When Publishers Podcast

Unbridled Books gets into the podcasting game, with interviews featuring Ed Falco and Lise Haines. I’ve listened to the Falco podcast and it makes the catastrophic mistake of having Ed Falco read his work through the phone with the gain at a clipped level. This slack fidelity isn’t the way to get readers interested in an author. An author should read his work in person, ideally in front of a crowd, where the sound man can get decent levels and there’s a better aural dimension.

Further, while it’s good to see Unbridled embracing the podcast format, I don’t believe it’s legitimate journalism when a publisher has someone within its own house interview one of its authors. No matter how hardball the questions, there is simply no way to shake the troubling sense that the interview is promotion first, journalism second, and that the interviewer is pulling punches.

I certainly believe that publishers should have a podcasting presence. But perhaps it’s best reserved not for interviews, but for a more liberal use of the medium. Perhaps having an author read his work, transforming a story or a novel excerpt into a radio drama with sound effects and various actors performing dialogue, would be a better use of a publisher’s resources.

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve not listened yet, but will state that if it sounds like the author is reading through a phone, I’ll have a hard time listening.

    To be fair to Unbridled though, where have they ever declared these podcasts to be journalism? Your suggesting that they aren’t is the first time the word journalism has popped into my mind when thinking of these podcasts.

    I think Unbridled is just looking for one more avenue to try to get people, well, readers, interested in their authors and their books. The interviews aren’t meant to be hard hitting exposes, they are intended to get you to think you might want to read Ed Falco’s work.

    To me they are something comparable to the press release that comes with the review copy a publisher sends out – I don’t consider the incredible praise within those to be reviews either.

  2. Good point about the misguided use of a phone recording. Raincoast Books was the first Canadian publisher to start podcasting and it has been interesting watching publishers from around the world get on board–the successful things they do and the misktakes we don’t want to follow. I work with Robert Ouimet of At Large Media to produce the Raincoast podcasts. He has a radio background and I think the quality of sound and experience comes through. The Raincoast podcasts are available from iTunes or from links off our site: http://www.raincoast.com/podcast/

  3. I don’t really see how a publisher interviewing an author on a podcast is any different than an interview in the back of a book for a book club edition? It’s decidedly _not_ journalism. But nothing says a podcast has to be, right?

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