Let’s Talk Podcasts! by Laura Parnum

file1041249393947.jpgWriters can find great information on writing craft and the business of publishing children’s books by attending conferences, reading reference books, and searching the Internet. But there is another great resource out there that many writers can take advantage of: PODCASTS! Podcasts are a wonderful way to learn while going about some of your normal, everyday activities, like exercising, commuting to school or work, or fixing dinner. You can listen to experts, industry professionals, and successful authors on your own time from your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Tune into every episode by subscribing to a podcast or pick and choose which episodes are relevant to you by scrolling through the contents.

Here are a few of the many podcasts out there that delve into writing craft, publishing, and the celebration of children’s books.


Writing for Children with Katie Davis:  http://writingforchildren.com

Katie Davis, author and Director of the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL), discusses the craft of writing for children, whether you write short stories for children’s magazines, picture books, middle grade novels, or young adult fiction. Each weekly episode features a topic related to craft with questions from listeners answered by ICL faculty members. Most episodes are less than 20 minutes.

Writing Excuses: http://www.writingexcuses.com

Writing Excuses is a weekly podcast hosted by writers whose goal is to help other writers become better writers. This podcast is not focused on children’s books but has an interesting theme-based format. Season 10 discusses the process of creating a story, season 11 delves into elemental genres, season 12 is all about structure, and the current season (13) will be devoted to character. The hosts of this podcast hold lively conversations that run about 15 to 25 minutes per episode with the fun tagline, “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.”

Helping Writers Become Authors:  https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/podcasts/

This weekly podcast hosted by author K.M. Weiland features short episodes devoted to a single topic regarding writing craft (e.g., “Is the Thesaurus Your Friend” or “Why Your Character’s Motive Matters”). Most episodes are less than 15 minutes, so it is perfect for a brief listen on your way to the supermarket or in the doctor’s office waiting room.


Brain Burps About Books: http://katiedavis.com/podcast/

Author Katie Davis’s previous podcast (before venturing into the above-mentioned “Writing for Children” podcast) is packed with kidlit news, anecdotes, interviews, and writing and marketing tips for authors and illustrators. Her guests include booksellers, editors, authors, and other experts in the field. There are nearly 250 episodes of varying lengths (usually 45 minutes to an hour).

Literaticast: http://www.jenniferlaughran.com/literaticast

Literary agent Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency discusses writing and publishing books for children and young adults. Each episode is 30 to 45 minutes long and features an interview with an author, editor, or other industry professional. This relatively new podcast gives you current insight into the children’s publishing world from the other side of the desk.

PubCrawl Podcast: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/category/pubcrawl-podcast/

This podcast is a bit of a crossover, with episodes on both craft and the publishing process. The hosts are literary agent Kelly Van Sant and author (and former YA fiction editor) S. Jae-Jones (J.J.). The episodes run anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and feature query critiques, genre breakdowns, publishing tips, and career advice. The hosts also get into the nitty gritty of publishing, including contracts, copyrights, sales, promotion, royalties, and advances.

The Manuscript Academy: http://manuscriptacademy.com/ourpodcast/

The same group that brought you the Manuscript Wish List website and the MSWL hashtag have a podcast! Literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer and author Julie Kingsley are the co-hosts, who team up to help authors find their path to publication. They feature interviews with agents, editors, and writers; first pages critiques from brave listener volunteers; and a ten queries discussion in which a guest agent dissects what worked and what didn’t work in ten actual queries from his own inbox. The episodes vary in length and frequency.


 There are plenty of podcasts devoted to children’s books themselves.

All the Wonders: http://www.allthewonders.com is a website that celebrates kidlit and has four podcasts featured! The podcasts are “All the Wonders: The Children’s Book Podcast,” which includes interviews with authors and illustrators; “The Best Book Ever (This Week),” which reviews children’s books; “Books Between,” which connects children aged 8-12 with middle grade books; and “Picturebooking,” which focuses on the creation of picture books and why they matter.

The Yarn: http://blogs.slj.com/theyarn/ is a podcast brought to you by the School Library Journal. The hosts, a third grade teacher and an elementary school librarian, attempt to “unravel” a particular book in an investigative journalist style.

Hey YA: https://bookriot.com/listen/shows/heyya/ is a relatively new podcast that celebrates the young adult genre. The hosts, Kelly Jensen (author/editor and blogger) and Eric Smith (author and literary agent) discuss YA books in the news, YA classics, and up-and-coming YA books they can’t wait to read.

If you know of any other podcasts that may be useful for children’s book writers and illustrators, feel free to mention them in the comments!


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7 Responses to Let’s Talk Podcasts! by Laura Parnum

  1. fspoesy says:

    I listen to many of these, but there are a few new ones as well! Thanks for bringing them to my attention. I concur that podcasts are a great way to keep up with what’s happening in the world of kidlit as well as learning and honing your craft. I listen to them while driving to and from work and on my midday walkabout. There are two podcasts not mentioned here that I’ve got downloaded to my phone but haven’t listened to yet, so I won’t recommend them until I listen to a few episodes of each.

  2. I listen to some of these plus a few more: The Porchlight is a kid lit podcast that usually contains interviews with authors (of anything from PB to YA) and sometimes editors and agents. Fuse 8 n’ Kate is hosted by librarian/author/kidlit guru Betsy Bird & her sister Kate. Betsy pulls out a picture book that is widely considered a “classic” and her sister (who is not a kid lit person) reads it (usually for the first time) and they discuss whether they think it rates as a “classic.” Thanks for the post. I’ll have to add a few more podcasts to my list!

  3. Kristen C.S. says:

    This is fantastic news to me! Now I just need to get a device that I can use to listen on my drive to work. *Rubs hands together and plots how to break the news to hubbie.* Thanks! =)

  4. This is very helpful! Thank you.

  5. My husband just told me yesterday that ALL THE WONDERS will no longer be doing podcasts. So said because I just listened to my first five ALL THE WONDERS podcasts in December!

    • Laura says:

      Yes, I heard the news after I wrote this article, but, never fear! The podcasts are not going away! The “All The Wonders” website is winding down, but Matthew Winner’s podcast will continue under a new title, simply “The Children’s Book Podcast” (http://www.matthewcwinner.com/podcast), and I believe the other podcasts will continue as well, just without the “All the Wonders” website.

      • Brinton L Culp says:

        Books Between Podcast gives love to the middle grade world of books. (It used to be with All the Wonders but has continued and is now with MG Book Village.)

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