“Congrats about getting on another podcast,” a fellow writer said to me. “When can I listen to it?”
“Thanks. There are four you can listen to now, one coming soon, and one will come out in December.”
“How did you get on all those podcasts? You need to do a podcast about getting on a podcast!”
Since I don’t run my podcast at this time, I thought I’ll write a blog post instead.
Traditionally published writers may do a blog tour set up by their publisher. This summer, I gave myself such a tour, on my schedule, and without spending much. Only one of the podcasts I was on required a payment from me. And all were great fun.
I’m introverted. Chatting with strangers is not natural to me. So why am I speaking on podcasts? My goal is to get the word out about my book baby. Six months after I published, my sales are strong. August was my second-best month since publishing. It’s hard to know how people find out about my book, but I think exposure had much to do with it.
A podcast interview is an evergreen asset. You spend time on it once, but the payoff may come at any time. A small podcast may rise to popularity; people will go back to listen to old episodes and find yours. One of the book sales gurus I read, Honoree Corder, says no podcast is too big or too small. If you spend time posting about your book on Facebook or Instagram (not evergreen), spend some time googling podcasts as well.
Set an Intention
When I read all that advice about getting on podcasts, I had no idea how to find one. I took out my goal list and added “get on a podcast” without knowing how to do it. Then I visualized being interviewed. I believe setting goals and visualizing success is like shouting to the universe from a rooftop, “I need this!” There’s an abundance of podcasts; hosts are searching for dynamic guests. The universe will let the right opportunity come your way.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Prepare for a podcast as you would prepare for a job interview. Ensure you have the link to the meeting, the software downloaded, the headset charged, and your book and notes in your hands. Ask the host ahead of time if they are recording a video, if the broadcast will be live or edited, and if there’s a question they like to ask. Listen to the previous podcasts, write down the questions, and practice answering them about your book. Many hosts are spontaneous, but they have “go-to” questions, and after listening to 2-3 interviews, you’ll figure out what they are. If you feel overwhelmed with the preparation, have a friend interview you to build confidence. I’m a member of the Toastmasters organization, and I had my fellow Toastmasters throw questions at me.
My favorite speaking opportunities came from my community. When I posted about my book on local Facebook groups, I received sales and book club invitations. I donated my book to the library and was featured on their social media. Glenview TV Off the Shelf program reached out to me, and later the library podcast team. The Niles library podcast was the only one I got to do in person, inside their studio. After that podcast, I noticed that my book appeared in more libraries.
Go Talk to Other Authors
Writing is a social profession and you need people to help you. Find your tribe. On Mondays, I join a virtual author get-together. Our #1 topic is marketing, and people share tips. If you had a great experience on a podcast, why not talk about it and invite others to contact the host? This is how I heard of the She Shed Studio podcast with Eri Nelson. She is an author herself, and she interviews other authors. Patricia Dent of Grow Vantage is another podcast host I met through my Monday group. She coaches entrepreneurs and interviews women who overcame barriers. We talked about the failures I had early in my writing journey before I wrote A Girl with a Knife.
Go with your Genre
Because I write historical fiction, I keep my eyes peeled for a podcast specific to this genre. I followed other authors to see where they give interviews and came across History through Fiction. I was shocked at how quickly the host responded and scheduled me. The episode won’t air till December, but that didn’t matter to me. This was a biggie in my eyes. Household name authors had been on this podcast. The impostor syndrome kicked in, and I was asking myself “what did I get into?" Knowing that the host is a historian and may ask me about the real people or events mentioned in my book, I wrote notes. The preparation paid off. The interview has not been published yet, but I know I answered the questions well.
Go to The Authors Show
Someone in the author group promoted their interview on The Authors Show, and I checked it out. Since the interview is free, why not? Fill out the form, and the host will schedule you. The Authors Show makes money on the packages. They will play your interview for 24 hours free, but if you want to keep the recording or have it played on the weekends for a few months, that costs extra. I recommend you do the free interview first, and then consider if you want to pay.
Go Free... Most of the Time
the opportunities I described above were free. Then a fellow author told me
about a podcast he was on for free because the host was his friend, but
normally the guests pay a fee. I asked if he would connect me. He checked in
with the host of Label-Free Podcast, Deanna Kuempel, and she responded that if I make
the cut, she’d host me for $50. My curiosity was piqued. I never had to
“audition” for a podcast before, nor pay for the spot. I asked my friend if it
was worth it, and he reassured me that it was.
Deanna’s assistant Julie called me with questions: “if you had a clone, what would you ask her to do?” That was easy. “She would do my day job so I could write.” “If you owned an Inconvenience store, what would be your best seller?” I was stumped and asked her to repeat the question. Then I said, “I would sell my beliefs that women need to marry early, or all the best guys will be taken. This is something my mother and grandmother used to say, but that belief is outdated.” “What would you never tell anyone?” “um… my weight.” Julie laughed and laughed at that answer. Soon I received the invitation for the show.
interview was fun and went smoothly. When I saw the YouTube video, I was taken
aback by the sponsor image in the right-upper corner. I don’t regret doing the
interview, but that was distracting, and I’m glad I didn’t share this video at work.
And I wish I closed the utility closet behind me. Live and learn.
I started seeing other opportunities for paid podcasts in Facebook groups. My gut told me those were not worth the $40-$50 fee they charged. Consider if the audience is large enough for you to recoup that fee with your royalties.
Now I hope to see you or hear you on a podcast. And if you know one that may be a fit for me, please connect me!