BOU 037 – Should We Cancel (or Evolve) the Show?

BOU 037 – Should We Cancel (or Evolve) the Show?

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on image to go to artist’s site.

On this week’s episode we open up with the question:

Should we keep doing this show?

And, perhaps for the first time ever, (ironically enough), we stayed on topic the entire show!

In short, Johnny started a new (third) podcast, Bigger Better Stronger Faster, which has skyrocketed to huge success, whereas Better Off Undead has pretty much stagnated and has a fraction of the listeners of the Self Publishing Podcast.

Better Off Undead has turned into a show where we intended to talk about horror into a show of just three friends hanging out, where we sometimes talk about horror. Fun, but what’s the point?

We talked about other ways we could do the show, which included:

  • interviewing people in horror — writers, stars of Birdemic, and such
  • a companion piece to the Self Publishing Podcast where we interview other authors, or creative types
  • a show where we talk about our projects more from the creative end (rather than the business end which we usually stick to on SPP), and brainstorm, and such.
  • talk about whether we should cancel the show every week.
  • a positivity show like Bigger Better Stronger Faster where the guys try to fix Dave.
  • two hours of Self Publishing Podcast.

Or do we just cancel?

What do you think? Leave a comment here or on the YouTube page.

See you next week…







  1. My vote? BOU as a sometimes off-topic SPP companion. Live story meetings would seriously make me wet my pants!!!!

    One episode for craft and one for marketing? Sure.

    Or, one with you guys only and one with a weekly guest? Okay, I like it.

    Live story meetings about process for 30 minutes? BING BING BING! LOVE IT!

    Yeah, live story meetings would be awesome. You could talk about how you get ideas and where you want the story to go. As a writer AND reader, I love to hear about your process. I get SOOOOOO inspired when you guys announce new projects and what you’re doing next.

    Some writing podcasts start by talking about what the hosts have written over the last week. Their word count. Their progress. Where they want their projects to go. You can throw in ramblings, making fun of Dave, reading reviews, and even some occasion horror stuff.

    I’ve seriously listened to last week’s SPP seven times so far. I listen to what you guys are doing and planning and I’m super motivated to sit down and write. That’s why I love BBSF, because it makes me want to do more stuff.

    Plus, something that’s missing from SPP. You guys always gang up on Dave about productivity. I’d like to hear him talk about his strengths, like complex story telling and characterization. That would make great BOU material.

    And please, no more Birdemic stars. That joke died already.


    • Oh, and this was the best episode of BOU since the Snoopy Jizz episode (17).

      • LOL!

        Love all your suggestions. We’re definitely on the right track here.

  2. I can only find getting rid of BOU acceptable if its replaced with an hour of something else that is funny and not so serious…because it is all about me. I need those two hours of podcasting gold each week to help me get through my time as a cubical prisoner. The story meeting idea is interesting, but I can’t say I’m excited about it. I’d much rather hear you guys just BS about stuff. Listening to BOU is like sitting around at the bar with a couple friends, please don’t change it so much that it loses that feel.

    • I agree about the feeling and tone. You can’t change that. This show is so funny and awesome.

      Actually, reading funny reviews, talking about story ideas and BSing would make a great combo, to me, anyway.

    • I agree. I listen to this podcast to be entertained.

  3. Keep the show and evolve it. Talk about your own stuff – I listen for the humor and the off-topic bullshit anyway. If it wasn’t for BOU I wouldn’t be buying the Unicorn Western Saga when it comes out, I wouldn’t have bought White Space seasons 1 and 2, and I wouldn’t have made my own ‘Dave’ body pillow snuggle puppet.

    I’ve said too much.

      • Better stories, Off topic, Undead hosts

  4. My vote is for an SPP companion; the best part of BOU is when you talk book marketing anyway. I would love it if it was just SPP unplugged/after dark, Basically SPP covered in Snoopy jizz.

    • LOL, and it seems like that will be pretty much exactly what it is, Snoppy jizz included, courtesy of Dave of course.

      • So are you saying that Dave stalked up on Snoopy Jizz?

        I would ask how did he came about with his supply but I’m afraid to ask…

  5. I don’t mind the show evolving into a story meeting, but my concern is you guys having to talk in riddles because you don’t want to spoil anything about the projects you’re working on. Story meetings “behind closed doors” with just the writers are open to anything cause you know where the story is going or where you want it to go. Opening up those meetings to us might create a situation where you’re giving away major plot points or spending time avoiding talking about that. That’s not something I want to listen to.

    I listen to BOU for the off topic-ness and it makes me laugh a lot! But as soon as episode 36 ended I did say “why are they still doing this show?” So my vote is to evolve the show, but I’m not clear on what.

    A general mastermind meeting with no formal structure would be interesting. It would allow for the free flowing nature of BOU it seems most people like, but also have benefit for you and us.

  6. I liked Sean’s idea of turning into BoU into an outlet for discussing your own writing instead of doing it so much on SPP. Honestly, I think there is too much of it there. I love SPP when it focuses on the business side of things but I’ve been turned off by always hearing Johnny and Sean talk about how awesome/hilarious/epic/amazing their own work is. Sell your product and be proud of what you do, but damn. It goes over the top and is at the point where the product has been ruined for me by the hyperbole. If talking about your own work can be moved to a separate podcast, I think it would be a great move.

    • Hey guys, just saw the youtube video of the show you recorded today. Thanks for discussing my comment. I’m worried that I might have come across as more of an asshole than I intended. I fully appreciate and understand the time and effort involved in doing your shows. I’ve found them invaluable in my own work and think you guys are one of the best resources on self-publishing out there. Thank you.

      My issue isn’t that there is self promotion. You should be self promoting. My issue is more so the method of self-promotion. In one of the recent episodes, something was described as “epic levels of awesome.” When I hear somebody describe their own work like that my gut reaction is to roll my eyes and write the person off. It’s up to the audience to review the product to that degree, not the author. I know Johnny has the “fuck him, we don’t need him” attitude, but if I had this reaction to how you describe your work, there is a good chance other people have too. If I didn’t give a shit and appreciate your shows and you as professionals, I’d have just moved on with my life and stopped listening.

      While my first comment may not have clearly conveyed what I intended, I hope this one does a better job. You guys have accomplished some amazing things in a very short amount of time. You have every right to be proud and to talk about it. Just be careful of turning people off.

      • Dude, we were 100% just breaking your balls about it. 🙂

        As to epic awesome, I think that creators should be thrilled by their own work. I totally respect your opinion, but there’s basically zero chance I or Sean are going to stop using superlatives to describe what we’re working on. We’re excited every day, and it comes out.

      • Why don’t I respond to my own comment a few more times, hmm? For the sake of clarity, since I’m now worried about it, let me amend my last sentence.

        Just be careful about turning people off and limiting your audience because of things that have nothing to do with your writing. There are authors and actors out there who, because of their public persona, will never see a dime of my money. I don’t want to see that happen to you guys. You deserve success.

        • No worries at all, man. Way I see it, that’s trimming the tribe. I honestly think we would cost ourselves just as many fans by not being ourselves. I don’t want to worry how we’re being interpreted so much as just being ourselves. I do appreciate your comment, though, and fully get where you’re coming from.

  7. I am fairly certain that I am going to be a minority here, but here it goes…

    I came to this podcast with no knowledge of the Self-Publishing Podcast. I stuck around because I was entertained and found your interaction to be great. I will admit that my favorite episode is the one where you try to call Sean’s mother and didn’t succeed, which means that it was 50 minutes of nothing successfully happening – and it was great!
    I then went and found the Self-Publishing Podcast and liked it also. But while I liked it, it was informative about a specific topic and less ‘fun’. I have recommended this podcast to others and they liked it. I have only a couple people that I would recommend the other podcast to since they would have no interest in the topic of publishing. There are many people out there looking for that information, so it makes sense that they would hunt down the SPP, but there are many others who have no interest in it and would just enjoy a good laugh, and you provide that with this BOU.

    I do like the idea of you guys maybe using this as a forum for talking about creativity, as I don’t think that would interfere with the free-flow that is so enjoyable, but I don’t think it should be any further structured. You have a structured show already. This one is a fantastic rollicking free-for-all and that really works for me (and other fans, I am positive).

    That is my two-cents worth. I hope you have a great day, and I look forward to your next episode.

    • (I think that is the most I have used the word “great” in years.)

    • Funny thing is, I don’t think I would recommend this show to ANYBODY I know in real life. They’d probably be afraid to speak to me again.

      • Best. Comment. Ever.

  8. Thanks for the input (heh, heh), everyone. I like the idea of a VERY unstructured companion piece to the SPP, something that fans of both shows could get something out of, but which doesn’t compromise the “artistic genius” that is this chaotic podcast.

  9. I’m pretty torn about a change in the format. While I like both podcasts, I can tell you that as soon as I see a new episode of BOU in my podcast feed, I listen to it first before anything else. I am usually in tears from laughing so hard during my commute (probably not safe).

    I think it would be worth trying an unstructured episode on creativity just to see how it goes, but like lots of others I’d really hate for it to lose the crazy humor and randomness it has now.

    If you want to move away from the horror genre but keep the acronym, can I suggest Better Off Unfocused? Or in Dave’s case, Better Off Unsaid 🙂

    • HA! Better Off Unsaid! That’s PERFECT!

  10. Having listened to the podcast tonight, I gotta say… I dont give a shit about SPP. Ive listened to *maybe* 3 episodes and the only one I can recall was an interview with the lady who wrote the “For Dummies” on Scrivener. And the only reason I listened to that was because I have been doing a little writing myself (dystopian far-future philosophical navel gazing. Not horror) and got tired of trying to write in a book in FocusWriter.

    I started listening to BOU because I enjoy horror. Zombies and vampires and werewolves and all that other shit that makes sweat run cold and assholes pucker tight. I *stayed* because it was funny and that made up for the lack of scary.

    You talked about how BOU isnt “growing” but it didnt seem to occur to anyone that maybe it wasnt growing because its billed as a horror podcast but ended up being Jerry, George and Kramer talking about precisely fuck all.

    While I havent sat through 37 episodes wringing my hands wishing “please-oh-please can we please talk about horror this time”, I have caught myself wondering if Ive sat through 37 episodes of some elaborate social experiment to see to what extent you can string people along with mere *promises* of content (even if it is just calling Sean’s mom). Sometimes it feels like you guys are just trying to throw a Folger’s Challenge; “We’ve secretly replaced your horror podcast with bullshit, lets see if anyone notices.”

    Im not going to try and suggest which way you take the show, one way or another. I would LOVE if you guys offered a show that really was about horror – some of yours, some from outside authors, an occasional movie or TV show review, etc. If you do decide to turn BOU into “SPP: After Dark”, I might be alone in being really disappointed, but I dont think so.

    Best of luck guys
    – Jenn

  11. Hey Guys,

    I have been listening since last summer and started with episode 1… Birdemic had me hooked, and every episode, from rape gangs to trying to call Sean’s mom, just had me in stitches. I am not an author, but listened to a few episodes of SPP, and although really funny, the content didn’t hook me. I love the horror aspect of BOU, and especially the lack of direction that each episode takes. My concern with evolving the show is that it might gain some sort of structure.

    I think the creativity is already there, and listening to your excitement about your books has been the reason I have bought a good many of them. I am reading Yesterdays Gone, and apart from the spoiler about Desmond, I have no idea of what to expect next in the story and I think that’s brilliant (I recall someone reviewed it, saying it seemed like you guys were making up the story line as you went, but I find this nice since too many books and shows are so obvious it takes the surprise out of them).

    In short, I think your show is comedy gold, and if I had friends I would want them to be just like you.

    – Baydon

  12. I hope the show isn’t cancelled altogether, but don’t really care what you do with it. I enjoy listening to it each week, whether you are talking about your own stuff, making a joke that turns epic (fat vampire, unicorn western) or discussing movies and tropes. I’ll admit, I usually tune out when you are talking about walking dead, because I never finished season 1, but leave the audio going until you get onto another topic.

    I’m not a big “horror” person, but have bought all your stuff since starting to listen to SPP, mostly because I find it interesting what you guys are doing in the publishing industry and watching what happens with the end results based on what I’m hearing here (and love the inside jokes in UW.) Plus, the stories are good, just not something I’d have probably found on my own w/o these two podcasts.

  13. I just listened to the podcast last night on my drive home from my vacation. Please don’t cancel the show!!! Better Off Undead is one of a small group of podcasts that I listen to every week without fail, and genuinely get excited about when new episodes are released. I don’t listen to SPP. I found your podcast in it’s infancy while searching for horror related podcasts, and kept listening because you guys are so damn funny! You had me at rape gangs.:) I don’t mind that you don’t stay on topic because what I really enjoy about the show is the interaction between the three of you. If you feel that you need to evolve the show I’m okay with that, but I wouldn’t necessarily like to see the podcast become all about the writing, either. True, you guys just wind up bullshitting most of the time, but that’s what I like about it. The show is at it’s best when you start with a topic, and then completely avoid talking about it! I love moments like calling Sean’s mom, pondering what the fuck is wrong with Dave, and when Johnny tries, to no avail, to rein in the chaos. Do what you need to do to make it worth your time, but just know that those of us that really like the podcast don’t need there to be a “point.” Having fun is the point.

  14. I’m commenting before having listened to this episode — because uninformed, opinionated comments are the richest kind — but I’ve been listening to all the shows in order over the past few weeks, and I’m up to #33 or #34 right now. From early on you guys often claimed that this or that episode was the one where the show “jumped the shark.” My very opinionated personal opinion is that the show only recently, but very decidedly, jumped the shark when you started talking about the conversations you have with your kids at the dinner table. For a few episodes before that, the downward spiral had begun as you spent more and more time surfing the internet and checking Twitter during the show — which makes for somewhat less than compelling audio podcasting.

    Sean, Dave, if it’s come to talking about dinner time with the kids, maybe it’s time to get back to your early blogging roots and start a parenting podcast. Johnny could play the Art Linkletter role with a Kids Say the Darndest Things segment.

    Johnny is doing a podcast with Joel Runyon (Yay! for that, by the way), and apparently Dave is now podcasting with regular caller Garrett. Perhaps you guys are spreading yourselves too thin, and it’s time to drop one of your projects.

    If I recall correctly from the SPP, the original purpose of Better Off Undead was to serve as part of your marketing funnel, attracting potential readers to your horror & fantasy fiction. The BOU strayed almost immediately from anything having to do seriously with horror. If you were writing more satire (like Unicorn Western) or humor, the BOU show might be more effective for its intended purpose. If, as you mention, you feel the show has stagnated (or decayed — zombies do that, you know) and the listener numbers don’t make it worthwhile to continue, well, you need to ask yourselves, as you periodically mention in the SPP, is the time spent on BOU a worthwhile investment of a limited resource?

    I will miss the show if it ends. I’ll continue to listen to any incarnation it may take (unless you really DO turn it into a parenting show); the Live Story Sessions concept sounds appealing, especially if you DON’T self-censor to avoid spoilers. Talking about your projects from a creative angle sounds like fun — and it’s pretty much what you do here much of the time anyway — and might better serve the original intent of the show, as an element of your marketing strategy. Or hey, put the extra time into an extended 90 or 120 minute version of the SPP, that works for me! But if it’s time to call it a wrap on BOU and move on to more productive projects… well, if we’ve learned nothing else from watching horror movies, we know that no matter how dead the monster appears to be… it always comes back for a sequel!

  15. I will be honest to say I have stopped listening in recent weeks. I still listen to SPP every week. BoU still makes me laugh, I know it will make me laugh – but it is an hour of my time I don’t really have.

    I liked the Birdemic episodes the most, they were hilarious. The guests were fine (Although Alan sounded scared shitless in his whole interview?)

    If you were to continue, I would be interested in you interviewed horror authors/actors about movies/tv shows. I find your style and humour with interviews hilarious and engaging. Maybe consider that ongoing.


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