Podcasting is a flexible and innovative storytelling medium. There are also a growing number of parents and caregivers who are sharing podcasts with children for education and entertainment, and young adults who are consuming content via podcast on their own.
But can a podcast be a fit for an author or illustrator who produces books for kids and teens? Is it worth the time and effort it takes to produce a podcast?
Here are three ways you might be able to use podcasts as a storytelling medium in your role as an author or illustrator.
- Marketing for a Book (or Work) You’ve Already Produced
Podcasts could be a marketing tool to generate awareness for a book you’ve already written and/or illustrated.
Let’s say you have a nonfiction book about about a certain topic. We’ll say the book is about bowls, for the sake of making an example.
Your podcast could be all about bowls, or some aspect of bowls: the types of bowls used throughout the world, what one can serve in a bowl, favorite bowls of famous people, etc.
It’s like backmatter or an author’s note, but with unlimited room to explore your topic.
If your book would be great for bowl fanatics—they would probably love a podcast about that same topic. And if they make their way to the podcast, they could also make their way to your book (or other work), too.
- Expanding on a Book (or Work) You’ve Already Produced
Similarly, you could also expand upon work you’re already doing, but in podcast form. This could be for a marketing purpose, or as an additional storytelling medium.
For example, maybe your story features a secondary character (or pet) that is not the focus, but still has a pretty amazing story to tell. Your podcast could explore the adventures of your secondary character in a fun, new way.
Or maybe you did a lot of world-building for a sci-fi novel. What other storylines could take place in that setting that would make a kid’s imagination take flight?
A podcast can be a great way to build on work you’ve done via other media, like books, poems or short stories, and bring it to a new audience.
- You Have a New Story to Tell
Perhaps you have a story or content idea that lends itself more to an audio medium than a book medium. Maybe you are considering self-publishing, but you aren’t sure if that’s the right route for your story. Maybe you’re exploring formats, but you want to flesh out your story and create a test market for it in the meantime.
Try a podcast! Matthew Winner talks about seven reasons to consider podcasts as a storytelling medium for kids here (https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/2023/04/17/7-reasons-why-you-might-make-a-podcast-to-share-your-story/).
If you have an idea for a podcast, but don’t know how to define the how, why, and what, please consider joining our online workshop, An Introduction to Engaging Kids With Podcasts (https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/workshop/an-introduction-to-engaging-kids-with-podcasts/).
Please note that this course will not cover the monetization of podcasts, though podcasts can be income-producing (either as a marketing tool, or an income stream in and of itself). During this course, you’ll brainstorm and develop your ideas with the child you’re creating for in focus. You’ll also learn more about the current market of podcasts and how to make your project stand out.