Yong Pratt 0:00
If you're a podcaster, or you're creating video in your business already, or you want to learn to do these things, you'll definitely want to tune in to today's episode of the Amplify Your Awesome™ podcast. Today, our guest on the show is Derek Doepker. And he's going to peel back the curtain on how you can use audio books and your skills as a podcaster or a video creator, to not only create and record your own audio books, but to do that for others to diversify your business using the skills and resources you already have.
Yong Pratt 0:41
Once you've listened to the podcast, come on over to the show notes at YongPratt.com/279 and share your recording setup because Derek shares are pretty awesome one and the visual is amazing. And come on over. Let us know if you're going to record an audio book for your business using your words, or you're going to be in service to others and help them turn their words into audio books. Again, that's YongPratt.com/279. I'll catch you right over there.
Our guest today is Derek Doepker. Derek is a best selling author, speaker and a consultant on the art and science of mind, body and business mastery. I first heard Derek on a webinar with Nick Stephenson, all about audio books made easy. I was really curious on how to create audiobooks, and I didn't think I had the skill sets or the resources needed to do that myself. I thought maybe I would have to hire it out. But after going through his program, and learning from him, and really tapping into my skills as a podcaster, and a video creator, I learned that I, too, could turn my physical and ebooks into audiobooks, again to reach more people. And this idea of creating audiobooks, goes so well with the idea of repurposing -something we love here on the podcast about taking one awesome piece of content and turning it into multiple. So if you have a book sitting on your hard drive, if it's somewhere out there in the cloud, like Dropbox, and it's just gathering dust, maybe it's time to pull it out, use your voice and record your words to impact the lives of more people and serve in a bigger way.
Derek Doepker 2:47
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on.
Yong Pratt 2:50
Derek, can you talk to us about how you got started with creating audio books and how you're helping others do the same thing now.
Derek Doepker 3:00
Sure thing. Well, when it comes to audio, my first start in the whole world is go goes back to I guess when I was 12 years old and started playing guitar. And I didn't think I'd be doing anything business wise. My whole dream was to become a rock star. So that got me into the world of not only playing, but music production, audio production, and I got my degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee in music composition. So without giving my whole life life story, essentially, I've moved out to Los Angeles to become a rock star. And that's when I got into content creation. It was blogging, YouTube videos, and then eventually I came across this whole thing of like, Oh, you can publish books. Let me take my writing and put it out there as a book.
My first book, barely sold, maybe about three copies in that first month, and one copy was to my mom and next book didn't sell much better. But eventually, after a couple years of trial and error and sleeping on an air mattress and trying to figure out the whole online business thing, I went to a seminar. I learned like the final missing pieces, which was really about influence and relationships. I added that and to my plan and then my third book launch, it was called 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew, became a number one bestseller in weight loss and made almost $6,000 in royalties in 11 days.
So at that point, I cracked the code to the whole book, self-publishing thing and went on to publish multiple books. And each one of them became a number one bestseller. Not because, you know, at this point, I realized it wasn't about getting lucky nearly as much as just having a system, right? Knowing a process. Knowing how to follow it. And so that's when I started teaching other authors. And it was a couple years into this process, I started noticing. I'd tell my friends. I remember one friend. I had a book I just got done. And she's like, yeah, like you know, when it's when it's out on audio? And it's like, well, I mean, you can get it on like, an, you know, Kindle or an E reader or a print book. Like, it's like, yeah, just let me know when it's on audio. And so I started noticing this and I realized that there's a lot of people and you know, for the listeners, especially if you're a podcast host or podcast listener, like you get like, there's a lot of people who, not just like audio, but that's the only way that they will consume content, whether it's a book or anything else. So I started thinking, okay, yeah, audio. That's a great way to get the book out there. The market wasn't quite as big as it is now, but I could see the trend, right? I just like even now you can see that podcast. It's like we haven't hit the peak of audio. There's still so much potential with with audio consumption and creation.
So I saw that potential and that's when I started researching how to create audiobooks. I hired an editor for my first book, then I really wanted to do it myself. And we could dive deeper into depending on how much you want to explore it. But I'll make the long story short. After a couple months of research and testing microphones and different techniques, eventually figured out how you can make audiobooks yourself at home without needing to build a studio or anything crazy. Even when I was in like this giant open loft apartment which was terrible sound, I figured out some some little tricks and stuff. And I go, okay, this is possible, not only for me, but for virtually any author that wants to produce an audiobook. And that's when I started teaching authors because at this point I'd already been working with author clients. And I'll make one note about that.
The great thing about being a messenger, a teacher, a thought leader, and however you identify yourself -as a leader of any sort - is that when you have people that you're serving, it gives you this motivation, at least, if you're anything like me, to go I want to figure this thing out. Because like I was working for months, and it was only for my sake, I don't know, maybe I would have persevered, maybe not. But I knew like not only when I do this for myself is it going to be great, but now I'll be able to share it with all my clients and all the people that I'm helping. So I did figured it out. And that's, as soon as I did, I started working with some students to make sure that I could transfer the process. And since then, I have taught hundreds, well, technically thousands of people I've shared the process with on how to either hire an audiobook narrator or more specifically, as I'd like to do, how to create your own audio books.
Yong Pratt 7:38
So many good things about that story. First of all, I love that you started as a musician and you turned that skill set into something that you're doing today because I know as a dancer, not many people can see the direct path to you know what I'm doing today. But I love that it started there with that passion and then you took it to the next level. And you've translated that now into teaching other people how to learn these skill sets, and like you said, they are learnable. They are doable. They are translatable. So now you're impacting other people so that they can get their message out into the world in a bigger way. And I also really appreciate that you saw that there was this trend of people wanting to listen to audio. And I know sometimes we have to hear this message a lot of different times to really stop and say, Oh, wait, okay, I'm hearing it. Now. Let me see if I can figure this out. Because I think as entrepreneurs, I think we're just wired to be problem solvers. And it's probably the most fun thing that we get to do. So you saw that missing piece. And I love that you had friends who said, just tell me when the audio book is out, because I talk to my students about this as well about, you know, when you're creating content, it's not about doing it in the way. I mean, we want to do it in a way that's easiest for us. However, we also want to include other people and meet them where they are, so that they can learn from us too. And being able to take your written books and now turn them into an audio format so that you can reach different people on different platforms, I think that's really the key to this whole series right now is how can you take your skill sets, learn a few things more, tweak them, and then go out there and serve in a bigger way. And now I know you mentioned about the recording studios. I heard you, I've heard you tell the story. And I watched your class and I was giggling the whole time about your setup, because I'm just imagining what this looks like in your loft. Can you talk about, first of all? I guess the sound quality, but how you in your loft department, were still able to create really great high quality sound with some things that you found laying around.
Derek Doepker 9:50
Yeah, and it really touches upon this idea of being a problem solver as an entrepreneur. It's this mindset because to paint the picture, I made I was in a loft. The same building I'm in now, but this is a different apartment unit which had, I don't know 25 at least foot high ceilings, big wide open. And if you've ever tried to record audio in an environment like this, you know you have this reverb have this kind of like you're in a cave or something. And it's exactly what you do not want when doing an audiobook. And even even like podcasting and things like that. You generally want this kind of warmer, more present sound. So I go okay, maybe there's some different effects. But there's only so much you can do with effects. And one thing that helped in terms of just equipment was using a different microphone.
So before I explain how I set up the room, it was just going to a dynamic microphone, versus a condenser microphone. So condenser microphone is very sensitive. Something like a Blue Yeti, which is a great microphone. I have one. It's just going to pick up a lot of stuff though. Whereas I use now the ATR 2100. And there's a few other different microphones. This, this one little shift, made a huge difference. And I've worked with people on their audio and they'll send me samples and I go, that doesn't sound like an ATR 2100 or that doesn't sound like a dynamic microphone and they're like, Oh, well, no, it's the Blue Yeti. It's the Blue Snowball. It's this or it's that, again, great microphones but I can hear it immediately. And then when I've suggested, hey, it's worth the investment if you're doing an audiobook or something to go ahead and get one of these dynamic microphones like the ATR 2100. I believe actually Tim Ferriss, I read something, I believe he sends it to his guests. If they need a microphone, the ATR 2100. I don't get any kickbacks from Audio Technica. That's just what I use, but any type of dynamic microphone and that makes a huge difference. So first of all, having the right tool for the job that can go a long way.
The second piece, though, was I had these high ceilings and I'm sitting there going, okay, I don't have like a walk in closet. Bathrooms aren't great because tile and reflective surface unless I'm going to do this treatment, I really going to build the whole thing. And I actually came up with a way of doing something underneath my staircase, where I'd like to add it all in. But that was a pain going underneath my staircase and trying to set up like all these blankets and stuff. And I also was thinking to myself, this is the future for thinking I'm going even if I could figure out a way to do this weird setup underneath my staircase. What about someone else in a different situation? I want to know how I can transfer and teach this to others. So I wanted something that was more of a universal solution. I was racking my brain for a few weeks going okay, how do I lower my ceilings in my apartment? And obviously that's not a literal question, but it's this. It's this thing where it's like how do you do the impossible if there was a way. And that's a great question.
By the way, it's like a pet peeve of mine when people are like, oh, you just can't do it. Like if you say you can't do something instantly it activates something in me. I'm like, yeah, but how could you you know, like if it was possible? Theoretically if there was some way to do this, so I'm just sitting there going if there's no way to do this, and eventually when you ponder a question long enough, sometimes your brain just gives you something and I got this like what's kind of over your head? Over your head? What what would it be? Well, there's like an umbrella. And wait a second. Maybe if there's like a big thick patio, umbrella, those are pretty sturdy. Well, I wonder if I get a thick patio umbrella, put it up and then throw a big blanket over it. So that's what I did. And it ended up working perfectly. If you can imagine you have this patio umbrella sitting next to you just sitting at a computer desk and patio umbrella set up the blanket ecapsulates you. It goes around you back. Around the computer. And, you know, in two minutes, you have an on-demand studio setup, and it worked perfectly. And then I just, you know, take it down, stick in the corner or closet or whatever when I don't want to use it. So once I had that I then had a solution to be able to create an audiobook and more importantly, to be able to teach this to others to create great audio audio book. It could be any sort of audio, though. So another thing I know, there's a lot of podcasters here, whether it's for a podcast or an audio book, or could be a training course where you want to have really good audio, all of these tips are going to be helpful and relevant to know.
Yong Pratt 14:41
So good and just that imagery of that. It makes me think about you know, sitting on the beach or dreaming of sitting on the beach. So now we can, we can pull out our beach umbrellas, put them up, put them over a blanket and just pretend we're somewhere else while still getting great audio quality. So for everyone listening, if you do this set up at home I want you to send us some pictures because this is such a fun idea. And if you have kids at home, your kids will love playing under the umbrella. So not only can you record audio books, you can get some good quality kid time, too. So it works on many, many different levels. So Derek, can you talk about how to mentally make the shift? Because I know this is I think the thing that stopped me for a long time was not wanting to record my own book. Not thinking I could do it because I didn't like the sound of my voice or I didn't think I was going to be able to do it justice. Can you talk about some shifts that we can think about when we're setting out on this road even to consider recording our own audiobooks?
Derek Doepker 15:48
Sure, so two things come to mind immediately. One is just this idea of what if I don't like the sound of my voice? And I like to say well, that means you're human because that's the case for for almost everyone until you get to reach some people. And I've reached this point where I didn't like the sound of my voice, but eventually I got used to hearing it on recording. And now it's not as strange. But the phenomenon is really just a matter of, of in congruence, meaning it's not. It's not congruent with how we think we sound. In other words, we hear ourselves and your voice resonates through your skull and you go, that's my voice. That's the voice that you hear 99% of the time. When you hear your voice, you have a certain concept of what your voice is, and then you hear it on recording and it's like, no, that's, that's not it. Right? And so that's the feeling of, of not liking.
I tell the story actually, you know, find something about the places I live, become relevant to the story. So when I moved into the apartment, I remember, what was it? It was the stairs are on the left side, the kitchen was on the right side of the apartment that I moved into years ago, not the one I'm in now. And so I toured it and I saw it. And so now I go home and I'm like, I can't wait to move in I have this vision of the, of the apartment, then I go into actually move in. Well, it's a different unit than the one that they actually show you. But it's the same, same design, except now everything was flipped. It was a mirror image. So now my stairs, the stairs are on the right side, kitchen was on the left and everything like that. Exact same, same size, same everything in the apartment, just flipped. And I remember the first time I go in, I'm like, I don't I don't like this. I almost wanted to maybe move me into a different one where it's flipped back the way I wanted it. It was just uncomfortable for that first day or two and then, now it's fine. Then I habituated to it. And it's like, oh, this is normal. Now I just had to create a new normal for myself, so this is an interesting quirk of human psychology. I'm sure there's a name for it. But this idea that your voice doesn't match. Maybe how you how you think it sounds. And so some people, a lot of people will mistakenly think that that somehow means like, I don't like that without realizing a lot of other people might totally be fine with your voice or even love your voice and be okay with hearing you. I mean, you've been sharing. It's the voice that people have been hearing you use your entire life, you know, and I'm not going to say there aren't a few people out there who maybe if they have something where it's really hard to understand them or some sort of issue like that. That could be a possibility. I'll talk about that a moment.
For most people. It's not about whether you love your voice or not. It's about being in service to others. And this goes back to the whole concept we were talking about before, at least briefly touched on is you as an entrepreneur as a leader. You are solving problems and you're doing things for others. And it's the idea of, well, maybe I don't consume audio, but other people do. So it's not about what I necessarily want. It's about what's what's going to help them. And so the same sort of idea here is, do people want to hear you? That's the question.
And as part of being a leader is sometimes going, you know, it's not my favorite thing, but this is what, what serves others and what serves their needs. So I'm going to get outside of myself and go, you know. It's not about me. It's not about me getting caught up in my ego, and whether I love my voice or not, it's about hearing other people going, Derek, I want to hear it from you all. I want to hear from you. I want your energy. I want your passion behind this. And if you find that you have listeners or potential listeners who would want to hear a book or could be a podcast or a course or anything that you're teaching, and they want to hear it from you. Then that's the shift is the I gotta get outside myself and my preferences and focus more on serving them. And when you come from that perspective, then there might be an honest situation where you could record a sample and play it for people. And then if they're like, I absolutely can't understand the thing that you're saying. It's really hard to listen to your voice. If you can find someone that gives honest feedback like that.
Then you can go okay: (A) I'll train myself, because training your voice goes beyond just doing an audiobook or a podcast, this is about training your voice that you're going to use your entire life. I mean, how often I'm an introvert, I don't talk more than I absolutely have to, or if I'm getting paid to, like, I don't talk that much. But even I go, my voice is kind of important to make sure that it's it's trained. So it's a form of personal development. I was talking it was Joanna Penn who I was talking to about this. And for those who don't know, she does a lot of work with authors, the Creative Penn, and she she really inspired this idea in me that oh, yeah, it's a form of personal development and growth to work on your voice. So that's the first thing. Second thing is if you can't train your voice or something like that, okay, maybe it's not a fit. However, that's the vast minority a very small percentage of people. And secondly, that's not about whether I as individual, think it's something I like or not. That's because I actually got feedback from people. And I've determined from honest feedback that for whatever reason, it's better off if I if I hire someone else to do this.
Yong Pratt 21:32
Yeah, so many good points that I really appreciate that you brought up the idea of sharing your voice is about personal development because a lot of the podcasters that I work with, a lot of their business owners, they do multiple ways of connecting with their audiences. And their voice has become one of those things even though they may have started at a place where you know, ooh, having to listen and edit the podcast or edit the video - not so fun. However, we are getting to this place where it is personal development where you're shifting from it being about yourself and about more about being in service of other people and knowing how you can change and impact their lives. Coming from that perspective, I think is so huge. So now that we've made this mind shift, can we talk about what is the benefits for people to record their own audiobooks? So let's take this scenario of we have a podcast. And now they have a skill set of podcasting. They speak to their audiences, they have this equipment, what is the benefit of them, for them to record an audio book?
Derek Doepker 22:39
So there's two points that I want to touch on two different ideas. One is the benefit in terms of the direct benefits. The other thing is what you're saying where you have these skill sets. And so in the theme of recession-proofing your your business and your life, keeping in mind that any of the things that you get into almost rarely if ever, are you starting from scratch. You have your background of experience and knowledge that you're able to build upon. So we can we can touch on that in a moment. The practical, just what are the benefits of doing it yourself? Well, first of all, saving hundreds to thousands of dollars from hiring a narrator that's, that's kind of the most immediate, tangible benefit. Then there's also the fact that you again, you have these skill sets already. So why not capitalize on what you already have, what you've taken the time to learn? That's part of the reason why you can save the money is because you've already learned how to do this. You've already gotten, you've purchased the equipment. You have the setup, if you have the right, the right tools. And then with that, it goes back to what we were just saying which is what does your audience want?
And a lot of times people want to hear from the source and if you are offering any type of courses coaching, consulting, deeper work, ways that people can work with you deeper, that usually takes a degree of know, like and trust. Like people got to really feel like they know you and know kind of what you're all about and your vibe and your energy. And that is something that you can convey. When it's your voice speaking your material, no one's going to know your material better than you do. And that's not to say that there's, you know, narrators can't do a great job of hiring someone. They can. It's just different. And it's not going to be the same as you being the source of your material, injecting your passion into what you're saying. That's a different experience. And in today's world, where people. It's funny, I didn't even make this connection until now, but I was listening yesterday to a talk and it's about automation. And think about automation, artificial intelligence, things that are going to replace human jobs. And we're, so many jobs are going to be replaced by machines. But what can automation not replace are not very easily? Well, first of all, let's go back and look at how, just real quickly how the economy works as this ties into recession-proofing your business.
First of all, this time are not time but like resources, you know, it's about the resources you can gather from the land. You know, whatever, mined gold, you find gold, you find these, you know, things like that. Then it became more about your time, you know, trading time for dollars, then we went into the information age now, it's information is the resource that people value. However, we've already kind of saturated that because what, what's it like now, information overload, we have too much information. It's no longer valuable just to have information. So now, the thing that people are most going to value, this perspective. It's having a point of view. It's having the wisdom to know what information do you need at what point in time, and as having someone that can come in in and clarify and make sense of things for you. This is the thing. I talk to authors, but it's really for anyone, and people aren't buying your information. They're buying your perspective. And that's why if you've ever had this experience, you might have heard a quote or an idea 100 times throughout your life, thousand times, but then someone comes along, and they say it in just a certain way. And maybe it's who they are, and the inflection and their wording and they just put a certain spin on it, and then it just clicks with you. And it's like, I got it now, it's the perspective that made all the difference. And that's really the key thing that you're offering a value. So I could come on here and deliver the same information. But I could just talk like a robot and say you want to make your own audiobooks. It's like people will be like, I can't handle this same information. But a different perspective, a different energy, a different enthusiasm, right. And so that's something that you bring to the table that only you might be able to bring that to the table. There could be thousands, millions of other people could deliver the same information, but they won't do it the way that you do it. And so that becomes part of your unique selling proposition, which is then how you can have a way of standing out in a crowded marketplace.
Yong Pratt 27:28
And this is such a good point about your we're bringing our own points of view. And I think that's really key because, like you said, there is an abundance of information out in the marketplace, but being able to bring your own spin is huge. And I, for one, have really leaned in a lot to listen to audiobooks. And now I pretty much will refuse to purchase a book, if it's not read by the author, if it's nonfiction, because I really want their perspective. Because oftentimes in nonfiction work, if it's narrated by the author, they'll throw in extra bonuses that you will not get in the written text. And I, as a listener, appreciate that so much. Because, again, it's that perspective. It's that it's that that thing that connects me to them. That's why I resonate with them. That's why I like to listen to them. So I think for everyone listening to this episode, being able to bring your own perspective and sharing your own voice in just the way that you do it by showing up like you, taking all the best parts, right and amplifying that by recording this audio book for your audience and your potential audience is such a great way to first of all connect, to share your unique point of view, and again, to be of service. And we've probably said the word service in this interview so many times, but I really do think that at the end of the day, anything we're doing in this series about recession-proofing your business, is really about how can you stand up? How can you stand out? How can you serve? Now Derek, I know that you've helped thousands of people now make the leap from thinking about recording an audio book to actually taking the steps to do that. Can you tell us about how people can choose to work with you if they want to learn more about that?
Derek Doepker 29:24
Yeah, sure thing. And just a real quick point of what you said, because it was so good. And I want to drive a point home. You know, when you talk about perspective, perspective, includes your tonality. Perspective includes the the energy that you bring into something. And so much of communication is the tonality. So that's why I could say, I like drinking water. I can say I like drinking water. I like drinking water. Two slightly different meanings just by you know, emphasis based off of the tonality. So that's part of that and then when you talk about service, really recession-proofing. It's going to tie in the service thing, and how can I be of service? or How can I create value for people? Right? And so that's why even for those who have audio skills, if that means even doing audiobooks for other people, you know, I'm talking all about the benefits of doing it yourself. And I didn't plan on this becoming a thing, but as I taught people how to do their own audiobooks, I myself even thought I could do this for other people. So I've recorded some audiobooks for others. You know, I know some of my students have. So this is the idea once you have these skill sets, it's not just how can you do it for your you know, of course, you're doing it for others by creating an audiobook for others to enjoy. But now you can leverage your skills by providing it to other people. If you want to learn more about recording your own audiobook, the training that I have on that is called audio books made easy, audiobooksmadeeasy dot com, and my overall website for authors is BestsellerSecrets dot com.
Yong Pratt 30:56
So good. And I went through your course and it was it was so step-by-step. And it was created in a way that I could personally resonate with. I like those short and sweet wins. You get in. You learn a thing. You go do it, and then you keep repeating it. And by the end of the course, you've built this great system. And I love that you touched on the idea of systematizing things, because I think for a lot of business owners, they sometimes want to overlook that part. And I did for years, I didn't want to systematize anything, because I thought it was going to stifle creativity. I thought it was going to really just put me in this box. And what I discovered, after going through this idea of systematizing my business in creating all the systems my staff could then use, it was made business so much more joyful. For one. It made it so much more fun. And I knew there was a repeatable way to do stuff. I didn't have to always be on my game, and think of answers or problem solve on the fly. They were already documented. So I love that you've created this system and you're now sharing with others. And I will link up your website on today's show notes. So everyone can go check it out. Because I think if you're looking for a way to recession-proof, and you're already using audio or even video in your business, but you could turn into audio, this is a system that I really, really think that you should check out. Derek has put it together in such an awesome way. I'll link it up on today's show notes at YongPratt.com/279. And you can find out more about Derek there. Now Derek, where else do you hang out online if people want to come check out what you do and what other services you provide?
Derek Doepker 32:41
Yeah, so the main my main site is DerekDoepker dot come - d e r ek d o e p k er.com - which you'll probably have to see that in the show notes because it's a little tricky one. That that'd be the main place of course you can find my books on Amazon and we can link up to that. So those are those are the different places. And on another note about systemising. That is, I can relate not necessarily wanting to systemize things being resistant. And what got me around it was as soon as I just go, well, it's not just creating a standard operating procedure. For myself, like, that doesn't sound like that much fun. But if I call it a training course to teach it to others, and I go, oh, that is creating the system. It just, you know, for me, it's shifting it to how do I, how can I teach others to do this for themselves. So that's another way that you can think about, you know, doing whatever you're doing. If you're feeling some resistance, sometimes it's just these little shifts in your perspective, calling it something else, framing it as something else as a great way to bypass some of that resistance and actually find it can be a lot of fun.
Yong Pratt 33:49
Absolutely. You have to make it a game. You have to make it fun, figure out a way for you to get to that endpoint because if you're going to use something like audio, and you can use it to help your business help other people who are serviced by your business and people out who haven't even met you yet, it's such a wonderful gift that you can use. And, Derek, I want to thank you so much for sharing your time with us today, and really diving into this idea of leaning in to using audio in our businesses so that we can really start to recession proof our businesses. Thank you.
Derek Doepker 34:25
So what did you think? Are you excited to take this idea of creating an audio book for your business, or to be in service of others and create audio books for them to recession-proof your business? I want to hear all about it. And if you want more information about Derek's Audiobooks Made Easy program, come on over to the show notes, YongPratt.com/279 and share your biggest takeaways, your biggest aha and your action steps on this road to recession-proofing your business with audio books. And by the way, if this idea of using your voice to share your message resonates with you, and you haven't started your podcast yet, I invite you to join me inside of Podcast in a Weekend, which is officially open. This is the final time we are going to be launching Podcast in a Weekend in its current format and at its current price point. If you're interested in getting all the details, head over to today's show notes at YongPratt.com/279. And certainly, if you have questions about anything audio, drop your questions right there in the show notes and I will personally reach out to you to make sure that you can use audio in a way that's going to benefit you and your business. I'll catch you over on the show notes. Cheers.