I’m going to tell you about my favorite writing podcasts in hopes that you tell me about yours and we can live on forever in an endless cycle of good recommendations. Deal? Also, this is your reminder to go and leave reviews for everything you love– books, podcasts, etc. (for the things you hate, please message me directly because hating on things is amongst my very particular set of skills).
Two literary agents (Laura Zats and Erik Hane) discuss all sorts of publishing-related topics you think they’d get in trouble for talking about with people like us. It’s what I would imagine happening if I snuck into a fancy party for bookish people (which they claim they’re never invited to) and lurked about whilst listening to honest conversations about the literary world.
Tone: feisty with notes of curmudgeonliness and a hint of nerd.
Lasting impact: They had a segment where they talked about the ways in which men describe women in literary fiction– often as “bird like” and now I notice it eeeeverywhere.
Episode that sealed my obsession: The one about Amazon. Fascinating.
Alex’s favorite: The one where they lost bets and had to read aloud from 50 Shades.
Need to know: Their mascot is a loon. #HelloLaura is the future.
Brag: I accosted Laura Zats in a hallway at the Writer’s Digest Conference so I could gush over how much I love the podcast AND I AM NOT EVEN A GUSHER I AM SURLY AND UNAFFECTED OKAY
An author/editor (S. Jae Jones) and literary agent (Kelly Van Sant) discuss all things writing and craft. Expect many references to Harry Potter (especially the ending) and LOST (especially the ending) and by “expect” I mean GET EXCITED ABOUT. They also devote the second half of each episode to talking about their own projects, what they’ve read, and what they’re binge watching.
Tone: two friends skyping while we listen in and feverishly take notes.
Indulgences: They’re fellow top-tier millennials which means they naturally include all sorts of 90s kid references like Oregon Trail, which speaks to me on a soul level.
Fair Warning: They’re not sugar coating things, which means you see the dirty side of the plate when it comes to being an author, etc. So if you want rose colored glasses maybe watch The Holiday and eat peppermint bark, but if you want an inside look at the publishing process (JJ was querying when the podcast began, and now she’s a NYT Bestselling author whose just turned in her 2nd book) then prepare to binge.
Act of God: They’ve somehow made me wish I played video games.
Yin Chang is like the BFF you wish you had except she’s too busy being BFF with all your favorite authors. Seriously. It’s an interview-based podcast and I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to someone who is so damn good at asking questions and building connections with a very wide variety of writers.
Tone: Inspirational because she gets right down to the heart of it.
Even better: Many of the episodes are long af. You get the feeling the interviewee was like “yeah I’ll give you half an hour” and then suddenly realized it had been three hours and they’re telling Yin about their first puppy and why they collect miniature bowling pins.
Favorite: Her interview with Sarah J. Maas. I thought SJM was a lofty and untouchable goddess, which she absolutely is, but she’s also incredibly down to earth and there’s nothing quite like getting into the brain of someone you admire. Which Yin does in every single episode.
Bonus: She also has a facebook group where you can connect with other writers.
Two v successful writers (KJ Dell’Antonia and Jess Lahey) talk about “keeping your head in the game and your butt in the chair.” Occasional interviews but mostly topic-themed discussions on all things writing. You get the sense they’re actual real humans and not trying to sell or recruit you. They also share what they’re reading at the end of each episode, which is always nice.
Tone: Well read people take a break from their charming and successful lives to school us on writing.
Full circle: If you binge from the start you get to really trace their evolution as writers and what they’re focusing on, from speaking gigs to book proposals to breaking into fiction.
Also: They too have a facebook group full of people in the writing trenches.
Paraphernalia: They will make you want to buy stickers off Etsy.
Paraphernalia Part Two: They will also make you want to live on a farm and keep bees.
A literary agent (Jessica Sinsheimer) and writer (Julie Kingsley) pull the curtain back and share insight into the world of submissions, agenting, book deals, and such. Lots of emphasis on dispelling myths and not being terrified of industry professionals as well as helpful advice on each step of the process.
Tone: Like taking a quick class but for free and also with jokes.
Side effects: So many great interviews with editors and agents, but you’ll end up stomping around the city, batting away helicopters and crushing buildings while screaming more more more.
By the way: Ever heard of #MSWL? Same creators. They also have a membership based site that functions like an online writing conference and facilitates meetings with industry professionals.
Important: I got to meet up with Jessica a couple summers ago when I was in NYC and she introduced me to macarons– which Alex insists on pronouncing like “macaroons” so every single time I’m listening to this podcast Alex is like MACAROONS MACAROONS MACAROOOOOONS.
Straightforward interview format (from Virginia Prescott) with a wide range of writers and authors. The first bulk of episodes ask the same questions of every writer but she eventually begins tailoring it to the individual. At ten-ish minutes they’re just short enough to make odious tasks more enjoyable– like washing your face or unloading the dishwasher or contemplating your existence.
Tone: More NPR-ish and thought provoking.
Commiseration: One of her original questions was “which is hardest for you to write, the first line or the last?” and I think about this every single time I try to write anything because I would be like ALL OF THEM, VIRGINIA, ALL OF THE LINES ARE HARD TO WRITE.
Surprise: She interviews all kinds of writers, not just people who pen books. So there are supreme court justices and poets and speech writers. You might think you’d skip those, but you’d be missing out.
Sadness: Apparently she’s no longer recording new episodes. But the backlog is worth ze binge.
Okay, that’s it for now– let me know what additional podcasts I need to binge because every single time I find a new backlog to obsess over I’m able to stretch my one measly Audible credit to the next month.
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