Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Five Podcasts for Writers

By Iola Goulton

I have finally joined the new millennium, caved to pester power from my teenagers, and become the last person in my family to own an iPhone.

I’m now the proud owner of a rose gold iPhone SE, which my daughter informs me is the size of a 5 with the brain of a 6. (She was the first in the family to climb aboard the iProduct bandwagon, with an iPod then three iPhones. All funded from her job in a supermarket cafĂ©.)

One of the nifty features the iPhone has is the ability to play podcasts.

Yes, I know I could listen to podcasts through my computer, but that relied on me being near my computer, and not using it for something else (I found I could listen to a podcast if I was working on Word or Excel, but if I was on the internet, switching windows away from the podcast would stop it). Also, listening on my PC relied on me remembering the podcast existed, and navigating my way to the relevant site.

Apple makes it all so much easier. There is a Podcast button, and I have to do is locate and subscribe to podcasts. The iPhone then automatically downloads new episodes for me, so I can listen to them online or offline—even while I’m driving, using Apple's nifty bud earphones. Very handy!

So now I’m investigating what podcasts are worth subscribing to—particularly podcasts about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

So far I’ve tried several, found some I like, some I’m not sure about, and discarded others. Here are my top five picks so far:

The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

Marketing expert Chris Syme and her daughter, bestselling author Becca Syme, on all things book marketing. I’ve read Chris’s book, Sell More Books with Less Social Media, and her latest release, Sell More Books with Less Marketing. Both are excellent, and recommended for newbie and not-so-newbie authors alike. Becca Syme is also an instructor at Lawson Writer's Academy, so she knows what she's talking about.

The Creative Penn

Yes, I know. Everyone recommends Joanna Penn and The Creative Penn Podcast. There is a reason for this—because she covers all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing, because she is knowledgeable and personable, and because she attracts great guests. She also has a great accent.

The Story Grid Podcast

The Story Grid is Shawn Coyne’s plotting mechanism. In this podcast, Shawn takes book marketing expert Tim Grahl through the process of writing and editing a novel. Fans of The Story Grid will love seeing (hearing?) the grid in action. Pantsers will hate it. I’m somewhere in the middle.

In the last couple of episodes, he's moved away from the novel structure into discussing non-fiction, and I'm finding that equally interesting.

Novel Marketing

The Novel Marketing Podcast is a collaboration between bestselling author James L Rubart, and marketing expert Thomas Umstaadt Jnr, focusing on (wait for it) marketing your novel. The episodes are short—around 20 minutes each, and their voices are easy to listen to. That might sound shallow, but it’s important (at least, it is to me). Just as a bad audiobook narrator can ruin a good novel, a host with a voice that grates means I’m not listening to the content.


I’m still on the fence about this one. It’s hosted by StudioPress and Copyblogger, and about website design and marketing. Episodes focus on “the four pillars of a successful WordPress website: content, design, technology, and strategy”. I’ve used WordPress for several years but I’m no expert, so I hope this doesn’t get too techy for me. 

What podcasts do you listen to and recommend? Let me know in the comments.

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at www.christianediting.co.nzto download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction. 

I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at www.iolagoulton.com.

You can also find me on:
Facebook (Author)
Facebook (Editing)


  1. Thanks, Iola. Of these I listen to Story Grid and Joanna Penn, but I'll check the others out too. Podcasts take time to listen to so I try and find otherwise dead time - like when I'm riding my exercise bike!

    1. I'd have more time to listen if I worked away from home. I had a couple of long drives over the school holidays, which were great for listening.

  2. Thanks Iola. I love the Story Grid podcasts and I enjoy Joanna Penn too. I can also recommend Jeff Goins, 'the Portfolio life', and the Self-Publishing podcast with the Sterling and Stone guys, (language warning). The Poema Podcast with James Prescott; and 'Writer on the Road' with Melinda Hammond. Love to go on long drives and listen to these!

    1. I love the Sterling & Stone guys (especially Dave. They all mock Dave), although I haven't heard their podcasts.

      Thanks for the suggestions - I'll look them up.

  3. Replies
    1. He podcasts? I've signed up to his 10,000 readers course, but didn't realise that. Thanks!

  4. My newest favorite is The Author Biz with Stephen Campbell. Just what it sounds like: all about the business of being an author.

  5. * Writing Excuses
    * Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast (right up my genre alley obviously)
    * Sell more books show