a bit about Podcasts: Q&A with Sandra Wickham.

When I’m up to my elbows in an illustration and my music library is feeling overplayed, I often turn to podcasts for some background stimulus while I work. A random sampling from the past month: I’ve been fascinated by the princess who thought she swallowed a glass piano, by sensory deprivation chambers,  by Greg Rucka on writing Punisher (etc), by a tour of the alimentary canal with Mary Roach, and by an interview with rock climber and artist, Kate Rutherford.  (Yes I have eclectic interests and a lack of focus.) The information is vast and varied, the conversation scintillating. All while I’m holed up painting away in solitary confinement.

Now, to bring some focus to the subject. In the SFF community podcasts are extremely valuable for keeping current with happenings in the publishing field, geeking out over shared interests, and as a powerful storytelling venue. Our very own Sandra Wickham has a good amount of experience in the podisphere, hosting the podcast Sound Bytes for Bitten by Books and co-hosting on Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing. Her short story, Brothers, is included in the podcast anthology, Chronicles of the Order. She has kindly consented to answering a few questions about how she got involved.

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You are very active in the SFF podcasting world, promoting and guest hosting at quite a few writing podcasts as well as  podcasting about life in the fitness industry. When did you first start listening to podcasts and at what point did you you realize “Hey, I can do this too!

It will come as no surprise to you that I like to talk and I love an audience. Podcasting seemed the perfect fit for me. I discovered podcasts back in 2008. I became so inspired by listening to podcasts, specifically in the beginning to Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing and Shaun Farrell’s Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing that I wanted to try it for myself.

What role do podcasts fill for you? For example what makes listening to or creating one different than reading and/or writing an article about the same topic?

I love to entertain and be entertained and podcasting is another outlet for that. It doesn’t replace reading or writing, it’s another avenue for reaching like minded individuals.

My favorite podcast right now is Writing Excuses. If I’m ever feeling down about writing, or life in general, I can listen to the crew from Writing Excuses and instantly I feel better. They’re not only giving out great advice (though by their own tagline they claim they’re not that smart) but they’re entertaining.  Even if what they’re saying on an episode may not me new to me, hearing them talk about writing always gives me a motivational boost.

When I did the physique competition podcasts, my long distance clients loved to hear my voice, whenever they wanted to. It’s a bit of a cliche now with the internet and email, but sometimes hearing someone makes a much greater impact than reading an email or article online. 

You’ve given me a great list of podcasts about writing, the creative life, and the SFF publishing world (links after the interview). Do you listen to other types of podcasts as well? Stuff in the fitness industry, or about topics you are interested in?

I don’t listen to much outside of the publishing industry, though I do keep a couple of yoga episodes on my ipod, a meditation series and music for working out. If you’re interested in some high energy music, check out A State of Trance Podcast with Armin Van Buuren!

What advice would you offer people interested in getting into podcasting?

Listen to what is currently out there, familiarize yourself with the podisphere. There’s a great community of podcasters in the publishing industry doing amazing things with podcasting their own novels and stories, as well as giving out writing advice such as Tee Morris and Phillippa Ballantine for example, who are extremely supportive of podcasters as a whole.

 Check out Podcasting for Dummies, written by Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi and Evo Terra, as well as Tricks of the Podcasting Masters by Rob Walch and Mur Lafferty. Learn the technical and practical side of things so you can put out a quality product in addition to quality content.

 Find what you’re passionate about and go for it. If you love it, others will be drawn to listen to you.

Thank you Sandra!

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Now for a few listening recommendations**

For discussion on writing and publication:
Writing Excuses
Adventures in SciFi Publishing
I Should Be Writing
The Shared Desk

For interviews and SFF culture discussion
Geeks Guide to the Galaxy
Functional Nerds
Associated Geekery (occasionally co-hosted by our very own Caroline Ratajksi)
SF Signal*
The Coode Street Podcast*
Galactic Suburbia Podcast*
SF Squeecast*

For SFF Fiction:
Clarkesworld
Lightspeed Magazine
Drabblecast
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Nightmare Magazine
Strange Horizons
Escape Pod
Pseudopod
Podcastle
StarShipSofa*

And there you go! What podcasts do you listen to?

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*On the 2013 Hugo ballot for Best Fancast
**Thank’s to Sandra Wickham, John Nakamura Remy, Andrew Penn Romine, Caroline Ratajski and Christie Yant for sharing their favorite podcasts!

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  • Nicole Feldringer

    Hooray for podcasts! Another than I’ve found recently but am enjoying quite a bit is Speculate! (http://www.speculatesf.com/). The podcast features triptychs of 3 episodes: the first discuses a novel or short fiction, the second interviews the author, and the third focuses on writing techniques. So it’s kind of a combo of the categories above.