Podcast spotlight: So You Want to Be a Writer
Established in 2014, So You Want to Be a Writer is made by the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC) and co-hosted by author Allison Tait and AWC CEO Valerie Khoo. Each episode covers writing tips, new developments in the publishing world, advice on how to succeed and interviews with writers. ‘I think a lot of people love the idea of hosting a podcast but aren’t quite ready to face the reality of how committed you need to be to make it work,’ says Khoo. She spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘podcast spotlight’ series.
For new or uninitiated listeners, describe your podcast in under 50 words.
A weekly chat between two authors on how to become a successful writer. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist or want to break into freelance writing, this podcast has tips, resources and interviews with writers from all over the world.
What makes your podcast unique?
We like to think that we go the extra mile for our listeners and are very open and frank about the writing and publishing industry. We also have occasional listener meetups and a lively Facebook group for our listeners’ community.
When and how did you get started in podcasting?
I started podcasting back in the days when no one knew what podcasting was. Soon after, Allison joined in and we’ve been on this wild and crazy ride ever since.
Where and how is your podcast recorded?
Allison lives on the south coast of NSW and I live in Sydney. So all episodes are done via Skype. We also have a podcast editor, and a producer who coordinates interviews and organises the show notes.
What kind of listeners does your podcast reach?
Our listeners are predominantly writers or aspiring writers. While the majority are in Australia, each week more people discover us from all over the world.
What have been your most popular guests or most memorable episodes?
Every guest brings something different to the table and that’s what’s so great about how we curate our guests. We don’t just stick with the same genre or the same type of writer. It’s great to get different perspectives and insights into the creative process and we know that our listeners benefit from that as well!
What recent trends have you noticed in podcasting?
There are so many more podcasts now than ever before. But it’s interesting to see how many start and how many shut down—or go ‘on hiatus’—after only a short run. I think a lot of people love the idea of hosting a podcast but aren’t quite ready to face the reality of how committed you need to be to make it work.
Why do you think people are drawn to this format?
It’s just so easy to consume. You can listen in your car, when you‘re going for a walk, doing the laundry. Unlike TV, you don’t have to watch anything, so it’s just a wonderfully flexible way to consume content while being able to do something else.
How do you fund your podcast? Do you have plans to explore other funding options?
We have no funding, and we don’t have advertising. We do it because we love it and we love our listeners. Neither of us shies away from the fact that we also have books and courses available through the AWC—we talk about them openly. So some people may end up enrolling in those courses. But if you’re wondering if we have any kind of sponsorship, we don’t feel the need to explore this.
What plans do you have for your podcast going forward?
We are planning a book, merchandise and a national tour for 2019.
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