Monday, March 25, 2019

10 Literary Podcasts all Writers Should Listen To

Writers are always being told that if they want to continue improving their craft, the best thing they can do is read. But if you’re in the middle of writing or publishing a book, looking at another book — or even a blog post — is probably the last thing you want to do with your time. Luckily, there’s no need to read when you can start listening… to these ten podcasts! Each of them offer insight and advice for writers and book-lovers alike.

1. Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Raise your hand if your browser history contains searches like “regardless or irregardless,” “double negatives,” or “purposely or purposefully.” It’s alright, you’re not alone! If you find yourself frequently turning to Google for answers like these, the podcast Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing will likely be for you. In episodes that range from 7-20 minutes, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty puts the most confusing and long-pondered vocabulary questions to rest in a funny and insightful style.

2. Writing Excuses

Disclaimer: this podcast doesn’t provide writers with excuses to avoid their craft. Instead, by going over various writing techniques and trends, the 15-20 minute episodes aim to give authors an excuse to write by educating them more about their craft! Come for the funny tag-line — “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” — and stay for the advice that can truly improve your prose.

3. The Creative Penn Podcast

Let’s be honest, Joanna Penn has kind of become the BeyoncĂ© of the indie author world. And while we can’t personally remark on her singing chops, we can attest to the quality of her podcast. Tune in every Monday for inspirational episodes that provide authors with the know-how to tread the unknown waters of self-publishing, plus tips on what goes into being an author-preneur.

4. I Should Be Writing

If you can relate to the title of this podcast right off the bat, you will definitely connect with the honest episodes that detail the ups, downs, and emotional roadblocks that all career writers eventually encounter. It’s hosted by award-winning science fiction author Mur Lafferty, and often features interviews from a variety of other genre authors. If you like your podcasts with a bit more edge, you can also check out her I Should Be Writing spin-off, Ditch Diggers, which comes with a warning that it contains explicit content and is not kid-friendly.

5. A Way With Words

An hour-long National Public Radio (NPR) program, A Way With Words explores language through the lens of history, culture, and family. It’s hosted by author/journalist Martha Barnette and lexicographer/linguist Grant Barrett, who discuss slang, old sayings, new words, grammar, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and more. It’s a great program for authors who want to go back to the very basics of any piece of writing: expression through language.

6. What Should I Read Next?

If you’re in the middle of writing a book and you find yourself unable to detach from thoughts of your own prose, this podcast will help you fall in love with reading for pleasure all over again. Each week, host Anne Bogel has a guest on to discuss their reading lists, encouraging listeners to make reading an everyday part of their lives.

7. DIY MFA Radio

If you’re the kind of writer who feels like learning is never over and there’s constant room for improvement, you will get a lot out of the industry experts and authors who appear on Gabriela Pereira’s podcast, DIY MFA Radio. Including the likes of Sara Dessen, Jojo Moyes, Eoin Colfer, and Orson Scott Card, each episode aims to be as educational — and also as accessible — as possible. But don’t let the comparison to academia fool you: these are not dry lectures, but fun and relatable insights into the experiences of seasoned writers.

8. Story Grid

“Helping you become a better writer.” This is Story Grid’s tagline, and if it sounds too good to be true, think again! The podcast has over 150 episodes under its belt and has been capturing authors’ attention for years with episodes that cover thought-provoking questions like “Do you have to be depressed to be a good writer?” and “What if my writing sucks?” So if you’ve ever felt defeated by writer’s block or enjoy discussing what the “X factor” of a truly great story is, then yes, Story Grid will help you become a better writer.

9. Longform

Yes, most of the podcasts on this list are aimed at fiction writers. But nonfiction authors aren’t without their own insightful programs! Longform, for instance, features lengthy (as the name suggests) interviews with writers, with a focus on journalists and nonfiction writers. Each episode dives into the writer’s past and maps out how they got to the current point of their publishing career.

10. Bestseller

We couldn’t really make a list of the ten best podcasts for writers without including our own, could we? Hosted by Reedsy’s Casimir M. Stone, each episode follows a different part of an independent author’s self-publishing journey. It starts at the very beginning, from that lightbulb moment that gave them the idea for their book, to the very end: publishing and marketing their book. If publishing your own book feels like a long and winding road, Bestseller will give you reassurance that you’re not alone, while helping you find your own footing.

Monday, March 18, 2019

#IWSG - Get your Merch / Goods / Wares / Products / & Stuff!

What better way to show your insecure pride than to wear it on your sleeve?

Your T-Shirt sleeve!!

Check out the IWSG t-shirt designed by Jeremy Hawkins!
You can get this shirt in grey, black, or navy blue!

Get all your t-shirt size options HERE and order yours today!


There's more!!!!

We've got a great selection of IWSG merchandise to choose from!

Pens, key chains, coffee mugs, tote bags, and of course...notebooks!
You can never have too many notebooks!

Check out our merchandise page HERE and order some of your favorites today!

Proceeds from sales help support and maintain the IWSG website and fund upcoming events.



We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

The next one is Episode 233: Crafting the Victorian Novel — Interview with David Morrell.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Benefits to Listening to Audio Books for Writers

By Melissa Chan of Literary Book Gifts

Writers are some of the most avid readers around. It's an obvious way to develop such a love of books, reading, and literature—by reading for years before starting write a book. As an aspiring writer I know that a healthy and continuous amount of reading is the best thing for putting me in the mood to write.

I spent much of my childhood reading mainly paperbacks and hardcovers. Library trips every weekend helped me to replenish a continue stream of reading material for the week. Around high school I discovered audio books and have chosen them as my preferred form of reading ever since. The switch from reading with my eyes to reading with my ears may seem like a dramatic one, but if I reflect back, even before picking up books, my parents would read stories aloud to me, often before bedtime. I’ve fond memories of listening to tales of the past from my grandparents, relatives, and family friends over meals and during long summer afternoons. So I think perhaps I always listened to audio books in a way, and am simply returning to that form of reading.

Upon reflection of both forms of consuming literature, I have noted upon a few benefits that I would like to share with you today.

I find that no matter how much writing is done conceptually in the mind it always eventually takes place typing on the computer. Even those with the clearest of handwriting will eventually have to get it onto the digital page. Audio books offer a definite change of pace from the long hours of sitting upright to type and the possible eye strain that can come from staring at a screen. Audio books let you close your eyes and relax. It's the most ergonomic form of reading because you can read while lying down, taking a walk, or while doing some simple stretches. I find that audio books can be even more relaxing than television, since all your senses besides listening have the possibility of resting. With a pair of headphones, one has the possibility of physically removing themselves out of the places they write and even enjoying the outdoors on a hike.

As a writer working on your own manuscript it's impossible not to see words and construct sentences visually. Audio books let you consume a story in a different medium than the one you are writing in. The auditory processing as opposed to visual processing allows for a sort of separation in your mind.
My final and favorite reason why writers should listen to audio books is to get ideas for then they might want to record their own. Not every story gets recorded into an audio book. It is my hope that eventually more stories will be recorded, audio books exist as a completely digital goods. Unlike their written counterparts which are read in various physical formats or as eBooks, audio books exist only as sound recordings.

Sometimes if I am lucky I will find an author has read aloud their book and recorded it for all time. In some cases the author is now deceased. In this case the audio book is now a preserved copy of not only their work as an author but also of their voice.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a few ways in which audio books are beneficial for writers. I encourage everyone to read, listen, and tell stories aloud. Do you listen to audio books?

Written by Melissa Chan, lifelong reader, aspiring writer, and designer of bookish items with a wide selection of gifts for writers. When I'm not attempting to write a novel, I spend my time listening to audio books and browsing for new reads at the library.

Enter a Literary Book Gifts giveaway HERE
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Special note:

We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

The first one is Episode 234: A Master Class on Character — Interview with David Corbett.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

An Early Punxsutawney Phil Spring

Join Us

Yep. Phil predicts spring will come early this year, and so let get on with the first March Wednesday and, like Alex says, "rock the neurotic writing world!"

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.


Remember, the question is optional!
The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard

March 6 question - Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I lean toward the villainous character's mind. Here are three books from the villainous POV that I enjoyed. Interestingly, three are fairy tale re-tellings. I was in an escape phase of my life. What can I say?

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is the second novel from Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked. It tells the tale of Cinderella from the perspective of one of her evil stepsisters. The young Iris (soon to be Cinderella's stepsister) is depicted as a bright girl whose mother is suddenly widowed. Destitute, the mother has to leave their home. She lands in a wealthy tulip merchant's home and, guess what? Love+readjustment of the blended family=all that stepmother, stepsisters drama. It's a book with interesting twists that lead to the happily-ever-after from a new perspective.

Blackhearts is about that infamous pirate Blackbeard. We all know what a rotten, despicable and murderous pirate that guy was. But what if we knew something about his life from another point of view? Nicole Castroman looks into Blackbeard's past and creates a Young Adult tale about Blackbeard as young man in love. I really enjoyed reading this one because it upends all that I thought about Blackbeard, and it explores the social limitations that young Teach struggled against.

I thought Alias Hook was amazing. Imagine Hook as a hunk of a guy who's trying to help a woman from the 50s stay safe. From whom? Why that imp and totally irresponsible Peter Pan, of course. There's a love story with Hook and a very different slant on that naughty Pan boy. 

And then there's Bram's all time favorite, Dracula, isn't there? Coppola's film based on the novel grossed $215 million. I guess people enjoyed seeing Dracula being, well, Dracula. And what about Phantom of the Opera? Gaston Leroux created one of the most charismatic and conflicted characters that came to life again on the stage only a few years ago. The pull of his tortured soul brought people into theaters to see the production not once, but several times. Those villainous tales never grow old and never cease to draw us in.

We all love/hate the bad guy, right? I've written three books from that side of the literary coin. One's  with my agent and two are published: Double Negative and Sliding on the Edge. I adored my bad boy, Hutch McQueen, and my bad girl, Shawna Stone. I think I found the same empathy for them that I found for Iris and Teach and Hook in those retold fairy tales. 

#IWSG has just been awarded this badge from UK Writers Hub. We're in the top 50 websites for writers! Kudos to the team and all the members who support IWSG and each other.

The WEP winners have been announced! Congratulations to everyone who won and to everyone who entered. You all make this an exciting event. 

Read More About the Anthology

Keep an eye out for the next IWSG anthology. It's headed your way April 30.

Quote of the Month: "The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink." T.C. Elliot

Now let me ask you this. Have you read any of the books I've mentioned? What is your favorite perspective, hero or villain? And then be sure to stop by the others who are answering this question and see what they have to say.