stopped, and no-one knows for how long. The arts are suffering.
We writers are also feeling it. Gone are the book tours, the meeting and greeting of fans; that special something readers give back to the writer when interacting with them in person. But this is where the internet’s awe-inspiring technology might save us. We authors can come into your sitting-rooms from anywhere across the globe to interact with you, and anyone can tune in to chat with us about our books, writing, and lives, to hear us read extracts and discuss our careers.
We can chat in real time to our readers and fans. This is the upside for us and in a way, this may be our saving grace. Familiarity may well sell books. The podcasts will be there forever I guess and can be accessed again and again. I think this will help to sell books, possibly just as listening to a favourite singer in a band chat about their material, and to hear sample tracks being played, but it is not quite the same with music, I find.
I’ve spent the past eighteen months giving interviews, live and recorded, for internet radio and book groups, and I have found it to be such fun and a great way to get into places (homes) where I might never have found access. I listen to podcasts too, and I find them so interesting and inspiring as an author and as a reader. Authors don’t really need to be in person, live in front of their readers and potential readers physically, in the same way a performer must be. Our product has lurked in libraries and bookstores since the first opened way back when, and the readers found us there. Now they can find us again, only now they have a more personal experience of the writers they follow and the books they love all from the comfort of their own homes.
Record stores suffered during the recent music revolution, CD sales fell through the floor and even though vinyl is making a come-back, it is hard to see who is going to benefit in the end. Super-star acts will continue to make truck-loads of money, often reissuing material, repackaged – like publishers and authors re-package and re-publish books – but the music business (record companies and publishers) needs real income to survive, to pay advances and to push an act out on the road. Airplay alone cannot do it, YouTube can up to a point, but eventually musicians need or want to perform to live audiences and the costs involved in putting a band on the road might prohibit touring ever again. I imagine only the mega successful bands might manage it and perhaps fans will be able to afford the tickets and merchandise which will pay for everything, but the independent bands and songwriters may find themselves unable to perform live, and the venues will all have gone because of lockdown and social distancing. I hope not, but unless there is another revolution in the business, I’m not hopeful.
Authors can be anywhere to ply their trade and products. One does not need to travel all over the country/world to sell books. We are brilliantly placed to arrive in any country, state, county, or town, whenever we want and at no cost or effort, directly from the comfort of our own homes and offices. There isn’t any need for a huge expensive operation to get us on the road. The internet and a computer can do it all for us. This has been a revolution and has given so many of us a platform, a presence, and the exposure we might never have had access to.
Not all authors need a traditional publisher – these companies are suffering like record companies in a way – because anyone can get their books to a huge readership these days, and having a large company involved is not necessary any longer. One only needs to look at the success of indie authors such as Nicola May, to see this. It is great chatting to readers in person and they enjoy it I know from what I hear from them, but we can do this face to face in an intimate setting, where the reader doesn’t need to put any effort into being with you. We are lucky. I think we need to embrace podcasts, giving access to an author in a close up and personal way, where we can make new fans and friends of those we ‘meet,’ and chat with.
I know that I am enthused about buying an author’s book(s) after listening to them, asking them questions, and enjoying them read from their books. The podcast is a great selling tool and I am determined to get to grips with it. Meantime, I have a blast appearing as a guest on various internet radio shows and book groups, nattering about everything under the sun as well as my writing. I have met some fab people and made some great friends along the way.
I hope those of you who write will consider using the internet to bring yourselves into your readers’ living rooms and use your personality to help sell your books, and I hope readers will embrace author podcasts too. I see it a win, win situation for us all. Sadly, I fear for the music industry still.
Bio: Jane Risdon
Jane Risdon is the co-author of Only One Woman with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and Undercover: Crime Shorts (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies and writing for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February 2020 Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradion.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.
Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.
MYVLF.com – Watch my video interview in Theatre
(Listen to my Podcast for Undercover: Crime Shorts)
(Listen to my Podcast for Only One Woman)
If you’d like to write a Guest Post for Kit Domino’s World, be it on Loving Life or any topic concerning writing, books, reading, blog tours or book releases for Kit’s Library, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.