Podiobooks is an excellent site which allows authors to self publish their novels. The site asks for a donation if you are enjoying the story. When you make a donation the author gets a minimum of seventy five percent of the donation which is a pretty good split.

Many of the stories are either science fiction or fantasy but have a search though and you will find other genres too. These authors I have listened to and enjoyed. You can make the subscription send you an episode daily, every 2, 3 or 7 days and even monthly if that suits you. What I usually do it to have it release all episodes immediately after I have listened to one episode and liked it enough to want to hear more. Then there are buttons so that you can get your subscription into iTunes, Zune, Podcast Ready and a plain RSS feed so that you can use it in any old podcatcher. Listen on your computer, iPod or iPhone or whatever MP3 Player.

ClearheartJoe Cottonwood

Clearheart, Famous Potatoes, *Babcock are all novels that Joe Cottonwood has published as podcast novels. All have odd main characters. Joe is the main reader of his stories but I am pleased that he uses the help of other readers for the voices of some of the characters. It moves it to another dimension of a podcasted novel with out becoming totally, an audio play. This is particularly a good idea with female characters when the main reader is male. It sounds so much better when a female is reading the female dialogue.

In Babcock the story is about a young negro boy that is an innocent, animal loving lad that is coming of age. Despite his innocence he manages to make sensible decisions in response to events around him that are affecting his life. Politeness and a little strangeness make the character not totally believable at times, but the story was well written and read so that you gain an empathy for the lad and you want him to succeed in his trials and tribulations.

In Clearheart the main character of the story is a fallible, human character that it is easy to like and empathise with. You will be rooting for him to pass the tests that the story gives to him. The story is in the world of a construction guy that has to finish off a project, that could finish him off financially if things go badly. There is the romance in the story and supporting characters that also help and hinder him. One character is a youth that is coming of age and learning how to survive in the adult world. He does so with the help of our main character who is a good influence generally, on the people around him. There are tools, belt sander races, nails from nail guns connected to air compressors that are shot into flesh, work mates that are friends, despite bad backgrounds and a dodgy past that includes prison. The bad language is softened when the F word is substituted with the word ‘Fork’ because the man always has to swear, but knows that in polite company it is not the right thing. There is even a FrogGirl among the people that are helped in a uneven bumbling way by our hero.

In Famous Potatoes the hero of the story is more of an anti hero and although I followed him through the life that he inhabited in the story, I never got to like him. Just wondered what stupid thing he would do next. The end of the story is messy and that is OK. There are no rules which say that everything has to have the happy Hollywood ending with the hero riding off into the sunset with the girl, as the baddies all lie beaten in the dust.

Chasing the BardPhilippa Ballantine

Philippa is a writer and reader of fantasy novels and steam punk novels. Chasing the Bard is a story in which the life of William Shakespeare is melded into a fantasy realm, and that is the reason he has his literary talents. A totally fictional Shakespeare history which is dominated by a magical background. Miss Ballantine, the Kiwi writer reads it well and it doesn’t take long to get into the world of the fairies and magical beings. Digital Magic is another story in the same fantasy vein. Philippa has been able to gain book publishing deals by building up a following with the route of podcast novels. Self publishing is a viable way to go for an author that is impatient to get a deal by the old fashioned channels. Especially in the digital age and the world financial crisis that is affecting publishing houses all over in general, where they expect authors to self promote, even with the author having a book deal.

Seth Harwood

Jack Wakes UpJack Wakes Up is a story that is of the narration type where the characters’ life is described and the story enfolds. The Jack Palms character is a gum shoe detective story in which the hero has to overcome problems while solving a murder mystery. This story is about a one hit wonder movie star that has to play the detective for real. The story is well read and is a good story that will keep you entertained for a good few hours. I would suggest that after you have listened to the first episode you will be getting your subscription to the rest of the story. In fact you are quite likely to get all four of the Jack Palms novels and think about which of the other novels you will listen to, from the pen of Seth Harwood.

The ScarsWilliam Tennant

William is an British author who wrote The Scars the main character is Peter Everett that has been affected by grief in his life. He watches his own life become a struggle and there are also people around him that are damaged in their own lives which collide into his. William weaves a drama about people that hate, love and about intrigue, kidnap and abuse. He does use a couple of sound effects to change the sound of his voice that work once you get used to them. The story is set in England and the hero is a school teacher. It is a good story worth listening to and the author reads his story well.