Friday, February 01, 2013

Audiobook Adventures Part 3

So, this is my third week, trying to be an actual, professional audio book narrator.  On the positive side, I got a contract sent to me to do my fourth book* and I'm starting that one today.  It seems easier than the others, since it's closer to the sort of stuff I write, which I'll elaborate on when I've finished it), and is not long.

On the negative side, the agent that rejected my first three fifteen minute samples hasn't gotten back to me on my "final" reading.  She did send me an email asking if I was going to send in another fifteen minutes for the second book they contracted me to record, though.  I, however, wanted to hear if my newest attempt passed or failed before I recorded anything else for her.  I said "final" in quotes above (though I suppose I could have capitalized it) because I decided not to do it a fifth time if the fourth was rejected.  They could go ahead and give their zero dollars to somebody else, you know?

It's been a learning experience.  I have found that there is a bit more to doing these recordings than just an unbelievable, nearly-unearthly talent for voice work.  Apparently, you must also have equipment that does not suck, a quiet (preferably silent) work environment, patience, and the ability to inhale without making a sound, even in the middle of character acting.

Did I mention patience?

The bit of instruction Big and I stress most often to writers who want to read for audio is to READ THE PIECE ALOUD before considering it done, or worse, sending it out for publication.  In these readings, I have discovered a number of typos, incorrect words, and a sad couple of sentences that make no sense.  I've been noting them down to send to the authors, because I would want someone to bring that to my attention if it were one of my stories/books.  I did hear back from one writer, though, who said it was "a bit late" to make any changes, since, I don't know, the book was on shelves in every home in America, next to the Bible, "Treasure Island," and "Fifty Shades of Grey."

This weekend, I got to "The End" of my first recording.  Which is to say, I got to the last page, since no audiobooks actually finish up with the words "the end."  Yet another thing I will never get about professional narration (usually, they'll just go into the Author's Note or copyright legalese, and sometimes they'll say "you've been listening to 'I Know Now Why The Caged Butt Sings' by Gerald Q. Anklevich," or even "This is the end of 'To Mock a F**ckingbird' by Navin G. Marshall."  But in what way is that better than "The End?").

The recording, before editing, was just over six hours long.  I've now gotten it to 5:05.  With final editing, I think it'll end up at four and a half, maybe shorter.  My goal is to have that done this week, get it uploaded, and move on to the next one.

I believe I may have intimated (or outright said) that the author of this first book is not a published professional.  If so, I didn't mean it the way it sounded.  I merely meant that, in my first two contracts, I only dealt with the writer's agent, never with the writer herself, and this was someone who was representing himself, and who I assumed had self-published the book.  I have since discovered that he's written several other works, many of which have been critically praised.  I'd hate for him to think--or somebody who hears me talking about the process--that I think the book is poorly-written or unprofessional.

I'll talk about the book when I'm finished, but I really enjoyed narrating it, and I'm hoping it ends up being a fun listening experience for all involved. 

Renee and Bryan both mentioned that there was a learning curve for them as they first began the process of audiobook reading, and Renee seemed outright embarrassed by her first recording, so, if I can keep up the . . . work (I nearly said "good work," but that just ain't me, despite my opening paragraph), I think the experience can get quicker and less painful.

We shall see.

Rish Outfield

*I had a feeling I'd get this one, since the author put the entire first chapter out there as his audition piece, and my guess is, very few would waste that kind of time just to audition.  Of course, if you got the job, you'd already have your first fifteen minutes ready to upload. 

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