Podcasting for Publishing Hopefuls
“We’re hoping it does for comics what Kermode and Mayo do for films.”
As a publishing hopeful, it is often too easy to get sucked into focusing your project around how it can help you to land your dream job. While it’s important to recognise the skills your side hustle has helped you develop and highlight these when you apply for a role, the message we have seen time and again is that a successful project will always be centred around something you are passionate about.
This is certainly the case for Fahed Rahman, whose project See Through Panel is “a podcast about comics by people who love them.” Responding to a post on Reddit by creator Cole Harvey calling for a co-host for the podcast, Fahed says he jumped at the chance to collaborate on a creative project and talk about graphic novels, something he has loved since his early teens. See Through Panel aims to introduce listeners to graphic novels which aren’t covered by typical comic book podcasts through high-quality criticism, mixed with the humour of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s film podcast.
See Through Panel has been well-received, with one episode even being listened to by a graphic novel author who has agreed to be interviewed on a future episode. But Fahed admits that there have been challenges along the way, not least of which are the difficulties of hosting a show from two different continents. Fahed’s co-host Cole is based in the USA so negotiating the time difference and getting the hang of technology which allows them to record from two different locations has sometimes been challenging. An episode was lost due to poor sound quality which couldn’t be fixed in post-production. Fahed says that it would have helped if they had planned to record a number of episodes in advance before launching the podcast.
“Describing something as ‘interesting’ is a crutch and doesn’t help the listener understand the choices that artists and writers make.”
Fahed has been able to put up with the challenges of creating a podcast because See Through Panel is truly a passion project. He says that he “[doesn’t] really care” whether it enhances his CV and employability. That being said, he recognises that the skills in sound editing and listener analytics may come in handy when he applies for the marketing and PR opportunities he is interested in. He also credits his improvement as a critic with giving him the confidence to apply for editorial roles, especially now he has realised that ‘interesting’ is rarely a good way to describe something.
Working on the podcast has changed his view of the publishing industry and the tools it offers. Fahed says he has been pleasantly surprised by how many comic book creators are prepared to send free copies of their work for review on the show, despite it not being big yet. NetGalley has also been a help in getting hold of books to review, especially during lockdown.
Fahed’s advice to those wanting to start a podcast is just to “jump in and do it.” He recommends using YouTube to start with as research shows around 50% of people listen to their podcasts on the platform. The other benefit is that it allows the creator to make episodes unlisted, so they can be sent to a few friends for feedback before going public. Podcasting, in his opinion, is something that can only be learned by trial and error as you’ll only really figure out what you need once you start doing it.
And what about growing an audience? “Don’t rely on your mates to listen to your podcast,” Fahed cautions. “They won’t care.” He has had to work hard to increase the visibility of See Through Panel, and he warns other hopefuls considering podcasting that, just like with any project, they will have to put in the leg work to get it noticed. He recommends tagging publishers and authors you’re reviewing on social media (as long as reviews aren’t critical; no one wants to hear you think their work is bad) and posting about it in forums dedicated to the subject you’re covering.
You can check out See Through Panel here and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. The show is also looking for guests to come and chat about comics.