Friday, February 08, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Week Four

Hard to believe I've been doing this for a month now.  But for me, anything I start and am still doing four weeks later has to be an achievement.  I even stopped killing drifters a while back, and have not resumed the pastime . . . yet.

So, this week, I actually had two milestones of sorts.  The first was that I finished recording and editing one of the projects.  It was a short story, so it wasn't a monumental achievement, but I recorded it, and spent several hours trying to get it in perfect shape (which, I'm sorry to say, was just not possible, not unless I wanted to re-record a couple of lines here and there, and then have them not quite match the dialogue around them, which would, again, prevent perfection), and finally uploaded it all yesterday.  If all is accepted, it will be out there for absolutely no one to listen to within weeks.

The second milestone was concerning that agent I had been dealing with since my very first day with the company.  She sent me two contracts, but I was never able to get her a sample that could please her.  I believe I mentioned that I went out and got a new cord, and recorded the first chapter for the third time, edited it, and sent it to her, adding a note that I was satisfied she would be satisfied with it this time.

Alas, she was not.  She said there was still too much background noise, and when I played the sample back on my system, I heard nothing.  I had submitted two other fifteen minute samples to other authors, and neither of them said anything about any noise, instead showering me with praise and giving me the go-ahead to finish the recordings.. 

I threw my hands up in the air (probably just metaphorically, since I'm more of a kicker than a hand-thrower), and sent the file to Big Anklevich to see if he heard any noise.  He listened with headphones, suggesting I do the same, and sure enough, there was the sound of my computer fan mucking things up for me.  But he was able to isolate and eliminate that sound, and when I sent the file in that he had cleaned . . . I finally, amazingly, had the sample accepted.

This was good news, except . . . 

Except that I was now at the mercy of my friend, my generous, but busy and overworked friend.  I have been in partnerships before where I was able to do a ton of work, but I had to depend on another for that work to go anywhere.  And it sucks, because I can't really accomplish what I need to that way.  And this audio work was intended to be something I could do myself, whenever I got some free time and (much rarer) ambition, without having to depend on anybody else.  Guess I don't play well with others.*

I sent Big a couple other recordings, asking him to clean them up for me.  In the meantime, I tried it out myself, attempting to replicate what he did, this time using the other story sample the agent had rejected.  It was just a matter of lifting out the subtle sound of the computer hum, but not so much that my reading sounded garbled.  I sent in my cleaned-up version, and this too was accepted by the agent (although she did mention that my sample didn't sound as good as my friend's, which I disagree with about a hundred and twenty-seven percent, but ah well).

So, I'm finally going forward with those two projects (one of which I've read the first chapter of four times, and never read further), and I hope to have those two finished before February is over.
This has the potential to be good for me.  I have five contracts to do work so far, and an author told me she liked my audition and had something she wanted to hire me to record for her after the weekend.

So, this has been a good week, and I'm looking forward to the next one.  I am enjoying it, for the most part, and I know a lot of people can't say that about their work.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Guy

*This is also a stumbling block for me when it comes to self-publishing my stories.  I've had a couple of people say they'd be happy to put something together for me and see if I couldn't sell my writing on the internet somewhere, and while I appreciate that, what I need is to find a template where I could enter the text of the story/stories, upload/draw something for cover art, and put it out to be purchased myself.  That way, I could proofread a story, and put it up to be purchased every month or so.  If it didn't sell, ah well, but if it did, I'd be motivated to put up another one, or a collection, or write new stories solely for the purpose of self-publishing them.

As it stands, I can't depend on others to do it, no matter how generous they are with their time.  Without knowing how to do it myself, it's doubtful I'll get any of my work out there.  It's more likely that you and Taylor Swift will ever, ever get back together


Abigail Hilton said...

*dances* I am totally delighted by this. I kind of thought that, if I could just get you into the same room with Renee and Bryan, you'd realize that this is work you'd enjoy and be good at.

So, although, I have no right to take credit for this development, I'm taking it anyway. :D

The template thing for ebooks - you could get there. At first, it wouldn't be the set-it-and-forget-it thing that you want. There would be an awkward, time-consuming learning phase, just like with the pro narration. However, formatting ebooks isn't *that* difficult. After a few tries, you'd arrive at a point where it took you less than an hour to format and upload one.

A story per month is a very reasonable goal. It would probably involve one day per month of tearing your hair out at the beginning, and then production time would shrink. If you need someone to walk you through it, shoot me a text.

Seraph said...

Awesome to hear about your progress with the audio-books Rish ! I hope you can suss out how to do that noise reduction thing yourself - it sounds like a handy trick to know ! Remember that old saying :

Light a man a fire - he'll be warm for a night.
Set a man ON fire - he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Maybe something to remember with your drifters too. Y'know - if you go back to your 'old ways'.