8 Great Podcasts for Writers and Book Authors

By Ali Hale - 6 minute read

Podcasts

There is a lot of writing advice out there.

Perhaps you’ve signed up to read lots of blogs by email, you’ve bought some great writing-related books, and you still feel like something’s missing.

Or maybe your reading time is limited: you can’t very well scroll through blogs while you’re driving to work, for instance.

That’s when podcasts come in. Whether you’re looking for encouragement or instruction, podcasts are a great way to get writing advice (often from award-winning and/or bestselling authors) in a way that fits around daily life.

Maybe you could listen to a podcast on your commute, or while you’re working out at the gym, or while you’re doing the dishes or other household chores. (A lot of my own podcast listening happens while I tidy up my kids’ toys and craft activities!)

If you prefer to read rather than listen, or if you’re looking to quickly glean specific bits of information, then look for podcasts that have a transcript, or at least detailed show notes.

Here are eight great ones to try. They’re in no particular order: all of these offer excellent advice, and I’ve tried to indicate which might suit different types of writer.

#1: Bestseller, from Reedsy

Frequency: roughly weekly while the season is running

Average length: 20 minutes

Transcript available: no

Best for: self-publishers, novelists

This is a slick, professionally produced podcast from Reedsy, which describes itself as a “full ecosystem for authors and publishing professionals”: they offer classes, contests, and a marketplace where you can connect with editors, ghostwriters and other professionals.

The short first season of their podcast covers the various stages of self-publishing a book, from understanding the writing process to going to market, and features Shaz Kahn talking about her experience of being a first time self-publisher.

If you’re thinking of self-publishing, it’s definitely a good one to listen to. There aren’t too many episodes (six, at the time of writing) and they’re short, so you can easily listen to the whole thing. There’s no transcript, though, and only a few words for the show notes … so if you’d rather read than listen, this might not be the best podcast for you.

#2: The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn)

Frequency: weekly

Average length: 60 – 70 minutes

Transcript available: yes (for the interview portion of the episode)

Best for: fiction-writers; writers who are interested in self-publishing

Most weeks, Joanna Penn interviews an author or expert on a particular topic; occasionally, she does a solo episode. Her focus is on self-publishing, but she covers a huge range of topics related to this, and has some episodes that focus on crafting fiction and others that look at topics that are more about the process of living a creative life (e.g. How Play Can Help You Overcome Anxiety And Become More Creative With Charlie Hoehn).

Joanna starts each episode by talking about how her own writing and publishing is going, and then covers industry news for the past week, before going into the interview itself, which is the main part of the podcast. The first sections of the podcast aren’t transcribed, but the interview itself is.

#3: I Should Be Writing (Mur Lafferty)

Frequency: monthly

Average length: 20 minutes

Transcript available: yes

Best for: fiction writers; beginners

Way back in 2006, I’d just finished university and was working on a novel. I used to listen to Mur Lafferty’s fun, inspiring podcast, I Should Be Writing. At that point, she was podcasting her first novel, Playing for Keeps, a chapter at a time.

Fast forward thirteen years, and Mur is now an award-winning podcaster who’s written a whole bunch of different things. She also has her own Wikipedia page: something that I think many writers aspire to!

In her podcast, she talks honestly about her own writing and experiences. If you’re looking for a shot of writing inspiration or just want to virtually hang out with someone who “gets” what it’s like to be a writer, give it a try. If you’d prefer something more advanced, that deals with specific writing problems, then try Mur’s other podcast Ditch Diggers instead.

#4: Helping Writers Become Authors (K.M. Weiland)

Frequency: three times a month

Average length: 15 – 20 minutes

Transcript available: yes (the podcast is a read-aloud version of K.M.’s blog posts)

Best for: fiction writers

Author K.M. Weiland offers fantastic, detailed advice on the craft of writing fiction on her blog. Her podcast is part of the blog, and each episode has a short introduction then an audio version of a blog post (if you’d rather listen to a blog post than read it, you can find the audio link at the bottom). The posts/episodes cover broad topics about writing/creativity like 6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity and specific ones like Tips for How to Choose the Right Sentences.

If you like podcasts that are focused on giving focused, actionable advice, rather than ones that are more like hanging out with writers as they chat, then K.M.’s is a great option for you. Each episode covers a topic in-depth, but doesn’t last longer than 20 minutes. If you prefer to read rather than listen, then simply read the blog post versions of her podcast episodes instead of subscribing to the podcast itself.

#5: The Portfolio Life (Jeff Goins)

Frequency: weekly

Average length: 30 – 40 minutes

Transcript available: no

Best for: writers looking for inspiration and encouragement

Some episodes of this podcast involve Jeff interviewing an author or expert; others are Jeff sharing his own experience and expertise with the audience. The podcast mainly focuses on writing, though there’s also a broader look at creativity in some episodes – e.g. How to Use Time to Be Your Most Creative.

Although there isn’t a transcript as such, the episodes have a blog post version too, that’s a shorter, more succinct version of the podcast – so if you prefer to read, stick with the blog posts. In both the podcasts and the posts, Jeff is always both encouraging and realistic about the creative process and life as a writer, and offers a mix of practical advice and reassuring words.

#6: Writing Excuses (Multiple Hosts)

Frequency: weekly

Average length: 15 minutes

Transcript available: yes, indexed here

Best for: fiction writers

This long-running podcast is hosted by several different writers and covers a wide range of writing topics, in short episodes because (according to their tagline) “fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart”.

Sometimes, it’s a discussion on a particular topic between the hosts, and sometimes they have a guest to interview. It’s a very informal, chatty show and some episodes are more focused than others – but if you want something fun to listen to while you’re doing the dishes or folding the laundry, it’s a great choice.

Some of the episodes are really specific (e.g. they have one on writing Characters Who Are Smarter Than You Are and they did several on space travel recently), so it’s well worth a dig through their very extensive archives to see if they have something that tackles the exact question you have about your novel-in-progress.

#7: The Self Publishing Show (Mark Dawson and James Blatch)

Frequency: weekly

Average length: 50 minutes

Transcript available: yes

Best for: self-publishers

On this podcast, Mark Dawson – a highly experienced and successful self-publishing novelist – and James talk to various authors and experts about different aspects of self-publishing and marketing. Each episode has both video and audio, and they’re nicely produced: while Mark and James are chatty and friendly, the focus is always on drawing out lots of detailed information from interviewees.

The episodes cover a range of different topics, from the nuts and bolts of things like cover design and using Facebook live, to more big-picture ones like The Entrepreneur Mindset. Each episode includes show notes with “this week’s highlights”, so you can take a look at a few in the archive and decide which ones would be useful to listen to.

There are occasional “Masterclass” episodes, where Mark (interviewed by James) talks about a particular topic in detail: Masterclass: Amazon Ads – What’s Working Right Now is a good example.

#8: Writers on Writing (Barbara DeMarco-Barrett)

Frequency: weekly

Average length: 55 – 60 minutes

Transcript available: no

Best for: fiction writers focused on their craft

This podcast is a radio show that offers a more literary take on writing, talking to authors about their books, process and craft (rather than covering topics like self-publishing and entreprenurship). They have some impressively big name authors like Liane Moriarty appearing as guests on the show – you can find a list of upcoming guests here.

As well as talking to authors, they invite on editors and literary agents: for instance, they had LA agent Betsy Amster on in December. So if you’re looking for help with cover letters or insights into the publishing world, this could be a great podcast for you.

There aren’t any transcripts, and the show notes are very brief, but do have a dig through the archives as the show has some consistently interesting, detailed episodes – think of them a bit like attending a talk at a writing festival or conference.

Podcasts can be an easy way to learn about specific topics … or to virtually hang out with some great writers while you’re getting on with the more mundane tasks in life. Try some of the ones on this list, or share your own favourite writing podcasts with us in the comments.


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1 Response to “8 Great Podcasts for Writers and Book Authors”

  • Michael

    If you love reading great literature, learning about it, and getting inspired to read authors you may have missed, here’s a worthy podcast: “The History of Literature.” Host Jacke Wilson takes on a different author, work or topic each week. Occasionally, he will interview a guest. Recent episodes covered Sherwood Anderson, William Carlos Williams, the virgin-whore theme in literature, and David Foster Wallace. For a sample of this podcast, listen to #170 on Toni Morrison or #150 on Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Little Dog.”

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