Work- Posted on 9th October 2022
Why Start a Podcast?
Well, publicity, obviously. Publicity is a huge part of any business endeavour, and it’s something I’ve been lacking. When you’re published by a big traditional publisher, they’ll arrange some interviews, get some reviews for your book in a newspaper, that kind of thing. When you switch to independent publishing as I did, you lose all of that. Amazon allow me to advertise on their sales pages, which is a huge help, but it’s still far less reach than I could be getting if I had some other form of publicity. What’s the point of writing good books if most of the people who’d enjoy them will never know that they exist?
I’ve had to get over a personal reluctance to do publicity because a) I don’t much like submitting to other people’s questions, and b) all this talking about myself feels egotistical, which isn’t something I like. Maybe it’s an Australian thing, maybe just me, maybe a bit of both. But the nice thing with a podcast is that I’m not talking about me, I’m talking to another person about something else entirely.
Why podcast about a whole bunch of things that people might not automatically associate with Science Fiction?
Well partly because, if you were a plumber, you wouldn’t want to be talking about pipes and bathrooms in your off-time, right? I have nothing against writers who podcast mostly about writing, but I like writing precisely because it’s a way of exploring all the things in the world I find interesting outside of writing. And if you’re looking at the work of a good portrait artist, what’s more interesting to consider — the people being painted, or the quality of the artist’s brushstrokes? I’m interested in the art, but not as much as I’m interested in the subject matter. And I’ve always liked a kind of realism in writing, and in other art, that strives to be invisible.
Also, the thing I like about Science Fiction is that it’s such a vast genre, you can (and I do) take all kinds of interests in all kinds of things and chuck them in. I think SF is at its best when freed from its limits. There’s a lot of traditional publishers doing their best to try and put the genre in shackles, to impose sub-genres upon it like military-SF, space opera, cyberpunk, Hard SF, etc, all the hyper-focused marketing stuff that might make the job of publishing books easier, but is murder on the creative process.
I’ve accumulated a whole bunch of interests over the years, which range from things I do myself, to things I just observe from a distance, to things I’d like to get more involved in, or simply learn more about but never had the chance. All of this stuff ends up in my writing at some point, so it makes sense that if people are interested in my books, or just interested in hearing an SF author have discussions with experts in these subjects, that this would be the stuff I’d podcast about.
And more, I also want to have fun, and improve my public speaking, and have discussions with interesting people about interesting subjects. I don’t claim to be the greatest talker, but I reckon I get better the more I practise. If you don’t find one subject interesting, just wait a moment and there should be another you do. And if you like my books, you’ll probably start seeing familiar themes emerging that you’ve seen written down (or listened to spoken aloud) and get some greater idea of what I was getting at.
Most of the SF authors podcasting right now (that I’ve seen) tend to be hard SF, with technical backgrounds that I won’t pretend to match. I’m a generalist, not a specialist. I’m also more interested (and much better at) the broad civilisational implications of technology than I am in specifically how it works. Someone else might be able to talk for hours about how a new rocket engine works, and I’ll leave that stuff to them. I’m much more interested in how the evolution of rocket engines will change the shape of humanity, from economic, political, military and cultural angles.
If that kind of thing interests you too, stick around, and you might find some conversations worth listening to.