A little while ago I mentioned the notion of beginning a podcast, and I’m really delighted and excited to announce that my friend Chris Bean and I will be launching the official SFF Chronicles Podcast in early 2022.
The creative industries are hellishly competitive, and especially so in publishing, where the artistic merit of a book is sometimes only arbitrarily correlated to its commercial potential. At least, that’s in the eyes of publishers, who are (understandably) yoked to a ruthless commercial market. This does mean that small and first-time authors are finding it increasingly difficult to engage in the publishing industry. I was incredibly lucky to get a novel published in 2018, but even then it was with a small press who had almost zero budget for marketing purposes, and since then things have been very difficult. Despite that I’ve continued to be creative, and in my eyes a podcast is an extension of that.
The thought of doing a podcast came after thinking about what authors can do that’s within their control. It’s not always obvious, but one thing I learned from a colleague who’s been through a hell of a lot of bad times is that even when you think things are against you, you have to be serious about identifying the things in your control, and focus on how to exploit them. I’ve been a member of the SFF Chronicles community for around 7 years now, and it surprised me that nobody thought of doing this before, but there we are. It’s the world’s largest SFF community (though has a significant horror fanbase) with 20,000 members from all across the globe, and while it has at its heart books and writing, it covers all media, from TV shows to photography and artwork. There are several jobbing writers who are active on the site, and several heavyweight writers have been found lurking there over the years, including Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Kerry Buchanan, Stephen Palmer, Jo Zebedee, Bryan Wigmore, Teresa Edgerton, Neal Asher, and others. The best podcasts are able to spend a considerable time talking about interesting things in good faith, and I hope to be able to do that – or at least capture the spirit of that – with the SFF Chronicles Podcast
All this means that doing a podcast to cater for this ready-made audience makes perfect sense to me. I’ve wanted to do a podcast for a while, and I really wanted to do one with Chris. He’s a fantastic writer, primarily of horror, and is a deep thinker about the craft and creativity of writing. He’s also uproariously funny and will bring his orderly pedagogic skills from his time as a dance teacher with RAD and others.
At present we’re drawing up a longlist of topics to cover, and will be opening a survey at SFF Chrons to gauge how popular they are. We will then book in our guests, and if all goes well we hope to launch the first episode in January 2022, and monthly thereafter for a first season of 12 episodes, and we’ll be able to see how things go after that. We see each episode as featuring a guest to talk about a particular book and do a deepish dive into that particular book, but also spend some time talking about the industrial and commercial aspects of writing and publishing so as to find a balance between the artistic and the commercial practices. We’ll try to split the episodes evenly between fantasy, SF, and horror, as well as industrial and commercial matters.
In the meantime, if you’re an SSF (and H) fan and would like to become a member of the world’s largest community for that particular slice of subculture, you could do a lot worse than to head over to Chrons. It’s one of the most vibrant and diverse communities active in this area, and is an unfailingly pleasant place to be. Membership is free, but a Supporter membership with a few extra perks costs just £15/year.
I’ll post more details as they come about, but both Chris and I are really looking forward to trying to dig into the books we love with some very cool guests, and bring together a great community in a different way.