Tag Archives: podcasts

Podcasts For Writers by Wendy Van Camp

israel-palacio-459693-unsplash
Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

Convention season is upon us and like many authors, I’m scheduled to appear at several conventions and conferences during the summer and fall of this year. One of the items I pack when I travel is a DAP, a Digital Audio Player. I like to keep my music and podcasts separate from my phone so that I don’t drain my phone battery and gain a better quality of sound. I don’t upload audio books, although that certainly is an option, I tend to prefer books on my ereader when traveling. If there is one constant of being on the road, there are always plenty of wait times involved. Waiting for a flight, long hours of driving on the road, standing in line to listen to a favorite author read, or just something to be mellow within the hotel room are all times when a DAP makes life more comfortable.

This year, I’m trying out a Hidizs AP60 player. Not only does it have a decent quality of sound, but it has Bluetooth capabilities that allow me to patch into my car stereo. I prefer it to my old Apple iPod Touch both in sound quality and size. I also love not having to deal with iTunes. I pair it up with Media Monkey to organize my music library and Stitcher to keep me up to date with podcasts. The unit has a comfortable weight, a sturdy casing, and an easy to read display.

I have discovered several new podcasts to listen to this fall and I thought that I’d share them with you. Some of them are craft related, some are about marketing tips, and others are author interviews that touch on the writer’s inspiration. All are free to download and in my opinion, of excellent production values.

Grammar Girl
“Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers multiple times. She is also an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame.

Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.”

Creative Writing Career
“Turn writing into more than a hobby, make it your career. Stephan Bugaj (Pixar’s Brave, Wall-E, The Incredibles), Justin Sloan (Telltale’s Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Minecraft: Story Mode), and Kevin Tumlinson (Citadel, Lucid, The 30-Day Author) give you their advice on writing for books, movies, video games and more, and occasionally try to sound smarter by having on amazing guests.”

Reading And Writing Podcast
This is a podcast featuring interviews with authors from many different genres. At a glance, I noted several authors that I would love to listen to in my own genre, so I have cherry picked this one for the authors that interest me. On the website, the podcaster has listed all the interviews by genre, so it is easy to find authors in the genre you love to read.

Write Now With Sarah Werner
I am fascinated by Sarah Werner as a podcaster, she has quite a strong work ethic! Werner records two regular podcast series, the “Write Now” and one called “Coffee Break”. Both are well produced and feature both writing topics and interviews with authors. She has a third audio project called “Girl In Space” which is a science fiction serial. All three projects can be found at the same URL and all are free to download.

Very Serious Writing Show
“Writing advice from people who know and people who don’t. Practical skills meet ridiculousness as I talk with some of the best writers who are willing to actually be on this show with me, and get their input on how to live the writer life.”

I am intrigued by this podcast with a humorous bent, but I believe it may not be producing new episodes at this time. The last time stamp I saw was from last year. Still, the samples I listened to are good. I’m willing to listen to the back catalog for now. Maybe they will return!

2015 Year in Review for Author Wendy Van Camp

BOB - Wendy Van Camp Swag Table 2015

I’ve been writing stories since 2010, but before 2015 I was practicing a hobby, hoping that it would blossom into a career. This is the first year that I feel that I’ve become a professional author. I’d like to share with you the highlights of the promotion of my first novelette “The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion” that was published in October of 2014 as an ebook and then made into a paperback in February 2015.  I’ve been on a wild ride of promotion and book signings ever since.

2015 Readings

Gypsy Den
February – Anaheim, CA
I was to do my first public reading in a little bohemian coffeehouse known as the Gypsy Den. Two weeks before the reading, I confessed to one of my friends that the book was only available in ebook. She was stunned and urged me to print copies to autograph at the reading. The idea stunned me too. Although my ebook had been out three months, I did not realize that I was a “real” author! Of course, I needed to print my books and bring them with me, but until that point, I had not realized this. The reading was to an audience of RWA members, many of them published authors themselves. The questions they had for me after the reading were direct and about my writing process. Afterward, I autographed and sold several copies of my newly printed novelette.

Wendy Van Camp - Lady Jane Salon 2015

WesterCon
July – San Diego, CA
This is the west coast regional science fiction and fantasy literary convention. The location changes each year. This year it was in San Diego, CA and hosted by Conjecture and ConChord, two local science fiction conventions. It was a huge event for me. I organized a Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading for five women science fiction authors to read their work, of which I was one. We had a great turn out and I was tickled to see a large group of knitting women who turned out to listen to the stories and continue work on their knitting!

WorldCon
August – Spokane, WA
This was the first time that I had attended WorldCon. I have never traveled so far for a convention before, but I was determined to attend. I joined 19 other science fiction authors at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading on Friday night. I did not read from my published novel. Instead I read an excerpt from my upcoming “Steampunk Wonderland” series that should debut in 2016. WorldCon was great fun. I met many wonderful new authors, took home so many new books that I ended up having to ship the bulk of them home via FedEx! I also attended the Hugo Awards live for the first time. I will be returning to WorldCon next year.

Books on Broadway
October – Costa Mesa, CA
This was an event put on by DeAnna Cameron in connection with her promotion company, Books on the Vine. I read an excerpt from The Curate’s Brother during a “high tea and regency romance” reading. The entire audience were Jane Austen fans. I ended up reading my except four times as the audience was rotated around me. It was my second highest sales event of the year. I had a wonderful time and I hope to return to Books on Broadway one day.

BOB - Wendy Van Camp Reads From The Curates Brother 2015
2015 Book Signings

Gallifrey One
February – Los Angeles, CA
Each year, I book a table at the Dr. Who convention in Los Angeles, CA and sell my artisan jewelry and books. It is a great way to get an autographed copy of my book or of the chapbook of science fiction stories and poetry that I participate in each year known as Quantum Visions.

WesterCon
July – San Diego, CA
After the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, an hour was set aside for the group in the dealer’s room of the convention for all the authors to display and sign autographs. We all sold a few books and had a great time.

Westercon68 Autographing (2015) Jude-Marie Green, Barbara Clark, Wendy Van Camp.

WorldCon
August – Spokane, WA
I am a jeweler in the art show at WorldCon and as such, I am offered time in Author/Artist alley to display my jewelry or hold workshops. I chose to bring my books and do book signings. I booked two days in Author Alley and ended up selling and autographing the most books in a location for the year.

Books on the Vine – Pop-up Bookstore
October – El Dorado High School, Placentia, CA
My book will be available for sale in the shop all day and I autographed my Austen Variation novel “The Curate’s Brother” from 1pm to 2pm. This is a fun, well-attended event in Orange County, CA.

LosCon
November – Los Angeles, CA
I’ve been a regular in the dealer room at LosCon for at least half a decade. My table there is mainly for my jewelry, but I also bring my books to sell and autograph. This was where “Quantum Visions”, edited by Jude-Marie Green, makes it debut. I displayed the chapbook that featured my scifaiku poetry along with short stories from other members of the Orange County Science Fiction Club Writer’s Orbit. I ended up selling and autographing as many of the chapbooks as I did my own book. It was a great way to meet new readers and have a chance to chat with them.

2015 Podcasts

Changes
YouTube – January 7th
Join author Wendy Van Camp for *CHANGES*, an hour long conversation with Sally Ember, Ed.D. about science fiction books, the science fiction literary convention circuit and much more!

The Event Horizon
Krypton Radio – August 13
I’ve completed a podcast interview with Krypton Radio. We spoke about scifaiku poetry, John Carter of Mars, writing fanfiction and a little about my upcoming Steampunk Wonderland series. It is available to listen for free on iTunes or Stitcher.

Epic Geeking Out with Authors 1
Blab – September 24
A group of science fiction authors get together and talk about science fiction novels, steampunk, WorldCon and more geeky topics.

Writing Block: epi 41 – Wendy Van Camp: Self-Published Author & Poet
LibSyn – October 28
Britany Mills interviews me about how I discovered Scifaiku poetry and the writing process behind my novelette “The Curate’s Brother”.

2015 Speaking Engagements

Starting the Engine of Your Author Platform

When publishing your first novel, common advice is to start a website and use social media to promote the book. Most authors do not know how to tap into social media and waste much time on repetitive marketing tasks that don’t seem to work. Instead, you need to create an “engine” to automatically distribute your marketing content to key sites and reduce your online workload. Come join Wendy Van Camp as she explores how to interlock three popular social media networks and grow your brand as an author.

WesterCon
July – San Diego, CA

CHWG Writer’s Workshop
Buddamouse
Claremont, CA
November

2015 Blog Interviews

The Write Stuff: Interview with Raymond Bolton 
Writing a Persuasion Prequel: Interview with A.R. Silverberry 
Author Spotlight: Interview with Kasper Beaumont 
20QS with Author Wendy Van Camp

2015 Writing Challenges

September Flash Fiction Challenge

During September of 2015, there was a 30-day challenge to write a flash fiction story once a day via the Fantasy and Science Fiction Society, an online writing group I am a member of. I joined in the challenge on September 2nd and decided to commit to finishing the challenge no matter what. The prize to me were not merit badges or other WDC goodies, the real incentive was to have a bank of stories that I could submit in 2016 and begin to start publishing more regularly. The challenge was a grindstone that came close to overwhelming my month, but somehow I preserved and managed to write thirty flash stories. Many of which I feel will be worthy of submission in 2016 with a bit of revision.

Nanowrimo

I am a volunteer Municipal Liason (ML) for my region in Nanowrimo. This keeps me very busy October through early December. Right after my September Challenge was over, I moved directly into prep work for Nanowrimo. I manage the Facebook Group and Twitter feed for our group and work with my partner Rosie de Guzman in scheduling write-ins, developing three gatherings for our wrimos, and committing to hosting one write-in per week during November. This is all in addition to my writing 50 thousand words of a rough draft novel. It is like plunging into a cold lake and not coming up for air for ten weeks.  You have to know that I love it.

Tips For Successful Author Readings

Wendy Van Camp SpeaksAuthor readings are a great way to present your new book to the public. It allows you to give a personal sample of your writing, interact with potential readers, and can turn into a sales event. There are many venues to set up a reading location: bookstores, libraries, seminars, book clubs, restaurants and even private homes. In my area, the writer societies have “salon readings” on a semi-regular basis. If you are a paid member of the society, you can usual find a space in their advertised reading events. I am finding that these events are well attended, with 20 to 30 audience members and some record the readings and turn them into podcasts to go onto the web. It is a win-win for both the writer and the readers because it is a great way for writers to present themselves to new fans and for fans to find authors that interest them.

I have prepared a few tips on getting ready for a reading based on my former experience as a talk show television host. These are some of the things I’ve done to get ready to go “on the air” during my younger days when I hosted “Flowers by Rod”, a how-to program about flower arranging and “Class Act”, an interview talk show.

Rehearse

Remember that a reading is performance art. You are “on stage” the moment you walk into the venue. No matter how many people are there, you want to make a good impression. Choose three or four short passages from your novel. You may only read one or two at the salon, but it is good to have alternate options available if needed. Read your selections out loud while facing a mirror in the privacy of your own home. If you own a video camera, consider video taping your reading performance so you can view it and make any corrections necessary.

Wardrobe

Yes, it is difficult to watch one’s self on television, but remember no one has to see it but you. This is also a good time to select wardrobe. You can see for yourself how you will appear to the audience if you record yourself in your wardrobe choice. Does the fabric move with you? Does the outfit reflect your mood as an artist? Most authors wear clothing that is dressy casual and have something that pops that members of the audience might remember. If you are female, an artistic piece of jewelry is often a good idea.

Biography

You should prepare a written bio to take with you. Often times you will hand this to the moderator, who will introduce you to the audience before your reading. However, sometimes you will be expected to introduce yourself. Keep it short and if possible, humorous. Practice your bio information so you can recite it naturally when needed. As a television host, I would often sit and chat with my guests for a short time before the program and base my introduction on this, but I feel that it is best to be prepared with something in writing too.

Timing

Do not read too long. I would prepare no more than ten minutes of prose to read. When you practice your readings at home, make sure you time it. Ten minutes may not sound like a long period of time, but for a performance, it is substantial. Think about how long a typical television segment on a television program is. That is what you should be aiming for.

After your reading, you should be able to take questions from the audience. You will get typical questions such as:

Where do you get your ideas?
What do you use to write with?
Who are your favorite authors?
Why did you become a writer?
What inspires you to write?

Be prepared to answer questions such as these ahead of time. The readers are seeking a more personal connection with you as an author. They want to know what is behind the story you’ve written, the deeper meaning that is not readily apparent.

Performance

Do your best to relax when reading your work. Stand comfortably and speak clearly. Do not bury yourself in your words, try and look up from time to time and make eye contact with the audience. During question and answer sessions, talk directly to people, remember to smile, and just be yourself.

If you can calm your nerves, your performance time is a wonderful way to gauge how your audience reacts to your words. It is similar to when you are in a critique group and have someone else read your story out loud and then you the author can sit back and gauge the reactions to the story. What is great about a reading is that the audience are not always fellow writers, they are the true public that reads your work. Seeing their reactions can be a golden opportunity.

Publicize

Before your reading date at the Salon, make sure you announce it via your social media platform. Post on your website, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Send out a press release to shopping guides with calendars of community events or to your local paper.

Books

Bring a box of books to sell at the event, fliers or cards with links to your ebook seller sites, or if you are in a bookstore, make sure your book is stocked on the shelves. Double check with the bookstore about their policy of who sells the books to the audience. You want to be able to return to this location, so keep the store happy. If you do bring books, make sure that you sign them, even ones that the store may purchase from you to sell later. Some stores like to keep autographed books on a front table after your appearance is over for book collectors.

Reviews of Writing #Podcasts

microphoneI love podcasts. They are free of charge, come in a wide variety of talk and music formats and I always keep my trusty iPod Touch loaded with the latest of my subscriptions. I listen to podcasts about the craft of writing when I’m out walking my dog, or on a long commute to work. I thought that I’d take a moment to share a few of the ones that I listen to. None of these podcasts approached me to review them, they are ones that I found either by word of mouth among my writer friends or stumbled upon on my own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

I Should Be Writing
FEED | WEBSITE

This one is one of the first podcasts that I ever subscribed to. It is a long one, but it showcases the personality of writer and podcaster Mur Lafferty. The podcast gets into the nitty gritty of what it takes to be a successful writer. If you have the time to listen, it is one worth popping into your iPod.

The Creative Pen Podcast
FEED | WEBSITE

I have been a fan of JoAnne Penn for many years. I follow her written blog regularly and I occasionally listen to her podcast when I find the time. This is a podcast that is full of helpful advice for writers that goes beyond the basics. If you are new to writing genre podcasts, this is one of the ones you should try first.

Reading and Writing Podcast
FEED | WEBSITE

This is a author interview podcast by Jeff Rutherford is chock full of interviews by many recognizable authors. The podcasts tend to be short, only around 15 minutes, but you hear plenty of information during that time. This is a good one for readers since it helps to introduce new authors to you that you may not heard of before.

Helping Writers Become Authors
FEED | WEBSITE

The podcasts are very short, less than 10 minutes each. If you are a writer on the go, this short format might appeal to you. The topics covered are story arcs, finding inspiration for your stories, and other craft issues that all writers face.

The Dead Robot’s Society
FEED | WEBSITE

This is an all purpose podcast about the craft of writing, interviews with authors, and book reviews. It tends to be one of the longer podcasts in the writing genre, averaging between an hour to 90 minutes. Still, there is plenty of information packed into the podcasts and it is worth playing on your long commute if you have time to fill.

Writing Excuses
FEED | WEBSITE

I’ve become a fan of this writing podcast featuring Brandon Sanderson and his co-hosts Mary Robinette Kowel, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells. It is a short 15 minutes and covers writing craft techniques of a slightly more advanced nature and plenty of science fiction related story ideas to play with. There is also a writing prompt at the end. Give it a try. I think you’ll be pleased.