The First Time Podcast responds to ‘Paying to Play’

This is a response to ‘Paying to Play’. 

We appreciate Woollett’s discussion regarding the issue of paid content and publicity within the book industry, an issue we, as Woollett points out, discuss regularly on the podcast. The essay discusses correspondence regarding Woollett’s pitch to the podcast, her decision not to pay for a Featured Book interview, and the response we made as part of our Money Money Money episode (part of a series of ‘Awkward’ Chats) where we made the decision not to name Woollett. 

We re-iterate the point made by Woollett that the Featured Book segments on our podcast have been introduced with the words: ‘This segment is brought to you by [publisher]’. We write the same in our social media posts. It’s not been our intent to conceal the fact the segment has been sponsored. 

As Woollett acknowledges, a lot of work in the arts is unpaid. This includes the vast majority of our time reading, researching and interviewing our guests, as it does for many podcasters, bookstagrammers, booktokkers, and reviewers. The platforming of authors and their works through these growing avenues is a vital part of our industry, and we are grateful for this labour and the ways in which it showcases authors’ works. 

We are proud of the fact that The First Time podcast has published 38 Featured Book segments over the past two seasons, platforming the work of Australian authors and their books. These episodes are part of our six seasons of the podcast, in which we have published 246 episodes. We create The First Time podcast for our listeners and choose the content, as is our right to do.

We thank the SRB for the opportunity to respond to this essay, look forward to continuing to champion Australian authors, and wish Woollett all the best with current and future works.

– Katherine Collette and Kate Mildenhall

Published October 16, 2023