Sometimes the thing you want is right in front of you. Since I started freelancing I realized that the key to me staying a freelancer was finding my niche. Niches are important. Trying to do everything more often than not leads to doing nothing. But what would that niche be?
My ultimate goal was to take my podcast on the road. I just want to interview storytellers, artists, actors and people who are doing amazing things and get their story. People living on in the face of whatever is in front of us is more appealing to me now than it ever was. The only question was how was I going to get there?
I freelance write (still am), worked on audiobooks, and have released books this year. But it wasn’t until I had a talk with a dear friend that I realized that my niche was right before my eyes. My friend told me that the audiobook path would be a hollow one for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the experience of making that first book, and would be open to narration in the future. (https://jpantalleresco.wordpress.com/audiobookservices/) podcasting and writing books is my love. So that’s my focus.
It turns out that I’ve been working on my niche for a very long time. I’ve been working on my podcast for over five years. I’ve won awards for it, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview authors, publishers, actors, directors, bestsellers. This is a crazy, wild ride, and I want to keep going and figure out how to make it lucrative.
So I decided to take my audio show and transform it into a video podcast on Twitch. So far it’s been a lot of fun. I opened with my episode with Jennifer Gordon and have been rolling since. It’s been better. There’s something about video that makes me focus on my guests more and I’ve been very happy with the range of conversations I’ve had.
The big bonus is the Drink and Draws I’ve been doing every Friday. I’ve been teaching myself how to draw and have started this with the incredible Anh Vu, and have been joined by amazing talents such as Rich Perotta, Mog Park, Elsa Garagarza, and more. I’ve grown into some visual skills which is feeding into my other artistic merits. I’m hoping to launch a comic next year as well as 4 other projects, at least.
As for the podcast, you can still listen to the audio if you like, but they are coming faster and better. Next month I have a very fun lineup together and I’m already getting guests into March of next year. I’m busier than ever.
Sometimes, I wonder what my life would have been like if Robert J. Sawyer hadn’t set this all in motion by mentioning podcast to someone else. There are several things you can learn from me. The first is that you should embrace your accidents. Everything you do leads somewhere and sometimes in the midst of making your messes opportunities present themselves. I was smart enough to recognize that I could do something and take things into another direction.
Furthermore, I gave myself permission to go for it. Most of us fear looking bad. We fear falling on our butts and looking foolish in the moment. The most foolish thing about 2020 is failing to realize that I already had my niche. And I’m okay with it. We learn by doing and sometimes the obvious path is right in front of us.
Find that niche and roll with it. I know what I want and everything I’m doing right now is working towards that very goal. Sometimes that real secret is to give yourself permission to go for it, and that might be the most important lesson of all. So my hope for you all here, including my publisher, is to give yourself permission to go for it. The world has changed but the demands for content right now are higher than they’ve ever been. Advertise yourself and declare yourself awesome. People will believe you. Sometimes you’ll even inspire them to be awesome themselves.
A couple of things before I go. I’m halfway to becoming an affiiliate on twitch. If you read this and are on the platform, would you please subscribe and follow my blog? Click here and hit the follow button. I’m on Youtube as well if that’s your thing.
Also I have a patreon page. If you want to sponsor the podcast, let people know this is there, if you got a moment? I’d appreciate it.
I wish you all well in 2021. Stay shining in the darkness.
Joshua Pantalleresco writes fiction, poetry and comics. He also loves to do interviews. He has written columns for comicbloc and allpulp and currently does so for comicmix. The Watcher is his second book of poetry. He resides in Calgary.