How not to get killed by creating an audiobook, #1
Serendipity in Berkeley will be an audiobook in June (on Audible, iTunes, Amazon Audio, and others.)
I’ll update the state of the production in my blog and/or my website. Please check them from time to time.
Phew, it’s been a quite a journey. Thus, the subtitle How not to get killed by creating an audiobook and this is the first part of my journey as well as my first blog ever. (Yay)
Why did I want to convert my story into an audiobook? Well, because quite a few people who like to read my book sometimes rather listen to it. (Some while commuting, some while lying in a hospital bed.)
First of all, I am not a full-time writer. (I wish I were.) So, I have to work my regular job. It would be quite difficult to divide my time between my full-time job and writing and its related work like advertising and making another format. When I tried to do something extra like in this case, I ran into a boulder. Ouch.
It took me thousands of years (Okay, that may be a little stretch, but it felt like that) to learn the know-how from scratch and find a great narrator/voiceover talent.
'Serendipity in Berkeley' was published on December 26 (Kindle) and 27 (paperback) last year. Thus, the journey has been more than four full months to seek my treasure. And I still trip over a rock here and there.
I’ll write about how I learned the know-how from scratch to convert my book the next time around, but today I’d like to talk about how I found a wonderful narrator/voiceover talent.
To tell you the truth, it was almost like looking for a match on any dating app. Okay, I have no idea how that works frankly speaking, so it’s another stretch, sorry. But just reading the info on the Internet and listening to whoever has done it gave me a notion how hard it is to find a very good long-term partner. Looking for a narrator for my book was very similar.
We must have chemistry (a feeling that we can make a good audiobook together, maybe it’s kind of trust as well), but only chemistry wouldn’t work either. My timeline need to match the narrator’s. Just like planning your date with a new person. And so does their cost. I am an indie author, so it is hard to get an offer with a royalty share to be accepted. (Auditioning doesn’t work well for an unknown author, either.)
And then as for their performance, the color of their voice as well as controlling tone, pitch and speed are very important aspects. Those attributes determine whether the characters in my story will come to life.
I can only imagine how hard it is to perform a bunch of different people alone.
I wish I had known how to look for a narrator from the get-go. At first, all I had done was just look into the choices ACX (oh, this is the place you go to create your audiobook. I will tell you more about this later) has on their list. When you look for a narrator (ACX calls them a producer), you search on what kind of voice you are looking for. For instance, you'd look for female or male, then language style, then voice tone, etc.
However, as I mentioned above, preference is not always the only issue to decide.
I had more than enough cases of trial and error and crash and burn that I really don't even want to think about. (But I do.)
The problem was I had never heard any of the producers on ACX's list narrate a full audiobook.
So, I went to my Audible library, where I have quite a sizeable collection. I picked a couple of my favorite narrators.
Among them, I finally found a sparkling gem.
Her name is Cheryl May. And it turns out we’ve followed each other on Twitter for quite some time.
I should've asked her in the first place if I had known her earlier. At the end of the day, I had to admit the way I had looked for a narrator was completely inefficient.
I was extremely lucky that she accepted my offer. I think she's an angel disguised as a human.
And the best part (aside from her awesome talent) is she is so kind and deeply knowledgeable. When I need help, she generously teaches me and knows how to make me feel not embarrassed or dismayed. To me, often asking a question takes a lot of guts. Some people make me feel I am extremely dumb and regret so deeply that I cannot help mumbling to myself, Oh why did I ask such a question to him/her? But not Cheryl.
And you may be able to listen to part of her performances on her website.
I will talk more about the audiobook as the production proceeds.
Soon I will place a sample of my audiobook on my website's AUDIOBOOK page.
Please stay safe and be well, everyone. See you soon!