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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Podcasting: Information for Writers with Armand Rosamilia

Fiona - 
Welcome Armand Rosamilia a fellow Kindle Scout winner and pod caster extraordinaire! 

Armand, tell us a bit about your background and how you found your way to being an author. What genre do you enjoy writing?

Armand - 
I was born in New Jersey. My mother has always been a huge horror reader. She's still a huge Stephen King fan. At twelve, I began reading her Dean Koontz paperbacks and loved them. I couldn't get enough of reading, especially horror and fantasy. I started writing my own horrible stories as a kid and wrote an essay in school about becoming a writer when I grew up. I became a writer but the growing up part I'm still working on. 

I love writing in many genres. Horror is always going to be my favorite but I've written contemporary fiction, crime thrillers, paranormal thrillers, zombies, traditional horror and haunted house stories. I even ghostwrote a military romance and I've done erotica.

Fiona - 
And pod casting? Tell me about your show and how you got going.

Armand - 
I managed heavy metal bands in the mid-90's when I was still living in Jersey. No one you ever heard of, trust me. While doing it, I would get them to radio stations and interviews. A couple of times a DJ got me talking on the air because I had some good road stories to share. I guess I got the bug.

So then flash forward about 20 years. I meet Vern Shank, a local guy who was putting an AM station together. He asked me if I wanted to do a show on Friday nights with another author, and we could talk about writing and stuff.

I jumped at the chance and also got my way and had my own heavy metal music program right after, from 10 pm until midnight. It was a blast, especially when it went FM. The problem was the long drive to the station each week, and I have a problem driving at night, so it got dangerous for me. I had to quit but I still wanted to do the author interview thing because it was a lot of fun. So the podcast was born. Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast, which debuted 2 years ago July 4th weekend.

Fiona - 
Congratulations on your anniversary! 

If an author wanted to develop a pod cast, obviously they'd want to be professional about it. What kinds of equipment would they need to together on their own?

Armand - 
I went to the World Horror Convention in Portland a couple of years ago, right before I started the podcast. There was a panel about podcasting and one of the guests, Desmond Reddick, said not to worry about every little thing. Just start and tweak it in the beginning. It was sound advice. I didn't want to have to edit an hour show for five hours like some podcasters were talking about having to do. Not every word had to be perfect.

I spent about $100 on a mini-board with a mic and headphones from Amazon and ran it through a free program, Audacity. I bought a $39 program to record with and get everything to an mp3 file

Fiona -
I know that when I do interviews, I keep the time frame to precisely one hour - I find that produces the amount of in depth information I want to give to my readers. However, that one hour on one day turns into several hours of editing, formatting, and doing graphics and links on another. Can you break down your time for us? What kind of investment are we looking at here?

Armand -
I use one hour as a ballpark. Most people will listen to a podcast while working out, on the commute to work or cleaning the house. No more than an hour of their time. 

My edits are very, very small. I find the beginning where we started and then the end where we say goodbye and everything in between usually stays unless a call drops. I record via Skype or with a hand-held in person. My time investment is minimal because I'm so busy with my actual writing career. I also love the raw feel of the interviews with screwups and goofing around.

When I do my second podcast, Arm N Toof's Dead Time Podcast with co-host Mark Tufo, it's pretty much the same thing although Mark likes to annoy me so much with the closing because he knows it drives me nuts. He'll keep talking even though I need a 5 second break so I can find it on the tape later. Drives me nuts.

Fiona - 
The goofing around is always fun.

Where do you find your interviewees and what topics do you like to cover? Is it a fairly narrow range - do your listeners know about what they're going to be getting or do you like the surprise factor?

Armand - 
It relaxes the guests and makes for an interesting interview. We also go off on weird tangents about things unrelated to writing or film making or whatever the guest is involved in, too.

I interview people I find interesting. Not just horror authors. I have actors and actresses, filmmakers, pro-wrestling writers, musicians, comic book creators... anyone I think will be fun to interview. I let them know before we start we have no interview questions. At all. I do no more research on them once they are booked. I want to genuinely learn about them at the same time the listeners do. I think it is more organic that way.

Fiona - 
Pro-wrestling writers! I bet they have some stories!

How do you market yourself so people can find you?

Armand -
In the beginning, I only had Arm Cast Podcast and used a service called Libsyn to get the episodes out there. I promoted it hand in hand with my writing as part of my brand. Then, I met the guys from Project iRadio at a convention, and they were looking for established podcasts to add to their network. They had author Brian Keene's podcast as well as Three Guys With Beards, which is Jonathan Maberry, James A Moore and Christopher Golden. All big names in the horror field.

Not only did they want my podcast but wanted me to do a second one with another author. I asked Mark Tufo because I knew he'd be perfect for it. We started Arm N Toof almost a year ago.

Fiona -
Can you tell us a couple of the hurdles that you had to jump in the beginning. Maybe something about your learning curve that you can transect for those interested in following along? And piggy backing on that question are there any resources that you would suggest?

Armand - 
Getting listeners was the big hurdle at first. The guests were never a problem because I've been in the business for many years. I've been writing full-time for almost six years. Even though podcasting is a growing medium it still has a lot of growing to do. Getting listeners involved is a struggle at times. They'd rather be readers than listeners. The tide is slowly changing, though, which is a good thing.

I folded the podcasts into my brand, as I said. So I try to promote all of it together and anytime I can talk about either podcast I will. It is about promoting to new listeners and fans of the author you're interviewing. The goal is to capture their attention so they'll go back and listen to the old episodes and subscribe to the new ones each week.

Arm Cast Podcast has a new episode every Friday morning about 9am EST and Arm N Toof Podcast is every Wednesday about 9am EST. It is fun because many people will start sending messages if they're posted up late.

There are a few resources out there but I like to keep it simple. I use simple programs like Audacity and LAME as well as Pamela to capture the interview off of Skype. That's really it for programs. I've upgraded my headphones and mic, but that's about it.

Fiona -
It is a tradition that our guests here at ThrillWriting tell us the story behind their favorite scar. (Barring scar then your favorite harrowing story). Would you indulge us?

Armand - 
I have a small scar on my left thumb. Very faint unless you really look at it, but I notice it often. My brother is about 18 months younger than me, and we'd fight like cats and dogs. Really beat each other up. He once kicked me in the back of the head and messed up my bottom teeth. I've broken his arm and given him a few concussions. But this scar was from a fight we had over an argument about playing football in the street. He pushed me over a fence and there was a small strip of barbed wire still on it. Ripped my thumb up really bad. I passed out because I do that when I see blood. I guess I was about twelve years old. It might've even been the reason I started reading Dean Koontz books because we were punished all the time, and I was stuck in my parent's room with all of my mother's books.

Fiona - 
Thank you.

And now I give you the opportunity to touch on anything that you hoped I would ask you about, but didn't know enough to ask.

Armand -
Obviously you missed the burning question: why are you so damn sexy? Frankly, it's a curse. All of these genetic perfections came together in one person. It's almost not fair. Or you could've asked me about my preference: plain or peanut. The answer: Both

Fiona -

You have a new book out! Dying Days 6 

Continuing the Dying Days zombie series!

Darlene Bobich, the Zombie Killer, is on a mission to save her family. Can she succeed, even as more obstacles are thrown in her way: survivors bent on their own selfish needs, evolving zombies and the rotting world around her? 

Dying Days are truly upon us.

Fiona -  
Big thanks for stopping by!

Folks, if you want to get in touch with Armand -
his WEB SITE, his FACEBOOK page, his twitter handle is @ArmandAuthor. 

As always, a big thank you ThrillWriters and readers for stopping by. Thank you, too, for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you 

helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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