I adore podcasts. Love them. Can’t get enough of them. Next to books, they are my favorite form of entertainment. What is a podcast you ask? One of the greatest things to be invented since chocolate chip cookies, I respond. But, if you want the boring definition, Wikipedia defines podcasts as “a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.” Oh, yes, that was helpful. Let me try. Basically, podcasts are audio (or video) broadcasts that have been converted to an MP3 file or other audio file format for playback in a digital music player and/or your computer.
There are great podcasts on every topic you could imagine. I gravitate toward podcasts on writing. Whenever I have a long drive (or some crazy urge to exercise grips me - trust me, that is rare), I load up my iPod with several podcasts to pass the time.
My favorite podcasts on writing are:
I Should Be Writing - Mur Lafferty, author, podcast pioneer and producer and general director of Escape Pod, puts out a regular podcast on the craft of writing. It is excellent. No, it is better than excellent. No, it is better than better than excellent. Each episode is about an hour and typically includes interviews with authors, agents, and editors as well as a feedback section. She has recently started a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" segment where she and another author provide feedback (supportive and harsh) in response to listener questions. This is a fantastic resource. If you aren't a follower, stop reading this, go to the website, and start listening (and then come back and comment, please :)). You will be happy you did.
Writing Excuses - Authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler put out weekly fifteen minute podcasts (their motto is "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart") focused on specific topics relating to writing. This is a great resource. They have covered everything from conference etiquette to the use of violence in telling a story. With humor and intelligence, they deliver three rich view points on the various aspects of writing. I run through these podcasts faster than a bag of Cheetos (and if you know me, I LOVE my Cheetos).
Southern Voices - Southern Voices, a four-day conference sponsored by the Hoover Public Library exploring Southern culture in contemporary arts, make available the video and audio podcasts of the panels and presentations from the writers, editors, musicians, performers and public figures featured at the conference.
Odyssey - The Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop podcast features excerpts from lectures by writers, editors and agents during the Odyssey Writing Workshop. New podcasts are updated every month or two.
If you are a fan of audio books, many authors are beginning to serialize their novels, making parts (and sometimes even the entire work) available in podcast format. New York Times bestselling author Scott Sigler gained so many followers for his novels through making them available on the internet as podcasts, he caught the attention of his publisher and the rest is history.
The potential use for podcasts is limitless. They are great tools for education, marketing and entertainment. I would love to hear what everyone’s experience with podcasts has been. If you have a favorite, please share!