How to produce a Zoom/YouTube Series and make it work…correctly, part 2

by Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

We are a husband and wife team who write together as well as individually. When the Pandemic hit, we were as shocked and confused as everyone else. Not only by the world’s sad state of affairs, but we missed our friends.  It took a few months to realize that the Pandemic was going to take some time to resolve. So, we decided to launch a YouTube channel, “Chatting with Authors.” We produce casual interview programs via Zoom and air them on YouTube.

          This is the second of a two-part series that discusses the ins and outs of making it work and some pitfalls to avoid.

Once you have all of your technical details worked out and, most important, are comfortable using them, next comes the talent (people you want to interview).

INITIAL CONTACT- First, we sent an initial letter to inform authors of the program, what it was going to involve and asked if they were interested in being on the program. Surprisingly, we had little response to the idea. We set up three Zoom recordings of those who were interested. After editing them and scheduling them on YouTube, we were able to refer the authors to the three programs. That’s when the flood gates opened!  

FOLLOW UP- We scheduled two to three Zoom recording sessions per day. We found that any more, and we were getting too “punchy” toward the end. The best was two or three. Once the talent was scheduled for recording, we asked them to send a headshot, website address, short bio, and five questions they would like us to ask them on the show.  Once we received their information, we scheduled a phone interview a week before their Zoom session. This is where we discussed the procedure and went through the bio and questions (we usually had to edit the bios and questions to fit in the 30-minute recording session).

DURING ZOOM RECORDING- We discovered gremlins in the internet that can cause all sorts of problems, especially when interviewing people in different countries or the east coast (we are in California). So it is best to schedule an hour even though our show is 30 minutes. Once you get them online, check audio and visual. Remedy any problems, like echoes, before you begin recording.

Be sure to keep the talent on after the recording is finished to discuss any problems that may have occurred during the session, i.e., visual static, audio blank spots, lights falling (it happens!!), and decide if you need to redo the interview at another time. This happened only twice out of 64 shows.

AFTER THE SESSION- Immediately after the recording session, summarize the interview for your PR for the show. We have a specific logo we use and superimposed their headshot on it. When we schedule our airings on the various platforms, we use that summary and logo.

 A week before we air their program, we send them a notification of day and time, a copy of the logo, address, and summary we are using. 

IMPORTANT!  Always ask them to confirm that they received the information. Always!

DRESS-be sure what you wear will not disappear into the background. And council your talent to be careful if they are using a green screen or a background. We had a few people who were armless and faceless or bodiless until they changed their clothing.

THE STUDIO- We record from a corner of our office, early in the morning every Thursday.  So, each Wednesday evening, we set up the studio and take it down every Thursday afternoon. It may seem like a pain, but it does get easier as you do it.

Things to watch out for:

—If you are recording on your premises (home, garage, outside), be sure you know when the gardeners, carpenter, cement workers, trash pickup, etc., are coming anywhere in the neighborhood. It can get embarrassingly loud! 

—Be sure your lights are soundly taped down or strapped. One of our lights managed to stay put during the first two interviews of the day but came crashing down on the third one. We acknowledged it but kept the interview going. 

—During the phone interview prior to recording, you will get a feel for the nervous state of the talent. If they have never done this before, they can get pretty frazzled. So encourage them as you record their interview.  

With much planning and practice before your first recording, you will have a blast doing interviews with friends, meeting new people, and, most of all, making connections. We have written five books and recorded 64 shows together, and yes…we are still married!


Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Author of mysteries, checkout my website
Check out our latest Skylar Drake Mystery.

(For questions and/or information on how  YOU and your writing can be hosted on “Chatting With Authors” please contact them at: )


This blog was posted for Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn by Jackie Houchin


An Interview with Web Designer Rick Taylor

We are pleased to have with us Web Designer Rick Taylor. If you would like to take a peek at a sample of Rick’s work, you can check out our own Jackie Houchin’s web site. And, in full disclosure, Rick is currently putting together a web site for me. If you’re worried that you aren’t very good at conveying images, I am the most visually impaired (creatively) person I know, and Rick hasn’t offed me yet! So without further ado, I give you the infinitely patient Rick Taylor!

What are some of the purposes of a web site and the advantages to having one?

First I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for the Writer’s in Residence web site, Jackie, and I want all of the readers to know I’ll be happy to answer any question we do not cover here today.

All right, some of the purposes of a web site include personal pages such as family photo sharing and e-mail, to e-commerce business applications where folks can buy your product and have it shipped to them. One of the most popular uses of a web site these days is to host a blog site, such as Writer’s in Residence.

There are many advantages to having a web site, whether it is a free blog or a paid solution. Free sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Photo Bucket are perfect for friends to share updates about their lives, post photos, and keep in touch. These sites are also a good means of promoting professional web sites as well.

As for having a custom web site for your business, it is downright essential nowadays. More and more, even if you do business in person, your clients will look you up online for detailed information about your services. It is important to have a professional web site in order to build brand recognition and confidence.

Are there any new trends in websites that you can tell us about?

In the 15 years that I have been watching web site trends, the enduring and most important one has been to make web sites more useful—to make them do more for the end user. In 1994 when the Internet was first opened to the public, most sites were nothing more than a vanity page or business card. Now you can purchase anything and everything online, seeing it in various styles and colors before making your choice.

As a web designer, you have to be part techno geek, part creative genius, and part therapist. What information and suggestions should a client already have in mind before they contact you for web site design?

Most importantly they should have in mind what they want users to be able to do on their web site. Is it to simply share information, exchange ideas, or to enable visitors to make a purchase? Decide this first and I can help with the rest.

Any time creative professionals deal with people’s imaginings versus reality, they risk having a gap between the two. What should potential clients realistically expect from a web designer?

As far as the design goes, it is best for a client to provide a few links of web sites with a design that appeals to them. Rather than copy these sites, the designer will be inspired to create something new which will have a similar “feel” to existing sites. A great web designer can make people’s imaginings become reality, but usually at a cost, so budget has to be considered when planning a web site.

What is the biggest challenge that you run into when working with clients?

Oh, that would definitely be with providing content. This is not much of a problem with writers, but it can be for those with a new business idea. “Content is king,” I tell my clients. Without good text content on the home page, for instance, the major search engines like Google may never index their web site. A good domain name and lots of relevant text makes a world of difference.

Branding is becoming a big deal, especially with authors. This is when the author creates an image or identity through their website, blog, appearances etc. Do you address this at all through your services?

Great question. I often buy books based on the author’s name only, and this is a result of good branding. With the author’s website used as the starting point, and branching out to all blogs, interviews, appearances, etc, the brand name becomes consistent instead of fragmented. The author’s web site must not be “yet another” site she/he is found on, but instead it must be the foundation from which all other site postings are based. I definitely believe in this and guide the author all the way toward strong brand recognition.

How long does it take to design a web site from first consultation until the site goes live?

Of course this depends on so many variables, but what I like to do is give the client a basic presence immediately and then build upon that. The design process may take a few weeks, but in the meantime there is some home page content and a means of contacting the web site owner. Alternatively, I can bring the web site live all at once, it just depends on the customer’s preference.

What are the costs involved?

Again, this will depend on a few variables, though I daresay that a web presence is affordable for just about anyone as long as their expectations are realistic. Just as an example, a 5-page web site with a contact form would be $299.

Can a client make changes, additions, and updates? What’s involved?

Yes, if I know upfront that the client would like to make their own changes later I can build the site in such a way that it has an “administrator” mode which allows them to add or edit content. This mode is very easy for anyone to use, so it takes a bit more work for me to create. A very inexpensive web site would be edited in “HTML”—the language of the web—so it would have no such client mode. It all depends on the customer’s wishes and budget.

Does the webmaster “promote” the site in any way, such as advertise it on Google?

A good designer will build a web site so that it is “search engine optimized.” This means that search engines such as Google will automatically index such sites because of the way they are constructed by the designer. Additionally, I do let Google know when a site is live and ready for indexing.

Is there something that you would like to tell our audience? 

I would be happy to talk to anyone reading this article, and you may reach me for a live chat by visiting my website and clicking on the “Live Support” button. You can also visit my contact page at for toll-free number, fax, email, and more.

Thanks again for this interview!

Rick Taylor

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