Penn Reveals Audio Secrets


Joanna Penn. 2020. Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasting, and Voice Technologies. Bath, UK: Curl Up Press.[1]

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

In 2018 I listened to several podcasts by Joanna Penn, purchased a MacBook Pro and Yeti microphone, and began recording a weekly podcast. It was very basic. I simply created am MP3 file on my Mac with Garageband and uploaded the file to my blog. In early 2020, I ran out of space on the blog host and started using PodBean to host my podcast. My blog traffic has basically doubled each year since being my podcast. When I learned that Joanna published a book, Audio for Authors, I was all ears.


Joanna Penn’s book, Audio for Authors, begins with a call to action:

“This book is intended to push you out of your comfort zone, because the world is changing, and there are more ways to reach readers through audio than ever before. The time is now for embracing audio, so I hope you will in me on the journey.” (6)

While I am more of a monk than an audiophile, audio is a way to reach more readers, especially young readers, which has to be attractive to any author. As a Christian author, however, I am leery of both audio and video both because of their addictive qualities and because unstructured time to reflect is fundamental to the Christian faith. The Koran makes this point mostly clearly when it describes Christians as the people of the book. Still, audio is a tool that can have both holy and profane uses.


For those of you that do not know Joanna, she is a former technology expert who decided to change careers to become author, writing both fiction and nonfiction. She has more than a decade of podcasting experience and has written more books than you can shake a stick at. What makes her interesting to self-publishers is that she is one of the rare few who has a way to make money doing these things. Check out her website ( for more details.’


Penn divides this how-to book into three parts: Audiobooks, Podcasting, and Voice Technologies. If you want details and recommendations, she’s got details and recommendations. I was pleasantly surprised that she also uses a MacBook and a Yeti microphone, but I wondered why she skipped over mention of Garageband, because it is built into the Mac.


Joanna Penn’s Audio for Authors is a timely resource for writers thinking about starting a podcast or recording an audio book, but do not know where to begin.



Penn Reveals Audio Secrets

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