How to Turn Your Book Into a Podcast

Turn book into a podcast

You’ve heard of using a podcast to promote your book.

You’ve heard of turning a podcast into a book.

But have you ever considered turning your book into a podcast? While it’s not a new idea, podcasting your book is certainly one of the most unique. And as podcasts become more popular, we’ll see more books turn into podcast series. So, if you’re an author, why not add a podcaster to your credits?

Below, let’s explore the what, the why, and the how of podcasting your book.

Here’s a list of 12 questions to ask when converting your book into a podcast.

What’s a Podcast?

Let’s start from the beginning. What is a podcast?

A podcast is an on-demand audio broadcast. It’s similar to the episodic old-school radio shows from your grandmother’s childhood. But instead of huddling around a radio speaker for a daily or weekly installment, people can download podcast episodes to their computer, smartphone, or tablet. Once downloaded, podcasts can be listened to in the car, at the gym, and on a neighborhood jog. Podcast listeners can use a tool like iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to shows and will get notified when each new episode is released.

Why Podcast Your Book?

You may be thinking, Yeah, yeah, I know what a podcast is. But why should I turn my book into one? Is podcasting even popular?

While podcasting is a relatively new medium, it’s not as obscure as you may think.

Here’s an interesting (if not sad) tidbit about the American public: As Jay Baer illustrates in this post about startling podcast statistics, more Americans are familiar with the term “podcast” than they are with the name of the current vice president.

For even more proof of podcast popularity, check out podcast authors like Scott Sigler and We’re Alive.

Over a quarter of Americans listen to podcasts every month, and that number is steadily growing. Other research indicates that the majority of podcast listeners download an average of seven shows each week.

By podcasting your book, you increase exposure for your work and your name.

You’re able to build a fanbase that can turn into loyal readers and listeners for your future works.

Plus, podcasts offer another stream of revenue. While the episode itself is free, you can find sponsors and then insert ads into the podcast itself to make a few coins for yourself. And in the beginning, it may be just that— coins. But as you grow your community, you’ll be able to command more money from your sponsors.

Another benefit of turning your book into a podcast is the creative aspect of it. You’re taking one form of art and reimagining it into a different format. Podcasts offer an inventive way to story tell. If you’re always up for a new challenge, why not explore podcasting?

Is My Book Eligible for Podcasting?

Not all books can be turned into podcasts.

If your book was published by a traditional publisher, it (not you) owns the rights to the book. You’ll need to get the publisher’s permission before turning your book into a podcast. If you self-published your book, you’re free and clear to create your own podcast.

How are Podcasts Different From Audiobooks?

Turn book into a podcast

What’s the difference between podcasts and audiobooks? After all, both are audio versions of your book.

While both can be streamed online or downloaded to listen to offline, there are a lot of differences between podcasts and audiobooks.

The principal differences are as follows:

Audiobooks must be paid for upfront. Podcasts are free of charge (and supported by advertisers who pay for the content).

Audiobooks are notoriously difficult to control. It’s hard to figure out where to pause. It’s easy to lose your place. The whole experience can be maddening.

With podcasts, episodes are usually short (usually under an hour) and are designed to be listened to within one session. There’s no hemming and hawing over where to pause. This also means that podcast episodes are easy to consume.

Podcasts are episodic while audiobooks are one time events. It’s easier to build a community slowly over time with podcasts. Listeners tune in loyally over the course of several weeks or months to listen to your installments. Then, once they’re finished with one book, you can introduce them to the next one. You won’t ask your listeners to wait for months or even years between books. Because you’re feeding them a steady stream of content, there won’t be a gap (for them to forget about you).

How to Turn Your Book Into a Podcast

Let’s discuss exactly how to turn a book into a podcast.

Start With Action

The average podcast listener wants to dive directly into action. They don’t want a slow burn. You’ve got approximately 60 seconds to hook your listener. You’re not going to do that with a Once Upon a Time set up. You’ll do that by starting your podcast series with a gripping scene. By starting off strong, you’ll have the opportunity in the upcoming episodes to give the back story.

You may need to rearrange your book to create a more exciting and balanced podcast episode.

Remember to pace yourself. Don’t just frontload heart-pounding action into the first part of your podcast and then drag your feet with endless exposition.  

Decide How Many Episodes to Create

You have options. While you can create a different podcast episode for each chapter of your book, it may make better sense to start and end an episode with a specific scene. Instead of dividing your podcast by chapters, focus on creating episodes with similar run times.

Be sure to come up with a podcasting schedule that you can abide by. Consistency is the heart of the game. If you can only post twice a month, stick with that schedule. Keep your audience coming back by setting expectations on when you’ll post.

Find the Talent

You can either opt to read your own book for the podcast series or you can hire someone else to do it. Just like with audiobooks, you can work with a professional voice actor.

Also, consider if you’d like to dramatize your podcast. In other words, would you like different actors to represent different characters in your book? Would you like soundscapes and sound effects? Would you like music lightly playing in the background? You may need to hire a producer to take care of those sound elements if you’re not comfortable doing it on your own.

I should note that you don’t necessarily need to add any special effects to tell a riveting story via podcast.

Start With an Introductory Podcast

When creating a podcast series for your book, it’s important to start the first episode with an introduction. Introduce yourself as the author. Then, lightly summarize your story. Of course, you don’t want to give away the ending or any of the really juicy parts; however, you do want to give just enough to hook the listener.

Also, in the introduction of each subsequent podcast episode, it’s a good idea to discuss what happened in the previous episode. This allows the podcast listener to catch back up with the story without trying to remember what happened in previous episodes, especially if it’s been a week since they’ve last tuned in.

Record the Podcast

Turn book into a podcast

Now comes the fun part. It’s time to record the podcast. While you could record the podcast a little at a time, it’s advisable to take a few days to record the entire podcast series. Why? Because you’ll inevitably get distracted by life and fall behind on your podcast recordings. So, by recording them all at one time, you’ll get it done. You’ll then have the entire series ready to post, even if you’re only posting one episode per week.

Remember when recording the podcast episodes to take a few minutes in the end to preview the upcoming episode. This builds excitement and anticipation for the next installment. Who doesn’t love a cliffhanger?

Additional Resources

Before you go, check out these related posts:

Don’t forget to download this list of 12 questions to ask when turning your book into a podcast.

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