In the weeks following J. C. Hutchins’ announcement that he no longer has plans to release free podcast editions of his fiction, several blogs and podcasts have mused on the significance of his decision. In a few of these forums, I’ve been mentioned as someone who has abandoned, turned his back on, reversed his position on, etc… podcasting. I’m really tired of correcting mis-representations of me and my opinions, so I’m laying it down here, once and for all.

  • Podcasting fiction is one of many tools an author can employ in the promotion and marketing of their book, other works and their personal brand. It’s not a silver bullet; it’s not a sure thing, and I’ve never represented it as such.
  • I was part of the first big wave of podcasters, and I was part of the first wave of authors who podcast their fiction. This does not make me an authority, standard bearer, or “god” of podcasting, as some have labeled me. There are plenty of far more active podcasters people can point to… for heck’s sake, I haven’t posted a podcast episode of original material in almost a year,and I’ve only ever podcast two of my works of fiction to date. Do I have my place in the history of the medium? Arguably a small one, yes… but let’s not make more of it than it is, m’kay?
  • I believe in neo-patronage and the power of “Free.” I also recognize that neo-patronage has yet to be widely adopted and may never be — it requires a philosophical buy-in from the audience that has yet to happen. Similarly, I know the use of various “Free” models in one’s marketing is not a guarantee of commercial success.
  • I’m constantly re-evaluating my methods, refining my approach to creativity and the marketing of my creative endeavors, and trying new things. I’m not a fundamentalist in anything — that’s the path to stagnation, and that doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
  • Just as there is more than one story and more than one way to tell those stories, there is no right way to do any of this stuff. Throw things at the wall. See what sticks, but don’t expect it to stick forever — I sure don’t!

This is pretty much what I’ve always thought and how I’ve always approached my creative endeavors: keep making things, keep being creative, keep trying new methods.

Just look at the the last twenty years of my life:

  • I’ve done a print litzine, a collaborative serial fiction shared-world webzine and a themed short fiction webzine.
  • I’ve been in two bands, two acoustic duos and performed as a solo artist at scores of venues large and small.
  • I sold a novel and two short stories, self-published three short stories and a novel (the same novel) and created an ongoing serial fiction project.
  • I’ve released five CDs and dozens of individual songs.
  • Oh, and I was a pioneering podcaster and podcasting author, and I’ve performed as a voice actor and dramatic reader for dozens of podcasts, podcast novels, audio books and, most recently, a movie.

Some of these things were disappointing failures. Some of the successes surprised the hell out of me. That doesn’t mean I’ll never again do anything like the things that failed, or that I’ll keep doing the things that succeeded. I just keep making things, and meanwhile the world turns.

As for my dear friend J. C. Hutchins, I celebrate his decision to focus his time, energy and resources on the things that, right now at least, have a better chance of helping him reach his creative goals. His choice is his choice, and it works for him.

If you’re an aspiring author considering podcasting their work, don’t let one guy’s decision give you pause… just keep your perspective, keep your head out of the clouds, avoid tiger trap shortcuts, watch your ego, and don’t think it stops… or starts… with this one thing. A carpenter doesn’t build a house using just a hammer, y’know?

All right. Are we done here?