Starting I Know Dino and How to Podcast in 7 Steps

Podcasting is a wonderful medium. The content is evergreen, and when people listen to an episode, it’s as if you’re speaking to them in the moment. It’s also friendly. Listeners put you in their ear, and trust you to entertain and/or educate them.

As a listener, I feel like I know the hosts. I listen to them every week and get to know their personality. As a host of I Know Dino, which I co-produce with my husband Garret, I’ve gotten to meet and get to know many of our listeners via emails, messages, posts, tweets, and even voicemails. These listeners have gotten to know us via our podcast and have reached out to share their awesome stories with us. It’s incredibly gratifying, and amazing that we’re able to connect with so many different people.

Podcasting is growing. According to Edison Research, last year an estimated 57 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts each month. Most of them listened to shows on their smartphones or tablets, and they listened at home, while commuting, and at work.

Garret and I started podcasting because of a shared passion for dinosaurs. Both of us grew up with the Land Before Time and Jurassic Park, and have loved dinosaurs since we were kids.

Somehow, neither of us realized this shared passion until we were living on the east coast together—a couple years after we started dating. One of the perks of my job in New York was free admission to the American Museum of Natural History, and it became one of our favorite places to visit.

Fast forward a few years and we had a dinosaur themed wedding, complete with dinosaur centerpieces, an Ankylosaurus and Brontosaurus cake topper, and a photobombing T-rex named Duncan.

So we could continue our obsession with dinosaurs after the wedding, we decided to start a podcast. We wanted to learn more, and share what we’d learned with other dinosaur enthusiasts. We also had a great excuse to talk to paleontologists and other people in the paleontology world.

We’ve learned a lot about podcasting along the way. Below are the seven steps we follow each week to publish a new episode: Continue reading

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How I Found My Passion Through Dinosaurs

I Know Dino logo

This article was originally posted on Medium.

In 2012, I got to interview Hugh Howey, a hugely successful indie author, who worked harder than pretty much anyone else I’d met at that point to please his fans. He filmed himself doing silly dances in Times Square. He drove 3 hours out of his way in North Carolina when visiting family to meet a reader in person.

At the time I couldn’t fathom putting that much effort into my writing or the side projects I was working on.

“Yes, I love what I do,” I told myself, “but that sounds like too much.”

Then, in January 2015, my husband Garret and I launched our dinosaur podcast, I Know Dino.

We both had full time jobs, but we also both have a huge passion for dinosaurs (we even had a dinosaur themed wedding). We grew up watching Jurassic Park and Land Before Time, and couldn’t get enough. So we thought, how could we turn this into something productive?

Flash forward 1 year and 10 months, and we have 200+k downloads, awesome supporters on Patreon, incredibly engaged fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and a few people on Reddit even recommended us — which was amazing to see and, as we like to say, made us feel very warm and fuzzy inside.

I still work full time but I have found that I Know Dino consumes all my free time. And I love it. Now I understand what Hugh Howey was talking about in 2012.

I get to meet the coolest people all the time — paleontologists who are making new dinosaur discoveries pretty much weekly, paleoartists who shape how we all view these fantastic animals, writers who go in-depth to explain everything we know so far about dinosaurs. Not to mention the fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, friends, cousins, and more, who all enjoy learning about dinosaurs together.

Dinosaurs bring people together — whether it’s as a community, through Make a Wish, or via a fundraising event to help out the local “dinosaur guy.”

And we can learn so much from dinosaurs. According to Dr. Anthony J. Martin, sauropods shaped some of our modern landscapes. Dr. Brian Noble has pointed out that Henry Fairfield Osborn’s racism greatly influenced how we thought of T-rex for decades. And Dr. David Trexler has said that paleontology is not a dead science.

“Understanding the past is key to understanding what this Earth is capable of and what we’re going to face at the present and in the future,” he said.

I love all of it. I spend my mornings before work and my evenings after work researching the latest news and reaching out to our dinosaur fans and fellow dinosaur enthusiasts. I spend my lunch hours prepping for our next episode. Garret and I also record episodes after work. I interview people on the weekends.

One of the best parts is getting to know our listeners on social media and via email, and seeing the awesome links and photos they send us.

Garret loves it all too. He recently spent 18 hours straight editing a recent nearly 2-hour long episode.

And we aren’t just confined to our home office. The week of July 4, my company had a mandatory vacation week so Garret and I asked ourselves, how can we make the most of this?

Garret planned an amazing road trip for us and we spent 10 days on the road, traveling 67 hours and 4,000 miles from California to Alberta, Canada, to Montana, and back. We even made videos of our trip.

We met some amazing people at the museums and research centers we visited and really got the royal treatment. They let us tour the museums and even showed us some behind-the scenes research.

This month we’re taking another trip, to Utah for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Annual Meeting.

Paleontologist John Scannella, an all around cool guy who we interviewed on our first dinosaur road trip in episode 90, recommended we go, and we are excited to meet Victoria Arbour, Emanuel Tschopp, everyone we’ve only interviewed via the phone, and pretty much everyone else who will be there.

We’re not the only ones crazy enough to follow our passions on the road.

Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, and his wife drove 150k miles around the U.S. chasing butterflies and piecing his story together on notecards.

Passion is real, even if it means giving up some sleep, and staying in some Friday nights to work. When you find your thing, it’s surprisingly easy to hold on to.

And despite having a full time job and family and friends and a life outside of what you do, you make the time for it because it’s important to you.

You figure out what to let go and you get the important things done. And for me, that means dinosaurs, and spreading scientific knowledge and engaging in a wonderfully creative, positive community.

Plus, it gives me an excuse to bake dinosaur-shaped cookies.

What does it mean for you?

Indie Author Marketing: Analyzing Facebook and Twitter

I’m a big fan of data. I love reading about all the ways people are gathering analytics on books, how data helps drive decisions, and being able to know how effective people are at reaching out to others.

And that’s why for the past month or two, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Facebook and Twitter. I’ve known these platforms for a while—Facebook was only one year old when I joined in college (back when only people with college email addresses were allowed to use it) and according to my Twitter profile I joined in April 2009.

And though I’ve been using both platforms for my author platform, it wasn’t until this year that I decided to take my platform building more seriously. So, I’ve installed Google page analytics on all my blogs and websites, though it’s still too early for me to figure out how that best works for me, and I’ve been paying close attention to engagement metrics on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I have two official Facebook pages and two Twitter accounts. Here’s how it breaks down: Continue reading

I Know Dino: The Podcast

I Know Dino logoAfter months of researching, interviewing, and polishing, we have finally launched our long-awaited I Know Dino podcast (part of a larger I Know Dino project, which involves blog posts, books, and more)!

You can find our new, free podcast on iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/i-know-dino/id960976813?mt=2

Our first episode features Pete Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. Pete is a T-rex expert, and one of the main people in the documentary Dinosaur 13:

When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.

For those who may prefer reading, see the full transcript of our first episode here.

And our second episode features Dr. Anthony J. Martin, a paleontologist who specializes in ichnology, which according to his website, is “the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behavior, such as tracks, trails, burrows, and nests.”

Dr. Martin is also the author of several books, including his most recent one, Dinosaurs Without Bones. You can also find him on Twitter, @Ichnologist. and I recommend reading his post that dissects the ichnology in the Jurassic Park movies.

New Year = New Websites

It seems like at the beginning of every new year (at least for the past three years), I suddenly get sick of the way my websites look and spend a week or two obsessively redesigning. Well, it’s that time again, and I’m proud to say I have a few new websites in addition to some prettier websites–hopefully these will help out anyone interested in my work!

So here’s a little more on what I did, and what you can expect from me this year. Hint: it involves ebooks and dinosaurs. Continue reading