Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and it’s time we all started paying attention to them, as publishers and authors. In this first interview in a series called Talking Podcasts, Abbie Headon interviews Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards about The Riff Raff podcast, which focuses on debut authors.
1) Where did the idea for The Riff Raff podcast spring from?
Rosy: It was a natural extension of what we were already doing. We were enjoying fascinating conversations with a real variety of debut authors, eliciting their advice and insight on everything from how to create a narrative to how to get an agent; we thought a podcast was an interesting way of exploring these topics in more depth.
Amy: It seemed completely unfair to keep all this great advice to ourselves! Every author we meet has a unique insight that could be just the snippet of wisdom someone needs to hear. We set up The Riff Raff to help and inspire as many people as possible – we want the podcast to help us to widen that reach.
2) How does it fit into your wider activities?
R: Currently, our monthly events are at the heart of The Riff Raff but the podcast gives our followers a chance to get to know our authors so much better. If you connect with what they are saying on the podcast, there’s a great chance you’ll be keen to meet them in person and buy their book so it helps our authors, too.
A: It also allows us to go into more detail about the books and about the author’s processes and journey. This useful information is what aspiring writers want and need to hear – we want our listeners to be entertained of course, but we also want to provide the industry insights and writing tips that those slaving away on their first book need to hear.
3) Who do you see as the main audience for your podcast – and when and where do they listen?
R: Writers tend to operate in two modes: flat out and super focused, or a bit floaty and prone to procrastination! That’s where our podcast comes in; it’s for all writers, whether they are newly published, industry veterans or starting out, for those days when the words won’t come and you feel alone and think that no one else can possibly be going through the same thing.
A: Book lovers too! Basically, anyone who wants to learn more about the books that they’re reading and about the author’s experience of writing them.
R: The authors we interview are always incredibly candid and insightful. You can listen at any time but especially when you’re feeling a little lacklustre about your writing. Have a listen, and by the time it’s done you’ll feel newly motivated and ready to take on that next chapter.
4) Why is podcasting the best medium for you to achieve your goals?
A: I think when you want to write, you read authors’ work and their profiles and you end up thinking of them as higher beings because they’ve achieved what you so desperately crave. A podcast is the perfect relaxed space for talking honestly about the realities of being an author, which hopefully then shows our listeners that those who’ve been published still have the same insecurities and obstacles to climb. Hearing people you admire being so frank about their experiences makes you realise that you’ve got what it takes too.
R: It’s so important to us that our community is warm and accessible and that our podcast is like listening to your mates chatting, laughing and answering the question you were about to ask. Plus, there’s nothing like hearing human voices to make you feel less alone.
5) What are your future plans for The Riff Raff?
R: How long do you have?
A: Big plans! You should see our to-do lists – they’re sizeable!
R: We’ve had such an incredible response – every day seems to bring a new opportunity, which is super exciting.
A: We obviously want to do everything at once, but at the moment our focus is very much on promoting the work of debut authors via our events and with our podcast. We also want to grow our community with the help of useful and entertaining content that’s relevant to all writers, whether just starting out, or with a book or two under their belts.
6) What’s your advice to anyone who’s thinking of starting their own podcast?
A: Learn as you go! You’ll figure it out. We hit the ground running because we managed to land interviews with Kit de Waal and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan so one minute we were talking about doing it, the next we were like, ‘okay we’re actually doing it’.
R: Be open to learning something every time you record and you’ll eventually master it. Also – buy a decent microphone, find the smallest room you can, script your intros and be yourselves.
About The Riff Raff
At each Riff Raff event we welcome five debut authors who introduce themselves and their books before reading an extract or two to an audience of book lovers and aspiring writers. The next Riff Raff event is taking place on August 10th at the Effra Social in Brixton – tickets are available at Eventbrite. The line-up so far includes Ali Land (Good Me, Bad Me), Olivia Sudjic (Sympathy), Emily Morris (My Shitty Twenties) and Charlotte Bowyer (His Frozen Fingertips). You can follow the Riff Raff on Twitter and Instagram or by visiting their website.
Amy Baker is the author of Miss-Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America, and a freelance writer, writing travel and lifestyle content for a range of publications.
Rosy Edwards is the author of Confessions of a Tinderella, and a freelance journalist lifestyle writing for print and online publications.