Monday, November 06, 2006

Interview - Mur Lafferty

When I decided to add podcasters to my list of potential interviewees, I also knew that an interview with the "Grande Dame of Podcasting", Mur Lafferty, would be a good one. If you haven't been over to I Should be Writing or Geek Fu Action Grip, then I suggest you head over there immediately after reading this interview.

How did you get started at podcasting? And what were your reasons for starting your I Should Be Writing podcast?

Two years ago (Oct. '04) I learned about podcasting and wanted to give it a try. I had tried to get essays published through traditional means (magazine, NPR, etc) but no one was biting, so I decided to publish them via podcast. I started Geek Fu Action Grip then, my outlet for my essays and other geeky talk.

I started I Should Be Writing in August 05 when I realized that I wanted give inspiration to other wanna-be writers - and have an outlet for me to talk about writing to work out my own issues. I essentially wanted to tell people that they can get rejected and still live, that they can have regular adult lives and still be writers.

Some writers are podcasting their stories these days. What advantages are there in having a story done as an audio podcast, and what are the disadvantages?

Podcasting is still considered very new, and that's both a positive and a negative to writers. A tiny percentage of writers are podcasting, which gives podcasting writers considerably less competition. Listeners are embracing the free audio-book-like stories and books, and most are enthusiastic. Disadvantages? Not many have presented themselves... I guess I'd say that some magazines might see the podcast of your story as already being published, but publishing online is becoming less of an issue as time goes on.

How So?

It used to be that putting something online was viewed as publishing. It was available for free, so why would someone then buy it? Then JohnScalzi wrote a novel on his blog, and Tor discovered it and bought it. Cory Doctorow released an entire novel for free on the Internet at the same time it was being published. Some publishers realize that if something's on someone's personal site, it's likely tens, maybe hundreds, rarely thousands of people have laid eyes on it, so it's still a good commodity to purchase.

How important is selecting the right music for audio books and podcasts?

For me it's less about the right music and more about the fact that many podcasters can't get the levels right - their music is WAY too loud and their voice is WAY too soft. There are so many outlets for podfriendly music (my favorite is that if you're patient you can find something that fits your work.

How big do you think podcasting will get over the next few years?

Well, look at how the Internet has grown since 1995. And how blogs have grown since 2000. Podcasting is growing quicker than both of those, and considering that computers, Internet access, ISPs, and audio equipment are cheaper than ever, the number of podcasters will continue to grow. Now if only we can convince the general population that they don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts, there will be no stopping us.

And what's in Mur's future? More cool stuff, I bet.

I'm about to release the second season of my serialized fiction, Heaven. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo in November. I have some comic book projects in the works to propose to publishers, and I will be starting my agent search soon. So a lot of potential coolness, but not a lot of definite... :)


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