Make Noise & books on podcasting and storytelling

This post is a follow-up to the post Gimlet’s unofficial reading list for making good podcasts

Just got finished Make Noise by Eric Nuzum, the podcast developer who helped guide shows like Invisibilia and Where Should We Begin. Make Noise was a super-quick read. I tore through it in two days.


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The book advises creatives on how to think about a show and make it a hit. It delves into the actual craft of producing an audio story, but also advising on how to pitch a story, market a show and build an audience. And it gives advice that will apply to seasoned audio-makers and novices, those working for large networks and independents. There’s a lot of history of public radio and podcasting thrown in as well.

Anyways it was a good and quick read — definitely some stuff to think about and a new perspectives compared to the podcasting books I’d previously read and written about.

The book also had a “recommended reading” section, some of which piqued my interest, so I’ll include here. It’s a combination of books on making podcast/radio stories and once more broadly about storytelling and story structure.

To be clear, I haven’t read these, so I’m going on faith from Nuzum’s recommendation, but I just ordered all of them so ‾\_(ツ)_/‾

(Also, did you guys know that shrugging guys face is the character for “Tsu” in the Japanese katakana alphabet?)
51hjqqgteqL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_ Radio Diaries: DIY Handbook (2017)

By Joel Richman (of Radiodiaries fame) and Jay Allison (the Moth, Transom)
They say, “The Radio Diaries DIY Handbook is a storytelling guide to making great radio with chapters on interviewing, editing, technical advice, and journalistic principles.”

51F3TA5hhDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ The Writer’s Journey (2007)

by Christopher Vogler (USC film school, worked on the Lion King?)
Looks like a lighter, modernized take on Campbell’s concept of The Hero’s Journey aimed at filmmakers. Nuzum says, “Should be used by more audio makers as a source of inspiration.”

51Z6EjgF96L Making Waves (2008)

By Mark Ramsey (Inside Jaws)
They say, “This book can help any broadcaster navigate a digital wonderland of infinite choice and endless competition. Dive in. The water’s fine. Let’s make some waves.”

Nuzum says, “Ramsey has been a provocative thinker about radio and podcasting for many years.”

My question: Do you think Ramsey drew the cover art himself?

41WFCsNwpmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Story Craft (2011)

By Jack Hart (The Oregonian newspaper)
Nuzm says, “I find myself applying the lessons in this book to almost every audio project I create.”

51PGXH7dDtL._SX377_BO1,204,203,200_ You Can Write a Novel Kit (2008)

By James V. Smith Jr.
Made for fiction, but Nuzum says, “useful to writers of any medium.”
Not just a book, but a kit with five guided notepads designed to help you with: Scene Development, Major Character Development, Minor Character Development, Revision, Progress Monitoring. 

41w3u+MqhRL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_ Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need (2006)

By Blake Snyder
Another screenwriting book Nuzum recommends for podcasters, evidently the last one you’ll ever need, and the last on this list.
This book has come up on This American Life, in a discussion of making Sleepwalk with Me. Have always been curious to read it and think now I will!

Also, apologies for not posting for a year and a half! think I was inspired by the book and the history of how podcasting emerged from blogging. These days I’m working on a true crime documentary show Monster: DC Sniper I’m really into the puzzle of figuring out how to structure a long multi-part series, so if you have any recommendations on story-structure kind of stuff, please let me know!


One Response to “Make Noise & books on podcasting and storytelling”

  1. 1 Fatima

    I just wanted to comment on this more recent post to say thank you for your ‘Neuroscience Books that Changed my Life” blogpost. I was looking for a reading list of actual books, not textbooks, to read during this time and I am SO grateful for that list. Thank you!


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