I’m admittedly a late-comer to the podcast thing so it wasn’t until I started writing with intention in 2018 that I sought them out, subscribed, and listened regularly. Now, I miss them when I’m all caught up. These voices and their insights become your friends at the gym, on flights, or during your daily commute.
I’m a firm believer in being a reader before you can be a writer (think about it: if you want to be a chef, how can you ever be one unless you’ve tasted everything out there / everything you have access to?) so my first podcast love is, and remains, the Reading Envy podcast.
Jenny Colvin reads an insane amount of books each year (2019 = 300+) and she’s a librarian so she knows what’s in the pipeline and reads a lot of ARCs, but the best part is the diversity she covers. I’ve discovered little-known gems through her podcast while getting insights on the season’s most-hyped books. She also does reading themes (example: Canadian authors) that have opened my eyes to just how many great writers there are out there in the world. Looking to loose yourself in something from The Maldives or Tajikistan? Jenny knows.
Podcasts are great because they’re usually in a conversational format and Reading Envy does that well. Typically, there’s a guest on with Jenny and they talk back and forth about 6 books per episode, each person bringing three to the table. It makes for a really unique, unguarded book conversation.
I can’t remember exactly how we came to be connected, I think it was through the #bookstagram community on Instagram, but I ended up being a guest on the Reading Envy Podcast twice and it was a blast. I mean, who doesn’t want to talk about books for an hour with someone as well-read as Jenny? Take a listen here and here.
Writers on Writing
The Writers on Writing podcast with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett is a must-listen. Each episode is different because Barbara’s guests range from poets to Pulitzer Prize winners to debut novelists to short story writers. And with that range comes a vast array of experiences on the writing and publishing process. I haven’t yet found an episode where there wasn’t a brilliant nugget of wisdom that I could apply to my own writing and reading life. Plus, there’s a certain sort of reassurance that comes from realizing how varied everyone’s journey is—there’s truly no “right way” to go about it.
The Manuscript Academy
There are so many amazing facets to The Manuscript Wish List / Manuscript Academy. I discovered them through #MSWL on twitter (ManuScript Wish List, where agents tweet about what they would love to see land in their inbox) and down the rabbit hole I went. Their podcast is fantastic since it features a writer and a literary agent (Julie and Jessica) and includes interviews with editors, agents, behind-the-scenes information on the publishing process, and lots of tips. I have gone back into their archives and am listening to every single episode. That’s how great the information is that they provide. I’m legitimately fearful of what I might miss should I not do that.
It bears mentioning that the Manuscript Wish List website, from which the podcast was birthed, is a wonderful resource for writers not only during the querying process because you can search for agents based on what they’re seeking to represent, but before because they offer one-on-one consultations with agents. I met with two agents over Skype and have zero regrets. Not intimidating at all (total lie. I could barely breathe.) One was for a query letter review and the other was a first ten-page consultation. Good things are coming from those meetings; I can feel it.
Bookends Literary Agency
Ok this is a cheat because it’s not a podcast, it’s on YouTube, but I listen to it like a podcast. Each episode typically features Jessica Faust who started the Bookends Literary Agency and James McGowan, an agent in his own right and the social media guru for the agency. I love the banter between these two and James always manages to make me laugh while they impart insights from their office. I mean, how much more behind-the-scenes can you go than this? A sampling of topics covered include auctions and pre-empts, things literary agents look for in an author (a reassuring episode unless you’re an ass, trust me), the best and worst times to query, what sub rights are, what really goes on during the revision process, and so on and so forth. This is another case of me going back into their archives and watching every single episode.