Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

So You Want to Start a Podcast: Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, and Building a Community That Will Listen

Rate this book
An inspiring, comprehensive, step-by-step guide to creating a hit show, So You Want to Start a Podcast covers everything from hosting and guest booking to editing and marketing - while offering plenty of encouragement and insider stories along the way. 

Though they are the fastest-growing form of media, podcasts can actually be tricky to create—and even harder to sustain. Few know the secrets of successfully creating a knockout podcast better than Kristen Meinzer. An award-winning commentator, producer, and former director of nonfiction programming for Slate’s sister company, Panoply, Meinzer has also hosted three successful podcasts, reaching more than ten million listeners. Now, she shares her expertise, providing aspiring podcasters with crucial information and guidance to work smarter, not harder as they start their own audio forum.

Meinzer believes that we each have a unique voice that deserves to be heard. But many of us may need some help transforming our ideas into reality. So You Want to Start a Podcast asks the tough but important questions to help budding podcasters define and achieve their goals, including:

Why do you want to start a podcast? 

Think about specifically why you want to start a podcast versus a blog, zine, YouTube channel, Instagram feed, or other media outlet. Find out if a podcast is really the best way to tell your story—and what you really need (and don’t need!) in order to get started.What is your show about? 

For any advertiser, corporate partner, or press outlet, you need a snappy pitch. How would you describe what you want to do in two to three sentences?Who is your podcast for?

Who are you trying to reach? How will your content and tone appeal to those listeners?How is your show going to be structured? 

Create a step-by-step map planning the show out. Think about length, segments, interviews, advice, news reads, and other aspects of successful podcasts you can adapt for your own.With this motivational how-to guide—the only one on the subject available—you’ll find the smart, bottom-line advice and inspiration you need to produce an entertaining and informative podcast and promote it to an audience that will love it. So You Want to Start a Podcast gives you the tools you need to start a podcast—and the insight to keep it thriving!

224 pages, Hardcover

Published August 6, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kristen Meinzer

3 books117 followers
Kristen Meinzer is an award-winning podcast host, producer, commentator, speaker, and author specializing in contemporary social issues and popular culture. She is the co-host of "By The Book," along with Moth Storyslam winner Jolenta Greenberg and "We Love You (And So Can You)," also with Greenberg. Prior hosting credits include "When Meghan Met Harry," along with MTVUK host James Barr; CNN's "Lisa, Sandra, and Kristen Go To The Movies," with CNN senior entertainment reporters Lisa France and Sandra Gonzalez; and WNYC's "Movie Date" podcast, along with Newsday film critic Rafer Guzman. Kristen's books include "Return to Intercourse: An Amish Romance" (which she wrote in under two weeks as an assignment for "By The Book"); "So You Want to Start A Podcast: Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, and Building a Community That Will Listen" (which Publishers Weekly called "invaluable"); and the forthcoming "How To Be Fine" (March 2020, William Morrow/HarperCollins). Kristen's work has been celebrated in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Bust, Buzzfeed, Vice, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Real Simple, Indiewire, and dozens of other publications. It’s also been showcased on NPR, NBC, TLC, the BBC, and other national and international outlets.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
309 (32%)
4 stars
409 (43%)
3 stars
191 (20%)
2 stars
28 (2%)
1 star
9 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews
Profile Image for Chris Wolak.
512 reviews145 followers
December 12, 2019
I've co-hosted and produced my own podcast for three years now. There's always more to learn so I read or at least skim any book about podcasting that I come across. If anyone were to ask me to recommend a book about starting a podcast, this is the one I'd suggest. It is clear, concise, not techy, and Meinzer clearly has buckets of experience in the industry.
Profile Image for Trace Nichols.
992 reviews16 followers
August 13, 2019
Not my cup of tea. This book was a podcast with a lot of filler and pats on the back. A bit too much "I am brilliant" and a bit too much "you are amazing, you can do it" cheerleading without the deeper dive into the "how-to". I agree with many of the points made about needing to widen the diversity range that podcasts target, as well some of the general pointers would be of value to any would-be podcaster... but it just stayed on the surface, absorbed in the shallows.
Profile Image for Andrea.
168 reviews2 followers
August 22, 2019
From beginners to experienced podcasters, this book is a fun, fast read full of helpful resources.
Over half the book applies to people who have existing shows, and I found the Cast It/Make It/Share It/Grow It sections incredibly helpful. It was also fun to go back and re-think our existing show (Preheated, the Baking Podcast) using the prompts and questions in the Dream It/Write It/Host It sections. Also the Diversity section is something you won't find elsewhere, and it's so important.

Other valuable aspects of the book: the template for an effective pitch email, politeness reminders, and tips to get people to respond by being persistent, yet polite and professional. Knowing that someone as successful as Kristen doesn't just snap her fingers and get a guest is super helpful.

To get the most out of this book, read it first and then listen to By the Book Episodes 97 & 98 where Kristen and Jolenta use the book to create a new podcast called We Love You (And So Can You). I don't know that I've ever heard a self-help author use THEIR OWN BOOK to do something in real life, in real time. It was such a fascinating way to learn that creating a podcast is not a linear process and taking in feedback can make your show better. Hearing the back and forth of the Steps play out in real time as they create the new show demonstrates how they take the Steps and apply them to an actual podcast creation.
Profile Image for Tina.
304 reviews457 followers
August 9, 2019
This was a clear, easy to understand, and entertaining look into the world of podcasting! Kristen's voice comes through loud and clear. I enjoyed the concrete examples and most of all, her empowerment! I don't have a podcast but I found that most of what she shared can translate to anything creative. I enjoyed this inside baseball look at podcasting. Well done!
Profile Image for Abbey.
291 reviews12 followers
February 2, 2021
Working on a podcast for work and this book was AMAZING for information, details, and encouragement.

Kirsten Meinzer is a sheer delight. She was so fun on audio...
Profile Image for Katelyn Jenkins.
204 reviews6 followers
August 19, 2019
Pretty good stuff. Took notes. Makes podcasting seem simple. Now I know how to make one.
Easy. :) Thank you for the lesson Kristen!!
Profile Image for Amanda Mae.
337 reviews20 followers
May 24, 2019
Lots of pretty solid advice, some common sense and some from years of learned experience, on getting started on a podcast. I've been contemplating starting one myself, and this gave me lots of good thinking points and check list ideas to work with. Definitely purchasing for my library!
Profile Image for Cody.
174 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2019
There is some good basic info in this book, there were some issues. First, at the start of each chapter and/or section in the audiobook, there is a sharp and loud "click" that was sloppily left in. I'm not sure how serious I'm supposed to take an author who creates audio for a living, but releases a quite terribly produced product. Second, I felt very alienated early on, when the author described how 2/3 of podcast hosts are white men, and we should be diverse. Diversity is all good and fine, but I can't change my biology, and it seemed very clear at this point the book is only for women of non-white ethnicity. Am I wrong? Being a completist, I trudged on anyway. Another issue I had was that she tells readers to give up if they want to start a music podcast. While there are surely roadblocks to access music and musicians for this type of podcast, I found it a cynical sentiment to flat out give up on a music podcast when the rest of the book is overly encouraging. Lastly, I have no doubts the author is an accomplished figure in podcasting, but this is simply because she refused to let the reader ignore this fact throughout the entire book. Qualifying oneself at the start of the book is a good thing, but showing off your medals throughout the whole piece is unsavory.

Obviously there are many individuals who enjoyed this book, so good for them. My advice is, the good information found in this book can also be found watching a 10-minute YouTube video or taking 5 minutes to read a blog post. 5 hours spent listening to this audio book I will never get back.
Profile Image for Nick Claxton.
21 reviews
January 30, 2020
I would nit recomend this book to anyone becuase any other book about podcasting has to be better. She does things in the book she says not to do, Its written like shes doing a podcast, and she is constantly talking about what she has done and a thousand diffrent podcast.

Dont get me wrong it sounds like she has lots of knowledge and skills and she does have some good advice to get you going. I did learn a few things key things. She also uplifted people to give it try with a positive attitude.

Through the whole book though i felt anger to bot only men but to white men. She pushes to hard on diversity but I feel she means women rights and LGBTQ rights. For example she states a few people she landed in 3 days. But elibrates the lesbian Christian boy scout leader over and over. This is just one instance and this is outside of the chapter where she talks about "diversity".

If you ignore the ignorance and personal agenda there is knowledge to gain from this quicker read but I would definitely recomend trying a diffrent book.
Profile Image for Rebecca  Angel.
289 reviews13 followers
December 16, 2019
Good book for an general overview, but geared towards those looking for non-fiction "chat" podcasts. (I'm looking for advice on scripted fiction.) Still, it was informative of the industry as a whole and very encouraging for those just starting out.
Profile Image for Shirley.
15 reviews22 followers
February 21, 2021
I enjoyed reading this book because it gave practical and step-by-step advice. This was an easy read as well. I didn't have to worry about not knowing technical-podcasting terms. This book is excellent for beginners (like me), who have no idea where to begin when it comes to starting your own podcast. I like the encouraging tone from the author because she believes anyone can create their dream show with the advice, suggestions and tools she gives in this book. I loved how the author outlined the entire book in several different parts to guide the reader through the process of creating a show. I know I'll be using this book as a reference once I start developing my podcast.
After reading this book, I have a greater understanding of the podcasting industry, the work, effort involved and possibly time requirement that is needed to create, maintain and produce a podcasting show.
Profile Image for Cidney Mayes.
276 reviews3 followers
February 25, 2020
I started this audiobook because I was running out of episodes of Meinzer's podcast "By the Book." Her voice is soothing, what can I say.

Meinzer offers a wonderfully practical manual for starting a podcast and covers important topics from honing in on an enticing show topic to what equipment to use. Most importantly, Meinzer speaks about the importance of including diverse voices and how to seek those important viewpoints out. Those who were thinking about starting a podcast on a whim might pick up this book and be discouraged - Meinzer does not shy away from letting the reader know just how much work producing and hosting a podcast is. Those who are serious and dedicated to creating a show will find this book invaluable.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
291 reviews
January 17, 2021
So I really DON'T want to start a podcast, but I like to know how things work and I like to listen to creative people talk about their creative process. Overall, I don't know that Kristen Meinzer shares anything earth-shattering, but her warm, Midwestern-friendly delivery made it a fun listen. (I do question her decision to use the weird 80s synthesizer clip between chapters and I kept waiting for her to explain the inside joke behind it but she never did so apparently it was done unironically.)
1,208 reviews33 followers
January 18, 2020
Excellent book that covers practically everything to know about how to start podcasting. The author describes the process of preparing, doing, and thriving. I also appreciate the nuggets of info that a newbie might overlook or would not even be aware about. The author also talks about monetizing the effort and what an effort it is! If you think you have something worthwhile and unique to say, and you want to give podcasting a try, this book fills you in.
Profile Image for Traci Thomas.
527 reviews9,510 followers
March 17, 2020
I liked this book. It’s fun to hear the advice that is given. If you’re not interested in starting a podcast it’s a waste of your time, but if you think you want one it’s worth listening too. I loved the narrator (author) it’s really well read. The content is super specific in some parts, but really skims on topics i was interested.
Profile Image for Tayla.
4 reviews
August 4, 2020
Great guide for anyone who wants to start a podcast. Meinzer takes through developing the concept for your show, to finding guests, to distributing your podcast, to creating a community around your show. If you have your heart set on podcasting, this book will give you the confidence you need to jump into making it.
Profile Image for Michele.
243 reviews3 followers
August 28, 2019
Don’t know that I’m any closer to launching my long-conceived podcast, but if and when I’m ready to, this book will be the step-by-step guide I’ll use. Great insights and behind-the-scenes stories kept this from being anything but dry.
Profile Image for Angela.
438 reviews
February 14, 2021
I loved this really simple how to for podcasting. I do want to start a podcast and found the book really helpful for thinking through what I will have to plan and what kind of podcast I want to create. I really enjoy Meinzer’s voice and style too.
247 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2022
I don’t actually want to start a podcast, but reading Kristen’s funny, firm, supportive work helps me to evaluate whatworks and what doesn’t in the podcasts I currently listen to. Highly recommended to podcast listeners.
899 reviews27 followers
January 22, 2020
I don’t have any imminent plans to start a podcast, but I wanted to learn more about them. This book was great, and if I do ever decide to start a podcast, I know where to begin!
Profile Image for Rūta Turskytė.
22 reviews
July 26, 2020
Exactly what it is said on the cover: how to find your voice, how to tell your story, how to build a community that will listen. The author is massively encouraging, so a perfect option for those who are just thinking about podcasting but are still a bit afraid of that first step.
36 reviews4 followers
February 24, 2021
Helpful read for regular podcast guests. Picked it up after going on a handful of shows so I could be the most helpful interviewee anyone's ever had, and there are plenty of good take aways for those of us who don't want to start podcasts but who want to get the lay of the land in the field.
Profile Image for Liz Kazandzhy.
Author 5 books3 followers
December 31, 2021
There wasn't anything like super eye-opening in this book, but I still appreciated the great overview of so many parts of podcasting.
Profile Image for Katherine Loyacano.
258 reviews19 followers
December 12, 2020
Kristen Meinzer has written a wonderfully informative book about starting a podcast. It is written with humor in an user-friendly format. She also offers encouragement and helpful examples to get you started on the road to podcasting.
Profile Image for Damiana.
Author 2 books5 followers
December 8, 2022
Most of this was as expected and applies to a variety of content creation not just podcasting. I thought the sections on how to handle co host situations and guests were helpful.
Profile Image for Aligermaa.
137 reviews6 followers
September 18, 2019
I am not trying to start a podcast but this book is such a gem. It had so many useful tips you could apply to your work in general. What other way to listen than an audiobook for a book about a podcast.
Profile Image for Sacha Black.
Author 19 books238 followers
September 2, 2019
Great book giving good all round guidance for anyone wanting to start a podcast. This isn't a technical guide, you won't learn how to edit audio. But you will get lots of top tips, things to go research and a grounding in all the strategy you need for podcast production.
Profile Image for Noah Bateman.
6 reviews
August 23, 2019
I loved the audiobook of So You Want to Start a Podcast. For people who listen to Kristen on By the Book, it is a joy to hear a familiar voice reading aloud. (I kept on expecting her to say "That's what the book says, and so that's what we did for two weeks straight" at the end of each instructional list.) As a non-podcaster, I still got many new ideas for how to improve my blog and other creative projects.
Profile Image for Dave.
732 reviews21 followers
January 12, 2020
Kristen Meinzer is an experienced podcaster and has written a helpful "view-from-30,000-feet" book to help prospective podcasters understand what they are getting into and get started. This overview doesn't get into any mechanical nuts and bolts, which is good since audio equipment is constantly changing, but is helpful in pointing you to other resources when necessary. She is also helpful in giving interviewing tips, distribution tips (which will also probably change frequently), and general organization/production tips. It seemed to me to be a good starting point for prospective podcast producers.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.