I hadn’t planned on doing an audiobook. I hadn’t really planned on much of anything.
When I first decided I was going to self-publish Tattered Heart it was just going to be an ebook for who knows how long. Then, maybe, something hard copy. And that was it.
But I got a request through goodreads to record an audiobook. By then I’d figured out that print on demand was going to make the whole hard copy thing super simple. And I was (admittedly) pretty confident in my ability to format the ebook. Not to mention, I already had a trip to LA planned where there are facilities for that sort of thing, some of which I have access to. So, I thought I’d give it a whirl. ha. hahahaha (as I laugh manically and mock myself).
First things first, I asked a friend to score it. Yes, before I had the audio files. Yes, before I’d worked out all the logistics of recording it. I had space. I had time (ha!). I wanted a score. And I also happen to have a friend who is a great musician and agreed to write said score. Annie 1 – Audiobook 0
Next, I needed to get the narration worked out. So, I started reading it out loud to practice. It’d been a while since I performed but I’ve had this book in my head for years. And my editors always told me they had to try to get my voice out of their heads when they were reading so I kind of liked the idea that everyone else would be able to get my voice into their heads. And then I got to chapter 1 and…
Callen: Do we look like we’re covered in blood?
I dropped my voice and tried to sound like a guy and burst out laughing at how ridiculous I sounded. Annie 1 – Audiobook 1
But I’d lived in LA and you know what? I know actors. I sent an email to an old friend and before you knew it I had a Bion. And 38 speaking roles. I knew I couldn’t do all the different girls voices myself even though I was still going to do all the narration and one thought led to another and I started casting my audiobook. Annie 2 – Audiobook 1
This was admittedly a really fun part of the process. All of it was fun but this was one of the especially fun parts. Because I got to meet all sorts of new actors. And I got to connect to old friends. And I got to hear all these different voices over the phone and imagine how they’d sound reading the dialog from my novel. I got really excited.
The boring parts were the days spent converting the whole novel to screenplay format and then piecing out all the different roles to send to the actors then narrowing down the pages even further to cut out any narration or unnecessary dialog so they could focus on just their dialog. The administration stuff is only ever fun to the person sitting at the computer clicking the keys and then not for 2 weekends in a row. seriously.
But then I got to LA! The recording space was awesome and I learned Pro Tools in 15 minutes (score 1 for the Audiobook). And my actors started showing up and and they were amazing! I was totally short of guys so some of my friends came by and lent me their voices and they were fantastic too. I cannot describe how awesome it was to hear these words read by such talented people.
Most of the time they didn’t sound quite like how I’d heard things in my head. They sounded better. Because they got the personality I’d written for the characters and brought so much of that to their performance, but really made their own choices and gave it their own spin and it was wonderful and surprising and a lot of fun.
And 2 and a half days long. Being an audiobook novice, I was not expecting that. I naively thought I could record the whole thing in a single day (ha!). Then I thought maybe I’d need a day and a half. Which turned into two full days. Plus seven hours split across three different sessions. Annie 2 – Audiobook 16
Thankfully, I’m a morning person and I could get up and go to the studio and record for a while before my friend woke up and then we could go about our day and have some other fun. And also I asked my friends to record voices for me which was only a couple of hours one night before dinner and such a blast.
If you’re going to do something like this (and especially if it’s going to unexpectedly kick your ass) then the best way to do it is with your friends. And I have the best friends. They were so supportive and encouraging when I really needed it and gave awesome performances and we laughed and it was really special to have them be a part of it.
So, now I have 14 hours of recorded audio I need to edit. A new program I need to learn in order to do said editing. And not nearly enough pictures of the whole thing. I totally meant to take at least one picture of all my actors and tweet about it more and everything but I got so focused on the actual recording I kind of forgot. Annie 2 – Audiobook 17