Become a Fan
The following is an interview I had with author, radio personality, and podcaster, Evo Terra. If you'd like to hear the full interview, please check out the podcast link at the end of the interview.
Evo Terra is the co-creator of Podiobooks.com, a new website that is bringing audio books to the internet for free to listeners and for authors. He also just wrote a book with fantasy author Tee Morris, entitled PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES.
DS: Thank you very much for finding the time in your busy schedule to talk with me tonight.
ET: Yeah, you know my wife and I were just talking about time earlier. She said she wanted to go and find time to join an athletic club. I had to explain to her, “Honey, you don’t make time. There’s an exact amount of time between the time you get up and the time you go to bed. There’s no more. Unless you can orbit the earth really quickly and somehow slow it down for you. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t do it, you just have to move other stuff out of the way.” So, I’m happy to do it for you.
DS: Thank you very much. So I wanted to quickly run through some of your credits that at least I know of to get this started. You’re the co-host of three different podcasts. Slice of Sci-Fi, Dragon Page Cover-to-Cover and Wingin’ It. You are also the co-creator of Podiobooks.com. If that wasn’t enough, you teamed up with Tee Morris, also from Podiobooks, to create a wonderful book called PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES, which was just released in November of 2005, right.
ET: That is correct.
DS: How many other projects are you working on and are they all podcasting-related? Or do you actually have time for other things?
ET: Oh well, believe it or not, you have to make time for other things as well. Oh, now I said it. “Make time.” There’s actually one podcast you didn’t mention; that’s my CultCast.
DS: Oh, you know I just found that one, too. So forgive me for that. That’s your herbal ‘cast, right?
ET: Well, no, that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am a practicing herbalist. I am an herbalist, and I still say practicing because I have a handful of clients. But realistically, there is a lot more time I’d like to spend being an herbalist than I actually can. That’s obviously not where the universe wants me to be right now.
So, no the CultCast, while it’s housed on my herbal website right now has nothing to do with herbalism. It’s really all about my philosophies on life, and they’re fairly heavy. We try to divorce them from the sci-fi stuff. Lots of people said, “Oh I can’t wait to see what a sci-fi geek’s outlook on life is.”
I gotta tell ya, it’s not a sci-fi geek’s outlook on life is. I’m not really that much of a sci-fi geek. I enjoy it, and I have a lot of fun doing the shows, but here’s a chance for me to really, you know, speak some honest-to-goodness what I consider “truth” about the way the world works and how screwed up things tend to be sometimes.
It’s interesting. I put a show out once every three to four weeks and it’s not my main focus. When something strikes me as “I must speak about this now” I sit down, crank out a five-minute essay, and sit down and record it and push it out.
DS: Cool. I’ll definitely have to add that one to my list then.
ET: Well, yes it is different than everything else that I do. That’s for sure, so. But, yeah, I do tend to stay rather busy because outside of all of those things, I’ve got a full time job, I have a family, I’ve got a son who plays hockey 100 miles away. So, yeah, there’s rarely a time when I’m not sitting in front of a computer doing something. But I’m always thinking about podcasting and what’s the next thing we can do with that. That’s really struck my fancy the most of anything in a long time.
DS: OK, so when did you start podcasting?
ET: Well, officially, we started podcasting on October 14, 2004. My partner, Michael R. Mennega, had sent me an email about this new thing called podcasting on October the 12th. Two days later I finally looked at his email and said, “Heck, we can do this.” We were already doing our show, as an internet radio show — The Dragon Page Cover to Cover - which was on internet radio as well as several terrestrial radio stations around the country and most of them, if not all, were taking our show on MP3.
We already had it up on a secured area. I had an RSS feed, because I’m using a blog to maintain this site. So, I had those two things. All I had to do was figure out how to somehow magically stick the MP3 file inside of there. I was using MovableType, and there’s a great plug-in called MTenclosures, and literally it took me two days to do it but realistically it took about half an hour to get it ready.
So, we were podcasting out of the gate. But, we were cheating right, because we already had all of the heavy lifting done. It was just a matter of me making one connection between two points and we were there.
DS: That’s sort of what happened with podcasting in general though, isn’t it? It was sort of a “Hey, we can do this, and we have that, so if we just do this here, and Boom!”
ET: Oh, exactly.
DS: A whole media just sprang up out of nowhere.
ET: Well, there were a lot of nay-sayers out there, and you can still find them, about podcasting. You know, the big complaint they say is that podcasting is nothing new. You’re right, this is nothing new.
People have been putting audio files, either as we were doing with our show, or as an audio blog, for a really long time. RSS is nothing new. Dave Winer, if you can believe that Dave did it, which I actually do, made the Enclosure plug-in work to help things out. Adam Curry, of all odd people wrote the first script that somehow sucked it out and moved it around for you automatically. It’s just bringing together pieces. So you’re exactly right.
The forerunners of podcasting, those of us who from July to say November, we were all using other pieces and are sticking them together in new and exciting ways. So yeah, it wasn’t a lot of work to do. It was just, “Gee, I wonder who will listen to me this way now.”
DS: Right. I think it also owes a lot to iPods becoming a household name. But, you don’t need an iPod to listen to them. But it was because of portable media players I think also played a big part in once people were able to audioblog and get the enclosures and download it automatically. Putting it onto a media and taking it and going.. that was it.
ET: You’re exactly right. Untethering from the computer was really the key. Because, while there is still a significant portion of people who will listen to podcasts on their computer, that’s not the way it was intended.
The intention here was for you to get it whenever it happens to come down, at 3 o’clock in the morning when you’re not using your computer, and for you to move it to your portable player of choice so that you can take it with you. You know, it’s “to-go” type of information.
There’s no doubt that the success of the iPod really fueled that. Although it’s funny that you mentioned that you don’t need to have an iPod to listen to podcasting and you’re exactly right. Inside the book PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES, I make that statement over and over again, and even go so far as to say, “I don’t even own an iPod.” But I will tell you a story.
I didn’t own an iPod for a long time. As soon as I got a copy of PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES actually in print, in my hand — not an advanced copy, but the real ones out of the stores — I went down 30 minutes later and bought an iPod. So there. I didn’t want to lie in the book. So if you were one of the first people to buy the book as soon as it went on the shelf, it was true then. It’s not true anymore. I now own an iPod.
DS: And what do you listen to on your iPod? If I may ask?
ET: Oh my god. Well, I’m one of those crazy obsessive people that once he finds something that he really enjoys, goes to town with it. So, at last check there were 65 different podcasts that I’m listening to at any given time.
DS: Sixty-five… but you have the time on your commute to listen to them.
ET: Well, that’s true , that’s probably the best way to do it. You know, I live 105 miles away from the studio, and so that’s an hour and a half there, and an hour and a half back, at least once a week. My son plays hockey as I mentioned, so I’ve got an hour drive to take him to hockey and an hour drive back, that’s at least two times a week. Then I’ve got the two hours that I’m sitting there watching him practice to listen. So I have a lot of time to listen. So yeah, I can consume those 65.
Although I gotta tell ya, I just came back from being gone ten days in Belize and being gone for like four days for a hockey tournament at where my mom was out so I was kinda not very nice of me to sit and listen to podcast while she was out. So I just got caught up yesterday from about 20 days back, it was crazy. My iPod had about 120 different episodes in it.
But you asked me what I’m listening to you right now, Not as much science fiction as people might think. People, I think, tend to assume I listen to a lot of sci-fi shows, but I don’t. For the sci-fi shows out there, I do listen to “Escape Pod” and love it, love what Steve Eley is doing with it. I had a lot of fun doing a couple of readings for his show, that’s a lot of fun. I’ve been listening to Mur Lafferty’s “Geek-Fu Action Grip” since day one. She’s a great person and a great friend, you know she contributes to our show now. I listen to Paul S. Jenkins’ “The Rev-Up Review” out of the U.K. And I listen to Daniel Emery’s “Brief Glimpses of Somewhere Else“. And that’s about it for science fiction shows. A few others here and there when I get a chance, and of course the various podiobooks that are on there.
But I try to broaden my horizon with the podcasting world. I’ve been listening to Dan Klass’ “The Bitterest Pill” for a long time, love what Dan does. He’s since turned me on to a variety of other people such as Lance Anderson’s “The Verge of the Fringe“. Cush, “Things I Say“, So I try and really get an understanding of what’s going on in the podcast world, the “podosphere” we call it. It’s really become so difficult to talk about all of them. So, I just posted them. If you go to dragonpage.com and click on the “About” link and click on my picture, you can see every podcast I’m currently listening to. I just updated it a week ago. About every three months somebody sends me a note saying, “Hey, those haven’t changed in a while,” so I put new ones up there. But those are the ones I listen to regularly. You can find out there.
DS: Very cool. All right. OK, so when did you meet Tee Morris and were you helping him with his novel, and that’s what made podiobooks? Or how did that work out?
ET: Yeah, Tee Morris was one of the first guests we had on the Dragon Page Cover-to-Cover in early 2002. He sent us a copy of his book, MOREVI, and I loved it. So we kind of developed a friendship over the years. In November of 2004, he contacted me and said his agent for non-fictional work had contacted him and said there was an opportunity to write a podcasting book and would he be interested. So he immediately called me and said, “Hey, you’re the guy that’s having me podcast my book MOREVI, maybe you should help me with that.”
“Yeah, I should help you with that Tee, since you don’t understand the technical side of the thing. You’re gonna need some help.” So I said, “Sure, we could probably put a 120-page book together.”
He talked to his agent and his agent said, “It’s a 360-page book.” I said, “You’re kidding! 360 pages for me to say: Record it, post it up on a web server and link your RSS feed to it. There’s no way we can do that.”
So, then he said, “It’s a For Dummies book.” I said, “Crap. I can’t say no now.”
DS: Yeah, you gotta do that.
ET: So, yeah, how do you say no to that kind of deal? That’s a real book. So that’s how we got together writing together. But yes, I was helping him podcast his novel, MOREVI. I approached him back in October and said, “There’s this new thing we are doing called podcasting. I think you should be involved somehow. I’m not sure. What do you think?”
Well he was going to release his second book in that series come July of 2005 and he talked to his publisher and got permission to go ahead and release every chapter of that book in serialized form in a podcast up until the release date.
Right after he and I had started chatting, I called up another guy, Mark Jeffrey, who I’d also spoken with about the idea, and said, “You’re gonna do you book too that way.” I didn’t even give him a choice.
Scott Sigler contacted me and said, “Hey I’m gonna do this new thing called a podcast for my book,” and I said, “that’s not new, I’m already doing it, but I’m happy to include you as well.” So we stuck him in the mix.
So, for the longest time it was those three, then we found out about a guy named Paul Story doing a book called TOM CORVEN. So they were the first four. Since that time, I’m not sure how many there are out there right now. I know we’ve got 20 different podcast books up at podiobooks.com right now. There’s probably an equal number of those out there that are doing it solo projects for now.
DS: Right, and that’s how Scott Sigler started. He was doing it on his own, and was the first if I’m not mistaken.
ET: Well, there were three different firsts. Since I am the one who created the word “podiobooks”, by God, I get to say who was first.
DS: Well, there you go. Please.
ET: Yeah, I’ll set the record straight, because I actually have the timeline on all of these books. Scott Sigler had the very first “podcast only” novel. You couldn’t get EARTHCORE in print form. The only way you could get this book was via podcast. Now it was previously written. It was ready to be published before 2001. But for a variety of reasons it never happened. The imprint he was with fell apart.
Second, another first is Tee Morris. Now Tee Morris had the official very first podcast novel. He had an MP3 file attached to an RSS feed via enclosure before anybody else. Not long before but close enough to before everybody else. So the first ever podcast novel was Tee.
And then we have TOM CORVEN which was written by Paul Story over in Scotland. His was the first novel written exclusively for a podcast. His book wasn’t written. He was writing it as he was going along. Every three or four days, he would write a chapter. Sit down, record it, and release it.
So three different firsts, and they all happened in a three-week period.
DS: Wow, well that’s the wonderful thing about this medium. It has just been this explosion of ideas, and people are having the same ideas. You know, we can do this. Now, was Paul Story also doing his as a “blook” - as a blogged book? Or just as a podcast?
ET: Strictly as a podcast. You know, I am embarrassed to say this. I heard the term “blook” for the first time two weeks ago. I mean, here I am the guy who was doing an internet radio show all about science fiction books, and the guy behind podiobooks and I’d never heard of blooks before. Sorry, I kinda skipped that. Yeah, those are cool, too, but no Paul’s book, TOM CORVEN, was only available as a podcast.
DS: Wow, cool. How is podiobooks doing right now? I mean you said you’ve got about 20 books up there right now. Are you actively pursuing more authors? Are more authors coming to you? How’s it going so far?
ET: Well, it’s going really well. We put the site up in a beta form, kind of an official beta, on the first of October of last year. I think we launched with, I don’t know, about five or six different titles. Since that time, we went out of beta last weekend, or weekend before last, I forget when it was, with an all-new site design. Everything works well, and with 20 different titles on top of it. Really excited. We’re adding, as of last count, almost 100 new members a day. That’s really cool, and they’re subscribing to three to four books each on average.
That’s the cool thing about podiobooks, you know. It’s hard to read, unless you’re a crazy person like me, more than one book at a time. But it’s easy to listen to more that one podiobook at a time. You know, the way we designed that system is each feed is unique to each individual. So, even if you are on chapter 17, and you are the author, and somebody comes in next week, they don’t have to catch up 1 to 16. They get chapter one. And it comes down to them every week, if that’s the way they set it.
So on a Monday, they could subscribe to MOREVI, and on a Tuesday they could come back and subscribe to EARTHCORE. On Wednesday they could come back and subscribe to AMBER PAGE. That’s three books, three days, stretched out. And you can easily listen to them one chapter at a time that way.
So, you’d asked the question, are we going out and getting more authors? Yes. At last count 60 different people are in various stages of developing their book right now. Some of them are in the real early stages. Some of them are in the process of recording chapters. So there are 60 different authors last I checked, that are in the process of recording a podiobook.
Some of them — most of them have actually came to us and said, “I want to put out a book, you guys seem to be the place.” A few of them, we went out and cultivated and said, “You’re already doing this, you should come over here since I’m not charging you anything and we’ve already got the audience base.”
DS: Right, and there you go. There’s bound to be a lot of authors like me that think, “This is really cool, I would like to do this, too.” What advice do you have for authors like me who, we’ve got a book, what do we do now, if we wanted to make a podiobook out of it?
ET: Well, you’re ahead of the curve. A lot of the people who talk to us want a book — and a podiobook. So, my first advice to you is, you need a book first. It worked for Paul Story, actually writing his book as he goes.
But, I’ve been involved in the publishing industry long enough to realize that first drafts — 99 times out of 100 — suck. You’re not ready to podcast your first draft. Write your book. Edit your book. Editors by the way, don’t have the same last name as you. It needs to be someone different than your mother.
Once your book is solid, assuming you are starting with a book that is as tight as you can make it, then what are your next things to do. First thing you want to do is go listen to some other folks that are doing it because there a lot of right ways. A lot of different right ways to do a podiobook. And find your particular style. You know, some people use music all the way throughout. Some people have a very heavy, engaging first couple of minutes before they get into their book and they do it almost “Battlestar Galactica” style. With “Previously on…” and then “Next Week”. Which is how Scott Sigler did it.
DS: Yes, I was just going to say EARTHCORE does that.
ET: Yes, Scott did that. I mean he said, “this is watt 24 does, this is what Battlestar does, this is what people are used to by god, I’m gonna do it that way.” Scott’s a media-whore, so he’s gonna do what it takes to get it there. But everybody’s different. Some people like Jack Mangan who did SPHERICAL TOMI. You know Jack’s deadpan. I mean the boy seems to have no emotions coming out of his mouth. That’s an OK delivery style. The nice thing about podiobooks are that it is different than an audio book.
When I listen to an audio book I want professional sounding voice actors giving it to me. That’s because of what we’ve been trained to expect.
DS: Well, and you are also paying $40 for an audio book.
ET: No doubt, but with a podiobook, I want to hear it from the author. In the author’s voice. I don’t want someone else to do it for him, or her. I would actually prefer to listen to it in that voice, because I get a much better connection to that story by listening to the guy who wrote it. As opposed to some actor that was paid $500 a minute to try and read it.
So, back to the advice I’d give somebody: invest in a good quality microphone. That’s probably the single best piece of advice I can give you.
Your editing software is immaterial. You’re not going to do that much with it. Audacity and GarageBand are two free products, well sort of free for GarageBand if you’ve got a Mac, are perfectly fine. Use Audacity, it’s going to do everything you want it to do.
Spend some time navigating through one of the podsafe music directories to find the music that fits your book. Contact that artist and say, “I want to use this, are you OK with it?” You already have the rights to do it, but it’s still nice to do that. That’s all you’ve got to do.
Get a good microphone, get some good background music with it, and put your heart and your soul into it. Take your time. Don’t rush. Podiobooks aren’t going anywhere. We’ll be around until you get it right.
DS: Cool, and that brings me to your first point: a good quality microphone. I’m still using an old-fashioned Radio Shack headset microphone plugged into my PC. But I’ve heard a lot of people saying that the USB microphones are better. Just for going that way, would you suggest that, or would you say you really need a studio-quality decent microphone.
ET: Well, it really depends on what else you want to do with that. There are plenty of people that are recording their podiobooks on, like me I’ve got a $60 Plantronics USB headset that I’m talking to you on. You can do it with that. I would not personally. The lowest microphone I would use personally if I was going to record these books, I’ve got a Shure SM-58 sitting right next to me. That’s what I do all of my recording on solo. Now when I go to the studio with Mike, he’s got $700 AKG blah-blah I don’t even know what they are, that we do it with. If you are going to do it right, get a good quality studio condenser mic preferably, I would say. Although I’m really not the person to talk to talk tech on microphones with.
I don’t know that I’d go with a USB mic. I might go with a USB interface that can plug in a regular microphone into that with a nice XLR jack or 1/4″ plug. The USB mics I’ve heard people say that there are some really high-quality ones and I’m gonna go to the store and research some of those over the weekend. Because I’d like to be able to just plug in straight to my computer and not plug in the Shure SM-58 in the MotuTraveler who goes into all that other stuff.
But the thing about a microphone that every one should know is go try them out. Just because I use microphone A doesn’t mean your voice is right for that same microphone. You might be able to get off with a much cheaper microphone, so go spend some time testing them all out. Got to Guitar Centers, they’ve got a thousand different microphones there. Tell the guy behind the counter you’re not buying today you just want to check them out. Put some headphones on and see how your voice sounds and the one that makes your voice sound the best, buy it.
DS: Cool, great advice. Thank you very much. So, let’s see. Besides working on PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES, what else have you written?
ET: Well, my first official written opportunity also came from Mr. Tee Morris. Trying to think exactly when this was. it was either 2003 or 2004, he was putting together an anthology if you will, I guess not an anthology, but it was called THE FANTASY WRITERS’ COMPANION. A year or so before he had contributed to a book called THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WRITING FANTASY. So this was the sequel to that, which kinda struck me as odd. If it was complete, why would you need a sequel? So we kinda joked about the name. For the longest time we were going to call it BRIDE OF THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WRITING FANTASY, RETURN OF…, etc.
In the end they decided to call it THE FANTASY WRITERS’ COMPANION. Tee had sent me an email and said that he would like for me to contribute a chapter to the book. Which was kinda funny because for those people out there who listen to my shows that I do, I don’t like fantasy. I’m a reader of hard science fiction and bizarre stuff. Fantasy has never really lifted my flag, to say it’s not my thing, so, as he asked me to write this I wasn’t sure what to do.
We were going through my background and he said, “Maybe you could do something with herbalism.” Which also struck me as kind of odd, but as I realized it, most fantasy books are written in 500-year old, some sort of medieval setting, at least where there’s not modern-day technology. Herbal medicine is plant-based medicine. You go pick something, you do something with it, and you get medicine out of it. But so many books and movies, like LORD OF THE RINGS, for example, get it wrong. That’s not the way things actually happen. Or they have it to where, oh, this person has broken his leg, quick, we have to go rush and find a healer 17 villages away. You know, 500 years ago, people could take care of just about anything on their own.
So, I decided to write that. So I wrote a book on how to make herbal medicine work in your fantasy world, and it was a lot of fun. I got to help you make up names for your plants and I used real-world stuff. You know, how plants got their names, through folklore, through legend, and what they did. A lot of the plants out there have healing names with them. So that was the first thing I sat down to write professionally. You know things I got paid for, and I found it to be a blast.
I struggled with it for about a week, and then I crumpled the page up and threw it away, and six days later I was done with my entire chapter. So I thought, wow, this actually works out for me. So then I set out to write the great American novel. And that’s never gonna go anywhere. I have no gift for plot. Not my thing. And I genuinely didn’t enjoy it. So I thought, OK, that was weird. Then I got the chance to write PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES, and I loved every second of it. So I realized, I’m a non-fiction author. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Now I’ll do some more with that. What? I don’t know. I’ve got a couple things in the works. I’ve got some feelers out there that I’ve been talking to some people about. So we’ll see, because I enjoyed that.
DS: Very cool, I loved the bio for you in PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES. Let’s see if I can get this right.
“Evo is the poster child for Type A personalities the world over. Washed-up musician, tree-hugging herbalist, heretical-but-ordained minister, talk-radio personality, advertising executive and technology innovator, all wrapped up in one single-serving package.”
I want to talk about each of these really quick. “Washed-up musician.” Tell us about when you started playing guitar, or bass excuse me, and what happened with that?
ET: Well, it’s a funny story how I got to playing. I was working in California, with a bunch of guys in a large company, and the vice-president of the area I worked for had come to me and said, “You used to play music when you were in high school, didn’t you?” I was 25 or do and said, “Sure I did.” So he said, “I’m thinking about gonna get together a band, are you interested?” I said I’d love to.
So three months later, he contacts me again. He rattled off the people who were gonna play, and he said, “I got this guy named Ron who’s gonna play the drums.” And I said, “Wait a minute, I play drums.” And, he said, “I thought you played bass guitar.” My response was, “I guess I do now.” So I went out and bought a bass guitar. I used to play six-string guitar when I was much younger, and grew bored and frustrated with trying to place four fingers at a time. I could play single notes really well, but you know chords were beyond me. Bass guitar, ooh, one-finger chords. I’m in. So I picked it up and for like three years we were together doing cover tunes and whatever.
I got to Phoenix, and I met a really talented guy named Don Cross, who is just a musician — it doesn’t matter what it is, Don plays and wants to do something with it. Whether it’s guitar, whether it’s drums, whether it’s the trumpet, whatever. Don’s always had something going. He and I hooked up through some weird connections and we just synched-up together really well.
We formed a band called Serpent of Eve along with another guy named Dave Gonzales. We were just strictly a studio band at the time. We did two or three different albums of all of our original music. That was a lot of fun. But then we lost Dave, he had to pursue a career of driving a beer truck.
DS: Poor guy.
ET: Yeah, so we lost him. So I teamed up with Don as well with these really cool, interesting, innovative people that were forming a band called Spaz Kitty. That was a Ska Punk band. I loved the music although I had never played Ska before. So again I took home tons of CDs and had to learn how to play that funky rhythm. Being a drummer and a bass player, rhythm’s not really a problem for me.
We were together for about a year and a half. We did a lot of gigs here in and around the Phoenix valley. In fact the band’s still together. Don and I both left the band for a variety of reasons. One was the fact that I was moving 100 miles away. Plus I wanted to focus a lot more on the radio stuff that I was doing.
So they’re still playing, but that was a lot of fun. My favorite memories of the band was that we did a cover song, and I really don’t like playing cover tunes. I told the band that, so they wanted to do a cover of “Sedated”, and I agreed to it. But only if we did it “Country-style”. That’s still my favorite song.
DS: I would love to hear that.
ET: You know what, Brian Ibbott from Coverville has a copy of it. So email him and tell him you want him to play that song on there. “Sedated” by Spaz Kitty.
DS: Cool, so you’re also an herbalist. Now are you still practicing up in Cottonwood?
ET: Yes I do. I have a handful of clients, not many. I graduated from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, their Herbal program in, I believe it was 2000. I’d been studying since 1997 kind of on my own, but reached a point to where I was as far as I could get. I needed somebody with more knowledge than me to take it further.
So I met a really cool lady who’d been a practicing herbalist for thirty-some-odd years that was teaching and advanced course in herbalism. So I studied under her. Her name is JoAnn Sanchez. A really talented, wonderful lady, who taught me amazing things.
So, after that I moved to Cottonwood, and grabbed a handful of clients. My specialty is the natural healing plants of this area. I like to use things that are local to where somebody happens to be. That’s one of my specialties.
The other is dealing with people like me — Type-A personalities — that have way too much going on in their lives that really don’t want to change and live the monastic lifestyle but need some things to help calm them down. So I do a mixture of herbs and also just some stress-reduction techniques, to help people like me deal with the world.
DS: Cool, OK, next one: “Ordained Minister.”
ET: Yeah, believe it or not, I’m an ordained minister, I have actually performed three weddings and I have another one scheduled for March. Kind of a funny story. Some very close fiends of my wife a I got married over 2000 and they invited us to fly out to California to be with them in their wedding, and their wedding was in some guy’s house. It was just them and this guy.
I said, “This is kind of cool, what’s this all about?” So I talked with him and he became an ordained minister because he had some friends that wanted to get married and didn’t really want to have all of the church stuff thrown on top of them.
In most states all you need to do is be recognized by an organized religion. So there’s a group out there called the Universal Life Church. If you’d like to be an ordained minister, you can go to UniversalLife.org (or ulc.org) you fill out a web form and they send you a piece of paper in the mail that says you are now an ordained minister.
So while I wouldn’t ever presume to stand up and you know preach a sermon or give someone the Last Rites, cause I’m not that kind of ordained minister, I definitely am able to perform ceremonies such as marriages within the letter of the law at least in Arizona and many other states.
DS: I was just going to ask you because, I too am an ordained minister through the ULC. I’ve performed one ceremony, and that was here in Maricopa County, in Glendale. But I wanted to know if it was different in Yavapai County up there.
ET: All of mine also have been done in Maricopa, I haven’t done Yavapai yet, but I assume it’s the same.
DS: Don’t assume, but I bet it is.
ET: Yeah, well, that’s the great thing about it. As the minister of the ceremony, I make it all up to them. Go get your paperwork, give it to me, I’ll sign it, you mail it back. You’re more responsible than I am.
DS: Well, a friend of mine just performed one in Colorado, and apparently there in Colorado, it’s extremely simple. You don’t even need an ordained minister. One person says “Do you?” The other person says, “Yes.” They say, “Do you?” The other person says “Yes.” You’re married. It’s that simple.
ET: That’s awesome.
DS: Yes, you have to have a license, but you don’t need a minister (or a Justice of the Peace). Anybody can perform the ceremony. That is what I wish it was everywhere. But, where it isn’t like that, the ULC makes it easier.
ET: They make people like you and I who really get a kick out of doing it. That’s the whole reason for doing it. You know, when my wife and I got married, we got married at 20 years old. We lived in Oklahoma at the time. Not because she was pregnant, mine son was born when I was 23, do your math. But in the state of Oklahoma, in order for a woman can get married in the state of Oklahoma, if she is 18 or older. A male in Oklahoma has to be 21 or older, unless he gets his parents’ permission. That just struck me as the most bizarre thing on the planet. I need my mommy’s permission to get married and I’m 20 years old. I’m living on my own, no. Not that my mother wouldn’t have given us permission, but we didn’t want to go that route.
So we drove to Texas and got married. Our plan was to go to a Justice of the Peace to perform the ceremony. But my wife kind of got sentimental there towards the end and said she’d really like to have a minister do it. So we found a really nice guy down on South Padre Island, Texas. A little place called Chapel By The Sea, and it really was. He had sliding windows that he opened up and there was the ocean in front of there. It was my wife and I and the minister and we got married. He talked to us for like twenty minutes beforehand and said, “OK, come on, let’s do this thing.” It was beautiful, it was a great ceremony. That’s the kind of minister that I’d like to be to help these people do that.
So, when my friends got married years ago, now years later, this is something that I’ve gotta do to help people do this. You know, release the stress. Because getting married is stressful. Especially, from what I understand, for women. I didn’t really feel that much stress. But womenfolk tend to feel a little more. So, I hope to relieve some of that.
DS: There you go. Awesome. So, let’s see. We already know about the “talk-radio personality”. “Advertising executive and technology innovator”. Well “technology innovator” we know about podiobooks.com.
ET: Right, well and my prior life before that. I worked inside of e-business. I led a multi-million dollar revenue-generating products for years before I decide to get out of that and go into consulting. So, in consulting, I’m now doing online advertising. I work with a firm out of New York City and place somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-25 Million worth of ads on behalf of our clients every year.
ET: It’s a job.
DS: It’s a job…
ET: It pays the bills. There are definitely some challenges and some things that are quite interesting. But when it all boils down to it, I’d rather just be podcasting all day long.
DS: Yeah, so I guess that really brings you to one last thing. That is, how many people do you think are really making money out of podcasting? Is that something that you think is going to change in the future or do you think, hey we should do this to do what we love and if we make a buck or two, that’s cool.
ET: Well, you know, I’d love to have the Dave Slusher attitude, which is the latter one. You know, do what you love and if you can make a buck or two, that is cool. And in fact that is still the approach I take every single day. But I do see some opportunities coming. For people to afford to podcast full-time. You know, I would have said “quit your day job“, but that’s been patented now or trademarked, and I don’t know if I can say that without giving Adam and Ron some money. So, it is possible. But, where I think you’re going to find the biggest thing happening is not necessarily with people who just wanna sit in front of a microphone and talk all day long. You know we have a medium for that, it’s called radio. Podcasting needs to be something different.
ET: So, your message has to be different. But you also have to think about what is revenue-generating opportunities that takes to podcasting. There are a lot of folks that I think will have, in 2006, that will find significant sums of income from production work. Actually helping people make podcasts, helping organizations and companies get into podcasting. There’s a huge opportunity for that. I think there’s a great chance also for people to get involved in the educational system. That is a great untapped market.
DS: Oh, absolutely. I would love to see, and I think I had heard either you talking about it, or maybe you’d written about it, about seeing podiobooks become something that you could see text books making it’s way to.
ET: No doubt. Any sort of information, that is sequential in nature, and needs to be started from one, and unique to that particular person. Needs to be put out in podcast form. Probably the way we are doing it with podiobooks. With our “EachCaster” feed, that goes out for you. But those are the true opportunities.
Can you make money, by sitting together, you and your spouse, in a farmhouse in Wisconsin podcasting? Yeah. You can. How many people can do that, becomes the big question.
Those people that will find a way to derive real income from podcasting will make sure it is in the spirit of podcasting, which is the first thing you said, you know, do what you love. That’s gotta be a big part of it. But, do something innovative.
Find a new direction for this. As we said before, there’s nothing new inside of podcasting. But we can take this avenue of distributed audio and video content (I even call video podcasters, “Podcasts”) a new direction. That’s where the money’s gonna come.
So, one show a week where you sit down for thirty minutes and do it, of course you’re not gonna make any money off of it. That’s ludicrous to think that’s gonna happen to anybody. But maybe you help 15 different podcasters produce some stuff. Maybe you work with an organization to help them figure out this new distribution method. There will be opportunities that present themselves, I guarantee it.
DS: All right. Well, thank you very much for sitting with me and making the time to chat.
ET: You’re welcome.
DS: I’m looking forward to listening to more of The Dragon Page, and Slice of Sci-Fi. Say Hi to everybody over there at the Draco Vista Studios.
ET: I will definitely do that, Dan. We look forward to seeing your book on Podiobooks.com before too long.
DS: Yes, well thank you very much. Take care.
ET: You’re very welcome.
To find out more about Evo Terra and his projects, visit Podiobooks.com, DragonPage.com, SliceOfScifi.com, and MichaelAndEvo.com. You can find the book PODCASTING FOR DUMMIES in your favorite bookstores now.