Blog Tour Stop: Children’s Literary Podcasting Loves a Winner
On April 19th of this past year I hosted a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL called Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs. Unlike a lot of my Salons, this one was actually recorded and turned into a podcast here. Why am I telling you all this? Because that podcaster, one Matthew Winner, has just hit a very important milestone. As of November 21st the Let’s Get Busy podcast celebrated its 100th episode. To celebrate this momentous event, Matthew organized a Blog+Pod tour. And lo and behold, I’m on the schedule.
Now if you don’t listen to children’s literature podcasts but have been vaguely interested in starting, I can’t recommend Matthew’s enough. But that’s enough from me. Let’s hear from the man himself.
Betsy: Great to have you hear Matthew! Let’s start with an easy question. Why don’t we delve deep into the nature of podcasting itself?
Matthew: Sounds great! You know, podcasting has gone through much of the same trend the blogging did in the early days of the internet. It’s so easy to do and requires so little prep that it seems like hundreds of new podcasts are popping up every week. And that’s such a good thing, because it means that people are sharing their voices and their unique perspectives on a myriad of topics.
Betsy: So what’s the advantage of being a podcaster?
Matthew: The biggest draw for me as a podcaster is getting to interact with my content in this authentic and meaningful way that an interview format allows. I love being able to ask whatever question comes to mind in the context of our conversation, but I also love hearing guests work through their responses. There’s always a prized moment where an unexpected insight is shared that just rocks me to the core. Those are the moments I live for and it’s the quality that I think keeps people listening. Also, podcasting is a bit less time-consuming for me. Most of the time spent with Let’s Get Busy is on setting up the interviews, confirming that the guest’s technology works, and prepping the episode for publication. I still write reviews, post lesson ideas, and share insights on advocacy and ed trends through my Busy Librarian blog, but it’s really nice to have an outlet where I can interact with a human being, make a connection over great literature or art, and then share that conversation with others.
Betsy: And what’s changed since you began?
Matthew: I’m now receiving interview requests pretty frequently from publishers and publicists organizing blog tours and looking to promote their big releases. I don’t say yes to every request, but when I do I always love being a part of the book’s send-off. Whether it’s the author’s debut into publishing, their first work for a particular age range, or it’s just a great book that is receiving some extra publicity, it’s a huge honor to be a part of the celebration. But most of my guests come through recommendations from previous guests. This might be the quality I feel like is working best of all for the podcast. We’ve built a family through the podcast guests of friends, colleagues, mentors, and man-would-I-love-to-hear-you-speak-with-NAME-about-TOPIC. It’s a really wonderful thing. Oh! And the other thing that’s changed is that I’ve started to find more kidlit podcasters! When we met at the NYPL Literary Salon the only other podcasters doing something similar to Let’s Get Busy that I was aware of were Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and The Kids Comics Revolution (Dave Roman and Jerzy Drozd). Now I’ve made pals with Gregg Schigiel of the Stuff Said comics podcast, Nick Patton of the Picturebooking Podcast, and a handful of really cool people on Twitter who have plans to start podcasting soon. I feel like collectively we’re all helping to give a greater voice to children’s publishing.
Betsy: Have you gotten any feedback from the public that’s surprised you?
Matthew: I keep a digital folder of all of the nice things people have said about the podcast via email, Facebook, or Twitter. (I know, I know… I’m such a teacher. You do know we all keep “smile” folders with these kids of notes from kids, parents, and administration, right?!) It helps me to know that people are listening and that the podcast is becoming for them something bigger than I ever expected. I even share a couple of them through my “Nice Things Said” tab on the podcast homepage (http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.
But the comment that surprised me most and still gives me chills today was from Dan Santat, author of Sidekicks, Beekle, and illustrator of half of your favorite picture books). He visited Julie Danielson’s Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog and had the following to say about Let’s Get Busy:
“I’ve recently become addicted to Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast, where he interviews authors and illustrators in children’s publishing. Everyone should check that podcast out. It feels like I’m hanging out with all my friends. I think in about a year, when everyone catches on, it will be one of the most important media sites in the children’s publishing field.”
My interview with Dan was a really special one and I point people back to it all the time just to hear Dan himself tell the story of Beekle. It makes me a little weepy just thinking about it now. I admire him for his deep sincerity in not just what he writes, but also for who he is. He’s top notch in my book and knowing that there are people like him out there that believe in me and the future of this podcast the way he does is a truth I hold very near and dear.
Matthew: Podcasting is such an easy way to consume media. We’re already seeing a decline in network television and an increase in digital content streaming and on-demand media. In that way I think that much of our content is going to start trending toward formats like podcasting because of the ease of reaching a wide audience and the flexibility in how the content can be presented.
Betsy: And if you could add one cool feature, what would it be?
Matthew: I may have talked about this on the podcast before, but if I could add one feature to the podcast it would be to have a digital shop for all of the past and upcoming guests to share their books, their art, and their talent. A number of illustrators are on Etsy or similar sites. Some sell through their own host sites. But as a huge fanboy of kidlit I feel like we don’t have a central location to access all of this good stuff. A place for me to pick up a tee of Dan Santat’s Beekle alongside a print of Molly Idle’s Flora partner skating with a penguin and an amazing handmade fairtrade Little Lost Owl based on Chris Haughton’s gorgeous books. I feel like what we need is to see more of our favorite books and characters on the walls of our rooms, schools, and libraries and on the totes, tees, and rub-on-tattoos of every card-carrying kidlit fan out there. That would be amazing.
Well big time thanks to Matthew for stopping on by. I think this post may be the most useful encapsulation of the state of contemporary children’s literature podcasting today, thanks in large part to Matthew’s knowledge about the field. Now be sure to check out the rest of the Let’s Get Busy Podcast blog tour:
Wed. Nov. 19 – Picturebooking Podcast
Sat. Nov. 22 – The Library Fanatic
Sun. Nov. 23 – Laurie Ann Thompson
Mon. Nov. 24 – 100 Scope Notes
Wed. Nov. 26 – Writer Side Up
Thu. Nov. 27 – Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Fri. Nov. 28 – Brain Burps About Books
Sat. Nov. 29 – LGBPodcast via Aimee Winner
Mon. Dec. 1 – Here!
Tue. Dec 2. – LGBPodcast via Carter Higgins
Wed. Dec. 3 – GreenRow Books
Let’s Get Busy podcast – http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.
The Busy Librarian blog – http://www.busylibrarian.com
LIKE the Busy Librarian on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/
Follow Matthew on Twitter – @MatthewWinner
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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