Posted in audio, FYI, podcast, Uncategorized

Podcasting on Buzzsprout: Three Months Later, is it Worth it?

3 Months, 18 Episodes and 101 downloads

So, ja, it’s been just over three months already since I first started my official podcast Way I See It With Leenna.

Looking at my unimpressive stats, you’re probably wondering if I’m celebrating this milestone or not. Well, I am! But before I get into why, let me first take you through my experience with Buzzsprout so far.

It all Began When…

Oh, I don’t know when…Probably back in 2017, just after I came off the weekday radio slot at LotusFm and wondered how best to start my own regular podcast that suited my schedule (or non-schedule) better. Or maybe it began back when I was teaching in China and occasionally stumbled upon some awesome podcasts on iHeart Radio and thought I’d like to do something like that…

In any case, I decided to go the Patreon way back in 2018 and haven’t regretted it, though, as usual, my subscriber count is very low. As I prefer quality over quantity, I’m very happy with my awesome patrons and what we’re doing over on that channel. But back to Buzzsprout.

In November/December 2020, I decided I was finally ready to do the weekly tarotscopes and thought it would be great to have it distributed to Spotify and Apple. I went back to researching podcast hosting sites. I’d done so in 2017 and couldn’t afford them back then, not that I can afford them much now, but more about that later. This time I came across Buzzsprout as an alternative to Podbean. (I honestly think the podcasting community might be too into coffee, but never mind). I liked the feel of Buzzsprout, but what really sold me was their pay-as-you-go plan and their free plan. Currently, I’m using their free plan with 2 hours of audio and 3 months of hosting for each episode. Once its three months are up, that episode is deleted. If I exceed 2 hours of uploads for a monthly cycle, then I can upgrade for the month to get an additional hour for only $4. This is what sold me. It suits my weekly content needs and my tatty-string budget perfectly! I have plans to add extra content like the eBooks For Travelers episodes and, hopefully, interviews in the future when I can get onto the regular $12 per month plan. But for now, while I’m building up from my 2-11 person audience that I’ve achieved so far via Buzzsprout, I’m happy with the plan.

How I Clicked With the Upload Button

So, me being me, I did my research the night before and got the deets for the artwork, description, file types and stuff like that. I decided to use the same branding as Leennascreativebox as I’ve been doing tarotscopes here since 2016 or so, and it just made sense. It was all ridiculously easy with the name of the podcast being the hardest part of the process for me. On that same night, I recorded three episodes (it was a busy period and I didn’t want to stress about recording episodes over Christmas) and converted them into mp3 format using VLC.

I can’t remember if I registered the night before or the day I uploaded. I don’t think it would have made a difference anyway. Things just ran very smoothly from the start.

On the morning of my first upload, I created the podcast channel complete with branded artwork, filled in the deets with the descriptions, categories etc., then went to the big green upload button and marvelled at how quickly my audio loaded. It was all done in less than 10 minutes. That was the Friday. I scheduled my first episode for that Saturday morning—less than 24 hours.

Then, mindful that I had a busy week, I uploaded the other two episodes and waited to see what happened.

What Happened the First and Second Week

First thing that Friday of the first upload, I got an email from Buzzsprout for each upload, telling me the episode was successfully uploaded and I had x amount of free upload time for the month.

That Friday, I was also able to choose my distribution. When I clicked on the distribution tab, my podcast was already in Spotify, Deezer, and a couple of others. I was then able to apply for distribution to Apple (it’s a bit of process, but not too bad), Stitcher (less of a process), iHeart Radio (I wasn’t sure if I’d be accepted but gave it a go, anyway), and a couple of others. I’m never impressed by Amazon’s treatment of writers so I elected not to use their podcast services and sign another gargantuan agreement with them. The whole process is easy to follow and do, with information about how long to expect before you might hear back from Apple, Stitcher and iHeart Radio.

Buzzsprout directories
It’s very easy to get listed.

Six hours later, Stitcher sent me a welcome.

First thing on the Saturday of my very first episode being released, I checked my stats and found I had a listener! All the way from France :-D. The download was on Deezer and not Spotify, so perhaps new content is easier to find on Deezer.

I shared on Facebook, Twitter and with family and friends, and by Sunday evening, I had about another three downloads.

On Tuesday, I got an email from Apple letting me know my podcast was now available on iTunes, Overcast and their other services.

Additional services when you sign up on Apple.

Feeling chuffed, I checked my stats, but there weren’t any new listeners. In fact, it took another two to three weeks before I had any downloads on Apple and Spotify.

With having scheduled ahead, Episode 2 of Way I See It With Leenna, had about two downloads when I checked the next Saturday morning. I shared on this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, using Headliner to create a minute and a half promo audiograms. It was easy and fun creating them and by the end of the week, I had a couple more downloads.

Towards the end of the week of Episode 2, or maybe it was Episode 3, I got an email from iHeart Radio saying my podcast was now available on their service. There was already a download from them as well!

And so it Goes

And so it went. So far, the most listeners I’ve had is 11 when I did the first Bonus Reading for Valentines, but the follow up on the feature the next week went back to about 4 listens. I think it’s still too early to tell what the potential is for this podcast. But I’m happy with it. Why? Because of my patrons! I’ve been uploading the same episodes a day early on my Patreon channel Writerstarot With Leenna. In addition, each episode will be archived for them should they wish to use it for their research or self-growth. And, my patrons have been listening to the podcast on Patreon, often sharing it with their family, too.

A few weeks ago, Buzzsprout was held to ransom by hackers, and I was impressed with their transparency and response. Buzzsprout sent out an email just hours after the attack, letting us know what was going on, what they were doing about it, and what they expected to happen moving forward. They also kept us updated on Twitter in real time. It was great to see the amount of support and goodwill that came from the Buzzsprout community. While I wasn’t affected by the service being down, it’s heartening to track how quickly the site was up again. It was back to normal the next I logged in. Buzzsprout’s technical team get the superhero badges from me 🙂

And on it Goes

I don’t share as often as I should on social media. In fact, I’ve left Facebook, and saw no impact on the number of listens I’ve received weekly. I do share on my YouTube channel every now and then, and I can’t tell if that’s helping or not. So, how do I think the one or two new listeners are finding me? Well, I believe it’s this blog (so, huge thanks to you!), as well as the searches within the service apps like Deezer, iHeart Radio and Apple.

So, is it worth it for me? Yes it is! I don’t yet have a buzz around my podcast, but it’s in a good place to sprout 😀 (I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist it!)

I don’t often share affiliate links, but if you’d like to click on one, here’s how to get a $20 gift card when you sign up to selected plans.

And if you’re looking for your weekly tarotscope, be sure to catch Way I See It With Leenna every Saturday for your week ahead sneak peek 😀
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Posted in audio, design, FYI, Tips and Hacks, Uncategorized

Resources Worth Checking Out: Hightail File Transfer

Hightail is a stable professional tool for serious remote workers

* This review is based on my personal use and experience with Hightail. I am not affiliated with them and this post contains no affiliate links.

Hightail’s website landing page

I’ve been using Hightail for confidential transferring and public sharing of media for over three years. I found it via an audio file share from a well-known personality in the Mind Body and Soul community in 2017 and decided to give it a try for those tarot readings I can’t email because the files are over 15MB.

It’s one of the most stable and professional sites that consistently renews my faith that developers and site owners (or some at least) know what they’re doing. Except for one week in July 2018 when it took forever to upload a 30-40MB file (I think they might have been upgrading the site then) Hightail works efficiently every time for my audio files, even with my slow internet connection.

There’s so much I enjoy about using Hightail. It allows you to create a separate space with a dedicated shareable link for different projects or clients. Team members or clients can go directly to the platform’s viewers, audio and video players to view the files or download the material. Comments are also enabled, allowing for direct communication (though I don’t use this feature much).

Spaces menu and a typical space in grid view

Viewing your spaces is easy in the grid or list view, allowing for quick access to projects and files.

The clean design is very professional without any kindergarten-feel fonts, colours or imagery. The functions are easy to find and intuitively laid out.

I have to confess Hightail has my favourite progress bar! Once a file begins uploading, it calculates the most time it would take, then constantly recalculates with two visuals—a bar that fills up as the files loads and a circle that does the same over the file icon. They’re both quite consist with each other and, most importantly, with their accuracy. For me, the most impressive thing about Hightail is that it doesn’t waste my time and data. The uploads are quick and it doesn’t drop my file data during the upload unlike some other sites. I mostly upload mp3s and so far have had no problems with Hightail’s players refusing to play back my media. I’ve also shared large PDFs and Photoshop files. Some day, when I can afford one of the Premium plans, I’ll share videos as well.

Hightail in-app audio player and controls.

Best of all, all but one of my clients had no problems using Hightail or accessing their files. For that reason, if I were running a team, especially one that shares larger files, I’d choose Hightail over Slack (which I dislike because it’s so hard to find files easily among all those threads).

Are there any cons to using Hightail? There’s only one that I’ve experienced, but it hasn’t happened in a long while. Sometimes, when my internet was interrupted, I would need to upload the entire file again. And sometimes the Hightail player isn’t available immediately after upload. It could take a minute or two for you to be able to preview the audio before sending to your client/colleague.

So, if you’re working from home, need more confidentiality than most file sharing systems, and hate having your time and data wasted, I recommend giving Hightail a go. You can try out their Lite plan for free.

Posted in Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, Uncategorized

Santa’s Secret

Yesterday morning was great! Smashwords informed me that someone (my secret Santa!) had written a review of my one and only Christmas story, Dear Santa—A Love Wish!

It’s always wonderful when someone takes the time to review my books and stories, especially so when it’s favourable, more so when you haven’t gone, “Pretty please, with sprinkles on top, review my book.”:)

It’s as good a gift as any, that you can give a writer friend (unless you want to give them a new computer).

Curious as to how he found my eBook (so few actually do, unless I say, “Pretty please…”), I did a little bit of internet sleuthing and discovered that he is, in fact, someone in this very blogging community! Someone who is very inspired by the season.

So, I just wanted to thank my secret Santa, and wish him a wonderful, magical Christmas (with sprinkles on top).

And while I’m at it, I thought I’d spread the good cheer and wish you a very happy and special holiday season too 🙂

Happy Holidays 2

Posted in nonfiction, Outdoors, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, Tips and Hacks, Uncategorized

REview: Camping Hacks from a Diva! by Lynn Sable

 

m_Lynn Sable I hate Camping SmashwordsTitle: Camping Hacks from a Diva! I Hate Camping But I Love Glamping!
Author: Lynn Sable
Rating: 100%

This is an unsolicited review of a Smashwords epub download. This is merely my very subjective opinion, and should be regarded as such.

In Brief:

I hate camping, myself, but love being out in nature and the odd (short) hike, so I loved, loved, loved this eBook with all Lynn Sable’s very doable hacks, from making foil packs to ‘taking care of business’ with a pop-up room and solar shower.

The Whole Story:

Written in a very conversational, easy tone, this is a quick fun, useful read. Lynn Sable takes you from the bare basics: preparing food (including dessert) to turning your tent into a 5-star retreat space. There are easy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a bug spray recipe, options on equipment and some top secret hacks on lighting and making your own firestarters.

What I learned?

News hacks to apply not just to camping, glamping and being outdoors, but for power outages too. There’s a ton of equipment out there to make camping trips really comfortable for the whole family.

Rating: 100%
Recommended to: campers, glampers and everyone who is thinking of spending some time outdoors in summer—or Australia.

About the Author:

Lynn Sable loves traveling and the outdoors. She’s also written a YA thriller/suspense Oh No You Didn’t.
Smashwords Profile
Read an interview with Lynn