Yes, that really is the correct name. Megan is the co-host of the podcast Oh No! Lit Class, a comedy literature podcast that’s a fun, foul-mouthed SparkNotes for your ears! Listen and learn about the Shakespeare play that’s basically an Eli Roth movie, how the author of the Scarlet Letter had to make a living shoveling poop, and why Dracula absolutely deserves to be kinkshamed.
Megan tells PBJ, “I think our podcast is pretty unique, and as a former English teacher, Dedicated Book Weirdo, and non-binary human, I think I’m pretty unique too.”
PBJ: How long have you been podcasting and when did you start?
Megan: My co-host RJ and I started Oh No! Lit Class in February of 2017, so we’ve been at it for not quite two years now.
PBJ: Why are you podcasting?
Megan: We’re podcasting because we sound much better than we look. Also, RJ is camera-shy. The serious answer is that our jobs are boring and not terribly creatively fulfilling and so podcasting is our fun, creative outlet. Also, the low bar to entry was a big factor — you just need a good mic, free editing software, and something to talk about.
PBJ: What is your podcast about and how did you pick this topic?
Megan: Oh No! Lit Class is a funny, foul-mouthed SparkNotes for your ears in which we break down classic literature and iconic required reading, including Shakespeare, Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.
We do author bios, summaries, analyses, and adaptations, but with all the strange and sexy details your teacher never told you. Along with bad impressions, worse singing, dubious financial advice, and an endless supply of dirty jokes.
We picked this topic because we know entirely too much about it and it’s not like that English Literature degree is doing much else for me. I’m a former English teacher, RJ is a current one, and we both think it’s important to make intimidating literature more accessible and fun, as well as question books that are worshiped as “classics” but might actually kind of suck. A lot.
We didn’t see any other shows doing this kind of thing at the time and so it seemed like a good niche, and listeners will tell us that we made them reconsider a book they didn’t like as a student or loved — that someone finally validated their hatred for Moby Dick and that’s always awesome.
PBJ: Do you have a website and or an app to host your podcast? Why or why not?
Megan: We just recently switched our hosting to Simplecast and it comes with its own clean little landing page, which is great because I know as much about designing a nice website as I do about astrophysics.
PBJ: How are you marketing your podcast?
Megan: We market through social media, promo swaps with other shows, plastering college campuses with flyers, occasionally screaming Who wants free stickers from a show about books and wiener jokes? at people in line for the bathroom at a My Brother My Brother and Me live show…the usual.
PBJ: How many downloads/listens are you getting?
Megan: Ahhh that feels weird to talk about. In the indie podcast community talking about numbers is basically taboo. It’s like sharing your salary with coworkers or the grade you got on a test with classmates or something. It tends to kill the feelings of camaraderie.
That being said, we’re no big fish. Guppy might even be a little generous. Our average downloads per episode are a couple hundred under 3,000 (that’s after 30 days, per standard), and we currently average between 11-12,000 downloads a month, which I think is made at least slightly more impressive when you consider our episode schedule is bi-weekly, so only two, or sometimes three, episodes a month.
PBJ: What are your biggest challenges?
Megan: Everything? Is “everything” a valid answer? Finding the time to research, write, record, edit, market, and doing all those things while also at the same time constantly trying to figure out how to do them better.
It’s a triangle and at the three points are “job,” “sleep,” and “podcast” and you can only pick two, and the show doesn’t make enough money for me to quit my job, so I don’t get very much sleep.
PBJ: Are you making any money? If so, how?
Megan: We make a little money through merch sales but mainly through Patreon where, against all odds, beautiful, wonderful, delightful, and amazing people pay us for exclusive merch and bonus content.
PBJ: Do you use ad insertion or allow network commercials on your podcast?
Megan: No, but we would if someone offered us money to do it. Fingers crossed.
PBJ: What advice do you have for other podcasters considering launching one of their own?
Megan: Go for it. Like, obviously have an idea of what you’re going to do and make sure it’s a topic that you love enough to talk about it for a bazillion episodes. But aside from that, just do it! Learn as you go! Make lots of mistakes! Just have a good time because if it’s not fun there is literally no reason to be doing it.
PBJ: What equipment are you using?
Megan: Mostly? Gumption. Aside from that, like I said, we currently host through Simplecast, which has been great so far. We record with plug-and-play Yeti USB mics and edit on Audacity, which you can download for free. It’s an uncomplicated setup and we like it that way.
How to listen, follow and contact Megan
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/pg/OhNoLitClass/groups/