I was kind of horrified when I checked this blog/website (I’m much more likely to post over on my other blog, www.darkcreekfarm.com) to see what I still needed to do in terms of completing the transfer of the old content from my original author website to this location. Yikes! I knew there was still some tweaking to be done, but this place is a disaster! I would promise to immediately rectify the situation, but I have a growing stack of cool projects on my desk and the end of the summer to enjoy and a trip to the mountains in a couple of weeks, so I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to push other things aside to finally, finally sit down and get this renovation done!
Meanwhile, I am loving working on those aforementioned new projects! Some time back I produced the first of a series of audiobooks for Sono Nis Press – Julie White’s The Secret Pony. This novel for kids who love horses was meant to be the first one of several to come out in this format (Here’s the link over at Audible.com, in case you are interested.) At long last I have upgraded my computer and learned the basics of Adobe’s Audition (audio editing software) so I could create chapter by chapter audio files for new projects here at my place rather than having to go into town for each recording session. I am responsible only for producing a reasonably clean and accurate reading of the text – no editing. That job is handled by the remarkable Tom Dufleit, a meticulous audio editor/producer who takes the uploaded files and then massages them into files that meet industry production standards.
I had heard that doing the voice work for an audiobook was a lot harder than it first appears, but I have to say I didn’t think it would be that bad. And, I confess, I thought that recording one of my own books would be easier than someone else’s. Hah! I hadn’t realized how much dialogue is in Tarragon Island (the first in the series and the next in the production cue)! Not only that, it isn’t just a couple of characters who talk to each other, it seems like half the island community has something to say! It’s not like I’m doing a full on theatrical production or anything, but trying to come up with subtly different character voices for all those different speaking parts and then remembering who sounds like what when they only have a couple of lines to say six chapters apart is really hard! Add to that the fact one’s voice changes depending on the time of day, how much yacking you’ve done before sitting down to record, between the start and the end of the recording session, and even whether you’ve had a hot or cold drink before starting and suddenly, it’s very impressive to listen to the great audiobook narrators remaining consistent from start to end of a very long book. It takes many hours of reading and then editing to get one hour of finished product and I can tell you it’s pretty stressful and tedious along the way!
If it isn’t bad enough I have to pay attention to what I’m reading, any ambient noise, rustle of paper, clunk or thump from some distant place in the house – or, heaven forbid, sirens or creaking doors or the hum of the heat pump outside – all has to be controlled. If I notice a problem, I have to re-do that section of the chapter. If I don’t notice right away (or if my reading doesn’t exactly match what is written) Tom lets me know later and I have to create another, correct sound file. I don’t have a fully insulated sound booth, so I’m making do with a small pantry that is tucked away in a quiet corner downstairs. Even so, I have to unplug the fridge in the mudroom next door, the freezers in the pantry, and shut down the central A/C-furnace-heat pump while I’m recording to try to minimize as much extraneous noise as possible. I didn’t think the pantry was a noisy room until I began this mission to not have to commute to town for these sessions.
The good news is the technical bugs are pretty well worked out and Tom the Meticulous is reasonably happy with the files I am sending him, so with any luck we can get into a bit of a routine and get the next several audiobooks out there into the digital world before too much longer.