• Podcast Librarian

Launch: How does a book get made?

The Premise (Apple Podcasts): 

Three out of five people dream of writing a book. Maybe you’re one of them. But what does it take to go from dream to launch? Screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) sought to find out as he tackled something he’d only ever dreamed of: writing a novel.


Series or standalone:

Series in 8 parts


Begin listening to:

Listen from the first episode, and binge them all!


Format:

Audio diary


Host(s): 

John August, screenwriter 


Sound/production quality: 

Very good


Rating/age suitability: 

Geared towards adults, most likely, but appropriate for writers of any age who want to learn how a book gets published 


Approximate length of episodes: 

About 50 minutes each


Curricular ties: 

This could absolutely work in a creative writing setting or just to recommend to your students who want to get published some day. If your school library has the Arlo Finch series, then this is a great way for kids to get more insight into how the book was published.


Similar recommended pods: 

To my knowledge, there hasn't been another podcast like this one. A more recent pod, Hot & Bothered, tracks the host and her friends writing romance novels, but that has a different feel. It does remind me of Startup in that the action happens in real time and is mostly recorded through an audio diary.


The Podcast Librarian’s Review:

This is a fascinating mini-serial pod that didn’t get enough attention, in my opinion. It’s an engaging narrative, and anyone who has ever wondered about getting published will find value from Launch (including tween/teen aspiring authors)! The narrator/subject of the podcast is John August, whose name you may recognize as a movie screenwriter. One stormy night in a hotel room, he comes up with the idea for a story about a character named Arlo Finch. The rest of the series follows him as he writes, finds a publisher, and assists with all the minute and significant decisions that go into publishing a first novel. In episode 4, he visits the factory where his book is being printed and bound. It reminded me of Mr. Rogers—remember the factory visits on Picture Picture? Subsequent episodes cover the actual launch and his first author tour. I don’t know that any other podcast details the process of getting published so thoroughly, which makes this a special listening experience. I listened in real-time, which made it even more exciting because there was always the possibility that something could go unexpectedly wrong...or fortuitously right. In sum, this is one of the most fascinating serial podcasts I’ve heard, and I recommend it for both kids and adults. By the way, I’ve read Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, and it was a fun read—sort of Percy Jackson-esque. Another aside: if you’re interested in a screenwriting podcast, John co-hosts Scriptnotes Podcast, a well-established podcast with over 400 episodes!




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