An author’s guide: Pitch yourself to a podcast

I love podcasts. I love creating them (as co-host of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast) and I love appearing on them as an author.

Podcasting feels more intimate than radio and allows for longer form discussions of your book, your writing process and the world in general.

The other thing I love about podcasts about books and writing is that they are often created by writers, so the discussion will go deeper than the general run-of-the-mill radio, TV or print interview, where you’re often shoe-horned into a five-minute chat with someone who hasn’t read your book.

So, in many ways, a podcast interview is a holy grail for any writer. How, then, do you get yourself a coveted spot?

Understanding how best to pitch a podcast comes down to understanding three things:

  1. The flavour and philosophy of the podcast
  2. The audience of the podcast
  3. Where you and your book might fit into the first two things

To this end, the most important thing you can do before even thinking about pitching is to listen to the podcast you’re targeting. Don’t assume that all ‘writing’ podcasts are the same – instead, listen to several to find out where you and your book might best fit.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about your pitch.

To help you understand the different requirements that different podcasts might have, I asked the hosts of three of Australia’s favourite podcasts about books and writing for their insider insights.

Valerie Khoo: Host of ‘So You Want To Be A Writer'

With more than 2.6 million downloads and an author interview every week, So You Want To Be A Writer is the hottest of hot seats for Australian writers. Hosted by Valerie Khoo, CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, the podcast aims to share everything you’ve always wanted to know about succeeding in the world of writing and publishing. Find out more here.

How many pitches do you receive a week?
“To be honest, countless! Too many to count so I don't think I can give you an actual number.”

What makes you say yes to a pitch from an author?
“Three key things stand out. First, where the book itself is an interesting or original story or premise. Second, when the author has had an interesting journey to publication. Obviously, the primary audience of ‘So You Want to Be A Writer' is writers and they are often interested in the steps an author took to get a book deal, so when an author outlines this in their pitch, this helps in my decision making as to whether it would be an interesting story to share with my audience. Third, the author can share their writing process with clarity so that listeners can learn from this.

“I think it's also important to mention what makes a pitch not so appealing to me. Some authors pitch ideas about what they could discuss on the podcast – but the pitch is so long and rambling that I can barely make sense of it. If I read your pitch five times and still don't really understand it, that's not a good sign.”

What do you think is the biggest mistake new authors make when pitching a podcast?
“The biggest mistake is not including essential information, like the release date of the book, who it's published by (or if it's indie published), the target age (which is especially relevant for any children's or young adult books) and so on. And, yes, I have even been sent pitches where the name of the book is not even mentioned!”

Takeaway: Be concise, understand the audience, and include the essentials.

Dani Vee, Host of ‘Words and Nerds'

The ‘Words and Nerds' podcast has published more than 500 episodes and boasts 52,000 listeners every month. With a conversational style, the podcast looks at the social and political influences of a writer’s work as well as an in-depth analysis of the book. Hosted by author and acquisitions editor Dani Vee, the podcast also features guest co-hosts, take-over episodes and spin off series. Find out more here.

How many pitches do you receive a week?
“Words and Nerds receives maybe 10-15 pitches a week via emails and a few via the website. This does not include the books that are sent to me by publishers, which is possibly 20 a week. The spin off podcasts also receive their own requests, but this is managed by the hosts.”

What makes you say yes to a pitch from an author?
“Usually three things! 1. Relationships! If I have a relationship with the author or publishing company, and I want to extend our last conversation and see how their writing has evolved.

“2. If the book suits the podcast’s brand – it’s not always clear, but I do favour crime, kid lit, a good comedy or rom com, something that makes me think, or is about inclusivity or mental health – topics close to my heart.

“3. If I see a book or an author and I’m really excited about how well it’s doing or the author’s journey. It’s about what’s exciting to me as well as what I think listeners will be interested in.”

What do you think is the biggest mistake new authors make when pitching a podcast?
“When authors or publishers pitch without having knowledge of the podcast, its history or hosts. If people haven’t bothered to take the time to listen to an episode or look at socials, it’ll be hard to get over the line.

“I take much more notice of a pitch if the author or publisher refers to past episodes and shows a deep knowledge of the podcast and its philosophy. A little research goes a long way!”

Takeaway: Research, relationships, and relevance to the podcast brand

Joanne Morrell, Host of ‘The Hybrid Author'

‘The Hybrid Author' has weekly episodes with industry professionals on all aspects of forging a career as a hybrid author, and both independently and traditionally publishing your books. The podcast is hosted by Joanne Morrell, an author, writer and podcaster. Find out more here.

How many pitches do you receive a week?
“I generally only receive around 6-10 pitches per month rather than per week. Most of these come from publicity people or podcast booking agents, and on occasion the odd author pitches me directly.”

What makes you say yes to a pitch from an author?
“Because I don't get that many pitches from authors directly, in the past I have generally said yes to commend their efforts ­– of course what they are pitching has to resonate with me and provide value to my audience.

“I'm not interested in directly talking about an author's book but more so about the how, who, what, where, when and why they have written a work, writerly/authorly advice and underlying messages they want to share, what they've learnt, and what they want other authors/individuals to know.”

What do you think is the biggest mistake new authors make when pitching a podcast?
“For the broader podcast community, I'd say not doing their research of what the various content each podcast shares but simply bulk pitching. For my podcast specifically, talking about their book.

“If authors can determine themes or a broader meaning of their work to chat about other than what happens in their story and how they published it, I'm interested.

“Be different. I don't want to have the same conversation on a topic twice unless an author can provide a different perspective or spin on things.

“Being friendly and polite goes a long way (with me anyway). I've had pitches where a person hasn't even said hello, or simply sent me their book with no conversation.

“For me, it comes down to what value will an author add to my podcast from the value I give back to them by having them on and promoting their work.”

Takeaway: Value to the audience, think of a new angle, and don’t bulk pitch

Author bio
Author Allison Tait smilingAllison Tait is the author of three epic middle-grade adventure series for kids: The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. A presenter at AWC and former co-host of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, Al’s new middle-grade novel The First Summer of Callie McGee is out now. Find out more about her at

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