I took the plunge. I know it isn’t perfect, but I submitted Episode 1 of Half Past Midnight to Podiobooks.com for their review process. Assuming it passes muster, then I know I have my formatting and production values at least good enough to meet their minimum standards, and can move forward with reading and producing the rest of the novel.
After I went through the various tasks involved in producing a “viable” podcast episode, and (hopefully) dealt with the formatting and naming conventions required by Podiobooks.com and iTunes, I then loaded the podcast onto my iPod & listened to it for mistakes. That, in and of itself, was a mistake.
Like any conscientious person, I am often my own worst critic. I found a few genuine mistakes, (mostly stumbling over my words, but in at least one instance, actually mispronouncing something). But even more than that, the sound quality wasn’t as crisp as I wanted. I have learned a couple of things in my recording and production techniques that will likely improve it, and I could go in and fix some of the other minor issues I have. But really, in order to guarantee that the sound levels are consistent across the episode, I would probably have to start over.
So the question was, submit it as is, or start over? After discussing it with my better half, she convinced me that it was better to submit it as is, treat it as a learning experience, and improve my quality as I produce more episodes. That way, I can tell the listeners (both of them ) that if they make it through that first episode, the production values only go up.
I just have to keep reminding myself that the podcast is not the only thing I”m doing here. It’s part of a whole, and in part, it’s a means to an end. Keeping my eye on the goal here, I have to view it as one more piece of my end product. It’s the “free” version of the novel. It’s the “pre-print” version. And while I would like to say that every iteration of every story I tell will be perfect every time, whether in written or podcast form, I have to accept the reality of the situation. Nothing is ever perfect. I will put out the best product I can, whether it be written or podcast, within reason. And I will use each product that I put out there as a learning experience to help make the next one just that much better.
In the meantime, I’ve received a reply from Podiobooks.com confirming that they received my submission, and that they begin their reviews on Sunday. They didn’t mention how long the review process will take, but hinted that it would be pretty quick. If I pass the spec review, then they’ll actually listen to it, spot checking for volume levels, intro & outtro blending, etc. At that point, they’ll probably have some suggestions on what I can do to make the podcast a little better, based on their greater experience with this.
Then, assuming I’ve survived up to this point, the will send me “…a very long email detailing how to get us the rest of the episodes and the other information we need to get your book scheduled
for launch on our site.”
So here’s me, fingers crossed, waiting to see which way I need to jump next – victim of an ancient curse; living in interesting times.