Hey! My name is Kristen and I live in New Jersey, where I do hair, walk my dog, smush my cat, smooch my man and host a book club podcast called Book Club Shmook Club. So right off the bat, I'm going to explain what a podcast is for those who don't know, as I didn't not so long ago- I've gotten a lot of "I feel like I've heard that word before but I don't know what it means" type-stares when I've mentioned it to people. A podcast is basically a talk radio show that can be downloaded and listened to over the internet, on your computer while you're working or cleaning the kitchen or on your phone while you're driving or working out. I love listening to them because they can take things you do in daily life from feeling blah to being like "Oh sweet, I forgot I have that thing about going undercover at a Satanic mass to listen to while I fold the laundry!"
There are a billion of them to choose from on a billion different topics that you can search for, some of them being established and funded by advertisers and some of them being self-produced labors of love. My rad gig is a self-produced book club podcast called Book Club Shmook Club where every two weeks, my brother Will and I discuss a book we've just read, go off topic a ton and invite listeners to read along with us.
I started getting interested in doing some sort of podcast because of my brother. We were both born with the gift of gab, which is a nice way of describing an inability to shut up, and he'd been using his for a couple years on his own podcast with our friend Bobby called Will and Bobby Know Everything. They talk about what's going on with them and it just works because they're funny weirdos who are charismatic and fun to listen to, like you're hanging out with the friends you're stoked to run into every once in a while. I'd been a guest on the show a couple of times and always had a good time, and Will had started encouraging me to do my own podcast. I liked the idea but kind of blew it off because of all those naggy questions we sometimes ask ourselves that keep us from trying something new- what would I talk about? How would I find the time to do it? What if no one even listens? But eventually it just came about naturally, and those questions didn't really matter.
Will and I were always super into The Shining, the Stephen King book and the Stanley Kubrick movie, and when the book's sequel Dr. Sleep was being released 36 years later, we were all about it. We originally talked about kind of "book club-ing it" on WBKE, and calling the segment Book Club Shmook Club. But somehow the talk spun off into starting a separate podcast just about books. I think the fact that there would be a solid thing to talk about each time made the idea of doing a podcast appealing to me in a new way, as well as the mellow recording schedule. Since we wanted people to be able to take their time reading the books- and let's be real, let us take our time- we decided we'd try putting the show out every 2 weeks, with a heads-up at the end of each episode about what we're going to be reading next. We started with a short intro episode introducing ourselves and letting people know we'd be reading Dr. Sleep and when to have it finished by if they'd like to follow along, and we've been blowing through book talks and tangents about our neighbors or our jobs or David Copperfield's hair (that's the REAL magic) ever since.
Doing the podcast is great because I've always loved to read but I also love to mainline shows on Netflix or click around aimlessly online, and my book consumption had been all the worse for it. Doing the podcast gives me a concrete motivation to make sure I read at least some things on a screen that isn't backlit (this is a lie, I mostly use a Kindle) and punctuated by celebrity pictures. It's also been good to engage with what I'm reading a lot more, taking notes and keeping track of themes or patterns that pop up in a way that I might not without knowing that I'm going to be talking about them into a microphone. And of course, it's nice to being doing something creative with my brother and our friend- Will, Bobby and I have formed a podcast network called WB2045, a jokey "cult" we've formed to promote each other's projects.
I was very lucky to be able to start this with loads of help and motivation from somebody who had already been doing it for a long time, and while I'm trying to learn about the more technical side of things, Will still takes care of most of it. I will say that while the idea seemed hugely intimidating when we started but broken down into smaller parts, it's entirely doable if podcasting is something you're interested in.
I think it's best to start pretty simply and make sure that this is something you want to do long-term, because advanced equipment can get really costly. You can download the recording program Audacity onto your PC or Mac and record directly into that. Once that's done and saved, you need a service to host your podcast, and as there's no free, YouTube-like site for this,this is where an amount of money comes in. We use the site Libsyn where you can pay as little as $15, but we go with the $20 option because you get more room to upload shows as well as advanced statistics that show you how many people are listening, where they've clicked over from, where downloads are coming from geographically, etc. Libsyn also gets the show from your work to other people's ears by adding it to as RSS feed that automatically submits it to iTunes. You still need to make a show page...then promote that puppy! Post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Friendster, whatever social media you use. I personally try to write a different little blurb every time and not overdo it with constant promotion, because I feel like it starts to look like spam that people just scan by.
But I'd say the most important thing to do is find something you're passionate about, that you can talk about at length and get fired up over. I know that the podcasts I most like listening to are the ones where you can tell that the people talking are really having a good time, you can practically feel their eyes getting big and see them talking with their hands. Enthusiasm is infectious and if you have enthusiasm for something, chances are good that there are others out there who'd love it if you shared it with them. I'm having a great time sharing mine.
You can find Book Club Shmook Club HERE or by searching for it on iTunes, and if you have any questions or want to keep in touch you can find my Twitter @krissypajamas and my Instagram username is Kristenrog. Another rad gig I have fun with is writing for xoJane, and you can see what I've done there at xojane.com/author/kristen-
And thank you so much Kaelah, for being a rad gal yourself and giving readers a window into what other chicks are doing and showing us how we can do it, too.
Rad Gal, Rad Gig is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite really neat gals to share their really cool stories. Whether your gig is a full-time job or just a hobby, I want to hear from you! If you think you'd be perfect for Rad Gal, Rad Gig, feel free to get in touch or view the information on the Submissions page! Just submit a short description of what you do and why you think it's rad!