I know they’re out there. I see their numbers, and their numbers grow. Every now and again something, somewhere pops up and assures me that yes, people are listening.

It’s occurred to me that podcasting is quite a different bird than blogging. Oh, they’re related. But, consider this: I have never recieved a comment on a podcast (other than once, from a local friend… which of course counts, but… well, you know what I mean). I have tried adding little identifiers to the podcasts, experimented with mentioning the address a few times here and there, but when it comes down to it, podcasting vs. blogging is a very thankless job.

But the odd thing is I have lots and lots of subscribers. People are listening, they’re just not responding. There’s a blank wall between what I read and what I’m writing.

It’s part of my Internet Consumable Theory. Yes, CC licensing is great; yes, it gets your work into the hands and minds of people who would never be able to otherwise; yes, it puts power back on the writers’ plate. But, it’s out there. And people can just take it. They don’t have to register (and if you ask them to, they might write some hate mail), they don’t have to pay, they don’t have to comment.

And it seems, at least from perusing the majority of podcasting blogs and my experience, that commenting isn’t the norm. People don’t generally write a review of the podcast.

I realize I’m also podcasting a whole novel; people are going to be judging the book as a whole, and I’m sure folks who haven’t found it up to their liking have dropped me. That’s cool. I’m honestly not out here for adulation. The whole point of Alderpod is to open up my writing process and shed some light into the creative process, which I thought would be a neat way of doing things.

I’m not saying I’m stopping. To the contrary, my subscriber list keeps growing and growing. But I think this also extends to short stories. I have one little short story up on the site that has been viewed or downloaded over three hundred times. Three hundred times! And I’ve had all of a handful of comments. It’s just… well, curious. Clearly since I’m selling fiction to publications, the cause is not lost… but I wonder about the psychological impressions of free craft, free writing, free podcasts. Do we cheapen ourselves by doing it? Do people view us as desperate? Unpublishable? Not worth the time? If my name doesn’t have Tor next to it, is it a lost cause? (Though, that begs the question: when I read a short story in a magazine, or even online, do I contact or comment? Not usually…)

After almost a year of blogging here, I’ve discovered that YES, there is an audience–lots of people will read, lots of people will listen. But if you’re looking for reponse, for reply… well, the jury’s still out on that one.

(As a note, I recall this has been a similar problem for BoingBoingTV–Xeni had mentioned a few months back that there were just a smattering of comments over the whole length of the show’s duration, at that point, a whole year… rather fascinating!)