Should an author have their own podcast? Today’s guest, Suzanne Kelman, offers advice on the topic. Podcasting is all the rage, but like any other creative endeavor, some personality types will take to it better than others. She is certainly cut out for podcasting with her warm and humorous personality that floods over into all she does. I met her through my client KJ Waters, and it’s been great to witness Suzanne’s involvement in the writing community and journey toward the re-release of her novel. Be sure to check out the amazing infographic at the end of the post as well.
Official Bio: Suzanne Kelman is the author of The Rejected Writers’ Book Club being republished by Lake Union on March 29, 2016. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Her accolades include The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences—Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, Best Comedy Feature Script—L.A. International Film Festival, and Gold Award Winner—California Film Awards.
Should an Author Have Their Own Podcast?
Getting yourself above the social media clamor can be challenging. I am in the midst of a relaunch of my book The Rejected Writer’s Book Club and am always looking for creative ways to market it. One way I have found is podcasting. Podcasting is a great way to carve a niche and develop an audience for you and your work. I have been podcasting for nearly a year.
Back in 2012, I met another writer KJ Waters and we connected instantly. We were both in the midst of writing and self-publishing our first books and continued to support one another as we traversed the mountain to becoming published authors.
Our books had been out for about a year when we started talking about doing a podcast together to help promote our work.
Perhaps you have considered podcasting? Here are some tips from our experience to help you decide if that might be a good fit for you.
Branding: The first thing to consider before you even start recording is branding. There are a lot of podcasts to choose from on sites such as iTunes and Podbean. It’s important to clearly think through your brand. So, make sure your podcast banner and name stand out. We wanted to play up the fact that I was British and KJ was a blonde. But with no brand recognition to begin with, we decided to call our podcast Writing, Publishing, and Beyond—hosted by Blondie and the Brit. KJ and her book cover artist, Jody Smyers, created beautiful artwork that is a strong requirement for iTunes and making the “New and Noteworthy” list, which I’ll share more about later in this post.
Format: It is also important to think through the format of your show and your intended audience. The clearer you are about the audience that you want to attract, the easier it will be to sell if you decide to package for sponsorship in the future. Also consider the length of each episode, keeping your audience in mind. We decided to keep our show around 30-40 minutes in length, an average commute time, as our target audience is someone who may still have to work outside the home but dreams of being a full-time author. Thirty-five minutes for our show tends to be the sweet spot. It leaves them wanting more, not wishing we would get to the point.
Content: As well as the format of your show, you should also think through your content before you start recording episodes. Once you brand your show a certain way, your audience is going to expect a similar format each week. Unless you are a named celebrity, the rule seems to be less about yourself and more about the content they are expecting. We interview authors about their work and social media tips, and we chose a fun and conversational style of interview with clean content so it is acceptable to a larger audience.
Tools: All you really need is a microphone, a telephone, and a way to tape your episodes. We use the free Audacity software for recording, and we connect with our guests through Skype. It all tends to run fairly smoothly, but we did have Audacity crash after we finished an episode once. So now we create a file in Audacity at the beginning of each interview and back up the recording half way through.
Editing: Unless you are planning on podcasting live (which is too scary for us to contemplate), the bane of our experience has been the editing process. It is very time consuming. Consider paying someone else to do the editing for you. Believe me, it will be money well spent.
Audience Reach: In order to get your message out to a wider audience, it is very beneficial to get your podcast mentioned on the “New and Noteworthy” section on iTunes. This will give your early numbers a huge boost. One of the many ways to do that is to launch more than one podcast in the first week. We interviewed three highly social media savvy guests and launched the episodes on the same day. This created a lot of buzz around the podcast in that first week and got us listed on “New and Noteworthy” for several months.
Evergreen Marketing: lastly, one of the greatest things for you as an author, is how not unlike your book, podcasts are evergreen, which means, even if you taped a podcast 6 months ago, a new audience can find it today and in the future. This has been one of the best things about podcasting for an author who is always in the process of promoting their work. Unlike a Twitter or Facebook post, which has such a fleeting lifespan, podcasting is a great way to keep the word out there.
You can connect with Suzanne Kelman, her social media sites, as well as the Blondie & the Brit podcast via her website.
Would you or have you tried your hand at podcasting? How did it go? Do you have any additional questions Suzanne can answer?
Guest Post: Please join me over at The Writer’s Notebook for a post on Tips for Pitching to a Literary Agent at a Writers’ Conference.
All images are courtesy of Suzanne Kelman. Please share responsibly.