Become a Writer Today

Should Writers Start a Podcast? With Matty Dalrymple

March 28, 2022 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
Should Writers Start a Podcast? With Matty Dalrymple
Show Notes Transcript

Matty Dalrymple has been the host of The Indy Author Podcast since 2016 and published her first book in 2013.

She's the author of the Ann Kinnear suspense novels and suspense shorts and the Lizzy Ballard thrillers.  In this episode of the podcast, I ask Matty why she decided to set up her podcast and if it’s too late for aspiring podcasters today.

We also get a little bit into the workflow of podcasting and the various software and hardware that she uses.

Matty also describes how podcasting has shaped her writing and why she believes it’s a fantastic format for creatives.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What encouraged Matty to start her own Podcast
  • Matty's personal podcast highlights
  •  Forward planning podcast episodes
  • The process for finding new guests
  • How many hours a week to spend preparing and promoting your podcast
  • Matty's podcast set up
  • Reviewing podcast metrics

Resources:

Support the show

Matty: You know, each person there had an area of specialty so there was one person who had experience publishing with small press publishers, there was somebody who was especially expert at preparing and delivering readings, someone else who had an area of expertise in reaching out to media outlets, and I really wanted an excuse to talk to those people in depth about those areas of expertise and then I sort of started the podcast as a way to pay it forward, to share that information with other people in my small writing community and to give the people I was interviewing some content that they could, you know, share out with their followers as they wanted to.

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: Should you start a podcast? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast. 

I’m coming up on 200 episodes for this podcast and recently I was reflecting when I started podcasting over two years ago. Before launching this podcast, I spent a lot of time listening to other shows about the craft of writing, such as The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn and I was even lucky enough to interview Joanna a year or two ago for this show. I also enjoy listening to other big podcasts like Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek and I said to myself that I’m spending so much time consuming all of these podcasts, why don’t I start one by myself?

But I was a little bit put off by the amount of time it would take me to start one because I was working as a copywriter for the British software company Sage and I was also trying to write and self-publish books on the side and I didn’t know where I’d find an extra five hours to invest in a different format. 

But the thing is, I’ve always wanted to do something with audio because when I was a journalist, I worked for a year as a radio producer for a news station in Ireland. Unfortunately, I didn’t ever get in front of the microphone but that left me with, I suppose, a desire to do something with audio at some point. So, as podcasting became more popular, I decided, you know what, I’m gonna give it a go and if it doesn’t work out, I can always stop podcasting after ten episodes.

The first ten episodes that I recorded were short monologues, a little bit like this introduction. I basically picked one writing topic and talked about it. They were almost like audio blog posts. I published them sporadically, which probably explains why the podcast didn’t grow that much. Then, I eventually moved to the interview format, and that worked quite well for me because, at the time, I was working as a freelance contributor to Forbes so what I’d do is find an author that I wanted to interview, and then I would interview him for the podcast and then I would also write up the article for Forbes. 

When I stopped writing for Forbes, I wanted to keep the podcast going and stick with the interview format, because writing is an introverted profession and podcasting is a way of connecting with other writers even if you’re spending all day alone working on a draft of a book or a series of articles. I also like podcasting because if I want to ask somebody about ideas in their book or I’ve got questions about the craft, what better way to do it than asking somebody if you’d like to take part in my podcast?

I was also surprised to find that I don’t spend as much time on podcasting as I was worried about originally. Yes, there’s a good bit of work to sourcing guests, preparing for interviews, and so on, but I like to write non-fiction so I still combine that workflow with non-fiction articles that I write. 

I also got help with some of the mechanics of podcasting. So I work with an agency who help with the actual audio editing and the production of the show and I also use the app, PodStream, to host my podcasts so I’d say I spend about five hours a week preparing the podcast.

The cost of an episode when you factor in editing transcripts and software is a little over $100 per episode. Now, I could spend more on promotion and so on and I could invest more time in the podcasts too but it’s a balancing act because I also need to find time for running different parts of the business, like the various content websites that I have and for working on other projects like writing a book. 

So, my takeaway for you is if you want to start a podcast, it won’t necessarily take up as much time as you think. You don’t have to do it forever. But if you write non-fiction, it is a fantastic format for connecting with potential interviewees and for also getting advice about the craft of writing. And it’s also great if you want to connect with other people because you find that the craft of writing can be a little bit lonely and isolating sometimes. 

This week, I caught up with a fellow podcaster. Her name is Matty Dalrymple. She’s the host of The Indy Author Podcast and I asked Matty all about why she decided to set up her podcast and if it’s too late for aspiring podcasters today. We also get a little bit into the workflow of podcasting and the various software and hardware that she uses. Matty also describes how podcasting has shaped her writing and why she believes it’s a fantastic format for creatives.

Now, if you enjoy this week’s episodes, please consider leaving a short review on iTunes or you can share the show with somebody who enjoys hearing about the craft of writing or, in this case, podcasting for writers, on Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening. And if you wanna support the show, support the audio production, and so on that I described a few moments ago, you can use my affiliate link for Grammarly, meaning I’ll earn a small commission. It’ll give you 20 percent off your Grammarly lifetime subscription. It’s becomeawritertoday.com/try-Grammarly-today and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. 

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Matty Dalrymple.

Interview

Bryan: Lots of questions to ask you about podcasting, how come you got started and what it’s done for your writing. Before we get into that, could you tell listeners about your writing journey?

Matty: Sure. So I am the author of the Ann Kinnear suspense novels and suspense shorts and the Lizzy Ballard thrillers and I published my first book in 2013 then started the podcast in 2016, basically, as a way to have an excuse to talk with people in my local writers’ group about their areas of expertise. Started out very – as a sort of sporadic deliverable and then became more regular and, I have to say, more professionally produced in 2019 when I left my corporate job to pursue the writing and publishing career full time. And now we publish a podcast episode every week about the writing craft and the publishing voyage. I like using nautical metaphors in my discussion of writing and publishing. You can see the nautical map over my shoulder there.

Bryan: Those are good metaphors, yeah. I know writing can sometimes feel like a stormy journey. 

Matty: Yes, it can. 

Bryan: Did you always want to write suspense and had you written much suspense before your first book in 2013?

Matty: No. I had read a lot of suspense and thrillers and mystery, which I think was really necessary for my development. I would have loved to have started in my author career sooner but I just think it took that much reading, studying as a reader to understand what was involved. And it wasn’t as if I consciously made the decision to go into that genre. I had this scene that played out in my head, you know, the kind of thing that I would sort of play through as I was falling asleep and it was about a woman who goes to a house, at that time, it was in San Francisco because my sister lived outside San Francisco at the time and I was spending a lot of time visiting her.

This woman goes to one of those beautiful Victorian homes in San Francisco and she’s a woman who can sense spirits and has a business that is run by her brother around that ability and she has been hired to go into this house by a prospective buyer and find out if it’s haunted or not and she can’t go into the house because she gets a visceral, terrible feeling from the house that she can’t even go into it. And that’s Ann Kinnear and Ann does not know, but the reader does, that a murder has taken place there.

So that first book was suspense, not mystery, because, you know, whodunit right away. It’s more of a “Is he gonna get away with it?” And then my Ann Kinnear series has become more and more sort of traditional mystery as it’s moved along. So, yeah, that’s how I got started on fiction writing. And then the non-fiction writing, I have two non-fiction books, The Indy Author’s Guide to Podcasting for Authors, which we’ll be talking about today, and also Taking the Short Tack: Creating Income and Connecting with Readers Using Short Fiction, which I co-authored with Mark Leslie Lefebvre. And those came later. So, those were 2020 and 2021, I believe.

Bryan: I started listening to podcasts around the time I started self-publishing books and creating content online because I wanted to learn how other people have done it. One of the first writing podcasts I came across was Joanna Penn’s, The Creative Penn Podcast –

Matty: Yeah. 

Bryan: Great job. Did you listen to a lot of podcasts before you decided to launch your show?

Matty: Oh, yeah. Joanna’s The Creative Penn Podcast is definitely one of those. I think that I was one of Joanna Penn’s last individual one-on-one consults back when she still did that so I can’t even remember what year that was, maybe 2014 or something like that. But, yeah. And Mark, I was a fan of Mark Lefebvre’s Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast and that’s how I managed to hook up with him in order to do the short fiction book. 

So, most of the information that I absorb about the writing and publishing world I get through podcasting, along with a couple of other resources like Jane Friedman’s The Hot Sheet, but, yeah, I’m a huge fan of those podcasts and hearing what other people have experienced.

Bryan: There’s a big difference between listening to podcasts and starting one. What was your reason for starting a podcast? I know you mentioned connecting with other authors. Did you have any other reason?

Matty: That was really it, to begin with, and so back in 2016, I belong to my local writers’ group, the Brandywine Valley Writers, and I had, you know, each person there had an area of specialty. So, there was one person who had experience publishing with small press publishers, there was somebody who was especially expert at preparing and delivering readings, someone else who had an area of expertise in reaching out to media outlets, and I really wanted an excuse to talk to those people in-depth about those areas of expertise and then I sort of started the podcast as a way to pay it forward, to share that information with other people in my small writing community and to give the people I was interviewing some content that they could, you know, share out with their followers as they wanted to. 

And I would say that, although when I left my job in 2019, the idea of making money from a podcast sort of bumped up in importance, but I would say it’s still an opportunity for me to talk with other people in the writing and publishing world about things that they know a lot about that are of interest to me and I believe will be of interest to my followers and then, you know, to pay it forward as those people have helped me to help the listeners of my podcast. And I’m always curious. When I get that question from a podcaster, I always have to ask back, what was your motivation for starting your podcast?

Bryan: My motivation was I’d spent an awful lot of time consuming content and, somewhere along the line, I read a piece of advice that you should spend more time creating than consuming so I looked at all the things I was spending time consuming and I said how could I turn all this information for podcasts into something that I can publish? And then, secondly, I previously worked as a radio producer years ago. Well, I never made it in front of the microphone so I thought podcasting will be a good way to do that.

Matty: A friend of mine just sent me a picture. When I was in high school, they had the PA system and I was the person who read the announcements in the morning and she found this picture of me sitting in front of the microphone in the little PA room that had all the switches where you could like switch on in certain rooms but not in others and I was like, oh, my God. I had forgotten I done that. I was like, it was like early podcasting –

Bryan: It was.

Matty: - except I didn’t have any control over the content, I just read what they handed.

Bryan: I still like the feel of a radio studio. I was recording an audiobook today and it’s a nice place to be inside of an audio studio so that’s probably the other reason why I’m drawn to it, just kind of intimacy with audio that you don’t get with other formats. 

Matty: Yeah.

Bryan: So you’ve recorded 100 episodes since you launched the podcast. What would you say were some of the highlights for you?

Matty: Well, I’m always hesitant to mention names. We’ve already mentioned Joanna Penn and Mark Lefebvre and they’ve both been guests on my podcast, plus a whole bunch of other people who are really my, you know, the people I look to for advice in my writing career and I’ll mention a couple of others who have podcasts of their own, like Sacha Black, who has the Rebel Author Podcast, and Mike La Ronn of Author Level Up, Dale Roberts of Self-Publishing with Dale. So, I’ve been thrilled to have been able to talk not only to some of my publishing voyage heroes but also some of my favorite authors.

So, I recently talked with Ben Winters, who’s the author of Undergrad Airlines and The Quiet Boy and The Last Policeman, and got to chat with him, which was, you know, my fangirl moment. I was like, oh, my God, I’m talking to Ben Winters. So, yeah, I’ve had wonderful luck with people agreeing to be on my podcast and it is the sort of thing that I’ll start to think, oh, I really need to do something about my email newsletter, I always have to do something about my email newsletter, and the fiction side is my least favorite thing to do. So then I’ll go out and find some expert in email newsletters and I get to talk to them for 30 minutes or 45 minutes about how they can help me and, thereby, how can I help other people who are listening to my podcast.

Bryan: Do you spend much time planning ahead for topics, Matty, or do you take it on a weekly or monthly basis?

Matty: I have – oh, my goodness, I probably have 100 spreadsheets with 100 either people I want to talk to, topics I want to address and sometimes those matched up, you know, the person I want to talk to about a particular topic and I do try to produce the podcasts about a month in advance, because I find that a month gives me a nice buffer so if, for some reason, something falls out, if there’s a technical glitch, if, for whatever reason, I can’t use the episode, you know, I have some buffer there, but not so far out that by the time I get to the actual airing of the podcast, and I have to, for example, record the intro and outro, I don’t wanna have to say, “Who is this person and what was I talking to them about?” you know? So about a month, a month and a half seems like a good buffer. But, yeah, I’m never going to run out of topics, that’s for sure. How far in advance do you plan?

Bryan: Well, it varies. A one point I was three months ahead. That was earlier on this year. So, that was probably a little bit too far ahead for reasons you described there. Some of the content can date a little bit. So, at the moment, I’m maybe seven weeks ahead so I feel like that’s the right amount for me. It gives me enough time that I don’t feel panicked to press publish next week but I also have a small window if I do want to change things around. Another thing I was wondering is I moved from short-form podcasts to an interview format like this, I suppose I prefer the interview format. How do you find your process is for sourcing guests?

Matty: I have had the best luck with going to the people that I’ve either heard on other podcasts, read articles about them, encountered them in some other way, you know, through the ways I’m researching the writing craft and the publishing voyage. 

I have found – gotten to the point where I’m starting to have people approach me, which is great, or their publicists approach me, which is a little bit problematic because I do think that sometimes when there are that many layers between you and the interviewee, by the time you get together, it’s a little harder to make that connection and I do sometimes feel as if, you know, if the interviewee has given their publicist the assignment to place them on as many podcasts as possible, they may not be vetting them in advance so you never know if you get someone who’s being arranged through a publicist, if they’re going to show up really excited to be talking to you or for them it’s just like, okay, it’s 10 o’clock, it’s the next interview. 

So, I still do enjoy being able to be the person who approaches guests rather than being approached, although I’ve gotten some great guests who have approached me and pitched their topic. It’s really how they pitch it, which I’m sure, you know, you’ve had the experience too that sometimes it’s very clear that someone’s just pitching everything. In fact, my favorite story about that, of getting a form letter is that they send it to me but, obviously, they intended to send it to J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon back when they had the Career Author Podcast. It was like, “Matty, I love your podcast, The Career Author,” and I was like, dude, you sent that to the wrong person.

Bryan: Yeah, they were probably using some sort of outreach software or there’s a template and they just inserted the first thing –

Matty: Yeah.

Bryan: Yeah, I’ve received emails like that. So how do you approach your guests? Do you find them on Twitter or just get their email address?

Matty: It really varies. In some cases, I have started to make a habit of, at the end of every interview, asking my guests if there’s anybody that they would recommend. I’ve gotten some great guests that way. I was recently interviewing Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet and, at the end, I asked her if she had any recommendations. 

She recommended Ran Walker who’s a writer of microfiction and that was, I have to say, like somebody I probably never would have encountered as somebody who doesn’t - isn’t as deeply into that as in some other areas but it was really one of the most fun interviews. So, that’s been very productive, a very productive way. And then those people who are providing the recommendation can also often provide an introduction for me to this person. Sometimes, you just go on the website, you know, you find their contact form or there are platforms like Podcastguests.com or Matchmaker. FM I think is another one where you can pitch yourself as a podcast and you can also look for guests. I have not done that myself. I have not used those platforms as a way of looking for guests but it would be an option for people who are casting about for content.

Bryan: I’ve experimented with those platforms. You can find some good guests through them. When you’re receiving pitches for people for your show, do you have like a filter or a way of figuring out that this person is a good fit and this person isn’t? 

Matty: Well, I have started asking people – one thing is I get a lot of pitches from authors who say, “I would love to be on your podcast and talk about my books,” and then I have the sort of standard response that says, “That’s not what my podcast is about.” If you have a particular area of expertise that you can use your book to illustrate, then certainly that sounds of interest, but just coming on to talk about, you know, it’s not a fiction podcast, it’s about the writing craft and the publishing voyage so those I kind of have a standard way of responding to. 

The other thing that I do is, if it’s clear that it’s a form letter, I ask them to let me know what their favorite episode of the podcast is and why. It eliminates a certain number of people who don’t feel like going to the trouble of researching what the podcast actually is. And then if it really does look interesting, oftentimes, I’ll ask them to send me a link to some audio or video interview or them talking about their topic, because there are people who are great in print and nervous or uncomfortable or just not as engaging in audio or video and so, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually eliminated anybody based on that, but it is nice to have some evidence that, yes, they feel comfortable sitting in front of a microphone. 

Yes, they have a reasonable setup for the recording. So, yeah, those are the sort of the filtering steps I go through. I have to ask you too, how do you how do you filter guests?

Bryan: It’s something that I need to get better at. Sometimes I’ve interviewed people and been pleasantly surprised by how great they are and, occasionally, I’ve interviewed people and maybe after it just said that not really the right fit for the show because they were just talking about a topic that’s not really relevant to a writing podcast. So, what I try to look at today is how can I match this to a topic I’m publishing content about on the site so there’s a natural fit between the two. And, secondly, have I already covered this topic? So, an example will be lots of people have small presses and have companies that help people self-publish books but I’ve covered that topic quite a lot over the past few months so I probably wouldn’t interview somebody who wants to talk about self-publishing books and running a small press right now –

Matty: Yeah.

Bryan: - because I’ve already done that. Whereas I haven’t talked about podcasting for authors so like that’s a great fit. And also the fact that you’re a podcaster as well., That immediately would say to me that this will be a good person to talk to because they’re comfortable in front of the microphone, they have their own show so they understand how podcasting works, and for a few other reasons as well. So, one of the reasons why I took so long to launch a podcast and didn’t spend as much time on it as I probably should have is I was concerned it was going to take up a huge chunk of time each week sourcing guests, preparing for the interview, editing, post-production, promotion. How many hours a week would you say, or per month, do you spend on your podcast?

Matty: I probably spend about 10 hours a week, which is more than I would like to. And the sticking point is always the transcript. So I publish a full transcript of all my interviews. I use a software called Descript, which is great because you can load a recording from an mp4 and mp3 or whatever and it will automatically create the transcript to a fairly good degree of accuracy and the other really nice thing about Descript is that if you edit the text of the transcript, it edits the audio. 

So, if I were to say, “Excuse me, for a minute, my dog is barking,” and then it renders that in the transcript and you edit out those words, it edits out the comparable audio and video. And then you can do – you can apply certain things like filler word removal. So, I stuttered over that sentence a little bit as I was talking about it and much of that can be cleaned up automatically.
 
So, the transcript it produces is perfectly adequate for that kind of editing that I described but if you’re publishing it out as basically an article, it needs cleanup and I just recently started - I’ve been resisting doing this because I am trying to make the podcast a paying venture and I was uncomfortable investing money in it before. I was earning money through patronage and affiliate sales or sponsorships and so on. 

But I finally thought, this is so silly, you know, you would never start a restaurant and say, “Well, as soon as I sell the first sandwich then I’ll buy some napkins,” you know? You wouldn’t run a business like that and so I kind of finally came to terms with the idea that it makes sense for me to invest a certain amount of money in that even before, you know, in order to make it pay, I have to invest more money so I am paying out for someone to help me with the transcript and that is like if I can get that taken care of, I’m a happy camper, because the other things I don’t mind doing. I like looking for guests, in general. I like, you know, I don’t mind the logistics of arranging it. I love doing the interviews. 

I enjoy doing things like clipping out excerpts, like one of the things that I feel very strongly about is that you can’t just put out a podcast episode and then that’s it. It’s sort of doing yourself and your guests a disservice. You need to make as much – capitalize on the content as much as you can and so every day in the week following a podcast airing, I will post an excerpt on social media pointing people to the full episode and so that takes a certain amount of time but I enjoy doing that. So, yeah, I’m really hoping to reduce the amount of time I’m spending on it at night. I’m starting to do that by offloading what is really just a completely mechanical process of editing the transcript.

Bryan: I’ve experimented with those audiograms. Did you find they drove much traffic to your podcast? 

Matty: I actually only use the audiograms anymore and, if anyone doesn’t know what audiograms are, they’re when, at least in Descript, you have a static image in the background overlaid with a sound wave of the speech. And so when I used to interview, occasionally interview people who didn’t wanna have video published, then I would use the audiograms as a way to put something up on social media that was a little bit active. 

But most of the guests, in fact, it’s really almost a requirement now that the guest has to be willing to, at a minimum, be on camera with me because I think, you know, even if I never published the video, I like to be on camera with the person so I can pick up, you know, body language cues and things like that. But I would really give preference to people who are willing to have me publish video because I think video – a video excerpt from an interview is much more engaging than the audiogram. I think the audiogram is great if audio is the only thing you have, but video is better, in my opinion.

Bryan: Are you sharing the video on Twitter or on another social media platform?

Matty: Well, I post the entire episode on YouTube and then I share the excerpts on Facebook and Twitter.

Bryan: Very good. Very good. So with your production, I haven’t used Descript so I work with a podcast editing agency who edits each episode. 

Matty: Nice.

Bryan: Costs approximately $100 per episode so there is a cost to it. 

Matty: Yeah.

Bryan: I suppose the upside to that is I don’t spend 10 hours a week on the podcast. It’s probably closer to five, depending on the research for the guests. 

Matty: Well, that sounds like a really good cost-benefit, you know, if you’re saving – paying, what? Like $20 an hour to buy back that time, that seems pretty reasonable.

Bryan: Yeah, so this is where I probably differ from you, I’m not running the podcast because it’s something that’s driving a lot of value for revenue for the business, it’s more I like podcasting but, you know, I’ve only got a certain amount of time each week I can spend on it. So, if the podcast pays for itself indirectly, you know, through an affiliate promotion or through somebody buying a book, that’s great, but if not, I still like talking to authors like you. That’s probably where my process differs a little bit. So, do you actually do the audio production as well yourself so preparing the introduction and the conclusion and sorting out the levels and removing all the pops and so on that an audio engineer would typically take care of?

Matty: I do that to a certain level. So, I don’t aim for a completely highly polished product as you would if you were doing an audiobook, for example, you know? So a certain amount of mouth noise, a certain amount of breath noise, I’m fine with that so I just leave that. I do the other audio and video editing myself in Descript, although that’s one thing that was funny that Descript is clearly optimized for American accents and so I actually just had a series of seven episodes with Orna Ross and her lovely Irish accent. It was episodes 101 through 107, which was the seven processes of publishing and we hit one of the seven processes in each of the episodes. So it was like almost seven hours of Orna talking and Descript really being confused about what she was saying and so the poor guy I had hired to edit the transcript was – we had allocated, at first, one hour and then I went to two hours a month for his editing work and he wasn’t able to get through the whole thing in that time to do the editing. 

But I think that once – for the episodes where I had guests where Descript is doing a better job of the transcription, then I think there will be time leftover and I’m hoping to get his help with some other things, so offloading some of that audio and video. For example, I just did a trailer for episodes 90 through 100 and there were certain things that I had not explored in Descript, like fades, and so if I were putting it together, what I wanted was a thumbnail of that guest’s episode and then the guest excerpt and then the next thumbnail, the next guest excerpt. If I’d been doing it, it just would have been bang, bang, bang, but he was able to do like nice fades from the thumbnail into the video and so I think, as we refine our process of working together, then there will be more time for him to do those kinds of things and that’ll be nice because it just does present a little bit more polished image of the podcast to people.

Bryan: Yeah, I would imagine it would. So I wanted to talk about equipment and software for a moment. This is another place people get hung up. So I started with the Blue Yeti microphone and I recently bought a Shure – you use a Blue Yeti, I can see it on screen. I don’t use video and I know you’re also using video. So the Shure M7 mic that’s connected with a stand to my desk. And I use some software called SquadCast, which is like Zencastr but it’s for podcasters. So it’s better audio quality than Zoom. What’s your setup like apart from the Blue Yeti microphone?

Matty: I use, as I mentioned, Descript. I record the interviews in Zoom and I just load them to Descript. I have wired earbuds that cleans up the audio a little bit so my microphone isn’t picking up audio that otherwise would be coming through my speakers. And I have a ring light to improve the lighting a little bit. That’s pretty much it. Use Libsyn as my hosting platform. 

Bryan: Yeah, I use BuzzCast for the hosting. Do you use anything in particular to arrange interviews or booking schedules?

Matty: No. I found that – so I know a lot of people, and you may have done this, use Calendly or something like that, and what I found was that I wasn’t comfortable providing an automated system with my availability, because it might be that I have a big deadline coming up and so, you know, for one of my books so I might not want to schedule anything in the week leading up to that, or there might be a couple of days that I am really free so I might be willing to schedule to. 

My willingness to schedule, I could never find a good way to represent in a calendaring system. And then I also found that, with obvious adjustments for time zones and things like that, people’s work schedule, I sort of landed on liking to interview people Monday mornings at 10 a.m. Eastern because that was the day before my podcast episode went out so I could interview them for the podcast and then I still have my whole podcasting setup ready and I could do the intro and outro, the episode-specific intro and outro at the same time without having to reset my room for that.
 
And that works for 80 percent of the people. If I say I normally interview Mondays at 10 a.m. Eastern and here are all the Mondays I have available, and that’s a benefit of scheduling ahead because, you know, I can give them a lot of options, then that normally works out. And I’d rather have the control over that scheduling than the admitted convenience of having something like a calendaring system that they could sign up in.

Bryan: Yeah, calendaring system can introduce some issues like you just described. I use Calendly but, yeah, you’re right, sometimes there’s a benefit to doing it just directly with the person. 

Matty: Yeah. 

Bryan: So this might be an episode in itself, probably won’t get through all of the strategies, but if somebody’s listening to this and they have a podcast and they want to monetize it, could you maybe list out some ways that they could get started?

Matty: Yeah. So, for me, I’ll just run through the ones that I use for the purposes of time. So, for The Indy Author Podcast, I solicit patronage through Patreon and Buy Me a Coffee and although I think both of those platforms have both of these options that I’m gonna describe, I position Patreon as, if you wanna sign up as a regular contributor, you know, do the monthly automated contributions, then use Patreon and I have two levels, I have a $1 level and a $3 level. 

And then I position Buy Me a Coffee as if someone finds particular value in a particular episode or resource, they can use Buy Me a Coffee to say thank you and I have to say that, so far, actually I’m making more money from Buy Me a Coffee than Patreon, although I hope to change that over time because the anticipatability of Patreon contributions is nicer than the occasional surprise of Buy Me a Coffee, although there’s nothing wrong with a nice surprise.
 
And then for a little while, I tried to pursue sponsorships. I had a couple of experiences with sponsorships, which were fine but not very inspirational, either for me or for the sponsor, and so what I’ve gone to instead is featured affiliates and I like that because, first of all, I only ever feature affiliates that I truly use myself and love to recommend to people, and I can often tie them to the content of the episode, so, for example, for the seven episodes that featured Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors, I used – the Alliance of Independent Authors was my featured affiliated and so if I can tie it to the content of the episode, I think it’s nice. It’s just a stronger and more solidified message for the listeners to hear and I can swap it out at will if I kind of become disillusioned with one of my services that I have an affiliate with, I can just stop featuring them, so the monetization is basically coming through Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, and affiliate sales.
 
And then, hopefully, I’m also getting a bump, when it’s appropriate, like Orna and I, in one of the episodes, we’re talking about the benefits of podcasting for authors so I thought, okay, I feel it’s legitimate for me to mention that I have a book on this topic and so those are the monetization approaches that I’m using.

Bryan: Interesting. Yeah, I’ve experimented with Patreon. At the moment, probably doing something similar to featured affiliates. Do you have a way of seeing how affiliates are converting on your podcast or you more are just talking about the affiliate and how you use it and then moving on with the interview?

Matty: I’m mainly just talking about the affiliates because I don’t have a way that I know of that I could tell whether somebody signed up, you know, used my affiliate link as a result of hearing about it on the podcast or I also promote them on social media, I promote them if I’m going to, you know, do a talk in a writer’s group, if the affiliate is appropriate for the subject of my talk so I don’t really have a sense of how many are coming from the podcast versus other sources.

Bryan: Do you spend much time reviewing your podcast metrics or downloads?

Matty: Every once in a while, I do like to go and see who’s in the leaderboard for most downloads and I actually just got in touch, it’s been Brian Rathbone’s episode on Google Play for a long time and so I interviewed Brian a year ago and I actually just sent him a note saying, obviously, people are really interested in Google Play and if Google Play has changed sufficiently in the last year, that would be worth a repeat visit, I would love to have you back and I’m waiting to hear back from him but, yeah, I’m not super sophisticated about tracking the stats and so the downloads are really the only thing I track. How about you?

Bryan: Podcast metrics are quite difficult to track and they could be inaccurate so I just check them once a week to see what episodes are popular and what I’ve noticed is there’s a long tail for some episodes, so it might not get a lot of downloads in week 1 or 2 but over the course of a few weeks, it will acquire like hundreds and maybe some thousands of downloads, depending on the episode. 

The most popular one I recorded was an interview with Sascha Fast about the Zettelkasten method as a way of researching nonfiction so I recorded a follow-up episode where I talked about my Zettelkasten process, which isn’t published yet but the way I would use that is I would look at the top 5 episodes and ask myself, “Is it the headline? You know, is there something I can do to create some more supporting content, like a different type of topic? Or maybe I should speak to him again, I hadn’t thought about it, Matty, until you suggested it, so I think he has a course coming out so perhaps I should invite him back on.

Matty: Yeah.

Bryan: So, we’re almost out of time, Matty. Where can people learn more about your work or read your books?

Matty: If they’re interested in non-fiction platform, they can go to theindyauthor.com and if they are interested in my fiction work, they can go to mattydalrymple.com and from there, they can get links to my social media platforms. I am most active for both of those platforms on Facebook.

Bryan: Thanks, Matty.

Matty: Thank you. This has been so much fun. Thank you, Bryan.

(outro)

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