Podcasting Your Family Stories

Another interesting post from Tom Fiske:

Thomas Fiske Some years ago I read that Leland Meitzler was going to be in Los Angeles at a genealogical meeting. We had never met except through letters and a few emails, so I decided to go meet him.

Leland was giving a talk on finding one’s ancestors through the use of tax lists. And it was a terrific talk. I went home determined to exercise my new knowledge. It helped, but I soon found out that those cheap ancestors of mine moved west rather than pay taxes. So I didn’t get as much help as I had hoped from tax lists. But I have always been glad that I got to meet Leland.

Leland has a vast knowledge in genealogy and in publishing. I, on the other hand, haven’t many specialties with broad interest, unless you want to know about Ham radio and propagation. But I did write a bunch of books. One of my books has in it many stories. These stories are often funny or agonizing in the way parents recognize as very personal. Some are about weird science and others are about bizarre history. I have been thinking about promoting the book in new ways.

My son got me interested in podcasting. That is, making short “radio” programs that are attached to one main theme. It isn’t hard to podcast—just find a decent microphone and a quiet place where you can read or tell your tale, using a free program called Audacity. So that is what I have been doing lately. I have been reading my stories into a microphone. My son adds a small amount of unobtrusive guitar music later, and helps me put the stories on the Internet. Soon they will be accepted by Itunes and will be offered for free.

The idea is that when people get interested in my stories they find they can order my book on Amazon.com or any other .com book store. And I can tell you that it is already working. I have a blog called Fiskacetics,“The Agony of Writing” and another called “Planting Trees.” So I write articles for my blogs and on the right hand side of the web page (sometimes it is the left) there is something called Links or Categories. Under these titles there is a topic called “Podcasts for “Four on the Floor.” Click on it and you have a choice of which story you want to hear. You will find me in my ordinary voice, telling a story about the day Holly’s eye came loose, or the time my brother shot his big toe off with a shotgun. Eventually there will be “the day the python pooped”—just be patient.

Podcasting is easy. For some it is a lot easier than writing. And it allows an author or storyteller to project his or her personality into each topic. This is useful unless you tend to preach. Anyway I hope to increase sales of my book with these stories. And I expect to expand into other books, those with very exciting and dramatic chapters in them.

The only thing I don’t like about podcasting is that I would rather not hear myself speak. But I will get over that in time, I hope.

I am suggesting that readers look into podcasting. Tell those stories about your nutty Uncle Joe and Aunt Clara, or those about the missionaries who barely escaped wild natives along the Amazon, or even tell how you do some difficult thing. Just remember—record at least ten stories of 5-15 minutes each and release one per week. Your single favorite story won’t cut it.

One thing though—be edifying and cheerful if you want Itunes to use your materials, or if you want return customers to your web site. Remember that good Biblical advice:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things [they sell].“

Oops, I went and got too preachy. If you don’t believe me, try this web site and click on the podcast word on the left hand side—Kids’ Stories Podcast. It is free and you don’t have to buy anything. http://www.fiskefamily.com/fiskacetics/

I am convinced that American genealogists are a storehouse of world histories, if they will only share them.

One thought on “Podcasting Your Family Stories

  1. I try to go a step or so further. I help family’s preserve their stories by taking their old pictures , scanning them and then placing the pictures onto a DVD.I than record them watching their pictures telling the stories the pictures invoke. Finally Editing the story telling together with the pictures to create a family keepsake that can be uploaded to a site like the-hereafter where it can be saved and shared for generations. Every family has a story worth keeping. Who’s story would you like to save.

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