To celebrate her one year anniversary with Barry Goldblatt Literary, LLC, we asked agent Jennifer Udden some questions about her podcast, SHIPPING & HANDLING that she co-created with fellow agent Bridget Smith (of Dunham Literary).
What is the podcast about and where can people find it?
The podcast is basically just Bridget and I talking about what we love most – books! We discuss writing, fandom, the nitty-gritty of publishing, our favorite reads, and answer listener questions each episode. We also run a book club as separate episodes. It can be found in the iTunes podcast store and on Stitchr!
What made you want to start this particular podcast in the first place?
I wanted to get more of my voice as an agent out there, but didn’t have the time to devote to blogging consistently – little did I know that podcasting is almost as time consuming! But discussing books, writing, and publishing with someone else is much more fun than sitting and writing about it alone, so the podcast format appealed to me.
Are there any specific things you’ve learned about podcasting or the way you organize your podcast since you started Shipping & Handling?
There was about a year between having the idea for the podcast and posting our first episode. During that time, we were figuring out the details of our recording setup and also figuring out what the best structure for the podcast would be. Believe it or not, the first episode was over two hours long and we definitely drank at least a bottle of wine each, which didn’t make for very coherent listening. 🙂 Now we pick a topic every episode, either something going on in the publishing zeitgeist or something that we recently did, and talk about it for 30-45 minutes. After that we answer questions from listeners, and then we talk about what we’re currently reading. It’s great to have a structure and a format to follow because it lets us keep things on track and interesting, rather than just rambly!
What is it about a podcast as a form of communication that appeals to you as opposed to a blog or youtube channel?
It’s great to be able to talk through ideas with someone else. Even though Bridget and I have similar tastes as agents in some respects, we’re different enough that there is always a good discussion to be had. And even when we come from the same point of view, we each articulate things differently, which helps us both grow in our understanding. I wouldn’t do a youtube channel because I would worry about looking like a goblin on screen. In a podcast, no one knows I’m a goblin. 😉
What advice would you give to other agents or authors who want to either create a podcast or appear as a guest on a podcast?
Spend the money to get good microphones, and get someone who knows about audio recording to set up a template and settings for you. Knowing that we don’t have to worry about fixing the setup every time has made things immeasurably easier, even if there are little audio quibbles from time to time. I’m a firm believer in having strong audio quality; I think it makes for a larger listening audience. I would also recommend that if people are starting their own podcast that they work out a strong focus or structure before they start publishing it! In terms of appearing as a guest, have fun! It’s a pretty relaxed undertaking. 🙂
Any final words?
In our time publishing it we’ve seen the audience for our podcast grow, and we’re looking forward to growing even more in 2017! If anyone has any suggestions for topics, questions for us to answer, or comments, they can reach us at email@example.com or on our website, where you can ask questions anonymously.