Read and Write with Natasha

Co-writing, podcasting, and self-publishing a murder mystery

December 08, 2023 Natasha Tynes Episode 40
Co-writing, podcasting, and self-publishing a murder mystery
Read and Write with Natasha
More Info
Read and Write with Natasha
Co-writing, podcasting, and self-publishing a murder mystery
Dec 08, 2023 Episode 40
Natasha Tynes

Send us a Text Message.

Ever wondered what happens when two authors team up to write a murder mystery? Join us for a thrilling episode with Landis Wade and Sarah Archer, the dynamic duo behind the novella Death by Podcasting.

This light-hearted murder mystery has won over readers with its unique blend of their distinct writing styles. 

They reveal the intricacies of their co-writing process, from Google Drive drafts to track changes, and how they used their differences to their advantage.

We also delve into our experiences in the exciting world of self-publishing and podcasting as authors. 

We discuss the distinct advantages of having an in-house editing and publishing team, the comparison between traditional and self-publishing, and the success of self-published books in the mystery and thriller category on Amazon. 

Don't miss out as we pull back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes workings of a podcast. 

Support the Show.

****************************************************************************

➡️ P.S: If you find my content useful, you might want to check out my Substack newsletter, in which I talk and vent about the writing life:


Read and Write with Natasha +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Ever wondered what happens when two authors team up to write a murder mystery? Join us for a thrilling episode with Landis Wade and Sarah Archer, the dynamic duo behind the novella Death by Podcasting.

This light-hearted murder mystery has won over readers with its unique blend of their distinct writing styles. 

They reveal the intricacies of their co-writing process, from Google Drive drafts to track changes, and how they used their differences to their advantage.

We also delve into our experiences in the exciting world of self-publishing and podcasting as authors. 

We discuss the distinct advantages of having an in-house editing and publishing team, the comparison between traditional and self-publishing, and the success of self-published books in the mystery and thriller category on Amazon. 

Don't miss out as we pull back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes workings of a podcast. 

Support the Show.

****************************************************************************

➡️ P.S: If you find my content useful, you might want to check out my Substack newsletter, in which I talk and vent about the writing life:


Speaker 1:

I think we probably are at the upper end of the spectrum in terms of how much time and effort we put into it compared to other podcasters. I mean, we release an episode every week, we have a newsletter, we have nine books that we published with the podcast over the past year and we've done events and workshops and conferences associated with those. So we put a lot into it. But some people release on a less regular or less frequent schedule or they might not do the newsletter, the social media, all the kind of stuff that goes alongside it. So you can kind of make up it what you will.

Speaker 2:

Hi friends, this is Read and Write with Natasha podcast. My name is Natasha Tynes and I'm an author and a journalist. In this channel I talk about the writing life, review books and interview authors. Hope you enjoy the journey, hi everyone, and thank you for joining me today for another episode of Read and Write with Natasha. So today is the first time we have two authors. We have Landis Wade and Sarah Archer, so both of them actually co-host a word winning podcast, that Charlotte readers podcast, in which they have conducted more than 500 author interviews.

Speaker 2:

Wow, it's a bit intimidating to interview podcast hosts, but Landis Wade writes a lighthearted and legal thrillers and mysteries with a historical or holiday touch and he's a recovering trial lawyer and he is the founder of the Charlotte Readers podcast. Sarah Archer is the author of the novel the Plus One and she co-hosts the podcast Charlotte Readers. So both of them co-wrote a murder mystery novella called Death by Podcasting, and it's about two podcasters threatened with murder. Wow, this is going to be a fun episode. So thank you for joining me today and I'm so excited to have you. So the first thing is why did you write this book and why did you write it both of you together? So the floor is yours.

Speaker 1:

Well, the book initially was Landis' idea.

Speaker 1:

It started out as an idea you had about this story, with two literary podcasters who find out that one of the author guests that they're planning to interview on their big year-end live finale event coming up the following week has plans to murder them, but they don't know which one, they don't know why, and initially we were thinking let's write this as a short story and it spun out into a novella because we were having a lot of fun with it and just coming up with characters that we liked, and I think that we Landis had the idea initially to co-write, but we both were intrigued by that.

Speaker 1:

We've had co-authors on the show before and it's interesting to see their process and how it's different from authors just working solo. I have a screenwriting background in that world For TV and film. It's also much more collaborative in terms of how the writing process happens a lot of times. So it's something that I'm interested in. And, yeah, we started it what May or June, I think, was when we first started talking about it and then got it done over the summer and just published it, I think.

Speaker 3:

I called Sir Off Gar when I said, hey, let's write a book together. But yeah, and first of all, thank you, natasha, for having us on your podcast. It was great having you on Charlotte's podcast way back when with your novel, and it's nice to be in the shotgun seat sometimes and not the harbor seat when it comes to doing this. But to follow up on Sarah's answer to your question, we'd interviewed these authors who'd written books together, and we interviewed an author who had written like a one hour read and put it up on Amazon for like 99 cents. And I was intrigued by this idea of writing a shorter book, a shorter mystery, and also intrigued by the idea of doing it with someone else. And since Sarah and I worked closely together on the podcast and we kind of knew each other's work ethic, I just threw this idea out to her and I said, hey, why don't we give this a try? You know what's the worst that can happen, and she comes from more of a literary fiction background, but she does do screenwriting and she's got some humor in her plus one book and so and I like to put humor in what I write as well and so we thought, well, let's, you know, let's do something fun with podcasting.

Speaker 3:

Let's just sort of suppose, and, natasha, you interview authors to suppose one of your author. You find out that one of your authors is going to kill you in three days. You know what do you do? How do you figure it out? You have to use your wits and you have to use your skill set from writing mysteries yourself to kind of figure out which one of these people would want to kill me and why in the world would they want to kill me. I'm just going to ask them questions. I mean, they can't be that sensitive. So you know, it sort of got us intrigued about how do we make this interesting, how do we create a lot of suspects? And we wanted to poke fun at writers and poke fun at ourselves as writers, and so we pick on thriller writers and we pick on romance writers and poets and we make them suspects, and it was just a fun thing to do. We talked more about the process on this one, but that's kind of an initial answer to your question.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's fun. So how did you manage to co-write it together and keep the same guest voice and the feel? You know, like both, every author has their different styles. So how did you manage? Because, you know, when I read it I didn't feel that it was two authors. It felt for me as one author writing, and so how did you pull that off?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that was sort of a process that happened almost in layers. Like, I wrote some of the first chapters initially in the first draft, landis wrote some of the first chapters initially, and so those initial drafts probably felt slightly more distinct in our different voices. Like, for instance, I tend to write more detailed on a first draft and Landis tends to add more of that in subsequent drafts. But then we went back and forth and edited several rounds on the whole book, so we were both editing each other's work, and so I think by the time we were done it was much more of a kind of melt, whereas initially we were writing different parts that were more distinctive, but just through the editing process, going through each other's work, we kind of each had our hands on each chapter by the end of it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and we initially thought we would try this in Google Drive where you could see each other as you're writing, but that became. That created too much pressure on me. I thought I need to be able to write something and clean it up a little bit before I send it to my co-writer to take a shot at it. And so we just started working in drafts and we would label the draft and whoever's working in it would finish their work on it, including perhaps editing someone with the other person already done, and we'll put that in track changes and drop notes in and then send that back and then it would come back as draft two and then it couldn't go back as draft three and draft, you know. So we were just kind of sending drafts back and forth and using the track changes in the notes.

Speaker 3:

But before we got really serious about that, we did sit down after we'd written about three chapters four chapters together and sort of talked about kind of where we might want this to go. We didn't have a full conclusion to it, but we knew the suspects we wanted to create. We knew perhaps who might be the one who did it. So we that whole, we ended up with the kind of person we thought might do it, but in a totally different place, because we changed how they were going to get into the story From where we started. But that's just started part of the writing process. You know you find your way along and that we just sort of found a way along as we went.

Speaker 3:

But we'll say this and Sarah kind of alluded to it and she can probably add to this as well but I felt it really helped the writing process to get a More completed draft before advanced readers saw it, to have this built-in editorial process with a co-writer. To you've one, you felt motivated, right, you didn't want to let the writer down and so you wanted to get back to them with something decent. So, and then to you know you wanted to respond to their critiques and kind of use it and, you know, accept them and maybe add something, and you wanted to give good feedback to them. And so by that process it wasn't as if we sat alone in a room by ourselves, wrote something and then gave it to an editor. Right, we were editing each other's work as we went, so that by the time it did get to Four or five beta readers, it was in a much better shape than it would have been, and I think if just one person was doing it and staying in their own head the whole time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that was also one of the the big benefits of the co-writing process, because it allowed us to be pretty efficient too. Like I could be writing a section while Landis was reading and editing, and vice versa, and so we were sort of doing double duty the whole time and, like Landis said, we were able to get to a more polished draft that it had already had Two two brains working on it and editing it and reading through before we got to the beta reader stage and two people who were Invested in it and we're gonna edit it closely before we got there.

Speaker 2:

So you just released it two days ago, like three days ago, the 14th, correct and how was it doing? What was, what was the reception to the book in terms of you know, and how did you market it through your podcast and how was, how was the book doing so far?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, I think it's doing pretty well. I got up to about number 340 in a particular category on Amazon and we had a number of people who, you know, ordered it in advance. And then we had a nice little event at a local bookstore here in Charlotte Parker books and independent bookstore. We had a number of people show up, but not Tosh. As you know, it's like you never really know how books doing for, yeah, we, but what we do know is that we we've done an Instagram tour and we really are getting good feedback from the yeah people on the bloggers on the tour who are reading it, because it's a little something different than what they normally read.

Speaker 3:

It's, you know, it's fun. Yeah, I mean this kind of slaps that we know we went over the top right with some things, with the names and some different names, yeah and and some people are not gonna like that, right, but that's okay, you know.

Speaker 3:

But we but we didn't want to forget fit get who people are because we got a lot of characters in there and so that was fun to do that and but so far the the reviews are getting back from from those reviewers and Are really positive and people seem to have a good time with it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it helps to that. It's short, you know it's it's pretty light-hearted, it's very plot focused, so it's kind of pacey. It's a novella, so it's not like a long read. So I think people like having a little bit of a break from the heavier novels, which is fun to see.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was. I was reading a historical fiction set in the Middle East and it was like long and sad and depressing. And then when I was like you know what, I'm gonna read a fun book and it was such a change of like this and it was so much fun after all the drama that I was reading. But so it was fun. And so I noticed that you Self-published, or I think you have your own Publishing company. So when I looked at the publishers here, it says that Charlotte readers podcast. So is this the first book published by you, or how is the process working for you in terms of the Publishing?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so we we put out eight nonfiction books this past year through the podcast and published them through Charlotte's podcast. Those books Come from interviews in the first four years and I'm sure, natasha, you're quoted in one or more of those books. But we took, we took authors, what they said and in those first 500 interviews and we turned them into eight different books that are topic related, such as learning to write. There's one book writing process and tools as a book, storytelling, inspiration and research as a book, and then we have writing techniques and characters as a book, and a fun book is the emotional writing Journey, where all of our authors we talked to lament what it's like sometimes to be a writer and the travails you go through, but also the joy Becomes a writing. And then we have a final book in that eight book series, which is Publishing and bookmarketing and these.

Speaker 3:

This is not our advice. This is basically what the authors have told us in response to our questions About these different things. We always asked a question I may have asked it to you what was if you could tell your younger writing self something of value that had you to know it when you started? This thing called writing Would make you a better writer and we got some very interesting answers in response to that question. So, to answer your question, we have now published nine books under Charles podcast and this is the ninth book, the death by podcasting. We just thought it made sense to do that because we built a team that Can help us get the books out, with a cover designer, a book designer, and then we've, you know, kind of been because we've got three co-hosts on the podcast, two of which your authors, ones a publicist. We've got sort of this built-in team of Critics that we can criticize ourselves and edit our own work, you know, and not be offended by it, you know.

Speaker 2:

So now, basically, you have your own publishing house, right, are you? Are you gonna expand on it and accept submissions, like, let's say, can I submit your novel to your publishing house, for example? Or anyone who's listening or watching they.

Speaker 3:

I'm sorry, hands are full. We got we got we got podcast to do, we got our own books to write. So it'll probably, for now, just be Whatever we decide to self publish and we'll do that through there, because running a running a publishing company, I don't know how to do it, but I can imagine that there is a whole lot of work that goes into that just and you know, natasha, for being a Podcast, there's a lot of work that goes into vetting submissions, gathering the materials, making sure you have what you have do. So so on the publishing side, there's the same thing. What if you were to open it up and say, oh, we're now accepting submissions? I think our mailboxes will be flooded right, because we're always looking for places to submit their work to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you've never like considered a traditional publisher for Because it's it's a fun book. It's it's a fun story that, like I'm sure you know, it can be picked up by one of the the big four, I guess, sarah is traditionally published with her book with with Penguin the plus one.

Speaker 3:

Okay but she can probably tell you it's a much longer process and if we had tried to do this or what, do you think it had been two or three years before death by podcasting would have come out.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, that was my experience with my novel. I think from the time that I started querying agents to the time that it came out was about two years, I believe. So it's a much longer process, for sure, and much more involved. In some ways, like with this, we we finished writing it, what in like August and it came out in November. So we were able to be very efficient with it, and a lot of that was because Landis had had experience with publishing Dilly declarations, his novel, so there was already kind of a team in place. We used the same audiobook narrator, the same cover designer, I think, the same designer who did the layout, if I'm correct. So it's helpful to already have people who you've vetted. Obviously, like your first time self-publishing, it's probably gonna be a longer lead-up because you have to figure out how to, how to do all that and who you want to work with. But with this we were able to just kind of get it right out the door because there's already a team in place.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that design is. I mean, I love the design we got a good book designer and a good cover designer.

Speaker 3:

Um dissect designs and the UK did the cover. Jennifer Tripp up in Rhode Island did the the book design and we're really pleased with what the what about the audio?

Speaker 2:

the audio version of the?

Speaker 3:

so yeah, that's Billy Jones. He's a, an actor in LA, he's also a crooner. He does sort of the Sinatra Stuff that he sings and he did the audiobook for deadly declaration. So he has done the audiobook for death by podcasting. I think he did a good job.

Speaker 3:

Hey, let me mention one thing response to your question, because you know, a lot of times people think, authors think sometimes that until your book is traditionally published in mind, you don't get that stamp of approval, that this is good. But I heard a statistic recently that came out of the conference, that of the top 100 books in Amazon in over like 30 categories over like from 2022 to 2023, in the mystery and thriller category, 47% of those were self-published books and about 25% of them were traditionally published, and then the other with the small presses, and that just goes to show you that it's it doesn't. The quality of a particular book is not determined by whether it's traditionally published or self-published. If you look at the, you know the top 100 that are selling on one of the biggest online networks and also with that they did the. I looked at the reviews and and the reviews fell in line whether it was indie published or to Disney published for those top 100 books. So it just goes show that if you, if you try, if you can do it right.

Speaker 3:

I will say this that traditionally published, I think, has a broad. You can have a broader distribution If you're a young, you know, if you're just getting into it, but for those that are indie published and have done it for a while, you can get some pretty good distribution online and you can also put the books out faster, which is what we wanted to do. We wanted to get this book out Because it was fun. We're having a good time with it. We wanted people to be able to read it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I, you know, if it was up to me, I would self publish everything. The the issue is that it's you have to put a lot of money up front and you don't. Usually you probably won't get back your investments. Like, if we do their math, you know it's. It's like you know, if you want to pay for it at the table designer and all these, like we're talking about maybe 10 grand, it's it's a lot of money for starving.

Speaker 3:

There's an investment there and I think that a lot of traditionally published authors don't really get into indie publishing and doing really well Until they've gone the traditional route and have built up a little bit of a following and then they find their readers and they can go there, and we've never I've never personally focused too much on how many Readers there are. I'm I'm just trying to get the book in as many hands as I can and hoping people are having fun with it, and I'm not really trying to keep score yet as to how many books I'm selling. I'm going by the mantra that the way to market this book is to write your next book, because the more books you have out there Then the better chances people are gonna find you and go back.

Speaker 2:

I mean, yeah, that's true. Yeah, that was a hard lesson for me.

Speaker 2:

Because, like, I stopped writing after the first book and I just focused on, I think, I don't know what, but then I realized I cannot market the book. I have to start writing. So that's, that was a hard lesson, so okay. So I want to talk a bit about Podcasting and and being an author in a podcast. Do you think Every author should have a podcast and what are the pros and cons like for me? I just I love it and I was chatting with Sarah before we started. Recording is it's, it's a labor of love. I'd be out of my pocket just to run it, and mostly for for these kind of conversations. You know, this is this is what it means for me. To write a podcast is to have this community. But in terms of the building platform and do you think every author should have a podcast, what do you think, sarah?

Speaker 1:

Well, I wouldn't say every author should have a podcast. I think if something you're interested in, then go for it, give it a try. It's something like self-publishing, where there's a pretty low Initial barrier to entry. You can kind of make of it what you want. You can put as much time and effort and money into it as you are willing to do and you know it's a lot of fun.

Speaker 1:

We get to meet people like you and we get to talk to authors from all over the world and I really enjoy it and it is helpful for Building platform. But I think, with any anything that goes into sort of building your platform, your brand, your community as an author, are marketing your books. There's no, there's no thing that I would say well, every author has to do this. You don't have to have a newsletter, you don't have to have a blog, you don't have to be on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok. You don't have to have a podcast, you don't have to do in-person events. I think you have to do something if you want to reach an audience and get your books out there. But you can kind of pick and choose and figure out what different methods work best for you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'll pick up on that to say that. Two things one, I agree with Sarah that you should only do a podcast if you are really going to be committed to to doing it. We have a little Epigraph in the front of the book here from the founder of the Queen City podcast network about a thing called pot fade. You know, after most podcasts die after about eight episodes they just kind of go away and it's called they came over.

Speaker 3:

The term is called pot fade is because people were out and Okay so the fact that you just stay with it is work, but in order to stay with it, you've got to Really enjoy doing it because, as you said, natasha, you're putting an outlet not only of your time but your money to make it work. And we have found that there are aspects of it that are very time-consuming. I mean the, the vetting, and they're responding to emails and the coordinating and getting the interview set up and Making sure the technology works and all that kind of stuff. And yet it's kind of what I likened to Back when I was an athlete in college. It I never liked the practices, but I love the games, you know. And this is kind of the same way with podcasting, all the stuff that leads up to.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I had a Interview this morning. It got derailed yesterday because of technological difficulties and, I was told, because of the author schedule, who was at interviews all day long. We didn't know whether we could reschedule. The author was David Badalchi, but he had you know he had said no, I want to, I want to fix this. So we got together this morning and it was a great interview. We had a super conversation and I came away thinking much differently than I was thinking about podcasting yesterday, how great that is and how fun that was and what a great experience it was to have that interview because of some of the things I learned and just how you know open he was about his processes and what he did as many books as he sold.

Speaker 3:

So you know, there is that upside and, look, I think that if you're an author, it doesn't have to be podcasting.

Speaker 3:

I mean, sarah said find something that is just not by my book, by my book, by my book, correct. Find something where, like I can see over your shoulder and I can see your book sitting on the shelf there, tasha and I can, and when you interview people, they know you're an author and sometime they're going to come back and read your book and talk about your book and you're going to be getting out there because you're doing something with. It doesn't have to be a podcast, it could be, it could be a YouTube channel. It doesn't have to be in a podcast interviewing authors either. It could be a podcast talking about your dogs or your cats, or maybe you've got something you're really obsessed about that you want to talk about on a podcast with a friend or by yourself. I mean that would be a way to or you could just start a book club, or you could do something else creative, where you're involving people in the literate community.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's one of the things I think is kind of fun about marketing as an author is it's very personal. You know, when you're selling your writing, you're selling something that came from yourself and from a deep place in you and it has to do with your personality. And when people latch onto an author and start to really appreciate his or her work, they want to know who that person is. They like to get to know you on a personal level. So, whether it's through the posts you're putting up on social media or writing in a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel, whatever it might be you can tap into. It doesn't have to be just about your book and your writing. It can be about other interests you have. It can be about your personality. It can be about, like the other says, your dog, you know, something that lets people kind of get to know you as a person.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, we did this newsletter and we put pictures of us and doing different things. I put some pictures in of my grandson and myself because I'm very proud of my two year old grandson, you know, and we have a lot of fun together. So, you know, it's also personalizing, as Sarah said, what you're doing that are going to maybe cause people to give you're either your podcast or your book or just something about what you're doing a first look.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So do you do this full time or do you have other, you know, side gigs going on? You know, I'm just curious because you put a lot of time on it and from my interaction as well with Landis two years ago, I mean he's like very detail oriented, extremely professional.

Speaker 3:

And it's not a full time gig. We don't. We don't punch a time clock, but OK. So, and Sarah is involved in a lot of things, I'm involved in a lot of things. What are your thoughts, sarah?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's it's not full time. I think it's podcasting is kind of something that you can make it as time consuming or not as you are willing to make it OK For us. I mean, we both have our own writing projects. I have sometimes I do teaching or speaking gigs too, so I have other things too and I've had other jobs in the past alongside that as well. I think we we probably are at like the upper end of the spectrum in terms of how much time and effort we put into it, compared to other podcasters. I mean, we release an episode every week, we have a newsletter, we have nine books that we published with the podcast over the past year and we've done events and workshops and conferences associated with those. So we put a lot into it. But you know, some people release on a less regular or less frequent schedule or they might not do like the newsletter, the social media, all the kind of stuff that goes alongside it. So you can kind of make of it what you will.

Speaker 3:

And, like co-writing, we decided to sort of do co-podcasting. And then, tasha, you do these interviews and I did them by myself for the first 300 interviews and after a while I realized I'm not going to be able to do all these other things and get an episode out every week. So with two other co-podcasters we can kind of split up the interviews and that way we can get as much content and also it's nice, I think, that people get to, I mean, because we all three of us have a little different interview style, just like we all have a little bit different writing style, and it's nice, I think, for our guest, our listeners, to be able to hear from Sarah and Hannah and me in different formats.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, ok. So how do you monetize your podcast, if you do or if that's something that you want to do?

Speaker 3:

Well, I'll tell you, when I first started the podcast I had this idea that, yeah, I'm going to try to monetize and the first year or two I got some sponsors and, honestly, I'm a retired trial lawyer. You know I'm fortunate to be in that position. You know we. I just started realizing it was taking me more time and I started figuring out what my time was worth to go get these sponsorships that I would rather take some of the. I still do a little work as an arbitrator. You know, a year I might have one or two arbitrations a year. I just take some money I make from the arbitration work and stick it in my podcast account and don't worry about it. You know it's like one of those things that everybody's told us.

Speaker 3:

You know well, linda, y'all could probably really monetize this, and they're probably right, and Sarah and Hannah might. I may get around to it at some point, but Sarah's about to have a baby and Hannah's going to be moving and I've got some things to deal with. So eventually, maybe maybe on our 10th anniversary we'll start monetizing. I don't know, but you know it's. It's not something we've been overly focused on, because we've been able to keep the cost down with the. We only have so many costs and we've got some Patreon supporters and those Patreon supporters we really appreciate they would help us cover some of our costs on the audio website and our regular website. So we're not spending a lot of. We could be spending more money on advertising that kind of thing which we used to do when I had a little sponsorship. We're just not doing as much of that. So we're trying to cover our costs through some of our Patreon supporters and the little bit of money that I stick in to the podcast account.

Speaker 2:

Do you do your own editing I?

Speaker 3:

do? I use a editing software called Hindenburg, so we kind of divide responsibility. Sarah has been taking charge of the show notes and communications with the authors, I've been doing the audio editing and Hannah has been doing the social media and the graphics.

Speaker 2:

Oh, ok, I see, yeah, it's, it's, it's a lot of work.

Speaker 3:

You're fortunate you have. You have.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I, you know I do it. I mean I only the only thing I outsource is the audio editing. Yeah just I couldn't do it. It's just a lot of time. And so who are your audience? Do you have an idea of who come to your podcast, which countries, which regions are they? Mostly from North Carolina, because I think you highlight a lot of authors from the South, correct? And there's.

Speaker 3:

Originally it was just North Carolina because that's where we started. When we expanded and started having authors and over 35 states and four or five countries, we started picking up listeners in different parts of the country and I think our statistics show that it is spread out now. Well, there's a concentration in the South because we're located in the South, but then we do have listeners from all over the US and you know we're not killing it in downloads but we're getting, you know, three to six thousand downloads and something like that, and so it's, you know we've got a, we've got a nice little audience. We appreciate that regular listeners and I go, we get sort of go by the mantra of you know it's better to have, you know, a thousand people that are listening to you than a hundred thousand people that say they are but never are, you know, kind of yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I also think this is one of the kind of nice side effects of the pandemic in a way, because you used to land a record at a studio in person in Charlotte. That was actually when I was on as an author guest a few years ago. That was what we did. But then when you went to remote recording it opened things up a lot so we can have authors on from other states and other countries and that's probably helped pick up listeners from other places as well.

Speaker 2:

Oh, OK. And how do you find the guests? Did they come to you?

Speaker 3:

Well, originally we hunted them down, you know, and we now we've got our website, let's people submit and then some publicist, a lot of publicists, found out about us. So our mailbox can inundated, you know, from the big five with people that want to be on the podcast, or at least their publicist want to want to be on the podcast, and then so we have to go through there and vet those out. Honestly, it's more than we can put on the podcast that we get, you know, submissions from. So that's always. That's another reason I probably wouldn't want to run a small press, because I hate, you know, saying no to people. But we did come up with a couple ways that people can be on the podcast without being interviewed. We have something called elevator pitches, that people can do a 30 second elevator pitch. We got a link, they can do it on our website and then we'll put it on the podcast.

Speaker 2:

And what would make you pick the person that would go on your podcast, like why did you say yes to me when I pitched to you? I remember I think I did some research and like what are the best podcasts for authors and I think your name came up and I submitted. What makes you say yes to people who pitch?

Speaker 3:

I just well, I thought your book had an intriguing title and you had a nice little pitch. You know that went along with it and you're up in the. I'm trying to remember were you in the Baltimore?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, in Maryland, in New DC. Yeah, in the suburbs of DC.

Speaker 3:

And also look forward to try to find people from different parts of the country and that kind of thing, and I think your book had an interesting heritage aspect to it. You know that you were dealing with and that I had not explored before on the podcast. I thought that would be interesting. So we look as much for what the book's about as to what the author can also share from their personal stories. And I thought I mean, as you recall, we talked a little bit about your personal story on the podcast and how you got there, so that was another reason we would you, sarah, what are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean I think that we we certainly try to make space for people who we know personally or who have been on the show before, or who are local authors. We want to make sure we represent them. But in terms of authors who we don't already know, yeah, it's kind of a combination of factors. I mean we have the luxury, like they said, of saying no to people and kind of picking and choosing. So between the three co-hosts, we can look at submissions and we get and say, like is this a book that actually looks like something I want to read? That's a big factor.

Speaker 1:

Honestly, I think looking at the professionalism of the submission is important. So if you're submitting or having a publicist submit on your behalf, just making sure even the little things like is it, even if the book sounds intriguing based on the plot, if they're very, very obvious kind of grammatical errors or typos in the summary, that makes me think how much time and effort did this person put into the book? Or having blurbs from authors whose names I've heard, that can make a difference. I look at the person's bio. If there's something in their bio that makes me think, oh, that would be interesting to talk to the person about, then that's a good factor for me.

Speaker 1:

Or if they have something about not just the book itself, but maybe their career as an author, maybe they do something interesting like having their own book podcast where they talk to other authors, or something they've done for marketing. That sounds interesting. I think that that could be something that we could talk about on the show. So I'm kind of looking at is this a book that I want to read? Is it a genre that we cover first of all, because we don't do as much in terms of like nonfiction or children's books? But also, what sorts of things can I pull from that might be interesting to talk to this person about?

Speaker 3:

And do they follow the directions in terms of how to submit? Yeah, a lot of people don't follow the directions. They'll shoot you an email instead of going to the submission page or something, and they'll fill out the wrong submission form, or the one that says feedback for the podcast instead of the one that is author submission. They're right next to each other. You can't miss it. But I do think Sarah really hit the nail on the head that it's those kind of different factors. I mean, I like to read mysteries, thrillers. I might explain to Natasha a little bit why you're booking a treat.

Speaker 3:

And Hannah likes sort of the dark, suspenseful things, and, sarah, you can speak for yourself as to what you like. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, I'm kind of all over the place, but I'm always a sucker for good literary fiction or anything kind of speculative or magical realism. I love anything with humor in it. So I think between the three of us we're able to get a good variety on the show.

Speaker 2:

So your book was started with the podcaster receiving a text message which is not really a death threat, but telling them that they're going to be murdered, right? So, in terms of your feedback, have you ever received something threatening Like what, oh, that was just a joke, or what was kind of the worst feedback that you ever received? Have you ever like upset and I want some juicy stuff that's interesting.

Speaker 1:

I don't think we had too much terrible feedback there was without, without giving like actual identifying details. There was a book that we profiled in a certain way on the show where we heard from a family member of the author who wrote into us to kind of complain about the book, which was interesting, but I think that was more about some drama within the family. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but I don't know, landis, have you gotten any any? Certainly no death threats, no.

Speaker 3:

No death threats I have. I did have one author one time wanted me to take down their photo because I didn't use the photo from the good side, and you know so was that a woman or a man? Oh yeah, I got a try. We won't go there. We won't go there, but it was. You know, we ended up putting in some things in place, like a little consent form you signed. It just basically says you know, we have the right to use your photo or your bio, and you know people Because you're a lawyer.

Speaker 2:

You're a lawyer, you have to go do all these consent forms, Like for me. I don't do any consent forms. Maybe I should probably get sued.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you're welcome to use it. It's on the website, you can download it and you know it's a. But yeah, different people do it different ways and so you know we've feedback on the podcast. Everybody's been really good. Who has been on there? We've only had it very rarely if we had people try to sort of control the narrative. But every now and then you'll have someone who's a little nervous and wants to kind of stick to a script and you have to kind of help them loosen up a little bit. You know that because you want it to be conversational and you don't want to sound scripted and that's more, I think, nerves on their part than anything else.

Speaker 3:

They've got something they want to read and kind of pull them out and get them focused a little bit. I guess the feedback I've gotten that you know everybody gets these one star reviews right On your books from time to time?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, of course. Yeah, good grades.

Speaker 3:

I've enjoyed those. When people didn't like my plot line, it wasn't about the book, they just didn't. I had one one star review on one of my holiday books that involved a global warming theme as part of the plot. They didn't like that. They didn't like the fact that Global warming might be a thing, and so they gave me a one-star review and said this Christmas book was Definitely written so that Al Gore could read his Read this book to his granddaughter at Christmas time. As much of an inconvenient truth, you know, or something like that.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, okay.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, those are fine. There's those one-star reviews people can look at and go okay, I get it. It's whatever they're not really talking about the book, or they trash the author.

Speaker 2:

That's at least in Goodreads. It's, it's. It's famous for that.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I I'm just gonna net pick on something here. Which is you? Your book started with this person sending a text message, not an email, and I kept thinking as a Podcaster who sends podcaster text messages. One, and how did they get their phone number? And why didn't they use the other tradition in way of contacting a podcaster and Instagram DM and email or whatever?

Speaker 3:

so that was just. It's the investigative reporter coming out. Huh, well, I guess you know. My contact information, including my Mobile number, is part of my signature on my email and it's also People can. I suppose that the raspy fuse and soft remarks made the same mistake and this person was able to get to Get their Text number and be able to text them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, do you get text messages?

Speaker 3:

I do every now and then. Well, the reason we do it is just so that if there's a Technical glitch while we're trying to record, we can text the person and and say, hey, you know, are you ready? Where are you? Oh yeah, I did have somebody I had to text one time and they had overslept, you know, and I Think they've been out drinking the night before too. He was really this person really loves our podcast.

Speaker 1:

Be gaming.

Speaker 2:

So what are you working on next?

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm. I'm having a baby in February, so that's a big personal project. But in terms of writing I've got. I've been writing a bunch of short stories lately and using that as an outlet to kind of explore particularly more literary fiction and just kind of try out different subjects and styles and voices and Publishing some of those in magazines and journals. I also do screenwriting and I have a few scripts that I are kind of in different stages of development. But I have one that I'm focusing on right now. That's a feature Based on a true historical story set in Germany during World War two. So I've been working on that and I'm about to go into draft three of that one, I guess. And I have a couple of novel ideas that I I've been Making notes on and thinking about and I'm not like quite ready to jump into a draft on either of those, but definitely over the next year that's a goal of mine is to start kind of getting into one of one of those as well.

Speaker 3:

Sarah always has projects going and she's being modest because she also just had a Short story that's been nominated for a push cart prize. So oh.

Speaker 1:

It's a British journal called shooter literary magazine.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so in 2022 had a book come out called deadly declarations. It was a Historical mystery set here in Charlotte that were three retirees find a man's body and All of his notes about the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence are missing when they find his body. And this is a little true story that very few people know about that. There was a declaration of independence Before the Declaration of Independence and was signed in Charlotte, north Carolina, or so the story goes, and so they set out to try to solve the mystery of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence If they don't die trying. And that's set in Charlotte.

Speaker 3:

And so this year I'm probably going to bring those retired characters back and I'm gonna work on the next novel in the series in 2024, and this one will probably involve the gold rush period in Charlotte, which is in the 1820s, and I think I'm all fine to body in the first chapter that was buried in a Shaft and there's a gold nugget in their pocket and because you know, there's gold mines under Under all those bars and big, tall buildings in uptown Charlotte. They're still there, so You'll see what happens fun.

Speaker 1:

I'm excited for that. That sounds really cool.

Speaker 2:

So, before we conclude, what are your tips for an author who wants to start a podcast?

Speaker 1:

Well, my first tip would be find an existing podcast and join.

Speaker 3:

That, like I did, makes it a lot easier if you have someone who already knows what they're doing.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, I mean seriously, like actually, if you can collaborate with someone in some way, that that might be a good idea. But I would say, you know, make it your own. Think about what, what works for you. There's a lot of podcasts out there. There's a lot of shows to interview authors. So think about how you can put a spin on it that feels authentic to you and that works for your conversational style. Podcasts can look very different from each other. They they don't have to be any sort of length or format. So think outside the box and kind of find what sounds fun and interesting to you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I'll add to that that Start small and have a vision for what you want to do, but record at least 10 episodes before you release the first one. That is, go ahead and build up a body of work so that when you start releasing on whatever schedule you decide to release them on, whether it be once a month or once every two weeks or once a week You've got a backlog there that you can work with and you're not putting quite so much pressure on yourself. You don't want to be week to week or feel like you get to the end of the month and you got to have a podcast to stay on track. And also think about the fact that if you want to start a podcast, you could just create a one-season Podcast. You know you could actually just do one topic or one focus. So you could get you know ten writer friends and focus on one thing and do that and that could be it, and then you can bring it back another time.

Speaker 3:

You don't have to be doing it every week or every month, so you could do it seasonally and maybe take a break and then come back and do it again season later and you could just add it to your, to your author website, by the way, everybody who's listening, who's a writer, make sure you have an author website and keep it updated, because it's very important as far as you know, brand building and that kind of thing. But I just think, not trying to be like I mean, the too many podcasts out there right, they're too too much competition. Don't feel like you got to meet the competition, find your own unique voice and what you want to do With it, and don't feel like you got to be like everybody else and and have a good time doing it. That's important thing. If you're not having a good time doing it, it's not worth doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I agree. For me it's, it's a good time, that's, that's the reason. So how do? How can people find your book and death by podcasting? How can they get in touch with you? How can they submit to your podcast all of that?

Speaker 1:

If you can let us know well death by podcasting is. It's on amazon, barnes and Noble basically anywhere you like to look for your books, you can find it. There's also an audiobook version that's available and that's going to be uploading to more platforms as well shortly. So Paperback ebook, audio book you can find it through any of those. You can go to Charlotte readers podcast calm and learn more about that book or about our quote book series, and from there you can also sign up to our newsletter or submit to be interviewed or submit an elevator pitch or submit to our blog or Contact us. There's a lot of different ways to get in touch with you there or find us through social media.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think Sarah's website is sir archer rights calm and I'm landus wade calm, very creative. We just use our names and you know that's our websites. And, as she said, at the charlotte's podcast website, there are tabs across the top. In the far right there's a contact tab and on there it has places where you can submit or you can put your elevator pitch on there, or you can write a blog post that we'll post on our community blog. They're all kind of ways that writers can engage that aren't necessarily being interviewed on the podcast.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, you can find this book anywhere. It's not very. I mean, look, it's only 299 on the online sites and it's only 999 Imprint and we tried to put it somewhere in the middle of that for the audiobook. So we're trying to make it very affordable. It's not like we're making a much money off it, we just want to have a good time with it and hope that people have ever Heard. You don't have to be on a podcast to do a podcast. You don't even have to like podcasts, but if you ever heard of a podcast, this might be the book for you.

Speaker 2:

That's great. Well, thank you so much for your time. This has been really fun and I'm humbled to have big podcasters and authors on my, on my podcast and For anyone who's watching or listening. Thank you for joining us for another episode of read and write with Natasha and until we meet again.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, thanks, natasha.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for tuning in to read and write with Natasha. I'm your host, natasha times. If today's episode inspired you in any way, please take the time to review the podcast. Remember to subscribe and share this podcast with fellow book lovers. Until next time. Happy reading, happy writing.

Co-Writing a Murder Mystery Novella
Co-Writing Process and Book Reception
Self-Publishing and Podcasting as an Author
The Importance of Personalized Author Marketing
Podcasting as a Side Gig
Podcast Guests and Feedback Handling
Writing and Starting a Podcast