Podcasting Tips

Q&A with Philippa Ballantine of The Shared Desk

We’ve got a lot of writers offering their work and critical analysis throughout Spreaker, and you guys will definitely appreciate our interview with Philippa Ballantine. Philippa is not only the author of steampunk novels, but a passionate podcaster with numerous shows based upon her work as well as the writing process, like The Shared Desk.

Do you mind introducing yourself?

I’m Philippa Ballantine, fantasy and steampunk writer and avid podcaster. I’ve been writing for ten years, and worked my way through epublishing (I did it before it was popular back in 2002), independent press, and finally sold my first book into a New York publishing house in 2009. That was the Books of the Order series. Then I co-wrote the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris, which is a steampunk adventure. And finally I have a series coming out with Pyr called the Shifted World. The first book Hunter and Fox is coming in June.

So cool! How did you get into podcasting?

It was all Tee Morris’ fault. Back in 2005 he was first to podcast a novel in its entirety, and the next year here convinced me I should do the same with my book Weaver’s Web. Once I had a task for it, I couldn’t stop. I ended up podcasting another three full novels, and starting a writing podcast (Whispers at the Edge which has since become the Shared Desk which I do with Tee Morris) and of course Erotica a la Carte which is my speculative fiction erotica podcast. I’ve also provided lots of guest voices for other podcast novels—which is something I really enjoy.

So accomplished, it’s a wonder how you’ve been able to finish so many projects. How has podcasting benefitted your writing career?

It has given me a fan base of people to help spread the word, and it has definitely improved my writing. Nothing makes you realize how your writing really is, than reading it aloud.

Something some of our users might want to know: how has podcasting helped you in terms of sales?

That is harder to pin down. The number of people you can convert from listeners to book buyers is still up into the air. I like to think it has helped, but I know that podcasting is not the only avenue I can rely on. Book bloggers, conventions, interviews, and signings also make a differences

How do you approach story telling in your shows (like Digital Magic or Tales from the Archives), and more conversational podcasting like The Shared Desk?

All of the novel work I have done, has always been the entire story. I like to use the particular tools that a podcast gives me; like guest voices, special effects and music. I think these all add to the audio experience. I also love acting the book, rather than just reading it aloud. It’s how I get my acting fix. The Shared Desk is a fun conversation between myself and my co-writer (and now husband) Tee Morris. We have a lot of fun doing it, and it is us riffing off each other. We never really know how it is going to turn out—and that’s the fun of it!

What are you’re favorite podcasting tips?

Definitely, slow down. Breathe, take into account punctuation, and slow it down. Many readers gallop through their story, because they are afraid of the sound of their own voice and want to get it over and done with. Try and enjoy what you’re doing, and it’ll help with that.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Blog World? Where do you hope podcasting is going?

I’m looking forward to connecting with the community. Something writing and podcasting have in common is that they are both, by and large, solitary activities. Blog World is a chance to meet up with old friends and meet new ones.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just I hope those who are coming to Blog World take advantage of the opportunities it presents—oh and come up and say hi!

Thanks Philippa, that ws great!

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