At times I am told I have it together. That I can do anything. That I am a super achiever.
It all sounds nice, but it doesn’t match my reality. My reality is that I spent a full month last spring recording the audio for the Maggie Killian mysteries, only to have them rejected by Audible/Amazon for sound problems.
*Talk about depressing*
I intended to redo them this summer, but, life set in, and instead I started writing new books—the Patrick Flint novels, a historical spin-off from the What Doesn’t Kill You Series, with the first one, SWITCHBACK, coming out November 15th!—as quickly as I could. Fast forward to August, when I realized that I had to figure this audio thing out and a) get Maggie re-done and b) record the Patrick Flint books (trust me, it’s okay for a woman to narrate them, you’ll love it).
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Grab some Earl Grey and chocolate and dive into this interview with Sara Rosett Books as we talk about about her newest High Society Lady Detective historical mystery MURDER IN BLACK TIE, all things Anglophile, and how her plucky “problem solver” Olive Belgrave came to be, on Wine Women & Writing Radio. IMHO, Sara delivers some of the best mysteries in the cozy genre, and you’ll want to hear how she does it (and read them for yourself!).
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But, why? Why when I have had narrators do them for me in the past?
- Fun (ha, or so I thought)
- Indulging another side of my creativity—in my past life, I loved to do plays and musicals, and, yes, even voice over and competitive readings (did you know there is such a thing? Yes, I did it in high school debate!). I honestly believe I can do my own books as good or better as anyone else. Yes, that’s a little conceited. But see #1, 3, 4, & 5.
- Reliability (see #1 above)—I had one narrator back out long after the books were to have been delivered, then another back out on a three-book deal after finishing the first. That’s a huge deal, because we can’t issue a competing version of the book under our contract with Audible, and it prevents us from releasing an audio box set for that protagonist.
- Financial—I don’t yet make enough on my audio books to pay narrators out-of-pocket, much less to profit from them. But if all I’m investing is fixed costs in equipment plus my time (and I believe I can do them as well as a hired-narrator), then I can afford to do them myself. And many readers love audio.
- Proofreading—ohemgee, there’s nothing like narrating an audio book to make you pull out your red pen and fix those last few pesky issues. Perfection is the goal, so this is a gift.
So, I set an aggressive schedule and sought some help. And, still, it was and is HARD. Sound is a beast. Dirty sound—compressors, fans, electrical lines, traffic, people, dogs, storms, growling stomachs, construction, rustling clothing, airplanes, etc.—is everywhere, and everything in the universe is trying to distort the clean sound. It took me THREE WEEKS working with the Audacity help forum (Koz, I love you!) in two locations to get my sound where we think it has a prayer of passing the gates of Audible/Amazon. You can’t imagine how many hours of time (let’s call it “practice,” shall we, and keep a positive spin on it) I’ve invested this round, not counting the “lost month of Maggie.” Why was it so hard for me? Well, last May, it was because I didn’t know what I was doing. This September/October, it was because our Dallas apartment is a sound-hell environment.
But I’m delighted to announce that I am halfway through narrating SWITCHBACK and will turn to LIVE WIRE with a vengeance next week!!! Want a sneak peek of what my Dallas sound “studio” looks like (and see me read some of SWITCHBACK)? Here’s the video (if it doesn’t appear in your email or browser, click here: https://www.facebook.com/pamela.fagan.hutchins.author/videos/396892657658780/)
And, I’m still on-track schedule-wise with SNAKE OIL. Worried about it, and willing to push back the timeline if necessary, but currently hanging on by the skin of my teeth.
Believe me, when I turn in my fall/winter projects (written and audio), I’m taking a damn vacation.