To Podcast or Not To Podcast, That Is My Conundrum

No, I'm not asking if I should participate in other people's podcasts. I know that is a viable marketing technique and one that I need to focus on doing more this year. I've shied away from podcasts in the past mainly because I didn't feel like marketing an incomplete series.

Instead, this is about my ongoing consideration of doing my own author podcast. But I want to put a different spin on mine compared to most of the ones I've listened to or participated in before.

Most of the podcasts that are author oriented tend to focus on the author's books. That isn't necessarily a bad thing because it helps to market the author's published work(s) which in return helps to potentially bring them new sales, readers, and reviews. Those are all great things that authors strive to accomplish but I've walked away from some of those podcasts feeling like there was a lot left out.

For every author, there are two journeys. The first journey is the one for the readers, where the author should talk about their book(s), their inspirations, maybe some of their favorite parts of what they've created, and what they want their readers to take away from their books/stories. But then there's the other journey, the behind-the-scenes author journey that authors go through in order to see our books get published. Did they use a lit agent? How long did it take to go from draft to published? What obstacles did they face along the way? What are some lessons learned for new authors looking to get published or change publishers? Have there been any instances of suspicious calls or emails about your books, i.e. possible scams?

What I'm considering is doing a podcast that covers both sides, for the readers wanting to learn about an author and their book(s), and then another for authors wanting to hear about what other authors have learned and experienced. I think a podcast, or two related but separate podcasts, like that could be very informative and helpful to a wide range of listeners.

But why both sides if there are already a ton of podcasts out there for authors to talk about their books?

On the few podcasts I've participated in, the hosts were always very pleasant and nice but the content was largely the same. Tell us a little about your self. Tell us a little about your book. Is it available now or when will it be available? Are you working on anything else? What advice would you have for aspiring authors out there?

The interviews were always kinda short, ~30 minutes give or take. We spent a good portion of the time talking about my background because as soon as I mentioned having worked for a video game company that seems to get people's attention. We only spend a few minutes talking about whatever my current release is without spending much time talking about the series as a whole. And then we always transition the end of the conversation away from my books to becoming a writer.

Just about every podcast I've been on or listened to seemed to try to walk that line of being for readers and for writers but never really committing fully to either.

Books are an expression of the writer. To fully appreciate someone's work you need to understand the author. To really pull in readers, authors need to talk not just about their book(s) and what they want the readers to take away from it/them but how readers might connect and relate to the characters, story, world, morals, etc. and I just don't see most of these interviews going to that depth in the questions and that length in the runtime. When the entire episode is ~30 minutes with an intro, an outro, author background, book summary, marketing info, and writing advice, there isn't much time to get into any one topic or aspect, in my opinion.

With the idea I'm kicking around, each author would give two separate interviews. The first would be for the readers. We would spend a good amount of time diving into the author's literary inspirations, favorite authors/books, details about their book(s), their purpose for writing it, available formats, future plans, and more. The goal being that readers could walk away from that episode knowing full well what to expect from that book or series. I don't want that interview to be intertwined with discussions that authors might be interested, only things relevant to readers.

The second interview would be geared primarily at author related topics that other authors might find interesting or useful. What publishing routes did they consider vs use? What were some of your writing obstacles and how did you overcome them? What's your favorite time/place to write? What tools do you use to help with your writing? What services did you use to help ready your manuscript for publication/pitches? What's been the biggest obstacle faced post-publication? Have there been any negative experiences that you'd like to share or warn others about? And then of course the obligatory what advice for aspiring authors do you have?

And I see each interview running between 30-60 minutes, giving the author ample time to really express themselves, to articulate about their passion for their work, and more. That may sound long for a podcast of this nature when compared to others out there but I really feel like this would be more beneficial to readers, to other authors, and for the authors themselves doing the interview. And that's part of why I'm considering splitting it into 2 podcasts, 1 for the readers and 1 for the authors. Each guest would automatically be on both shows. I'd basically conduct one lengthy interview with the author and then split the segments.

I'm still kinda torn on this idea. Part of me really wants to do it, more for the author side of the conversation than the reader side but if I'm going to interview authors then why wouldn't I give them a chance to promote their work at the same time. I'll continue to mull over my options and ideas on this.

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