'Practicing What You Preach'
Over the last week, I haven't been in the best of form. This is entirely my own fault, because I was stuck in the wrong mindset, a mindset which I have told you guys on several occasions to steer clear of - the mindset which says your podcast isn't worth it unless you're making $.
For whatever reason, in the last month our Patreon has plateaued and even contracted a little bit. It seems we won't be making the $1,500 goal any time soon, but this should be ok. I should have things in perspective: I'm doing what I love for my job, I am learning so much, I am working hard for myself and for history, I am building pieces of this podcast together which I'll be able to use long into the future. I don't even feel stressed, but I felt like I was failing because a few people wanted to cut down on costs and cancel or reduce their pledges this month.
That is ridiculous. Maybe you struggle with these issues - maybe you find yourself falling into the trap of equating income to success all to easily, but maybe you don't, and you know what it really means to be successful. Either way, as I usually do, this week's instalment of the HPP harnesses my experience of the last week, to show you guys that, while you may think I'm infallible, I don't always get it right.
It's especially annoying because this has happened before. Over a year ago during the Five Weeks To Run Wild spectacle, I wrote about how I didn't feel successful in that endeavour because there wasn't as many new Patrons as I would have liked. It is quite painful to read it, because I am wary of sounding entitled or spoilt. At the same time though, it is important to put stuff like that out there, because above all else, it is honest. I want to be honest with you guys, and you should be honest with your audience. Be honest about your struggles, about your successes, about your mistakes and everything else in between. If you can't be honest as a history podcaster, then when can you be?
That said, since it's been about a year since I felt like a spoilt brat, it was probably time for my brain to decide that 1,200 euro a month from my podcast (what the $ in Patreon normally transfer to) simply wasn't enough anymore. This time, the mindset came from worrying about 1956, as much as I worried about Five Weeks to Run Wild. You see, I really enjoyed making 1956, and the entire time I did I was confident that it would bring in a rake of new patrons and make everyone very happy to chow down on this new series. So far, 1956 has not brought the result I wanted, and like a year ago, this time I started to feel sad because of it.
Aid from friends and fam
My patrons know what I did next: I released a post asking them what they thought about it all. As usual, everyone was very nice. People were enjoying 1956, I was told, and even though some weren't listening to it right away, this was not because they thought it sucked as a series or a concept, but because they either wanted it to be released altogether, so they could binge, or because they felt too confused listening to that and the Korean War side by side. These answers cleared my mood, not just because it was so nice to hear that support, it really was.
After talking with my genius wife, she put further perspective on it by saying that summer is the time when folks go on holidays, so perhaps people go on holidays and remove their pledge to WDF to save a bit of money on the side. Furthermore, wifey said, lots of podcasters take a hiatus over the summer, and Zack, did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, YOU'RE RELEASING TOO MUCH FREAKIN' CONTENT FOR PEOPLE TO KEEP UP!?
Ahem. She didn't quite say it like that, but she reminded me of a central truth which I admittedly have been grappling with since May. There's so much going on with the Korean War and the Thirty Years War that I didn't and don't know how to do these shows justice, and while I want to just bring them to people, I have to accept that people don't have time for all of them right now. This is before we even factor in 1956, which has to be paid for, or the fact that I haven't been releasing very many episodes on the Thirty Years War at all. Sorry about that.
Here's What You Do...
So what to do? What to do is that I have to find a balance. I need to put things in perspective first of all, and realise how blessed I am to be in this position. WDF is my job, and until I find out what the story is with Cambridge (I'm applying in September) this will be the case. Furthermore, I have so many history friends who have gone above and beyond for WDF - I have even met some of you: huge shoutout to David and to Brennan - and I need to focus on these fine folks rather than trying to reach the entire world. When the mindset is sorted out, then the rest will flow better.
So, for example, the fluffing about with the Korean War, Thirty Years War and 1956 will all be sorted out come November, when the Treaty of Versailles comes under our microscope. Since I know for a fact that WW1 era stuff goes down a treat, I know that whatever insecurities I may have will be solved by this bad boy, and I can't wait to unleash it. At the same time as that is rolling on, 1956 will have switched gears to the probably more interesting for most of you Suez Crisis, and I don't believe folks will be as confused by the series side by side as they otherwise would have been.
Even if these assumptions turn out to be wrong though, and even if Versailles doesn't produce the hive of engagement I am hoping for, I will be content, because I accept now that things don't always go the way you want all the time, but at the end of the day, look what I freakin' do for a living! I am surrounded by history, and better yet by history friends, on a daily basis. This is the equivalent of my dream job, and I couldn't have without you guys. So thanksss, and thanksss for keeping me ground once again.
We got a bit real this week on the HPP (again!), but I assure you that for the next several weeks, we'll be investigating topics which will be of more interest to budding history podcasters. What hosting site to use, what mic to use, what editing software to use? All of these are questions I'll weigh in on as I give you a crash course in what you need to know about history podcasting. Keep it locked in to our newsletter to get the latest stuff from that. I look forward to delivering that guys, but until next time my name is Zack, thanksss for reading and I'll be seeing you all soon.