Today’s a very special day. It’s finally time to reveal that I’m on The Creative Penn podcast, and we’re talking all about, “Take Back Your Book: An Author’s Guide to Rights Reversion and Publishing on Your Terms”.
The Creative Penn podcast is one of the top podcasts for writers at all levels. The host, Joanna Penn, is a pillar of the self-publishing community and a forward thinker for future technologies of writing and publishing.
I’m bringing you behind the curtain of this process while also giving you practical tips on how you can research, pitch, and appear on podcasts.
How to research podcasts
In case you didn’t know, “Take Back Your Book” is my debut non-fiction book for writers. It’s based on a niche topic in the publishing world: rights reversion.
But as I was researching to write this book, I found so many authors who had been through this process, but without much support. I knew this was a special topic that authors could relate to and possibly not feel so alone.
I wanted to create the opportunity to bring it to more authors, which is why I reached out to podcasts to help find that audience.
It helps to understand that special thing about your book, or your perspective, or even having a unique perspective that helps make you stand out.
Now, it’s time to do the research. This could come as looking at the podcasts you already listened to.
I’ve been a listener of The Creative Penn for years. No way did I ever think I would have the honor of being on it. But I put it on my list anyway.
Then I looked at podcasts adjacent, which basically means, what are similar podcasts in that space? What other podcasts are the listeners of your favorite podcast listen to? Add those to your list.
During this part of the process, dream big. Because if you have a topic that you’re passionate about and want to share with the world, then your excitement will definitely show.
Once you have your list, it’s time to dig deeper. I would suggest taking each of those shows and look at their back catalog of episodes. Ask yourself this question: has this topic been covered before?
If not? Great! You have an advantage.
If it has been covered before, don’t be discouraged. Think about that unique perspective. Is there a new spin that you can bring to that subject that hasn’t yet been covered on that podcast?
With The Creative Penn, I checked out Joanna’s a massive backlog of episodes and I didn’t find one episode about rights reversion.
Most of the time, you can look at podcasters websites and sift through their previous episode topics. Then, look at their FAQ or Contact and see what the process is like to pitch and, more importantly, if they’re taking pitches at all.
This research is essential for pitching. It shows that you are invested enough to do your research and by doing so you’re interested in giving information that will benefit their audience.
Podcasts get pitched a lot, and you want to be the one who stands out from the rest.
How to pitch yourself to a podcast
On that FAQ or contact page on their website, note how this podcast prefers to be contacted. This is a very simple, but important matter of following instructions.
If they ask you to fill out a specific form. Do it. Don’t email them. Don’t DM them.
Most of the time, they have their own way of organizing their data from potential guests. If you try to go around that request to get in front of them, that might put you in their junk email or deleted.
Sometimes they will ask for specific information in their podcast request. Answer all of them.
If they don’t have any specifics, you need to gear your pitch to them and their audience. Here’s how:
For the introduction, it’s always nice to start off with the correct spelling of their name. No “To Whom it May Concern” here.
I’m always of the mindset work smarter, not harder. So, before I started pitching anyone. I created a template: listing who I am, my credentials, and summary about the book, because that information doesn’t really change from pitch to pitch.
However, I reserved the opening paragraph to explain my interest in that specific podcast.
You could mention a recent episode that you enjoyed, or a mutual friend you have in common.
It doesn’t have to be long. A sentence or two will suffice. But it will help bring you out of that pile of people who are just mass pitching.
Next, dive into the meat of the pitch. Who are you? What are you pitching? Is it a book, service, or course? How will this information benefit their podcast and listeners?
Once that is off, then you wait for the inevitable moment when you get accepted. Now what?
How to prepare for a podcast
Preparation is key. The first thing to prepare for is the actual content of the interview. Does this podcaster give questions ahead of time or not?
Also, you can listen to previous episodes of their podcast. Most podcasts usually have structure. If there are common questions they ask every guest, make sure you have your answer(s) prepared.
In terms of equipment, make sure you have what they need. If they meet over Zoom, make sure you have the app downloaded on your device and are signed in ahead of time.
When it comes to sound, make sure you have a quiet space and a good microphone.
If you use Air Pods or a headset, make sure that if you have longer hair, it’s away from the mic, so you don’t hear it scratching against it.
I also wouldn’t recommend wearing jewelry, especially rings if they clink together or necklaces if they bump against the microphone.
Speaking with Joanna Penn was such a pleasure. She had sent me questions ahead of time, which I prepared for in the weeks leading up to the interview.
We met over zoom audio only, which worked for me. We chatted a minute or so before the episode started.
Sometimes we went off script from those questions based on some of my answers.
In that way, the conversation was more organic, which was great.
Prepare yourself as much as possible, but also be yourself and be adaptable if you can.
How to market the episode
You might think that after the interview, your job is done. It’s not. Now that you did all this hard work getting on the podcast, bring it to your audience.
With these interviews, you’re effectively growing your credentials for your product or service while supporting someone who took hours of their time, preparing, interviewing, and producing this podcast, so why not bring them new listeners?
This is a cross promotion opportunity that benefits everyone.
Several weeks ago, I watched M.K. Williams on YouTube talk about her experience on The Creative Penn podcast. I thought it was the coolest idea to share it in that way, which inspired me to do a similar thing.
Share the episode on your favorite platform, whether that’s Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, whatever. Treat it like you’re promoting your own launch or achievements.
If you can, schedule posts to go live over the next week or so after the podcast and beyond to continue to bring more people to the podcast episode.
Being an author is so much more fun with community, especially in the indie space.
I wanted to send a quick thank you to Joanna Penn and the following podcasts I’ve been on recently, where I’ve talked about rights reversion and being an author.