Part Two: We're Recording an Audiobook!?!
With the first hurdle cleared (getting the contract to produce a book), the real work began. Now we had decisions to make. How do we set up the recording space? Which microphone do we use? Which pre-amp? Do we use a compressor? Which program will we record into and edit with? How do we map out a schedule? It seems with every question we answered, a new one materialized.
Fortunately, for me, we had my husband’s experience to guide us. As a musician, songwriter, and composer, he’s logged hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours recording, editing, and manipulating sound. He already had the basics we needed to produce a quality recording. The fact that his expertise was in music rather than the spoken word, meant we had some adjusting to do; but for the most part, we had all the tools we needed.
We set up a spare bedroom as our sound booth. Old duvets lined the walls and hung in strategic positions to baffle the sound and muffle outside noises. After testing various microphone/pre-amp combinations, we settled on the one we liked the best. We set it up in a portable isolation box to isolate the sound even more. I brought in my water and green apple slices (which I’d been told I would need, but wasn’t really sure what to do with), sat down in my chair, my copy on the music stand in front of me, eager to finally get into the “fun” part.
I couldn’t see or hear my husband. He was in front of the computer in the room adjacent to mine, holding a copy of the manuscript in front of him so he could follow along for continuity.
“Are you ready?” he yelled.
“I said, are you ready?” he yelled, louder.
“Yes” I yelled back.
“Ow! You don’t have to yell! I can hear you through the headphones!”
We were off to a great start.
Part One: We're Recording an Audiobook!?!
Books have always been a passion of mine. My family moved a lot when I was young, so making friends was hard. My books became my best friends. In the summers, I would climb the nearest tree and sit for hours reading; imagining myself living the lives of the characters in my books. As I grew older, and busier, I no longer had hours for reading, but had to steal the time from my grown-up responsibilities.
Then I discovered audiobooks. Wow! I can read and clean the bathroom? Or read while I drive to work? Or read and weed the garden? Heaven!
And then one day I realized, “I can read and share my passion with the world”. I wanted to narrate those audiobooks I loved to “read”. So, I started auditioning.
Now, I’m no stranger to rejection. I’ve been singing and acting on stage since I was seven years old, and I know how brutal the audition process can be. So, I didn’t expect much to happen at first. I was prepared for weeks, maybe months to go by before I was offered a book to narrate.
After a long night of recording and editing, I sent off my first audition, tried to tell myself not to expect anything, and went to bed. Six hours of fitful sleep later, I went downstairs to find a message waiting. They loved my audition and would I accept a contract to narrate and produce the book?
“I’ve been offered a contract. S**t! What do we do now?” I practically screamed to my husband, who was to be my director and engineer.
Excitement. Terror. Anticipation. Trepidation. Insecurity. Emotions were flying around inside of me like dust in a Kansas windstorm. I mean, I was as confident in my abilities as any actor (we can all be crushed for days, even weeks, at the whim of a scathing critic or director), but I’d never done anything quite like this before. This was true storytelling, an art in and of itself. What if I really suck at this?! I took a deep, calming breath and said to myself, “There’s only one way to find out.”
And thus begins our journey into the world of audiobook production.
My name is Karen. My passions are theatre and books, and I've finally found a way to combine the two. My venue: audio books.