205-223-4415 shawn@shawnwright.net

In an earlier blog post, I told the story about creating the Shades Cahaba Oral History Podcast. I turned it into a book when we all had to quarantine due to Covid-19. I had so much fun doing it I did it again—the book part, not the quarantine.

I mentioned that I was a fan of the C.O.P.E. methodology. It stands for “Create Once, Publish Everywhere,” and you do as it says. An example would be writing a blog post for your website, creating a podcast episode, and then a YouTube video from the same story. You could even turn it into a white paper to email to your clients and prospects and maybe use it as a presentation. 

I created the Shades Cahaba Oral History podcast without thinking of what else I could do with the content. A book was far off my radar. I had never considered doing something like that, and I thought it was out of my skill set. But when the quarantine started and I realized I had nothing to do, I decided it was time to see if I could write a book. 

I was happy with the process; the chapters fell into place, and I found images that would enhance the stories. Turning interviews into written text was more challenging than I imagined, but even that worked out. My only regret is not keeping up with my sources in a way that would be easy to gather for a book. 

The book was published, and I was surprised that my friends, family, and the community embraced it and gave it good reviews. We all came out of quarantine, and work went back to normal. But I had caught a bug and needed another podcast to work on. 

I hear people say, write what you know about, and as a lifelong resident, I know about the state of Alabama. I found my subject. I wanted to highlight the stories of people throughout the state. Stories we may have heard about but didn’t know the entire story. I wanted well-researched stories that gave the listener information they had never heard.

The podcast is a non-paying gig, so I needed to ensure my clients came first. Each episode would be scripted, and I wanted to make each story short. Too often, I listen to podcasts that go on and on as if they have to make each story 45 minutes. I feel like my time is wasted, and I don’t want to do that to my listeners. 

I did not want to be pressured to complete a story each week, so I decided to create seasons with ten episodes in each season. There is no set time for the next season to start; it depends on whether I have finished writing the episodes. As I finish the last stories of the upcoming season 4, it looks like six months are between each season’s last episode and the start of the next season.

All I needed was a name, and it was pretty obvious what a podcast of short stories about Alabama should be called. And Alabama Short Stories was born. My first episode went live on April 20, 2021, with a story about the South Central Bell Commercial where Bear Bryant tells viewers he wished he could call his mama. 

By the end of the first season, I knew this would make a great book. And by the end of the third season, I would have 30 stories, which would be the perfect size for a book. And while I kept writing and producing episodes, I turned my attention to promotion.

I wanted to publish the book Alabama Short Stories, Volume 1, when season 3 started. I would promote the book on the podcast and social media channels to promote the book. I self-published the book through Amazon’s K.D.P. service, which I outlined in my last post. And since my previous book was published, Amazon offers a hardback version. 

The book went live on August 10, 2022, and I am now a published Author with two books listed on Amazon.com. But how does any of this help me earn money?

It doesn’t. I like to create things, and this is a terrific creative outlet. I hope a potential client listens to the podcast or reads the book and thinks I may be just the person they need for an upcoming project. And that has happened. I received a call from a gentleman out of state who I am now helping design and publish a book. I will share that when his book goes live.

I hope these stories about publishing my books inspire you to use the C.O.P.E. method when creating content. If you are inspired to write your book, I encourage you. Self-publishing is very easy to do today. The hard part is starting to write and surviving the grind to have a completed manuscript. You can do it; get started today!

Season 4 of the Alabama Short Stories podcast should start no later than the end of February. And if I have enough energy, Volume 2 will be published when Season 6 is released.

If you haven’t heard the Alabama Short Stories podcast, you can download them on whatever podcast app you use, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also find them at the website https://alabamashortstories.com/.

I wrote a second book from my second podcast

by Shawn Wright | From Paste-Up to Pixels