This is everything I’ve ever wanted, I tell myself. No matter how long and difficult the journey this, I must go on.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing articles on the lessons I learned from doing podcasts and recording myself.
I first published the paperback and e-book version of Reborn in December 2019. I then launched my podcast MIDNIGHT O2 in May 2020. Finally, I released the audiobook in June 2021. All the content was narrated and written by me.
I remember talking to my friends in 2018 and telling them I have been looking for a platform to share my ideas and stories. Some mentioned YouTube to me, but it did not interest me. I understand YouTube has become a popular platform for creators globally, but the idea of video editing and adding subtitles in every video never sparked in my mind.
I wanted a stage where audiences can mainly focus on the sounds and stories instead of how something or someone looks. I remember taking a video editing class as an art student back when I was an undergraduate, and the professor lectured on how visual elements grabbed more attention. Every media from all categories is fighting for attention in the world we live in today. When someone scrolls through Instagram or Facebook, a creator has about five to six seconds to get his/her attention. This is why content matters, and the medium can make a difference. As a digital media strategist, I am familiar with the rules because I apply them when I work with company brands all the time.
Yet, I want to challenge the norm when it comes to my writing.
I was interested in finding out what audience and readers I could attract if I just shared stories. I wanted to know how powerful audio files could be. I practiced speaking and telling stories in front of microphones. I researched recording interface, microphone, editing software, podcast marketing, and everything related to it. The process was frustrating because I prepared everything myself. When I had questions, I did not know who to ask. I called instrument stores and my singer friends, but I often had to figure everything out independently.
Those were the technical issues I faced. Then there were the marketing and content-related problems. What type of posts should I write? What about the design that goes with the content? What about the caption and tone of voice? How do I promote without sounding forceful? I was frustrated and tired, but I never wanted to give up. My family and cousins asked me how much I made from doing all these, and I felt terrible because I could not give a number. I remind myself why I started everything in the first place.
Storytelling. I love writing and telling stories.
It’s incredible how we have a variety of resources today, and as a creator, I must make good use of them. I believe picking a suitable medium and platform is essential. I write and host weekly podcasts, and I know this is my ideal dream life.
I remember when I published my first book of poetry, the publisher told me, “from now on, people will see you as an author.” There started to be more responsibilities and more weight on the words I wrote and spoke, no matter if I wanted them or not.
I find it challenging to balance what I want to write and what I can write. I want to include opinions in some of my articles; I make myself think twice before publishing those. As I received messages and emails from my readers, I started to see how my writing and poetry made a difference in people’s lives.
Another challenge I had was writing in a different language. I started writing in Mandarin with my pen name Aeimee in 2012. Most of my readers are from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. As an Asian American, I write poetry and short fiction in both English and Mandarin. I decided to separate the writing pages into two languages and managed them separately. I did not think I would be doing a separate podcast in Mandarin, but I launched one based on the requests I received.
I gathered feedback and messages from my readers. It was challenging for some of my Taiwanese readers to understand my content from English podcast #midnighto2; therefore, I launched a Mandarin podcast #璿外之音 in October 2020. I edited both podcasts myself, and the styles were different on purpose. The Mandarin podcast episode length is shorter on average because I want the vibes to be cheerful and relaxed. I picked the intro and outro music carefully and edited those by myself as well.
MIDNIGHTO2 has an entirely different vibe. I record every episode with the mindset to inspire and to provoke thoughts. There had been three seasons on my English podcast, and the themes change with every new season. I invite guests to record with me on both shows, depending on which language they are more comfortable. My English podcast #midnighto2 includes poetry, international news, interviews, dreams, movie reviews, mental awareness, and personal stories. The Mandarin show includes casual conversations, poetry reading, lighthearted stories, and language learning.
I make zero revenue from both podcasts but provided ways for my readers to support me. The first option is to purchase my book in either paperback, e-book, or audiobook. The second option is the buy me a coffee in which readers could easily make a transaction of three dollars one time. The third option is pay pal in which readers can enter the amount they’d like. If financial support is not possible from young readers, I appreciate readers sending me supportive messages and sharing my writing on their newsfeed. I also appreciate it when my audiences leave a review for me on Amazon or rate my podcast 5-star on App Store because algorism recognizes this and would recommend my shows to more people.
Moreover, I have considered Patreon and started preparing for it in 2019. I have not yet launched it because I have been building a community with my readers. I am looking forward to establishing a subscription service on Patreon starting 2022.
In the following article, I’ll discuss the things I learned from recording an audiobook. The next article will include my observation, meeting record, and problems I’ve faced. Feel free to follow and consider supporting me by sharing this article with your creator friends!
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More about Amy Hsuan Chiu (Aeimee):
NEW! → 2021 Reborn Audiobook: https://rb.gy/r9o6wh
Poetry & MIDNIGHTO2 Podcast: https://linktr.ee/ahcpoetry
Mandarin Writing & Podcast 散文：https://linktr.ee/aeimee