Welcome to SPOTLIGHT! Each Tuesday I’ll be posting a quick interview with an awesome person you need to know. This week, to start the series off, my friend Preston Leigh kindly gave his time to answer some questions.
1. For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
First off, thank you for having me on, Alan.
I am Preston Leigh and I run the indie blog called The Leighgendarium. I also host 2 podcasts: 30-Minute Author Interviews and 10 Questions With. . .
The Leighgendarium came about because of indie author Kevin G Summers. I had been a fan of the indie community for about a year and a half, and I started collecting signed books from the authors and sharing my Amazon reviews on Facebook. He told me that I should start a blog. The Leighgendarium launched on July 8, 2015 and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. The blog started to get a following and, about two months in, I started working with Rob from ThirdScribe to create a more user-friendly site. Then about five months after I launched the blog, I started looking for a review team because my reading time was starting to go down. Eleven months after I first launched the blog, I launched a podcast, 30-Minute Author Interviews.
30 Minute Author Interviews was born out of a written interview I had conducted with authors. I found myself wanting to learn more and ask follow up questions, but the written interview was only ten questions and I asked the same 10 questions every week. I then decided that I would start a podcast so I could learn more about the authors.
The goal with 30-Minute Author Interviews is to help listeners get to know their favorite author a little better and to help them discover their next favorite author.
10 Questions With. . . is a podcast created just for my Patreon supporters. Fans of the blog really liked the 10 Questions written interview, so I decided to turn it into a podcast just for them. Every week we take the guest from 30-Minute Author Interviews, and we ask them ten more questions to learn even more about them. Some of the questions we ask in 10 Questions With. . . are:
What is your writing Kryptonite?
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author and how did you use it?
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few readers will find?
If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?
The goal with The Leighgendarium is to shine a light on indie publishing. I am looking at launching a few more ideas on the blog that will help shine more of a light on the indie community.
2. What inspires you from day to day?
Oh man, it can be anything really. Sometimes it can be a fan of the blog or podcast sending me a note. Hearing back from someone who listened to a podcast and enjoyed it. I recently had someone tell me their cheeks hurt after listening to the Michael Bunker & Forbes West episode. That was so fun to hear.
I can be inspired by book covers. Artwork shared online. My two dogs. My wife. Not always in that order, of course!
I even get inspired when listening to other podcasts. You can learn a lot from other people in your field. There are some things that other podcasters say or do online, and I know that is something not to do. Or they might do something that I truly enjoy and it makes me think about my own podcasts and how I can make mine better.
I also have some people I can go to and ask any question I might have about my blog or podcasts and they will give me the truth, no matter how brutal it might be.
3. Why do you do what you do?
The main point of my blog and podcast is to shine a light on indie publishing, that is the main goal with those two. As I mentioned, I am working on some new material for The Leighgendarium that will shine a brighter light. I want people to feel like they need to come and visit the site weekly or a couple times a week.
If I can, I would like to talk about the way I go about my podcasts. I know there are a lot of other author interview podcasts out there. A lot of the ones I listen to are authors hosting the podcast talking to other authors. So they like to talk about the writing process and other things like that. They are great shows and I do find them interesting to listen to. I think what makes my podcast stand out is that I am a fan interviewing authors. So I don’t necessarily want to learn about the writing process, I want to get to know my favorite author more as an individual. I also want to discover a new favorite author. That is how I approach the two podcasts that I host.
4. Can you describe your process for us?
I wish I had a very cool and crazy process but it isn’t too crazy. I will tell you my process for the podcasts.
The point of the podcasts is to learn more about your favorite author and to help you discover a new favorite. When it comes to booking the guests, I book authors that I like and follow, authors that get recommended to me by listeners, or authors that contact me.
About a month or so before their episode releases, I contact them and we set up a good time for us to record. I record all my interviews with Skype. There is a free program, MP3 Skype Recorder, I use that records the Skype conversation, audio only. Then I use Audacity to edit the audio. I try to keep the podcast sounding as conversational as I can so I do not do a ton of editing. I mainly take out any awkward silences or excessive umms. Once I finish that, I put it into a template that I use for each episode and create the MP3 file. Next I listen to the episode to make sure it sounds ok. Then use TunesToTube to upload the podcast to YouTube. Then I create the post for the blog.
When all is said and done, a 30-45 minute episode probably takes, not including the time I record, a few hours to create.
5. How has that process changed over the years?
I have been doing the podcast for about 9 months. There have been a few tricks I have learned to help make the editing process easier, but my process hasn’t changed much. I do have some new intro/outro music for the episode. I have tried a few different questions in the leighgendary ending but they didn’t work. I just try to create a podcast that is fun for the author to come on. If the author is having fun and I’m having fun, that should make it fun for the listener.
Besides my music, the one thing that I have really changed is the image I used to promote the podcast. The first image I created was a teal background with the name of the podcast, episode number, author name, and author photo. One thing I didn’t think about was that people judge a book by its cover. If you don’t know an author and all I am showing you is their face, you probably won’t come and listen to the episode. But if I added book covers to the image, then I might grab your attention. You might say, “I don’t know who this author is but that book looks amazing. Think I’ll give it a listen.”
So, with that in mind, I went from a plain teal background to a wood grained background with headphones on it, podcast name, episode number, author name, and book covers. I also mention on the image if there is a giveaway.
Below is an example of what I was doing vs now.
6. Where can we find you online?
You can find everything at: http://www.leighgendarium.com/
I am on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Leighgendarium
I hope that your readers check out my blog and podcast and I hope that they enjoy what they read and hear.. Keep in mind that some new content is coming soon to The Leighgendarium, so be sure to check back. And don’t forget, Patreon supporters get special access to the Patreon-Only podcast, 10 Questions With. . . —and we also have some other great rewards.
Thanks again for having me on, Alan. It was challenging and fun.