Indie Author Podcasts can be a great source of information about writing, but they also seem to have a short life span and end earlier than anticipated. Some of the podcasts listed below are still running, but some stopped.
The good news is: the back catalogs are still available, and they are a treasure trove of good information!
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a longer podcast than many of the other ones I've discussed so far, and it is also incredibly structured. Each episode consists of Elizabeth calling up a creative person who is struggling and discussing why they aren't able to do what they want to do. There is a theme for each person, and the start is always the reading of an essay they wrote that got them on the show to begin with.
This one is easy: it's about perfect. Sure, the callers are on phone lines that don't sound great, but the engineering behind it is perfect.
These are clearly broken out and easy to follow. There are two segments with the normal person at the beginning and end, and one segment with another creative person where Elizabeth and a guest address the topic of the show and the project in question.
At the beginning, Elizabeth assigns the caller an assignment relating to their project, and then during the later segment they discuss what transpired and what the next steps might be.
This is Elizabeth Gilbert. She's incredibly positive and friendly, always uplifting. She refuses to allow people to talk negatively about themselves and keep things upbeat. The show runs a little long and can drag on, but it never really gets boring. She's a genuine pleasure to listen to and the topics she cover are great for anyone, not just writers.
This is one of the best creativity podcasts around. It isn't going to make you a great writer, but it can help give you the encouragement to go out and try. She lives firmly by the principle that anything and everything that can exist should exist, so you aren't going to have to worry about her ever putting someone down or telling them they are wasting their time.
The world needs more people like Elizabeth in it.
The Authority Self-Publishing Podcast
This is one of the newer podcasts that I've picked up and started listening to, and I've been pretty impressed with the quality of the information that they are presenting. Steve and Barrie are the hosts, and they bring on a number of different writers and marketers who are interested in teaching other people about things they've learned in their careers.
This podcast has decent sound quality, but this is actually one of the major marks against them. If you're using headphones then this could get distracting when some sound only comes out of certain ears. It's less noticeable in cars or through speakers, but the hosts would also do better with higher quality microphones to make it easier to listen to.
It isn't terrible by any means, but it is still a negative mark.
This is where the podcast truly shines. Some of the people that they bring in are incredible and the information that they deliver to the audience is fantastic. They seem to be very knowledgeable in the topics they cover and have a wide range of different segments in the podcast. I would prefer if it was themed a little better overall to make it feel more consistent for listeners, but it is still entirely worthwhile.
I knew the Writership Podcast from the very beginning, back when it had only just begun critiquing people's work and it had the original hosts.
Leslie Watts and Alyssa Archer. Now, Alyssa has stepped out and Clark Chamberlain has stepped in to fill her spot. I was sad to see Alyssa go, because I thought this podcast was actually quite a bit stronger with the two female hosts, but Clark has done an admirable job of filling in.
The podcast is broken down into sections. First, there is an introduction about the topic of the episode with a quote the relates to what they are going to discuss, and then there is a reading of a sample submission from an author. Finally, they discuss the submission itself and how it relates to their current topic before finally wrapping things up. They also give an editorial mission in the wrap-up to help people practice.
I like formulaic podcasts because it gives a roadmap for how the show will go. The hosts are never negative and have an almost whimsical belief that all writing is salvageable with just a little TLC.
The hosts know a lot about writing, and self-editing. They can help anyone learn how to be a better critic of their own work, and they do an amazing job of making things simple and easy to understand, even when the topics are difficult.
The submission process is the most useful part by far. Any author can submit a short section (a few pages) of their either published or unpublished novel, poetry, short story, or anything else to them and they will critique it. They offer writing suggestions, point out mistakes, and general help in the craft of writing.
I've submitted two different works, and both times the suggestions they offered were incredibly useful and helped me further develop my style. However, everyone's mileage will vary and some shows do feel significantly weaker than others. There is no cost associated with submitting, though, and the hosts are very pleasant to work with, so I think anyone who is brave enough to have their work in progress read aloud should submit.
It doesn't deal with anything beyond the craft of writing itself, so don't expect to hear any nuggets of wisdom about marketing or publishing. They are incredibly focused, and only occasionally try to peddle projects to you. Even then, their projects are worthwhile.
Generally, this is rather excellent and I've never noticed any problems. It isn't professional level by any means, but that isn't an expectation set forth. For the service they offer, this is a very easy podcast to listen to.