And here I thought I wasn’t a podcast kind of gal. Well, I’m six seasons into Writing Excuses and, guess what, I’m addicted! This podcast is awesome for anyone, who wants to learn more about writing. What’s the business like? Do I get an agent? Should I self-publish? They don’t hesitate to take on these kind of hard-to-answer topics.
My great frustration when it comes to authors or publishers talking about the book industry: it’s all so non-specific. I rarely hear the business side of things being discussed. Most of the times interviews or blogs are directed at the creative process. Very important of course, but there’s so much more to writing than just finding a creative angle.
Writing Excuses, I feel, discusses the topics that may be less popular, but are extremely valuable to aspiring writers. Think of topics such as agents, query letters, revising and marketing. These are all things that are going to be extremely important when I want to publish something myself and I want to know how to go about it.
The hosts of the podcast are all published writers themselves. The main authors of Writing Excuses are Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal. Mary joined the crew in season 6 and the other three have been part of the podcast since the very beginning. Writing Excuses has a great mix of topics. As there’s only 15 minutes per podcast they can’t take extremely broad categories, so they tend to ‘can of worm’ things, which means they’ll dive into that specific topic at a later point. This means that often the topics they do discuss focus on a certain aspect. So it’s not just about editing or discussing the business side. It’s about the first edit or a how to work with an editor. They take small chunks off of bigger subjects, so we get a lot of insight into specific issues.
Writing Excuses is mainly focused on writing sci-fi and fantasy, so topics such as worldbuilding also shape the podcast. I mainly write fantasy, so, for me, that’s absolutely brilliant, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the podcast only focuses on these genres. They go into detail about horror, mystery, steampunk and romance as well and I bet there are many other episodes where they delve into even more genres.
One of the great things about Writing Excuses is that they often bring in other writers as guests. Authors such as James Dashner and Patrick Rothfuss have joined the podcast for a few episodes and took part in the discussions that envelop. This way we not only get to hear about the opinions of the fixed podcasters, but get a lot of different perspectives, which makes for an intriguing dialogue.
Want to listen to Writing Excuses yourself? As Writing Excuses (at least up to season 6) is sponsored, you can listen to the podcast for free. You can download all podcasts on the website.