Read this book before you make another episode

Also listen to this other podcast. Two pieces of must-listen, must-read media.

If you go on the Facebook groups about podcasting, there are a zillion people new to podcasting asking how to get started, and half a zillion reply-guys that say “best advice is just get started.”

I think half of those reply-guys work for podcast hosting companies and are just trying to churn in new customers. (I have no proof of this) But why? Let’s create good art! Let’s help people avoid burnout by not wasting their time fumbling around knowing nothing.

If you’re still with me, you have at least a teensy appreciation for craft. For becoming an expert.

And I’m not even suggesting there’s a mountain range between you and episode 1 (or whatever your next episode is if you did accidentally already start before learning anything) By spending 10 hours of learning time, you will avoid potentially hundreds of hours of making a bad podcast that no one hears. There are two pieces of media you must read and listen to. One is a 5 episode podcast series and the other is a graphic novel. Get these in yer brain and you will make a better podcast. I promise you will.

Here they are:

  1. Gimlet Academy: It’s a show by Alex Blumberg, the founder of Gimlet—which remember sold for $200 million so he knows about monetizing podcasts—about his approach to making shows. It doesn’t answer basic questions about picking mics or hosting providers but it answer important questions about what your show should be about, how to interview people, and how to market the show (and more). Those are so much more important than your mic.

  2. Out on the Wire: It’s such a fun comic book about how Ira Glass makes This American Life. Even if you’re not making TAL, you should know how it’s made. Not reading this is like wanting to become a surgeon but instead of going to med school, you just watch a couple YouTube vids about choosing scalpels and get cutting.

I’m curious. Are you already on the team that has read Out on the Wire and heard Gimlet Academy? Would you mind letting me know? As you can imagine, to an extent I’m writing into the void, but the metrics tell me you’re not a void. I just don’t know who you are. If you are on this team what other foundational works am I missing? What other stuff is in the list that people like us read and listen to?

—Jon Christensen

(also join us on Discord if you want to answer me there: