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[meta] So you wanna be podficced?

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So you wanna be podficced? Here's a handy-dandy guide that may help you get your wish. I make no promises, though.

The first thing you need to know is some basic background.

For most podficcers, podficcing is not just "reading a story out loud." It's not about accessibility or creating a convenient alternate format. It's a performance. They choose how they want the characters to sound, what emotions to put into their voices, how to pace the action, what to emphasize. They may add music they’ve carefully chosen to set the mood, they may add sound effects to draw the listener deeper into the story. They spend hours editing (most podficcers report 2-5 hours of editing per hour of finished podfic) out background noise, cats, birds, and mystery hums. Many of them create a cover to go with the podfic.

When podfics started becoming a more common fanwork (~2005), they were a lot of people who felt that podfics were gifts to the authors. Fics were privileged over pretty much every other fannish format (and still are, in a lot of places), and podfics weren't excluded from the downgrade in relative status that resulted. This has caused a lot of friction between podficcers and some authors, and it's an issue that is still under debate in a many corners of fandom.

Podficcers usually choose to record stories that they love, and it has nothing to do with the author. It isn't simply a format shift, from written to aural; it's a unique performance on its own, distinct and different from the source story.

Additionally, because of the way podfic is consumed (usually downloaded for later listening) there is a noticeable lack of any kind of feedback on podfic performances.

Key things to remember:

  • It's a lot of work
  • It's not inherently a gift or tribute to the author (though sometimes it’s created as a gift between fans, just like an author might create fic as a gift for a friend)
  • A podfic is a kind of remix; it introduces a new interpretation to a story
  • It's usually underappreciated

So let's get to you and your stories and your desire to have one of your stories podficced.

Do you want this because you love podfic and would enjoy one of your stories being interpreted by a talented performer? Or is it because you want to be able to say that someone podficced one of your stories, or because all of your friends have had one of their stories podficced and you want to be cool, too.

If it's the first, great. There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of getting podficced.

If it's the second, you may have more trouble. Podfic has become a status symbol to some authors, and in my opinion that can be conveyed in a way that’s very disrespectful toward the podficcer and their creations. That doesn't mean you'll never have one of your stories podficced; it's still about the story. But just as you’re writing fic that is inspired by your fandom and your community, podficcers are creating fanworks inspired by your fic and their community.

Things that will increase your chances of getting podficced:

  • Have a blanket permission statement (also known as a transformative work statement) on your platforms of choice. Yes, all of them. Also make sure that your contact information is there as well. An example of a blanket statement. Mine is pretty broad, and yours can list any dos or don'ts. For more explanation, check out this post.
  • Get your name on the blanket persmission to podfic list at Fanlore.org. Easiest way to do that is to comment to this post on the Amplificathon comm (here's a link to the DW version) and a helpful person will add you to the Fanlore list.
  • Put your name on fandom-specific lists of BP authors. fire_juggler maintains a pinboard with links to spreadsheets and polls and posts for BP. You can edit a lot of them to include your name on your own.
  • If you post to the AO3, mark your fic with a tag like "podfic welcome" - some podficcers search the AO3 for stories tagged like this.
  • ETA: Get your name added to the Fannish Permission Statement List.

Here's a little glimpse into the way a lot of podficcers work: they read a story and love it and want to record it now. The urge to create is strong, and they're in the moment. They check the author's profile for a permission statement. If they can't find one, they check the BP lists. If the author isn't listed, everything comes to a crashing halt. The podficcer takes the time to weigh their options - to request permission (which may yield a yes, a no, no answer, or worst of all, a damning indictment of podfics and podficcers) or to move on. A lot of times, they will just move on. (Some podficcers who've posted about their processes: analise010's post here, fire_juggler's post here, and mistressjinx's post here.)

Other things you can do:

  • Listen to and feedback podfic. greedy_dancer wrote an excellent post on how to leave good podfic feedback.
  • Rec your favorite podfics on your favorite rec comms and blogs. Many rec communities accept multiple types of fanworks. If there's no provisions for reccing podfic, talk to the mods about allowing podfic.
  • Collaborate with podficcers. Check out pod_together or pt_lightning. Ask podficcers to work with you. "I'm interested in writing a [trope/kink/genre] story for [event/challenge], anyone willing to work with me?"
  • Learn to podfic yourself! There are welcoming communities for podficcers, and you might love it the way we do! (Many podficcers who are also authors started out by recording their own fic.)

Further resources:

  • Dear Author letters, that explain what the podficcer expects from the author of a story that they're podficcing: greedy_dancer's version, argentumlupine's version.
  • sophinisba has an excellent post for authors who aren't fans of podfic.
  • Fanlore.org's entry on podfic, which includes history, common conventions, community and links to communities.

That should get you pointed in the right direction, hopefully. Good luck!