Behind the Cover - A Podcast

Starting a Conversation

About a year ago, I took over the reins as Book Awards Director at Jenkins Group. Before that, I spent fifteen years as the Book Awards Coordinator. The comment I get the most, when I tell people what I do, is: “You must love reading books for a living!” True, I do. But more than that, I love meeting all our award winning authors at our book award events. Hearing someone’s story, and getting to the heart of what inspired them to put their ideas to page is always a fascinating conversation...but me explaining those conversations is never as good as the conversation itself. 

Then there was the light bulb moment. Perhaps because we involved in the Book Awards live in the world of books, we have always thought it best to communicate about our winners and our awards in writing, like this article. One day a discussion among the team about our favorite podcasts sparked an idea: why not a podcast featuring these interesting, award winning authors in conversation, so we can share their unique and insightful experiences with readers everywhere? And so the idea for Behind the Cover was born. 

The possibilities for this new platform are so exciting, and the time for podcasts as a form of communication has definitely come. In 2022, a Statist poll showed 79% of people said they listened to podcasts regularly. By contrast, only 56% of Americans still have cable subscriptions according to a Pew poll. "Word of mouth" has long been a vital element of book promotion, perhaps even more so with the rise of social media. It is still often a challenge for authors to make their voices heard above the din, even if they are everywhere, from Facebook to TikTok. We also want to ensure the authors and publishers who create these award-winning books get the spotlight, and use this podcast to amplify their voices and talk about their accomplishments.

It was decided each episode will feature interviews lasting about half an hour, with some episodes also including some shorter “behind the scenes” content from other notable players in the book business. 

This week was the premiere of our first interview episode featuring Lisa Tener, who has won both a Living Now Award and an IPPY Award. Lisa is the author of The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day, and our conversation about pursuing new ideas and challenging yourself was the perfect start to the podcast journey. 

In the coming weeks, episodes will feature children’s book authors, YA writers, and historians. The range of topics we will cover is as varied as our Awards and will definitely keep avid readers entertained. We also hope the show will inspire authors to take a chance on themselves -- and enter their books in the awards. 

Behind the Cover is a bi-weekly show. Listeners can find us on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

We always want to hear from Book Awards winners. If you have won an award and would like to be a guest, you can fill out the form here.

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Amy Shamroe is the Book Awards Director and Festival Director at Jenkins Group. She has spent most of her adult life working in, with, and around books. Though she started her career as a bookseller, for the past fifteen years she has worked as a Jack of All Trades for the Awards. In her spare time, Amy enjoys traveling and sits on her local library’s Friends Board.