Category Archives: podcast

HOW LONG IS YOUR WRITING “TO-DO” LIST?

On Friday, I sat down and started to write down what I needed to do to get caught up with my writing over the weekend. I stopped at line 15 knowing I already had more than I could accomplish.

When you are self-published author trying to build a personal brand, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself. After all, you are doing the jobs a team would be assisting you with had you gone the traditional route.

The good news is, things are starting to pay-off for me. Hard work is getting recognized. My latest project, The Bourbon Show, which is a podcast/collaboration with Evan Haskill and Seth Brown, is really doing well. People seem to really like it both in terms of feedback received and the all-important download stats.Also, the industry is taking note. We are lining up some incredible guests for future shows.

I honestly don’t know what the endgame is with my writing/online magazine publishing/podcasting career, but I do know it’s fun. Yes, I have a list of over 15 things I need to be doing right now… and I will get to them, but I have to say everything that is going remains something I like to do.

As long as it stays that way, and I continue to work hard, I’m convinced everything else will simply fall into place.

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: More random thoughts on my writing career.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

ABV Network/A Podcast Channel for Alcohol-Themed Podcastsabvnetwork.com

The Bourbon Show on iTunes: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Google Play: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Stitcher: Download it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

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THE BOURBON SHOW – #1!

I’ve already written several times in this blog about the podcast I’ve been working on. Well, on September 1, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time, it officially launched.

My cohosts Seth Brown, Evan Haskill and I wondered what would happen next. We had listened to some competitors offerings out there and believed we had a superior product to what they were putting out there… but you just don’t know. Are you really objective enough to really provide an evaluation of someone else’s work versus yours?

Not long after the launch, an incredible thing happened next…

We started trending on iTunes… the largest provider in the world of podcast content. When you search the all important (for us) “bourbon” category…we cracked the top 20…then the top 10…then each hour it seemed like we were moving up a notch or two. By dinner, we were ranked #3.

We went to bed with the second most downloaded bourbon podcast. By day two…we hit #1. Our “wildest dream” goal and we made it in two days.

It’s now September 4 as I write this and we did fall back to #2. The biggest competitor on the market has been doing this nearly two years and has over 60 shows. We couldn’t hold that top spot with only one ourselves but it has proved to us we can be #1 and it’s a position we can maintain if we continue to produce a quality offering.

The best part has been the feedback. People love our show. They like the humor…the bourbon talk…the news and our guest Christine Riggleman of Silverback Distillery. Basically, we seemingly have the perfect combo of format and personality.

We look forward to doing this for a long time!

WE HIT #1 ON ITUNES… I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: More random thoughts on my writing career.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

ABV Network/A Podcast Channel for Alcohol-Themed Podcastsabvnetwork.com

The Bourbon Show on iTunes: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Google Play: Download it here!

The Bourbon Show on Stitcher: Download it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 10/10

I have been doing a bit of a retrospective over my three years of writing by listing the top 10 things that have happened to me since I have started writing.

Topics Covered So Far:

#1 of 10 – My O.P.U.S. Blog

#2 of 10 – Bourbon Zeppelin

#3 of 10 – Meeting a Hero of Mine

#4 of 10 – My Love Affair with Hawaii

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

#6 of 10 – The Story I Took 35 Years to Complete

#7 of 10 – Bourbon Mixology

#8 or 10 – Telephone Call with a St. Louis Legend

#9 of 10 – My Social Media Friends/Collaborations

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In this post…

My Next Adventure

Wow… this is it. I’m already at number 10 and i think I could do 10 more of these. As I close out this series with this post, it’s my hope you take away how much it has meant to me to simply start writing. It all began in late December 2012, after my father passed away. I published my first book in March of 2013. It’s been nothing but a positive experience, or as this series has shown, perhaps better stated a series of positive experiences.

That leads us to one final story here. This one wasn’t in the mix when I started this series. In fact, three weeks ago it wasn’t even something I had on my radar. Yet, here I am today preparing to tell you about my next chapter in my personal brand.

It all started with the release of the July 1 edition of Bourbon Zeppelin, my “all things bourbon” newsletter. In order to increase awareness about this second issue of my start-up publication I did an interview with my social media buddy Evan Haskill for his blog The Bourbon Guy and Rye.

One of the questions Evan asked me was why do I call my book publishing company SAP Entertainment. I went into how I didn’t care about a publisher’s name when I started self-publishing my books so I just called my publisher Steve Akley Publishing (each book must have a publisher listed so as someone who self-publishes, you can create the name of a publishing company or you can just use your own name like I did). I explained that using “Steve Akley Publishing” for books written by Steve Akley can be viewed as a negative by many people who are just inherently against self-publishing. Plus, it limits what I can do with the brand. In the future. I may be helping others publish their books, or I could go into other things an individual can do on their own to build a media brand like podcasting. In fact, I had even toyed with the idea of starting a podcast or  a newsletter prior to launching Bourbon Zeppelin, but went with BZ since I know about writing newsletters and podcasting would involve learning a whole new skillset for the technical components to doing it.

So the answer was about the switch and reasoning behind it from Steve Akley Publishing to SAP Entertainment. Simply put, with SAP Entertainment (SAP being for Steve Akley Publishing) I could do more with it.

One of the people who read that interview was Seth Brown.

At that time, I really only marginally knew Seth Brown. I had interviewed him via email for my O.P.U.S. interview blog (check it out here) but I hadn’t kept up with him after the interview. I really knew him more as a contributor on another of my favorite whiskey blog… The Son of Winston Churchill blog. Seth had been buddies with Hasse Berg, the blogs creator and had recently started working with Hasse on SoWC. For those who read Bourbon Zeppelin, you probably know Hasse Berg as the Associate Editor and columnist there.

If you asked me about Seth Brown three weeks ago, here’s what I would have had for you:

  1. He is a good guy. I knew this from both his relationship from Hasse Berg as well as my interaction with him when I interviewed him for O.P.U.S.
  2. He lives in Atlanta.
  3. He is a contributor on Hasse Berg’s site.

Little did I know this good guy, Atlanta living, buddy of Hasse Berg was reading my interview with Evan Haskill. One thing not on my list of what I knew about Seth Brown was the fact he used to do a podcast. When he read my interview, he had been thinking about getting back in the game so he reached out to me via direct message on Instagram.

His note mentioned he was starting a podcasting network, with all alcohol themed shows and went into some of the details including another guy who would do a beer show. I thought he was pitching me the idea of doing a show on his network. While I mentioned in my interview I wanted to do a podcast, I really guard what I create. I’m big into creating and owning my content. Additionally, I don’t like answering to people about what I’m doing. I want the freedom and control of if I create it…it’s mine. I never factor in money, or future potential into anything I do. It may be shortsighted but for me, but I have a job. Everything I do creatively is done as a hobby, for fun, so I want to do it my own way and I want to retain ownership of that content it’s mine whether it’s a success or a failure.

Since I thought Seth was pitching me on the idea of a show on his network, it was a little grey. I wouldn’t be doing this my way… but he had the knowledge of how to do something I did want to do. Also, this wasn’t a big company where I would be their puppet. It was just a guy doing something on his own.

So, Seth’s inquiry did open up a dialogue.

We went back-and-forth for about a week before I told him I would do it. That’s when Seth said were in this thing 50/50. It’s our network. We both bring things to the table and it’s been a we have been on fast-forward ever since. Seth and I are building a podcast channel which will have shows we are doing as well as others. It’s called the ABV Network, which since it’s all alcohol-themed shows means “alcohol by volume” to the public… but behind the scenes it’s Akley Brown Ventures.

Out of the gate we will have two shows:

  1. The beer show led by Seth’s buddy Wayne.
  2. A yet-to-be-named bourbon show led by Seth and I. Best of all, we have spoken to Evan Haskill, the guy who really got all of this going, and he is going to join us on this show as the announcer and reading the news.

For Seth and I, this couldn’t be any better. I think our skills complement one another’s and there is overlap in keys areas where we need it like creativity, drive and vision. We’ve got a lot of great ideas and big plans. Hopefully, our next show after these two initial ones will be one called Bourbon Zeppelin and we’ll have all of the crew from the newsletter involved.

You can follow all of the progress by following Seth and I on social media or checking our our web page (abvnetwork.com) once it’s up and running.

Like anything I’ve done to date, I don’t know what this opportunity brings, but I do know working with Seth will be fun. If we can bring  our personal happiness to the audience, I think success will find us.

This… like everything else I have shared in this special series has only happened for one reason.

IT’S BECAUSE WRITE!

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: Back to our regularly scheduled program! Random thoughts on my writing career.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

ABV Network/A Podcast Channel for Alcohol-Themed Podcastsabvnetwork.com

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Inspired by the Storytelling of the Serial Podcast (spoilers)

Notes:

Because I am going to talking about a few of the details of the recently completed podcast series entitled “Serial” you should adhere to these two rules in regard to this post:

1). If you haven’t yet listened to the Serial podcast all the way through, you should stop reading this post right now to ensure I don’t ruin your listening experience by sharing details you will catch in later podcasts.

2). If you don’t know what the Serial podcast is, you should stop reading this post and go download episode one and get with it!

——————————————————

Mail Kimp?

Okay, now that it’s just those of us who have already completed the series, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Serial. I think I came in the fourth week. A co-worker mentioned it and gave it a great endorsement. I figured I try listening on the way home from work. By the next day, I was completely hooked and had listened to all four episodes and looked forward to the new releases each Thursday from that point forward.

In writing, the author is taking you on a journey. You might not think of it that way, but that is absolutely what’s happening. In my fiction writing, thus far I’ve only written short stories, but even in that genre this is an important component. I don’t want to write something where the reader knows exactly what is going to happen in the story from the moment they start the first chapter. A well-crafted story may line down hints as to what the final outcome is, but clearly the writer will be trying to steer you to a logical conclusion down an entirely different path.

The funny thing is, I don’t think Sarah Koenig and crew delivered what they set out to do, yet, I as a listener, couldn’t have enjoyed the experience of listening more. The stated mission was to present the facts of the case of the murder of Hae Min Lee and to look into whether or not her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was rightfully convicted some 15 years ago. Koenig personally, along with a small staff, would look at the facts, talk to the key players and present it almost live in that they would talk about information as it was discovered on a weekly basis.

What didn’t work for me, though, was the fact my opinions never wavered. If you had me write the final episode for Sarah, after only listening to the first one, it would have been oddly close to what the final broadcast was. I would have written there ultimately wouldn’t be a decisive conclusion to the story. There would be no bombshells uncovered in which you could say definitively one way or another either Adnan was innocent or guilty. I would also note there were many items uncovered which didn’t look good for Adnan, there were some which muddied the water and created some doubt. Finally, I would have written that despite the facts leaning the other way, Sarah would support Adnan. Perhaps not wholeheartedly since there isn’t that one piece of evidence which completely exonerates him, but she would fall along the lines of “reasonable doubt” or let’s continue to keep our minds open as his case is still being worked through the appeals system.

Well, that is exactly what happened.

Further complicating my affinity for Serial was the fact I also never really moved over to Adnan side myself. The most compelling evidence I think he had was the “girl in the library” scenario played out in the first episode. It kind of fell apart and I actually don’t really know what to think about that situation.

The rest of the “evidence” in support of Adnan all seemed pretty weak to me. In fact, I was the polar opposite to Sarah’s take on Adnan the person. While she was seemingly caught up in the fact he was well-spoken and engaging on the phone, I think I always looked a little deeper, and what I heard, I didn’t like.

For instance, the foggy memory of the day’s events. I can see how your memory can quickly fade of the mundane of a normal day. It doesn’t seem normal to me a day when the police speak to you about the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend. I really can’t equate anything similar to this. I did lose my father suddenly and very unexpectedly to a heart attack. This was about five hours after I had lunch with him. Over the next few days it was amazing how the complete details of everything which happened that day were tattooed in my brain. It had been like every other day. We would go once a week to the same restaurant. He would come by my work, pick me up and we would go there. Yet, here it is, two plus years later and on that day, I can tell you every little detail about what happened. How, with the benefit of hindsight, I noticed he walked a little bit slower. He had a bad knee so I always arrived at the door first, but I would wait and hold the door for him to help out. Usually, he was just a moment behind me. On that day, he was like two stores back when I grabbed the door and turned to open it for him. I didn’t think anything about it at the time other than perhaps his knee was bothering him a little worse that day. I ran through our conversations. His face as he waved goodbye that day. The car driving away.

It just seemed hard for me to believe there would be these lapses where he had no explanation.

Adnan was stoned, though. Okay. Not stoned enough to miss track practice, drive around town, and go to parties or the mosque or whatever else he said he was doing that day. I think Sarah was far too easy to dismiss actions like this and write them off to the defense, and ultimately the convenience of Adnan.

One of the most insightful exchanges for me was the whole matter of stealing from the offerings at the mosque. I have to say I don’t think this tidbit from Adnan’s past plays much of a part in the story here. I’m even willing to fall on the side of whatever he did there could easily fall under a “dumb kid thing” and not any indicator of current or future criminal activity. What I saw from the exchange was completely different than Sarah’s take, though. She brings up the topic, he lashes out. Sarah gives Adnan her supportive affirmation of “he gets this way sometimes” and then is pleased when he comes back to the topic during a later call and provides her with a sanitized story which admits guilt but downplays it. What I hear is a cold and calculating person who was caught off guard because he’s used to tying up loose ends in a story before he speaks to Sarah about them. This had nothing to do with the murder so he hadn’t field tested his response in his mind. He lashes out. Gets her on her heels and off the story. He goes back to work on this story and then presents the “ready for publication” version of the story the next time he speaks to Sarah.

She’s pleased as can be he’s told the story. He’s admitted guilt and she moves on. I did not.

Foreshadowing the end from the moment you begin listening and disagreeing with the host’s approach and I still liked the program?

Nope.

I didn’t like the program, I loved it!

What I loved about the show was the look into our justice system and the fact Koenig and team were thoroughly checking information and the popularity of the show seemed to open even more doors for them. I like how it was presented almost like you were part of the team. It always felt like they were close to breaking something big. That’s truly where Koenig won me over, with the old fashioned storytelling.

Yes, despite its flaws, I’m still giving Serial top marks. It’s like it has opened the door for podcasting to become more socially accepted. I am sure the popularity of this program will only mean more quality programs like it will be available soon. I like the idea of more and better quality podcasts being available. They are great entertainment during mindless times like driving or exercising.

I’m looking forward to what the Serial team does for season 2!