Hooray! You've made a podfic! Maybe you followed one of many wonderful How To Podfic tutorials, or maybe you figured it out on your own. But now, how do you share it? Posting your audio to tumblr, youtube, or a fandom-specific community are all decent options. But chances are, if the fic you recorded is from AO3, you'll reach the largest and most receptive audience by also posting to AO3.
The archive welcomes all types of fanwork, but is really structured and built primarily for written works. Posting podfic can be confusing or complicated if you're unfamiliar with it. This guide will cover both the basic mechanics of posting podfic to AO3, as well as the typical conventions used by the podfic community so that people who want to listen can easily find your audio.
Note: I'm writing this assuming you have a general familiarity with AO3 and know what the basic tags mean, but maybe have never posted here before. Don't let the long size of the guide scare you! It isn't difficult. I just made it very detailed because I was super nervous about getting something wrong when posting my first podfic, and I hope this will make others less uncertain.
It's very easy to navigate to the new post screen. While logged in click "Post" and then "New Work".
First section: Tags
The nice thing about podfic is that you're usually working off an existing text. If that text is on AO3, then the writer has done this step before, and you can just use the same inputs for Rating, Archive Warnings, Fandoms, Category, Relationships, and Characters. Most of the time I will just use the exact same inputs that the text used, but sometimes I'll disagree with the author and make a change. For example, rating can be difficult to judge and recently I made a podfic Teen when the author marked it General Audiences.
Additional Tags is the place where you really want to add things that are specific to podfic.
Definitely use the "Podfic" tag. That's going to be the easiest way for someone seeking out audio fanworks to find your post.
Other common additional tags:
- "Podfic Length: X" Select the tag that matches the length of your podfic
- "Audio Format: X" Select the tags that match the formats you're going to include.
These types of tags useful because if people are looking for a certain length or a specific way to listen it helps your podfic be more easily found
Other less common additional tags:
- "Podfic Cover Art" This tag indicates that your work comes with cover art. I don't see it used very frequently though.
- "Podfic Cover Art Welcome" This tag indicates that your work doesn't have cover art, and that if someone wanted to make you some, you would welcome it. I don't see this tag used very frequently either. (But I think it's a fabulous idea and have it on like 6 of my podfics and I live in HOPE that someone will make me cover art one day, and everyone should definitely use it)
Tags not to use:
- "Podfic Available" This tag is used on text works to indicate that there is a podfic version of that text. It doesn't belong on the podfic itself.
And then you can add any other additional tags that apply to the story. Again, I typically use the same tags as the writer. Maybe choosing to add more if they were sparse with their tagging, or maybe choosing to leave some off if the tags seem unnecessary.
Next section: Preface
Most podficcers will indicate in the title in some way that this work is a podfic. It helps users to know at a glance that your work is audio when browsing through AO3.
I personally prefer the style: [Podfic] Title
But I've also seen:
- Title [Podfic]
- Title by Author [Podfic]
- [Podfic] "Title" by Author
- (PODFIC) Title
- [Podfic of] Title / written by Author
And many other variations involving the title, the word podfic, various brackets or parentheses, quote marks, or the writer's name.
Personally, I like to use [Podfic] Title because it's straightforward. When you start adding in the writer's name, I think it starts to look cluttered and more difficult to read. But other podficcers prefer including the author name as a way to credit to the writer in a very obvious way. Feel free to decide for yourself!
Some podficcers choose to give credit to the writer by making them a co-author on the podfic. I personally do not, and would recommend against it, but again this a place where you can decide for yourself.
Pros: Gives credit to the writer in the header of your post. If the writer is well known, it can help drive more traffic to your podfic.
Cons: Can be confusing and make it seem like the writer was directly involved in making the podfic. Adds more clutter to the header. The writer then has co-control over the work and can edit, delete, etc. (The last con is why I recommend against doing this!)
Similarly to the tags, another place where you can copy and paste from the text version. Nice!
I also like to add [Podfic Version] to the end of the summary. I've seen similar additions, such as Podfic of "Title". Many podficcers don't put anything extra in the summary. Again, you can decide what you like best. For eye-catching purposes, it's more important to have the word podfic in the title than in the summary, so it's totally reasonable not to add anything here if you don't want to.
Nothing podfic specific here! Check the box if you want to put in some notes.
Next section: Associations
The two parts of this section relevant to podfic are "Gift this work to" and "This work is a remix, a translation, a podfic, or was inspired by another work"
Gift this work to
Similarly to making the writer a co-author, some podficcers will gift the work to the writer as a way of acknowledging them. When you gift a work to someone, their username appears in the header.
Personally, I have seen this practice less frequently lately and don't do it myself. I didn't make the podfic for the writer! I made it because I loved the story and wanted to record it, and wanted to listen to it, and because I hoped others would want to experience it in audio form as well. If the writer is one of the people who wants to listen, that's amazing! But if they don't, that's totally okay too. To me, posting the podfic as a 'gift' makes it seem like the writer is obligated to listen, and I don't want them to feel like they have to. Audio might not be their thing, you know?
This work is a remix, a translation, a podfic, or was inspired by another work
Definitely check this box!! This is AO3's official mechanism for crediting the writer and linking your podfic back to the original text.
You will then get a menu that looks like this:
If your podfic is of a text work posted on AO3, all you have to do is enter the URL. For works not on AO3, fill out all the boxes.
The end result is a note on your work that says "Inspired by Title by Author" (with automatic hyperlinks and everything!)
If you have more than one text work included in your podfic (for example, a story that was posted in two parts but which you're combining into one podfic), you'll need to enter the first text work, save your work as a draft, and then "edit" in order to enter the next text work.
Next section: Privacy
Nothing really podfic specific here! Decide what you want to do with those three privacy checkboxes.
The only thing I will caution is, if you made a podfic of a locked work (one of those works that has an image of a padlock next to the title), it's probably best to also lock the podfic (aka check the "only show your work to registered users" box), or to ask the author if they're okay with the podfic version being unlocked.
Last section: Work Text
Almost done! This is the real important part.
The only thing you really need to have here is a link to your audio, everything else is extra. And if the only thing you want to do is put a link, that's totally fine!
Many podficcers though, including myself, will put additional information and formatting to make the post look more appealing and to add clarity.
Here is the code I use. Feel free to take this code and copy it, or edit it to suit your needs and preferences.
<img src="ART URL" alt="STORY NAME Cover Art" width="400" /><br />
<i>cover art by <a href="ARTIST URL">ARTIST NAME</a></i>
<audio src="MP3 URL"></audio><br />
<i>(or click <a href="MP3 URL">here</a> if your browser doesn't support HTML 5)</i>
<p align="center"><strong>Text:</strong> <a href="TEXT URL">STORY NAME</a></p>
<p align="center"><strong>Author:</strong> <a href="AUTHOR URL">AUTHOR NAME</a></p>
<p align="center"><strong>Reader:</strong> <a href="PODFICCER URL">PODFICCER NAME</a></p>
<p align="center"><strong>Length:</strong> LENGTH</p>
<p align="center"><strong>Downloads:</strong> <a href="MP3 URL">mp3</a> | <a href="M4B URL">m4b</a><br/>
<em>(right click to save-as)</em></p>
Make sure you're in HTML mode when you paste in the code.
EDITED 6/27/2020: If you want to include an HTML streaming player (that's what the "audio src" paragraph of the code above is for), you'll need to have a direct download link for your podfic. Audio hosting services where you have to click-through, like mediafire, won't work. For help with streaming podfic using the audio tag, godoflaundrybaskets has put together a great tutorial with information about which hosting services allow direct streaming, as well as additional streaming methods.
Previously, adobe flash players were used instead of HTML 5 players, but flash is being phased out and many browsers no longer support it. If your hosting service allows streaming using flash players, it will also likely work with HTML 5, but not always. There are nuances in security certificates that may require some set-up.
Note to folks using Soundcloud: By default (I think?) your files will be available through streaming only. You'll need to manually enable downloads on the permissions page. If you have a free account, there is a limit of 100 downloads per track.
And you're done! Yay! Time to post! I highly recommend clicking "Preview" instead of "Post Without Preview" so that you can double check and make sure everything looks how you want it and that your audio links work.
I hope this helped. If you have questions, feel free to drop me a comment!