There are some painful and hard-won truths that become evident through time and experience. This is how we improve.  Such truths are especially nice if you can get them at the expense of someone else’s hard-won time and experience.  In other words, listen to the experts and take their words to heart.

P.G. Holyfield, an author who has logged many hours listening the chapters that new authors submit to the Mentoring Community, provides specific and individualized critiques of an author’s work as they prepare their book for submission to This is invaluable. But he observes that most of the time new participants receive feedback along the same vein.  

Here is a snippet of his observations on the samples provided at

“Most of the time the comments are similar in nature.

P.G. Holyfield Studio

P.G. Holyfield Studio

  • Issues with ambient noise (fans, mouse clicks, etc.)
  • Stumbling over words
  • Inconsistency with the narrator’s volume during sample
  • Bad use of music (not the ‘quality’ of the music, but its volume (both as an intro or as bed music))
  • Monotonous reading
  • Reading too fast (90% of first samples suffer from this)
  • Leaving no natural pauses between sentences after editing (usually because people are trying to lessen the ambient noise issue)

Most people ‘get it.’ They just need to hear it directed at their work
instead of reading it on a post.”

So, here in a post, I am suggesting that these seemingly simple observations be applied to any audio you record, for podcasts and novels. 

And if you think you are the exception, you likely aren’t. Because wouldn’t you rather you get your hard-won experience learning how to expand your listening audience than spend it regretting the rushed reading, ambient noise, or hot bed music that makes your listeners scream and drop their earphones?  Realizing at episode 10 just how you can improve is great– for everything after episode 10.  And going back to fix it is an experience worth missing.

If you haven’t heard P.G. Holyfield’s recorded tip on the difference a slower and more expressive reading can make, check out Episode 1 of  We also have plans for a tips-only player coming to the web site.  We’re getting some great tips for newcomers and experienced podcasters, writers, and authors. Hope you find it helpful!