We’ve talked about this before, but here’s a reminder for all of our visitors who are into podcasting and podcasts in general, and podcast fiction specifically: The Writers Guild of America West has you covered, baby, with a site that we think will blow you away.
Here’s what you could have learned, and who you could have learned it from, in the month of November:
3rd & Fairfax, the official podcast of the Writers Guild of America West, features information and updates about the Guild and interviews with top writers.
Want to listen to an episode on the go? Or start again where you left off? Subscribe to the podcast using the links below. Got a comment or question? Send an email to the podcast.
3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast is hosted and executive produced by Steve Trautmann, Aaron Fullerton, and Brian Gary.SUBSCRIBE
Episode 164 – Alena Smith
Host Moon Unit Zappa speaks with writer Alena Smith (The Affair), creator-showrunner of Apple TV+’s new series Dickinson, a fresh take on the life and work of poet Emily Dickinson.
Episode 163 – Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster
Host Christopher Kubasik speaks with writing partners Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster (Transparent) about their pair of feature films out this season, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
NOTE FROM LB: Having rediscovered video gaming (because I’ve ended up owning a gaming laptop that I love…and almost can afford), I fully intended to write a full review of the game Neo Cab, which is being released this week, and which without a doubt is the deepest, most subtle exploration of humanity and characterization I’ve ever encountered in a video game.
As luck would have it, however, Sam Machkovech of ArsTechnica.Com had already done it. So…here it is!
Neo Cab is the dystopian gig-economy Crazy Taxi we’ve always wanted
by Sam Machkovech
Before I go into how much I really like the new video game Neo Cab, I want to speak to the clever new way that some people can pay for and enjoy it.
Last month, I gave a nod to the video game Gears of War 5 as a no-brainer reason to throw a few bucks at Xbox Game Pass. Instead of paying $60 and going into the game with high expectations, you could jump into the XGP subscription service at a promotional rate, sample the variety of Gears 5 solo and online modes, and get out unscathed, if not quite entertained.
This comes to mind when I recommend Neo Cab as a perfect bonus for the new, $5/month Apple Arcade subscription service. Do you own an iOS device and want an awesome, not-too-long game that leans into the limits of a tablet or smartphone? Neo Cab is arguably the coolest game outside the subscription service’s premiere deluge of quick-burst, twitch-and-tap games, and its brief, genre-blurring impact is easier to suggest within a reasonably priced subscription.
The other option, a $15 standalone purchase, adds just enough friction to a universal recommendation. (It’s this version I tested, launching this week on Windows, Mac, and Nintendo Switch after an Apple Arcade exclusivity period.)
Though the game swims in incredible atmosphere and hinges on a cool premise—you’re a gig-economy taxi driver in a dystopian future, determined to uncover a mystery—this isn’t a steering-wheel drive through busy streets. Think of Neo Cab as “Emotional Conversation Taxi,” not the arcade classic Crazy Taxi. The result is one of the most unique and self-assured games of 2019, but its niche appeal is worth minding.
How many years in the future does Neo Cab take place? It’s not entirely clear. Some of its citizens’ faces are smothered in high-tech headsets, which generate “augmented reality” grids of data or cover people’s faces with “digital beauty filters.” (That seems a bit more futuristic than even a folding smartphone.) And the game’s dense, handsome cities resemble the neon-lined vistas of your favorite far-future sci-fi. Yet the populace of Los Ojos relies so heavily on smartphone apps and handing data over to massive corporations that its conversations could easily be copied and pasted from the year 2019….
Makoto Tokudome walks us through a thoroughly modern yet incredibly important set of steps in book marketing. As another TVWriter™ minion said when we talked about this post, “Maybe we should call it, “Podcasting Your Book for Fun and Profit.”
by Makoto Tokudome
Are you a self-published author? Are you looking to get your book into other mediums such as audio?
Do you wish someone would narrate your book? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to turn your book chapters into podcast episodes?
Well, by using some free online tools, now you can!
I’ve put together this comprehensive tutorial to walk you through the process I used to turn the chapters of my book into a podcast. You can check out my example here.
In a nutshell, I used Amazon’s Polly text-to-speech (TTS) service to create MP3’s of my book chapters. And then used Anchor FM to create and publish the audio as podcast episodes.
The idea of creating podcast episodes out of a book was inspired by Mark Coker and his podcast episodes of his Book Marketing Guide book.
*Caveat – Although text-to-speech (TTS) technology is quite impressive, my understanding is that Audible/ACX and other vendors still require audiobooks to be narrated by a human.
So What Can We Do With Our Text-to-Speech Audio Files?
1. You can create a podcast
2. You can use the audio files of your book to be a lead magnet. Give your audio files as a free audiobook download in exchange for email signups.
What is Amazon Polly?
Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech service that can convert text into audio speech. Text-to-speech technology has been around for some time. You may have even used it on your Mac or Apple device.
But up until recently the technology has usually produced halted, robotic voices. But Amazon Polly is able to create more lifelike speech that is quite impressive.
Amazon Polly currently offers this service in 26 different languages (e.g., English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, etc.).
I chose the male voice “Brian” with British English to narrate my book chapters. (Listen to a sample.) You can sign up for an account here.
Take a look at the pricing. My understanding is that you can request up to 5 million characters (i.e. not words) a month for free, and then $4.00 for each additional million characters….