Starting a podcast takes time, devotion and, yes, sometimes a few tears. if you’re going to start a podcast, it helps to begin with a subject you love, AND with people you really like.
One More Page is a podcast for lovers of kids’ books, featuring children’s authors Liz Ledden, Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore. That’s them on the left in their cute t-shirts (note to self: get some merch!).
So when Liz Ledden reached out to write a guest post about all that is good about podcasting (and some tips on how to start your own podcast), I jumped at the chance.
Liz Ledden tells: 6 Things I’ve Learnt About Podcasting
Since co-hosting kids’ book podcast One More Page for nearly three years alongside fellow authors Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore, I’ve learnt a thing or two about this whole podcasting biz. Here are six standouts:
1/ It’s like your own personal masterclass … that you share with the world
Having a podcast about the children’s book world (One More Page) means you’re constantly asking people about things you’re curious about. And that presumably (and hopefully) listeners are, too. Obsessed with a certain author? Drill them for their creativity tips! Dream of working with a particular publisher? Ask them what they look for in a manuscript, or an author. There’s so much wisdom to be gained from podcasts, and the hosts have as much to learn as their listenership.
2/ It’s hard to listen to your own voice (like, really hard)
One of the most confronting things about podcasting, especially when starting out, is discovering what your voice ‘really’ sounds like. Which may then lead you down a rabbit hole of – why do I laugh like that? Why didn’t I say something different there? Can we just re-release that entire episode already?! But eventually, you do get used to it. (Except for that sentence, and that one too … Oh god, I hope no one heard that bit!).
3/ It’s kind of like a workplace
Being part of a podcast team is just like a workplace, minus the boss and regular pay packet. There’s the ‘watercooler’ (a WhatsApp chat mostly filled with ridiculous gifs) and to-do lists to tick off (yes, our very own KPIs). There’s also break-time banter (the pre and post-pod chat), dodgy office politics (It’s MY review copy! No, MINE!), and people behaving (or singing) badly at the Christmas party – except ours is recorded for anyone to hear. At least we can all declare ourselves ‘Employee of the Year’ – hooray!
4/ It’s also a bit like being a publisher
‘Sorry, it’s not right for our list’. Sound familiar, writerly people?! Yes, that age-old publishing rejection spiel is sometimes just as applicable to the podcast world. I’ve discovered how similar being a podcaster is to a publisher, in terms of people getting in touch:
– We have an endless stream of people emailing with requests (the ‘slush pile’).
– We sometimes need to take a raincheck on wonderful content (a fully booked publishing schedule).
– There’s the occasional mega-star we try to squeeze in no matter what (like when a celebrity kids’ book author comes knocking at a publishing house – hello, mega sales!).
– And just like publishers, we have a few odd bods offering content not really suited to One More Page (like writers who don’t follow submission guidelines or research a publisher first).
Sorry to say … it’s not right for our list.
5/ If something goes wrong, it’ll be at the worst possible time
Inevitably, any internet-dependant venture will face a tech fail or two. These, of course, are exclusively reserved for those high-profile guests you’ve waited your whole life to speak to. But that time you interview your pal from your writers’ group? It will go off without the slightest of hitches. Internet gods, why do you do this?! (Sidenote: It’s actually been a while since this has happened … knock on wood!)
6/ Grateful guests warm the heart
Some seasoned authors, illustrators and other bookish figures regularly do the publicity rounds. An interview here, a livestream there, maybe even a coveted TV spot. They’re glad to add One More Page to their repertoire, but it mightn’t necessarily be a life highlight.
However, every now and then, someone is stratospherically excited and grateful for some podcasterly airtime, whether we interview them, review their book or shout out to their latest venture.
And when someone tells us how much it means to them, it makes all the effort worthwhile.
Like the idea of podcasting?
Perhaps you have your own idea for a podcast (or don’t even mind the sound of your own voice!).
Here are a few things to consider if embarking down the podcasting path:
Why are you podcasting?
You don’t necessarily need a product or service to spruik, it might be to build your brand or further your career.
As authors, we’re able to mention our own books, so think about how you could tie in your existing ventures with your podcast. Of course, you may simply want to connect with likeminded people, but who knows what opportunities that could lead to?
What is your podcast about, and who is it aimed at?
If you have several audiences in mind (e.g. across age groups), how will your content cater to them? At One More Page, we imagine some kids might listen as well as adults who love kids’ books, like teacher librarians or writers. That’s why we keep our content G-rated, and also feature kids themselves on the show.
What will you call your podcast?
This sets the tone for your show, and requires a bit of research to avoid doubling up. But once you have a name you can set up everything from a website, to an email address, to social media accounts.
What about all the techie bits?
From establishing your format, writing your content and contacting potential guests, there’s a whole lot of behind the scenes work in putting a podcast together.
You’ll not only need a website host but an account with a podcast hosting site, which will upload your episodes to all the main podcast apps. Plus some quality headphones with a mic, a quiet place to record and recording software, too.
There’s a world of information a quick google search away to help you work it all out.
If the above sounds daunting, it’s mostly related to getting started. Once you’re up and running you can concentrate on producing your content, let the laughs roll and share your fun (and in our case, fandom) with the world!
Liz Ledden is a Sydney-based children’s book author and co-host of kids’ book podcast, One More Page. Connect with Liz on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Her picture book Tulip and Brutus about friendship, differences and bugs is out now.
Her second picture book, Walking Your Human, is for dog-lovers everywhere and due out in February 2021.
Find out more about One More Page podcast here.
For someone who has been co-hosting a top-rating podcast for nearly four years now, I have been surprisingly slow at seeking out really good podcasts for myself. It took me ages to work out what worked for me in a podcast, so I tried an eclectic mix of information, pop culture, history… nothing really gelled.
Of course, I listened to Serial when everyone was talking about it, and I loved it. But series two didn’t really grab me and so I put my earbuds away. The truth was that there were so many podcasts out there, I didn’t know where to start to sort the wheat from the chaff.
And then I listened to The Teacher’s Pet (currently unavailable in Australia), because my co-host Valerie Khoo told me I’d love it. I resisted because I had already seen so much about that particular ‘cold case’ and what I knew made me angry. But eventually I caved and then binged every episode. Why? Because I was beginning to get an inkling of the potential of this kind of storytelling.
After that one, I fell down the rabbit hole of true crime podcasts, and you’ll see several stellar examples of that genre on that list.
Then, one day, a few months ago, I got sick of it. I didn’t want to hear another sad story about a sad family looking for answers. So I started looking for something different.
Interestingly, Googling ‘great history podcasts’ took me into an area that combined music, history and, yes, in some cases, crime, and that’s where I seem to have washed up for the time being.
So I thought I’d share with you some of the best podcasts I’ve listened to over the past year or two. In case you’re in a bit of a podcast rut – or you’re looking for a place to start.
8 really good podcasts (according to me)
Click the titles to find out more.
As discussed, I’ve listened to more hours of these than I should probably ever admit. What makes a good one for me? One where the victim of the crime is never forgotten in the race to tell the story. One where the host doesn’t become the ‘star’ of the show. One where the narrative is both compelling and clever. It goes without saying that all of these come with violence and content warnings.
Aside from the original excellence of Serial, Bear Brook is my number one pick in this genre. A case in which the very last thing discovered is the identity of the victims, and that highlights the first use of technology that changes the face of crime investigation.
From a writer’s perspective, it’s a very cleverly constructed and very surprising narrative. I also liked the fact that, unlike many true crime podcasts, this one has a resolution. Produced by New Hampshire Public Radio.
Unravel True Crime
The first three seasons of this Australian true crime podcast are excellent and compelling storytelling. I haven’t listened to the fourth as yet, due to my jump into music and history. The hosts for all three series I have heard are excellent, and their journalism credentials all top-notch. Produced by ABC Radio.
Your Own Backyard
A mind-boggling look into the disappearance of Kristin Smart, a student at California Polytechnic State University, in 1996 by Chris Lambert, an indie folk musician by trade who grew up looking at Kristin’s face on a billboard near his home. Lambert never loses sight of Kristin, even as he pokes and prods at the case that has only ever had one suspect.
I love the stories behind songs, singers and songwriters. In some cases here, there’s a fine line between the music category and the ‘true crime’ category.
This one is all about the music and you’ll need a bit of geek in you to get into it. Each episode, the host, Kirk Hamilton, breaks down a song and looks at why it works. If you’ve ever wondered why you respond to certain songs in certain ways, this is the podcast for you.
Mogul (Season 1, Chris Lighty)
I’m fascinated by Hip Hop and season one of Mogul, about manager Chris Lighty is all about the rise of hip-hop as much as the story of one man who was part of it. This podcast, by Gimlet Media, comes with language warnings, as well as trigger warnings for domestic violence and suicide. It remains a deeply compelling story.
NB: I listened to a few episodes of season 2 before pausing. About Miami bass, the 2 Live Crew and freedom of speech in language, the language, ironically, wore me down.
Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History Of Country Music
You don’t have to like country music to enjoy this podcast, though it does help with a few episodes (Ralph Mooney and his pedal steel guitar being a case in point). Host Tyler Mahan Coe is the son of David Allan Coe, an American singer-songwriter, and he introduces each episode as being one of the stories he’s been ‘listening to his whole life’.
Each episode is dedicated to a song or an artist and they’re a hugely entertaining look behind the scenes of 20th century country music in the US. Mahan Coe sounds really nervous in the first few episodes, but he and his stories get more engaging as he goes along. Hint: check out the show notes, which are thorough and which will allow you to listen to all the songs that you only get a snippet of in the episodes due to licensing.
Note that there are warnings for some episodes around domestic violence and other crimes, but Mahan Coe is very careful to put the warnings upfront.
There are 61 episodes of this podcast, which describes itself as being about ‘musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly’, so you can either choose to listen to stories about your favourites or just start from episode one and go forward. I did the latter and discovered some tales about artists I’d grown up listening to that made my eyes water.
A combination of music, history and true crime, the podcast is narrated by Jake Brennan – and I say narrated because he is an evocative and dramatic storyteller.
Got a recommendation for me? Share it in the comments!
Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here. Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for author interviews, insider tips and lots of chat about storytelling in its many different forms.
It’s been a big year for the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast team!
Not only have we screamed past the ONE MILLION download mark (you’ll find my 15 favourite interviews here), with a LIVE event at VIVID Sydney (book now!) in the works, but we’re happy to announce that we’ve written a book!
So You Want To Be A Writer: How To Get Started (While You Still Have A Day Job) by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo will be on sale from 8 June (be at our event to be the first to own it!)
Here’s the blurb
The ultimate guide to making your writing dreams come true!
Want to write a novel or earn an income as a freelance writer, but not sure how to go about it? Authors Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo – co-hosts of the popular So You Want To Be A Writer podcast – will give you the steps you need to make your dream a reality.
In this book, you’ll discover everything you need to be a successful writer, including how to connect with people who will help your career grow and productivity tips for fitting everything into your already busy life. You’ll also explore how to keep your creative juices flowing and where to find other writers just like you.
This book lays out a blueprint to help you get started and thrive in the world of words. With advice from over 120 writers, you’ll tap into proven wisdom and find the path that will lead YOU to success!
Here’s what five of Australia’s favourite authors have said about the book
‘Practical, grounded and inspiring. When a thousand voices tell you that you can’t, you need a voice to make you believe you can. This book is that voice.’
Candice Fox, #1 New York Times bestselling author
‘So many pro tips in here from working writers. This is like Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans but exclusively for writers. I loved it.’
Tristan Bancks, award-winning children’s author
‘Perfect for the person who wants to write but doesn’t have the confidence or the know-how to start.’
Pamela Hart, award-winning historical fiction author
‘Essential reading for any aspiring writer.’
Graeme Simsion, international bestselling author
‘Val and Al were a godsend to me before I was published, offering a guided tour to the world of publishing that was otherwise closed to me. Their advice is highly, highly recommended.’
Dervla McTiernan, international bestselling author
And here’s a picture of the co-authors on the day (nearly a year ago) we decided to write a book
We are thrilled to bring this book to our podcast audience, our writing community and to new and aspiring writers everywhere. It will be available through a range of online booksellers, here and overseas, so stay tuned for more details.
If you’d like to read more about So You Want To Be A Writer the book, or register your details to receive notice as soon as the book is on sale, you’ll find all the details here.
Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.
So here’s a thing… Valerie Khoo and I are taking the So You Want To Be A Writer show to Vivid Sydney!
I know! An EVENT!
We would LOVE for you to join us for a (possibly slightly chaotic) live recording of the podcast, with a mix of practical tips and advice about writing and the publishing industry.
We’ll have expert (and amazing) insight from our special guests Candice Fox and Pamela Freeman, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet LOTS of other writers.
As always, our aim is to inspire you to follow your dream to be a writer – and to help you out by providing useful, tangible steps you can follow to get there.
It’s on Saturday, June 8, 11am-1pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Tickets are $38.54 each (inc fees and GST), and numbers are strictly limited, so get in quick!
Please come. We’d love to see you.
You can find out more and buy tickets here.
Last week, So You Want To Be A Writer, the podcast that I co-host with the wonderful Valerie Khoo from the Australian Writers’ Centre, ticked over a new milestone: one million downloads.
To mark the occasion, I thought I’d share my favourite author interviews since we began recording the podcast.
To be clear, I’ve enjoyed every single interview that I’ve recorded for the podcast. I have learnt something from every one, and have been astounded by the generosity of the authors to whom I’ve spoken.
But these are the ones that I remember the most, for a whole range of reasons. They’ve given me ‘aha’ moments. They’ve made me laugh. They’ve stayed with me.
If you haven’t discovered So You Want To Be A Writer, I hope you’ll begin your journey with these interviews.
If you’re a longtime fan, thank you so much for listening and helping us to reach such an extraordinary milestone. And I hope that perhaps you’ll have a second listen to these episodes, to see why I love them so much.
Click the author name and episode to listen/read the interview transcript.
Adrian McKinty, episode 97
I confess that I dragged Adrian on to the podcast simply because I am such a fan of his Sean Duffy crime novels, and I laughed so much during this engaging, rambling interview that I ended up an even bigger fan.
Andrew Faulkner, episode 101
This was a classic example of an interview ending up WAY more interesting than I ever expected. Andrew is a journalist and biographer and our discussion about his military biography ‘Stone Cold’ ranged far and wide.
Andy Griffiths, episode 67
How could I not include the most serious conversation about ‘bums’ I’ve ever had? Children’s author Andy Griffiths gave a masterclass on writing craft.
Anna Spargo-Ryan, episode 110
Anna is a dear friend and our discussion was part interview, part catch up. She continues to write some of the most beautiful sentences I’ve ever read.
Dervla McTiernan, episode 271
Our most recent episode and a thoughtful and incredibly engaging interview about crime novels and the double-sided nature of fortune.
Fiona Mcintosh, episode 264
“Nobody cares about your book,” says this bestselling author and that, along with some other blunt advice about the writing industry, is why this interview is a favourite.
Garry Disher, episode 196
Considered and articulate writing tips delivered in a very, very soothing voice.
Jackie French, episode 214
I think what I loved most about all the writing tips and advice in this interview was how unexpected they were. Jackie takes ‘read lots, write lots’ to a whole different level.
Karen Foxlee, episode 257
This children’s author and her ‘puddle of words’ writing process (so very different to my own) will stay with me for a long time. One of the episodes that reminded me to always stay open to other ways.
Marisa Pintado, episode 182
A really insightful look at the publishing process and the role of a publisher and editor in children’s and YA fiction.
Michael Robotham, episode 26
I’m not sure what it is about crime authors, but they really are the most personable and generous people. Michael says he looks like, and I quote, ‘a kitten killer’, but he takes us inside the daily routine and writing process of an international-bestselling author.
Nick Earls, episode 28
My overwhelming memory of this interview is that it could have gone on for days. Looking at the transcription, it was definitely one of the longer ones, but that’s because I was finding it all so damn interesting!
R.A Spratt, episode 268
Again, honesty is at the heart of this interview with bestselling children’s author Rachel (R.A) Spratt. She gives a very straight-forward insight into the business of writing for children.
Sarah Keenihan, episode 125
Science writer Sarah gave us great insight into the art and craft of blending scientific knowledge and words.
Sophie Green, episode 194
In a former life, Sophie was my literary agent, and nobody was more thrilled than I was when her debut novel went gangbusters. Our interview ranged across many topics, from the writing process to how to get published.
Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.
Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for more amazing writing tips.