Yep. I thought about holding back the news until I was 100% done recording, because, you know, I’ve been so blah blah I’m a gonna real soon blah, but…I’ve done 75 out of 150 pages this week, knocking out 15 pages on a good day. So, that means the recording part will be DONE next week.
There were a few things that have been holding me back since I first decided I’d start doing audiobooks in, what, September, October? And one big thing that’s broken the log jam.
First, it took me a while to accept that I couldn’t “go it alone.” It took me three months to lick my wounds, learn my lessons, and accept the Dark Side – that is, the inevitability of Amazon/Audible. A handful of people (thanks!) bought “Bradiobooks” from my Shopify store, but my attempt at being a one-man Rebel Alliance was a fool’s errand.
Everybody hates Amazon, and everybody shops there. Nobody wants to buy an audiobook that has to be downloaded or unzipped and sideloaded and listened to with VLC Player or whatever. No. People want to push that One-Click button on their Audible app on their phone and be instantly gratified. That is just reality. Man, I hate reality. But there it is, bein’ all real n shit and you have to deal with the real.
Sandrine Gasq Dion put up a FB post asking if her fans wanted audiobook versions of her books, and they went bats in the affirmative. But alas all the yesses were “I love Audible!” or “I love to add the audio to my Kindle version!” Everyone totally took it for granted that the audiobooks would come from Audible… There really is One Site To Rule Us All, and Amazon/Audible is it.
So as I had to do when I restored all my ebooks to KU, I must once again bend the knee and swear fealty to the Holy Readin’ Empire in the audiobook market as well.
Second, I put too much pressure on myself, was too hard on myself, in terms of the recording/editing process. OMIGOD there’s that little click/snort when the back of my tongue parts from my epidermaglottis or whatever’s up there! HOW DO I GET RID OF THAT!
I’ve reconciled myself that yes, I’ve done this semi-professionally with training videos, I can edit out the background noise and I can take out the serious huffs and puffs in my speech, but no, I can’t remove every little glottal click. I don’t have a pro studio, a pro engineer, a voice coach, a speech therapist. It’s all me. And, if I try and do that, or wait until I can have IDK sinus surgery or something (which I’m sure I don’t really need, I’m acting like Marilyn Monroe freaking out about the bump on her nose), it’ll take me FOREVER. Which will discourage me so badly that I’ll never get anything finished.
I was held back from starting by the idea of “all that time I’ll have to spend editing, Jesus what a grind,” but…the more relaxed and accepting I am of my little tics, the less I can see I’ll need to edit.
So it won’t be pro-studio-perfect, but…it won’t have any major flaws. And, I realized, most people are not listening to audiobooks on noise cancelling headphones in a quiet room. They’re not going to hear that tiny little click at the back of your throat!
What I do have is a great voice for this – confirmed by both fans and another pro narrator. And it’s my material – I know these characters. I made them, out of my own self. That puts me at a real advantage in the marketplace, I hope.
And the great thing about the last week is…it’s going so much faster now that I’ve slowed down. Does that make sense? Now that I’m not in such a hurry, now that I’ve absorbed the lessons about breathing and pausing and pacing that I learned before, but which back then I only used as a stick with which to beat myself. Now I’m using them to do better work, and it’s going so much more smoothly. If I make a lippy tonguey smacky noise, I just pick up the saline spray and give myself a quick mouth hit, do the line over, and move on.
In the fall, my whole thing was all about OMIGOD I made a mistake I have to do it over, oh no, over again, and so on, making myself so nervous that I raced through the content. I listened to “Kyle’s New Stepbrother” again on SoundCloud the other day and I thought, what’s your fucking hurry?
The absolutely polished perfect orb which would be an audiobook with absolutely no mouth clicks, no nothing, is a thing I’ll never finish right now. The perfect is the enemy of the finished, at this point. The goal now is to get a book out and see how it flies. If people say WUN STAR U SUK, well, back to the drawing board. But until I get something out there in the marketplace, I can’t know, can I?
Oh, and what got me motivated, at last? This article in the New York Times:
“Binge listening appears to be on the rise, and audiobooks joined podcasts as one of the breakout creative mediums of the year. Sales of downloaded books grew 38 percent in the first eight months of this year from the comparable period last year, according to the Association of American Publishers. (Meanwhile, e-book sales fell by 11 percent in the first eight months of the year, leading industry analysts to speculate that some consumers are switching from digital reading to digital listening.)”
OH SHIT, I thought. I gotta get moving! And on a $20 audiobook, I make…$8. At a time when not only are ebook sales falling, but Lord Bezos’ Salt Tax on our pitiful ebook earnings grows ever more onerous.
Yeah, it’s time. And no, this isn’t impeding Marc and Jesse. That’s “first thing in the morning” work, this is “after my shower but before I leave the house” work. I’ll let you know when this gets really real, but it won’t be long now…