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Author, Author: Video Podcasts Put Writers in the Spotlight

by John Moore on March 6, 2013

author podcast

Author Julianne Moore on PBS' Reading Rockets

For several years now, the podcast has been a popular form of syndicated media content on the web. While audio podcasts remain the most familiar format, video podcasts are gaining traction.

Think of a video podcast as an episodic web TV series that you can subscribe to. You can also download video podcasts, watch them on a mobile device, and share them with others. Like audio podcasts, they’re free and cover a wide range of subjects. They also serve as a great promotional tool, so much so that even authors — not generally regarded as the most camera-friendly subjects — use video podcasts as a way to draw attention to their work.

WHERE TO FIND VIDEO AUTHOR PODCASTS

Several sites offer author podcasts. In many cases, you can subscribe to the site’s YouTube channel to make sure you get delivery of the latest video author podcasts.

The Barnes & Noble Studio includes a video authors podcast series of Meet the Writers interviews. You’ll find the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), Anthony Bourdain (Medium Raw), and Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses) discussing their latest works.

Google’s AtGoogleTalks program features artists, politicians, and business leaders discussing their work and ideas with the company’s employees. The program includes the Authors@Google series, and there’s a treasure trove of videos on the AtGoogle Talks YouTube channel in which authors read from and discuss their work. Unfortunately, the author series doesn’t have it’s own playlist, though a video search for “Authors@Google” will deliver all of the relevant content. You’ll find a diverse group of writers, including literary giants such as Paul Auster and Richard Price; nonfiction masters Christopher Hitchens and Michael Lewis; and science writers Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Gleick.

Publishing companies use author podcasts as a way to promote their roster of writers. Penguin Group USA, one of the world’s leading publishers, features author interviews as well as book trailers. Subscribe to Penguin’s YouTube channel to make sure you get the latest videos.

The Harvard University Press offers videos of author interviews dating back to 2008, the most recent of which features novelist Gish Jen discussing her forthcoming literary memoir, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self.

Education and young adult literature publisher Scholastic features a library of author interviews on its website, including Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Maya Angelou. Designed as a resource tool for teachers, the interviews feature the authors answering questions about how they got started, where their ideas come from, and advice for young aspiring writers.

Also on the education front, Reading Rockets, the PBS-created literacy initiative, delivers a video podcast series called Meet the Authors, a collection of interviews with top children’s book authors and illustrators, including R.L. Stine, Nikki Giovanni, and Julianne Moore. The authors discuss their work, their process, and how to encourage and inspire young readers and writers.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD AUTHOR VIDEO PODCASTS

It’s easy to save videos of author podcasts and watch them or listen to them later with RealPlayer. If you don’t already have RealPlayer, you can download it free by clicking the orange button in the top right corner of this page. Once you have the app installed on your computer, simply watch an author video podcast and then mouse over the top right corner of the video screen. You will see an option to “Download This Video.” Click that button and the preview will download to your RealPlayer library. Then watch the author podcasts at your leisure or transfer them to your smartphone and watch them on-the-go using the free RealPlayer Android app.

Who is your favorite author? What would you like to see them cover during a podcast? Have you watched video author podcasts? Let us know which ones in the comments below.

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