As writers, we may not always actually be writing – as much as we (mistakenly) tell ourselves we should be. But even in our downtime, we’re usually thinking about writing. And one of the ways we can make our not-quite-downtime from writing extra productive is to lose ourselves in one of the brilliant writing podcasts out there.
Podcasts are a great way for aspiring writers and seasoned pros alike to hear about the ups and downs of the writing journey, and stay up-to-date on shifts in trends. Listening to an inspiring podcast is also a wonderful way to hunker down in the cold months, and keep your writing fires burning even during your festive break.
Whether you’re intrigued about your favourite author’s process, fascinated by the shapes the writing life can take, looking for practical writing tips, or keen to learn about the publishing world (or indeed the path to self-publishing), there’s a great writing podcast for you. For both fiction writers and those working with the factual, there’s an abundance of excellent content to consume.
Listening to lived experiences and answers to the questions that plague you is also a great way to feel like you have your very own international writing community. Of course, it’s no patch on our online writing community at The Novelry! Plus, when you sign up to one of our creative writing courses, you get access to a huge bank of writing classes with bestselling authors like Paula Hawkins, David Nicholls, Val McDermid, Tess Gerritsen, Kristin Hannah, Jessie Burton, Meg Rosoff and Katherine Arden.
With so many writing podcasts to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. So we’re looking at some of the best writing podcasts for any aspiring writer.
There are writing podcasts on all aspects of the writing life
Because fiction writing – indeed any writing – is a multifaceted process and can take innumerable shapes, there are all kinds of approaches and focuses when it comes to writing podcasts.
To help you find the ones that most meet your needs at any given moment, we’ll break them down into a few of the key areas that aspiring writers tend to be interested in. You can find almost all of these for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you choose to listen. Many of these podcasts will overlap into several categories, but it should help steer you through what King of Podcasts Adam Buxton cheerfully refers to as ‘the giant podcast bin’.
- On process and productivity
- Diverse voices
- Story ideas
- Writing skills and techniques, and editing your work
- On being published, self-publishing and the book market
On process and productivity
One of the biggest points of fascination for writers is the different ways successful authors manage to write a whole book, and sometimes dozens!
With so many ways to approach this mammoth feat, hearing about the different processes, routines and habits that see writers through can be a balm and an inspiration.
Not all of these podcasts are directly about writing. Some of them are brimming with insight on topics like resilience and dealing with rejection – and we know how important those are for anyone trying to write a book!
So without further ado, here are some of the best writing podcasts for those who want to learn about the many shapes of a writer’s journey, and find their own path to happy writing.
This gem of a podcast is invaluable for writers, particularly as a salve and source of inspiration in their darker moments. Host Francesca Steele is a journalist and writer who was moved to begin the podcast after struggling to sell her first book. Now, she has a hugely successful podcast all about writing and handling its ups and downs, sharing wisdom on how to stay resilient through it all.
As well as sharing her own insights, Steele chats to brilliant guests like Liane Moriarty, Anna Hope, Paula Hawkins, Andy Weir, Phoebe Morgan, Julian Fellowes, Michele Roberts and Douglas Stuart. There are 21 episodes, each lasting around 45 minutes, so sit back and dig in!
If you want a writing podcast centred around writers, their craft and why they love words, you’ll probably love this. Mitzi Rapkin’s writing podcast invites guests including fiction writers, playwrights, poets, screenplay writers, songwriters and people working with nonfiction prose. Episodes last around 30–50 minutes, giving Rapkin plenty of time to delve into each writer’s process, inspiration and tastes.
Notable guests include George Saunders, Elizabeth Gilbert, Elizabeth Strout, Anne Enright, Gabriela Garcia and Akwaeke Emezi.
This is one of the best writing podcasts for fans of variety, combining profound insights and in-depth interviews with plenty of humour – particularly in episodes with comedic geniuses like James Acaster and Charlie Brooker. If you are trying to write comedy which – as anyone who’s tried knows – is devilishly hard, you can also look to episodes with masters of the joke like Christine Rose who writes for Have I Got News for You, 8 out of 10 Cats, Graham Norton, Alan Carr and other TV comedy giants. Or there’s Robert Popper, who wrote Friday Night Dinner and edited Peep Show, The Inbetweeners and The IT Crowd... Not too shabby!
If you like hearing from fellow novelists, you’ll find no shortage here. Guests include Rumaan Alam, Liane Moriarty, Meg Mason, Amer Anwar, Elif Shafak, George Saunders and Maggie O’Farrell. And you can hear from someone who’s sat on both sides of the editing desk in the episode with novelist and editor Alexandra Shulman!
Crisell does plenty of research before her interviews, which tend to last between half an hour and an hour, allowing her to go deep and ask insightful questions about writers’ crafts, habits and writing set-ups (often venturing into said writing set-ups to record episodes!). There are 44 episodes to catch up on and you can subscribe to the newsletter too.
If you really want to get into the weeds of what productivity and creativity mean, this is the podcast for you.
Host Kelton Reid delves into ‘the habits, habitats and brains’ of hundreds of writers crossing form and genre. We hear their tips and tricks for creative productivity, and how they keep writing in the face of rejection, adversity and the dreaded writer’s block.
He covers all-important topics like ‘How to Reverse Engineer a Bestseller’, ‘How to Write a Book in One Month’, ‘How to Hyperfocus’ and ‘5 Things Only Serious Writers Do’, bringing wisdom and levity to the modern fixation on productivity.
Alongside in-depth interviews discussing writing routines, listeners learn about the science and behavioural techniques that underpin creativity and productivity. There’s no mystification of the writing process or glamourisation of starving for our art here!
Some of Reid’s notable guests are Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Clare Pooley (The Authenticity Project), Emma Donoghue (Room), Kevin Kelly (nonfiction writer and founder of WIRED magazine) and Andy Weir (The Martian). He also has recurring guest stars in Michael Grybko (resident neuroscientist), Robert Bruce (genius of short fiction), and the journalist Adam Skolnick.
This weekly podcast helps aspiring writers balance the demands of writing with their personal lives and possibly their day jobs. Instead of interviewing writers, Werner generally offers short monologues all about the writing life, clocking in at around fifteen minutes.
If you’re looking for candour, encouragement and humour on the blocks and insecurities we know all too well, Werner addresses topics including ‘Making Your Own Opportunities’, ‘Feeling Too Afraid To Create’, and ‘Getting Into Flow’.
And if you do love an interview with a writer, it’s worth pointing out that Werner does occasionally conduct guest interviews on process and how they find writing balance, as well as craft tips! These include ‘Improvised Storytelling’ with Cat Blackard, ‘Reclaiming Your Voice’ with Kate Wallinga, and ‘Hooks & Characters’ with Kate Brauning.
Much like The Novelry, Pelton believes in writing often and well to get the book of your dreams down on paper. He shares processes and strategies to help you put that dillydallying to rest and write hundreds of thousands of words.
Pelton also interviews writers, artists and entrepreneurs about how they maximise their productivity and master their craft, as well as trends in their respective industries.
While Pelton’s guests span all kinds of fields and delve into topics from efficiency to wellness, there are plenty of broadly applicable insights. There are episodes catering specifically to budding writers, such as with Abigail Morrison who explores the role of truth in creative writing, and Emily English Medley on honest art. More practical angles come in episodes like Samantha Hanni on editing and Vikrant Shaurya on writing bestselling books.
This podcast sees author John King interview writers working in a huge range of forms and genres – not just fiction, but poetry, memoirs, biography and journalism, too.
The topics are suitably broad and cover the entire writing process: scribbled-out notes, endless drafts and abandoned manuscripts. There are also astute analyses of great literature, from Lolita to Conversations with Friends. In every episode, listeners are treated to a short memoir essay from a writer about a beloved book, making this a great resource for finding new reading inspiration.
And if interactivity is your thing, you’ll be glad to know King also answers listeners’ questions and comments on the writing life.
Another first draft-entitled podcast, this one began life as a cross-country road trip in which Sarah Enni interviewed her favourite YA writers. It’s grown monumentally since then, encompassing writers in a vast array of mediums and genres. Sadly, Enni announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year, but there are still plenty of episodes in the back catalogue to explore!
And they go deep, with Enni delving into her guests’ childhoods as well as the details of their creative and publishing journeys. There’s also plenty of levity to keep us all sane through the tumults of the novel writing process! Episode titles include ‘Let Your Heroines Be Horny’ with Elissa Sussman, ‘We Only Get the Hunks We Get’ with Rebecca Serle, and ‘Reclaiming Authenticity’ with Varian Johnson.
Enni is a writer herself, offering lots of insight into the varied paths to a career in writing – particularly in her break-off miniseries which befits our second category of podcasts. Track Changes is a brilliant resource, exploring the details of the traditional publishing process: from querying agents and negotiating contracts, to getting advances and marketing your book.
This writing podcast lays to rest the myth that books spring up through divine intervention, painlessly and in a fervour of inspiration. Caroline Donahue chats to authors, book lovers and other people in the world of publishing to reveal its mysteries.
She explores such significant topics as ‘The Murky (or Messy) Middle’ with writers like Hannah Dennison, Thomas Kearney and Chloe Benjamin. She also delves into the process of ‘Letting Your Characters Guide You’ with Richard Osman, and ‘Writing from Personal Experience’ with Courtney Zoffness. For those looking for writing podcasts that shed a light on the practicalities of publishing, Donahue covers that too in episodes on topics like ‘Publishing a Series’, ‘Empowered Publication’, and self-publishing in A.L. Berggren’s so-called ‘Publication Project’.
The original Writer’s Digest podcast was hosted by Gabriela Pereira, a once-monthly podcast centred around interviews with experts and stars of the writing world – and it covered the gamut of said murky world.
Listening back, you’ll hear nuggets of wisdom to spark your creativity, hone your craft, choose the right tools, build a platform, and ensure your work reaches its audience.
This year, the publication has launched its Writer’s Digest Presents podcast, in which the editors of Writer’s Digest continue to interview writing and publishing experts, covering topics like the ins and outs of getting (and working with) a literary agent, and writing community chat. They also look into craft: for example, one podcast episode explores world-building, and another is dedicated to beginnings.
Founder and host Yin Chang creates meaningful conversations spanning the personal and professional lives of writers, from their creative process to overcoming rejection. There are also tips on lifestyle habits, wellbeing and inspiration, as well as practical craft and industry advice.
It’s worth pointing out that 88 Cups of Tea isn’t currently producing regular episodes, with Chang having taken a hiatus during the pandemic to combat food insecurity among the Asian American community in New York through Heart of Dinner. Still, there are hundreds of episodes to listen back to, and it’s worth checking into the Instagram page from time to time to see special events and insights!
This wonderful writing podcast is hosted by author Linda Sivertsen, in whose lively chats writers discuss all kinds of areas of writing, publishing and deal-making. They also explore further afield, covering topics from spirituality and activism to cultivating creativity.
If you love writing podcasts with big-name authors, the Beautiful Writers Podcast might be just the ticket. Silverston’s guests include some of the most well-known and bestselling writers in the world, like Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Deepak Chopra, Meg Wolitzer, Dean Koontz, Brené Brown and so many more. The host herself is no slouch when it comes to writing: Silverston is an award-winning, bestselling author, writing coach, ghostwriter and magazine editor, so she knows plenty about the industry!
There’s a masterful blend of humour, poignancy, depth, encouragement and practical advice in this writing podcast – definitely not one to be missed.
This is one of the best writing podcasts for those hunting for encouragement and community. The objective of Unpublished is to help writers keep going by helping them build a sustainable creative life and ‘take their art seriously’. It’s hosted by published author Amie McNee (The Rules Upheld by No One) and James Winestock, who’s studying at the University of Sydney while working on three novels. They also occasionally have guests to offer a different angle and personal insights – like acclaimed social psychologist and author Dr Devin Price, and actor and athlete Natasha Kaz. There are plenty of novelist guests for purists, including Jay Kristoff and Seth Haddon.
This writing podcast tackles all kinds of important topics from craft to emotional wellbeing, as well as offering advice on things like how to dispel guilt over perceived laziness, tackle failure and balance writing with your day job. And there’s plenty of practical business advice to boot!
While we’re thinking about conversational, shop-talking writing podcasts, we’d be remiss not to mention Write-Minded. It’s a firm favourite in the writing podcast world, in large part thanks to its hosts, Brooke Warner and Grant Faulkner, who are kind of a big deal when it comes to building writing communities.
Warner devotes much of her time to supporting women who are tearing down sexist barriers to publishing – you may have heard of her thriving online community, She Writes.
Faulkner, too, has made quite a name for himself in leading the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which has inspired hundreds of thousands of authors to commit to their writing.
Their approach is soul-bearing, raw and extremely honest. It’s another gem for people who might feel alone on their writing journey and want to hear about craft, process and inspiration. With a new episode to look forward to each week, bringing a new guest and a new theme, you’ll have plenty of variety! Episodes last between 30 and 50 minutes, so you can really sink your teeth into each topic.
To give you a flavour, episodes include ‘Writing Racial Dynamics in YA Fiction’ with David Yoon, ‘Can Writing Be Taught?’ with Lisa Stringfellow, ‘On Writing and Selling Trauma’ with Stephanie Foo, and ‘All About Book Festivals’ with Cherilyn Parsons.
Given its title, it’s no surprise that this is one of the best writing podcasts for really burrowing into writers’ routines. There’s no one right way to do it, but we love hearing about how some of the greats have written their masterpieces!
This podcast’s host is Dan Simpson, author and poet-in-residence at Imperial College and St Albans Cathedral. He has also worked as a children’s TV presenter, and it often comes across in his style here, too! In the podcast, Simpson invites award-winning and bestselling guests to share as many details as they’re comfortable with on just how they get themselves writing: from their daily schedule to their desk décor to their favourite font.
You’ll be relieved (though probably not shocked) to hear that answers are not often repeated, and many of our most celebrated writers lead very haphazard writing lives!
This is a good place to start if you want to hear how writers do it – including Ruth Ware, Sarah Pearse, Ian Rankin, Piers Torday, Ken Follett and Joanne Harris.
If writing podcasts stuffed with wisdom and literary analysis are your bag, give Between the Covers a go. It’s created by the publisher and literary journal Tin House, and hosted by David Naimon, a beacon of literary wisdom. As a result, it has a stellar reputation and comes recommended by the Guardian, Book Riot, Financial Times and BuzzFeed for writers and readers alike.
The podcast is a powerful platform for diverse writers, and offers sharp and insightful conversation. Its episodes are long-form and in-depth (often over an hour), and include writers from all sorts of genres and backgrounds. We get to hear about their creative processes and inspirations.
Guests are by no means limited to novelists, ranging from poets to photographers, critics to philosophers and include Hélène Cixous, Hernan Diaz and Ayad Akhtar.
There’s also the mini-series to consider: Crafting with Ursula. In it, writers discuss their craft alongside Ursula Le Guin’s science fiction, inspiring conversations as broad as ‘Feminist Translation and Classical Retellings’ with Maria Dahvana, ‘Writing for Children’ with William Alexander, and ‘Ambiguous Utopias’ with Kim Stanley Robinson.
If you like the feeling of listening to an honest conversation between a group of friends, Writers, Ink might suit you. It’s hosted by three bestselling authors (J.D. Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon), with different guests invited each week to shed light on the publishing business – and romanticising is not its schtick.
Topics vary from questions of craft (‘Writing Thrilling Historical Fiction with Bestseller Wanda M. Morris’; ‘How to Build a Series with #1 NYT Bestseller Catherine Coulter’) to secrets of the industry (‘Ghostwriting Bestsellers with Alex Cody Foster’; ‘From Screen to Page with #1 NYT Bestseller Meg Gardiner’) to helping you see your writing through (‘Sticking with Your Process with International Bestseller Jeffrey Archer’; ‘Rethinking Productivity with Bestseller David Kadavy’).
Whatever stage you find yourself at, Writers, Ink can help you feel better about your unfinished manuscript or the panic that querying agents might ignite.
If you’ve ever had a submission rejected and feel you should give up on writing altogether, this interview podcast should be a curative balm. It’s hosted by Laura Shavin, a British actor and comedian, who interviews writers about all their work that’s been rejected, rewritten or abandoned. She even has actors read excerpts from these forgotten works, and their authors explain them!
There’s a real sense of comfort and camaraderie in knowing how many brilliant writers have had work consigned to the dustbin of literary history. And there’s plenty of insider knowledge and advice regarding novel writing and editing from authors like Lisa Jewell, Val McDermid, Caimh McDonnell, Francesca Simon, Chris Brookmyre and Mark Billingham.
Episodes are usually around 45 minutes, with some reaching the hour mark, giving you plenty of material to get lost in. Again, Shavin hasn’t released any new episodes this year, but there are 29 gems to listen back to.
Another great interview podcast for anyone wanting to hear demystified, unromanticised accounts of life as an author. It’s hosted by bestselling authors Gillian McAllister and Holly Seddon, and they welcome other writers to discuss their stories and details of how they write.
This is one of the best podcasts for writers curious about how writers become (and remain!) successful. Hear about the processes of published authors like Alex Michaelides, Clare Mackintosh, Lisa Jewell, Jill Mansell, and more.
Plus, if you have a particular question or qualm in mind, you can turn to themed episodes that delve into topics like redrafts, professional jealousy, finding time to write and mental health.
You can also get industry tips in episodes featuring literary agents or dissecting listeners’ pitches.
It really is one of the best podcasts if you’re looking for a good all-rounder! There are seventy episodes generally teetering around the hour mark so get stuck in.
Here we have one of the best podcasts full stop, not just one of the best podcasts for writers. How to Fail celebrates all the many, many things that go wrong, featuring weekly interviews with people we might typically consider successful talking about the many failures they’ve had along the way – and what they learned.
While guests come from all walks of life, they each impart lessons that all of us – and particularly writers – often need reminding of. Namely, that rejection and failure are a necessary part of success, and it’s important to keep going and take lessons where we can.
If you do want to hear specifically from successful writers, guests include Malorie Blackman, Nihal Arthanayake, Kit de Waal, Benjamin Zephania, Jacqueline Wilson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams.
This podcast covers all kinds of aspects of what it means to be a writer, as well as writing craft tips and industry insights. You can hear about writing with insomnia, or Femi Kayode’s advice for writing fast-paced thrillers. You could learn about how to write inclusively with Jen O’Ryan, or hear about how Colette Dartford went from traditional to indie publishing. You can enjoy a session with our writing coach and author Katie Khan, and our editors Tash Barsby and Lizzy Goudsmit Kay. It’s all covered in these lively hour-long episodes!
Podcasts celebrating diverse voices
One of the glorious things about podcasting is that it’s a relatively accessible form, creating opportunities for all kinds of people to tell all kinds of stories. It also gives people freedom to discuss the industry’s shortcomings when it comes to the stories it champions, the characters it foregrounds and often even its unrepresentative population.
That’s why some of our favourite podcasts for writers are dedicated to bringing much-needed diversity to the publishing world.
This podcast is sister to a popular PBS YouTube series of the same name. Sadly, it was conceived as a limited mini-series, running only to ten episodes. But host Princess Weekes – an assistant editor at The Mary Sue – has certainly delivered quality over quantity.
It’s Lit was born to counter the gatekeeping and perceived elitism that can block people from the joys of reading and writing. In-depth conversations ranging from half an hour to an hour offer a refreshingly new angle to literary discourse, and raise important questions. Topics include:
- Hope and rage in black literature with Mikki Kendall
- An exploration of how the fantasy genre can be modernised and diversified with Alix E. Harrow
- A conversation with V.E. Schwab about how comics, manga and other visually-led mediums have allowed people to see themselves in stories, and how they help people who have a harder time reading traditional books
- The importance of diverse young adult fiction with Mark Oshiro
- Queer romance in modern fiction with Freya Marske
- An exploration of whether the classics fail us (and particularly more marginalised communities) with Ibi Ziboi
Written Off is an inspirational podcast premised on the notion that the most unheard voices often have the most powerful things to say. It provides a platform for formerly incarcerated writers, capturing their experiences and writing talents.
It’s hosted by author Walter Thompson-Hernández, and each episode is bookended by a conversation with a formerly incarcerated writer discussing their work. In between their conversations, the text itself is brought to life by a cast of recognisable voices like Keke Palmer, Randall Park and John Legend.
This podcast is brimming with humanity, hope and vulnerability. While there’s no glossing over the pain, there’s a wondrous hopefulness in the power of words to heal and connect.
The title says it all, and this is doubtless one of the best podcasts for writers or readers who want to learn about queerness in literature.
This weekly podcast is hosted by Will Knauss and Jeff Adams, both of whom have made their own contributions to gay fiction. It features interviews with novelists like Rien Gray, Sera Taíno, Macy Blake, Charlie Cochet, Lev A.C. Rosen, Annabelle Greene, Merry Farmer and Cat Sebastian. They also offer reading lists, book club conversations, recommendations, and analysis of novels and other pop culture – all putting queerness centre stage. Episodes often revolve around theme or genre, so there’s plenty of specialised conversation to explore.
This essential podcast is hosted by publishing professional Jenn Baker, and takes the form of interviews with other publishing professionals and authors about the lack of diversity in the industry. It encourages listeners to pay close attention to the importance of what they read and write – and what they don’t.
Writing podcasts for sparking story ideas
If you’re passionate about writing but still casting around for a story you can really devote yourself to, podcasts can be a great starting point. There are all kinds of podcasts which feature real and imagined stories that could – at the least expected moment – set your brain whirring with ideas.
To get you started with some safe bets for weekly inspiration, here are a few great sources of story ideas.
So many modern stories find their roots in ancient myths – sometimes even unintentionally. What better place to start your quest for a gripping tale than with some of the first masters of storytelling?
The podcast is hosted by Liv Albert, an author who studied classical civilisations and English literature at university. Her knowledge and storytelling prowess are clear as she brings these ancient stories to life, making them accessible and exciting without skimping on detail and research.
While tackling complex texts and weighty issues (from feminism to queerness and even neurodivergence), the tone is casual and conversational, and episodes often feature other mythology experts. For a new lens on old stories, this is a brilliant podcast. Episodes vary from 15 minutes to over an hour, and some topics and tales span multiple episodes, so whatever mood you’re in and however much time you have, you can get your Classics fix.
If you want to branch out from the ancients for a while, Lore is another great alternative to writing prompts for new writers (or indeed those looking for their next book idea) on their quest for inspiration.
In this podcast, host and author Aaron Mankhe tells tales from folklore old and new, real and imagined, occasionally accompanied by sombre piano notes. So powerful is Mankhe’s storytelling that the podcast was turned into a haunting television series by the executive producer of The Walking Dead.
Many of the stories Mankhe tells are at least based on reality, exposing the darker side of history and our eternal impulse to make sense of horror through narrative frameworks. Brace yourself, because this podcast does not shy away from the dark and disturbing. Episodes explore terrifying figures like Transylvania’s prolific serial killer and torturer Elizabeth Bathory, whose penchant for virgins’ blood inspired many vampiric tales – including Dracula. If it was good enough for Stoker, who knows what engrossing stories it might inspire for you...
Want some inspiration more firmly grounded in reality? Longform can give you a good weekly dose, with each episode bringing a non-fiction writer to chat in-depth about the story behind their stories.
This isn’t just a chance to hear about astounding events from around the world (although that would be reason enough to delve into this podcast). Hosts Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky and Evan Ratcliff foster deep conversations and incite discussions of everything from craft and technique to ethics in storytelling, and what ‘telling the truth’ means in our modern world.
The podcast has been running for around a decade and amassed nearly 600 episodes, each lasting about an hour. More than enough to keep you busy when you’re taking a sort of break from writing.
Podcasts to refine your skills, techniques and editing
Once you’ve found your creative inspiration and have a story you’re excited about, you’ll want to make sure you do it justice. That might be when you turn to some of the very best writing podcasts that emulate a sort of writing class, and give you tips for better writing and editing. Here are some of our picks!
No roundup of the best writing podcasts would be complete without a mention of Mignon Fogarty’s bite-sized writing tips! In episodes of around 15 minutes, Fogarty (a.k.a Grammar Girl) tackles questions from the very grammatical and seemingly straightforward (nouns that are always plural, flat adverbs, subjunctives and split infinitives, for example), to the complex and layered (code-switching, gendered language and the subconscious rules of conversation), as well as more craft-focused themes like mood and atmosphere in fiction. Some episodes are longer, spanning to half an hour, and invite expert guests.
If you’re looking to sharpen your mastery of the English language, look no further than Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips! You’ll become a pro at grammar, punctuation, style, and even the business of publishing.
Much like the publishing industry itself, university writing courses can be prohibitive and intimidating. But Gabriela Pereira is on a mission to make masterclasses and conversations with authors and industry experts accessible to anyone who has an internet connection with DIY MFA Radio. It follows the format of a traditional MFA speaker series, with each episode serving as its own little writing class.
Many episodes centre around particular themes or audience age (e.g. ‘How to Let Your Characters and World Building Flow in YA Fantasy’; ‘Secrets, Quirks, and Hidden Motivations in Thrillers’), and others offer more general guidance on topics like ‘Setting the Tone for Your Novel Through Voice, Mood, and Point of View’.
Another of the best writing podcasts on craft and technique, Writing Excuses is fast-paced and weekly, giving you frequent bursts of friendly advice in episodes varying from 15–25 minutes in length.
Testament to its popularity is its lifespan of 17 seasons, due in large part to the group of dynamic and engaging writers who have served as the podcast’s hosts. Together, they represent a huge range of interests and genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Topics span from representations of disability to story structure to discussions of genre.
Want to see some real-life editing in action? Listen as professional editor Leslie Watts critiques and edits five pages of fiction from writers who are, or hope to be, published soon. You’re sure to hear pointers that shed light on your own writing, too!
Sadly, there have been no new episodes since 2019, but there are 137 for you to listen back on.
Another firm fixture in round-ups of the best writing podcasts is The Creative Writers Toolbelt. It’s full of practical advice, with each episode zeroing in on a particular creative writing technique, and plenty of examples to bring it all to life.
If you love interview-based podcasts, they’ve got you covered with occasional guest writers and artists who share their insights on everything from story and style to character development and the writing process. There’s also plenty of insider knowledge on the publishing industry from agents and other professionals!
This podcast is filled with great tips on key aspects of novel writing. While hosts Lauren North (author of The Perfect Betrayal [published asThe Perfect Son in the USA], One Step Behind and Safe At Home) and our writing coach Lesley Kara (author of The Rumour, Who Did You Tell and The Dare) look through the lens of crime fiction, lots of the advice is invaluable across genres.
Topics span from specific writing techniques (like creating great characters) to the writing process (like conducting research), to navigating the industry (like choosing pen names). Plus, they spotlight indie authors, making this a powerful platform and community, as well as an excellent resource for finding your next crime fiction fix!
On being published, self-publishing and the book market
Finished tidying up your manuscript? Or trying to find tips and publishing trends before you even put pen to paper? Either way, some of the best writing podcasts are chocka with insider secrets and expert advice on every corner of the publishing industry. Here are a few to get you started.
Another firm favourite in the world of book publishing podcasts, The Creative Penn Podcast is all about providing information, inspiration and interviews on all aspects of the writing life, particularly the professional aspects like self-publishing, book marketing and how to make a living from your art.
It’s another podcast that’s stood the test of time, with creator Joanna Penn racking up over 650 episodes since 2009. And it remains on the cutting edge, featuring debates around topical subjects like the arrival of NFTs in the literary world, and self-publishing on LaunchPad. It’s a great resource for the freelance writer or newbie, but also for experienced authors who want to stay on top of the rapidly changing writing business.
This is a great podcast for craft and productivity tips, too, but it is brimming with advice on book marketing and the murky business side of writing, with episodes like ‘Publishing’s Secret Side-Door’, ‘How to Work with Small Presses and Literary Magazines’, ‘Who Will Read My Book? Know Your Market’, ‘When Your Agent Doesn’t Like Your Idea as Much as You Do’, ‘How to Be on Bookstagram’ and ‘Does Your Author Website Answer the Right Questions?’
Episodes are weekly, last between half an hour and an hour, and there are 350 – so you can definitely start brushing up on how to make your art profitable!
This is a brilliant podcast hosted by two equally brilliant women, Zoraida Cordova and Dhonielle Clayton. The two authors live in New York and have 40 books published or under contract between them – rest assured that they’re pretty clued up on the industry.
In fortnightly episodes, they share advice and experiences on topics like book marketing, TikTok, burnout, professional jealousy and pen names, answering all your questions on what it’s like to be a published author. They also invite guests on frequently, to offer another perspective on the world of books.
If you’re keen to stay abreast of publishing trends and news, this weekly chat show is a strong bet. From book recommendations to sales figures, publishing house mergers to internet sensations, these guys are on top of it.
Another great writing podcast helping writers navigate the industry, this is a perennial favourite among the writers in our community and frequently mentioned on our online platform for members of The Novelry. The podcast brings together ‘authors, agents, editors and just about anyone and everyone who’s involved in bringing a book to market’, so you’ll get a great range of perspectives and peek into every corner of the industry.
A particularly helpful segment is entitled Books with Hooks, and sees literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency read and critique query letters and the accompanying opening pages of manuscripts. Much like with The Writership Podcast, this very specific guidance often has a much broader application – you’ll doubtless pick up on lots of tips that will help you perfect your own submissions package.
Don’t let listening keep you from writing!
Those are just a few of our favorites to get you started. Of course, there are so many brilliant podcasts about writing – and countless more about books and stories – so there’s no way we could gather them all in one article! But we hope these stir up your inspiration, fire your motivation and sustain your commitment to your story.
Above all, don’t let them become permissible procrastination. Podcasts are great for your downtime, but the key takeaway from all of these is simple. The one thing all writers have in common is that they write.