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Scare You To Sleep is an audio-fiction podcast full of spooky bedtime stories. From ghosts in the Bayou to serial killers in the 90s, host and creator Shelby Scott covers everything that goes bump in the night.
Previously a platform-exclusive podcast, but now available to listeners everywhere as part of the Acast Creator Network, we spoke to Shelby about the importance of the open ecosystem, her favourite thing about podcasting, and her relationship with her fans.
How did you get into podcasting?
“I initially got into it because I was looking for a unique way to showcase my short stories. Short stories in general live in a sort of place where they can’t really be published unless you have a whole collection and not a lot of publications highlight them. So I thought, ‘I love podcasts, why not try my hand at doing my own?’”
What’s Scare You To Sleep all about?
“Scare You To Sleep is a horror podcast, mostly of short fictional stories that I love to make as immersive and atmospheric as possible. I see horror as an escape and I like to feed into that idea by making you sort of lose yourself for 40 minutes a week in a different world. Anyone who is a fan of horror fiction and likes the idea of being read a story would probably like it.”
Where did the idea for the show come from?
“I know a lot of people who sleep to podcasts. I tried, but I’m such a light sleeper that any sort of loud noises or laughter always jolted me awake. So I sort of combined my love of horror, ASMR, and audio dramas into something I think people can be oddly both titillated and relaxed by.”
Which have been your favorite three stories so far, and why?
“Oh, most definitely God Will Provide, Good Hair, and Quietus.
“God Will Provide was one I wrote and is my best-performing episode by far — it’s just a story I’m really proud of. It’s got a lot of religious horror and half of it is set in the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma, a really desperate and trying time for those involved. Desperate being a very key word for the whole story.
“Good Hair was written by the fantastic author Nina G. Jones. She really beautifully and horrifically highlighted the issues that women of color have to deal with, being both fetishized and criticized all at once for their hair and their features. That one required a strong stomach, I will say.
“As for Quietus, there is a story featured in that episode called Death’s Witness by Tess Rook, that shows a more existential side of horror. That one has left quite a few people in tears.
“So I think those three show a great range to what you’ll get out of my show.”
What’s the best thing about podcasting?
“Getting to share people’s talents and stories all over the world.”
And the worst?
“Being a one-man show to a pretty demanding podcast, sometimes I wish I could clone myself to get more work done.”
When did you first hear of Acast, and how did we come to work together?
“I actually heard about Acast through my friend Pacific S. Obadiah over at Bloody Disgusting, more specifically at the show SCP Archives. We had a lengthy phone conversation one day, where I told him some of my woes about my situation at the time and he highly suggested I try Acast and connected me.”
Why do you think it’s important that your podcast is part of the open ecosystem and available to listeners everywhere?
“I tried exclusivity, and it was honestly heartbreaking to read about people from different countries who just didn’t have access to the show like they had before.
“This gives my listeners so much more freedom to choose which platforms they’d like to support and to listen to me on. It’s all about them, and making it as easy as possible for them to get to hear the show however they’d like.”
What else do you offer to fans, beyond the podcast?
“I have a merch store over at Teepublic, and a Patreon with lots of bonus content. They definitely dig Patreon the most, and I can see why. I get to connect with them on a more private and personal level whilst also providing some fun extras.”
What’s your relationship like with your listeners?
“I engage with my listeners as much as I can. Social media can get pretty overwhelming, but I think that together we’ve all built a really fun community. There’s a good sized Facebook group of Scare You To Sleep listeners and it’s been such a joy to see them all connect with each other.
“Seriously, bringing people together through horror has been so rewarding.”
What does the future hold for Scare You To Sleep?
“I’m thinking about more video content in the future to complement the show, and my biggest goal is to eventually have a published compilation of all of my stories so that people can read along at home. Basically, I’m trying to take over all of the mediums in which one can consume horror.”
Q&A: Scare You To Sleep’s Shelby Scott on open podcasting, fans, and her favorite episodes so far
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