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When You Can’t Stand the Sound of Your Own Voice, Stop Listening

I may finally be a certifiable geek. No, I’m not tech savvy. Not by those standards.

But I’ve learned more about recording audio tracks in the past couple of weeks than I ever wanted to know. I even made my dim brain read acres and acres of instructions in forums. I trained my blind eye to online tutorials. I took notes.

And I recorded Not Without My Father.

TWICE.

The first time, my sibilance came from my not activating my USB mic in the program. I THOUGHT IT JUST CAME ON WHEN I PLUGGED IT IN. Better mic = no sibilance.

But I couldn’t use my entire first recording. I threw it out and started again.

This weekend, I spent ten hours holed up in a conference room at my husband’s office. I recorded in two segments. THE WHOLE BOOK. AGAIN.

Here’s the thing sound geeks know. (And I’m a sound geek now, so I know it, too.)

The place one records is sacrosanct. Every single solitary blip of a detail in atmosphere, mic position, chair setting, and speaker’s body must be the same, EVERY TIME, or the tracks will not sound the same when joined.

I’ve learned that lesson the hardest way, by trying to do an audiobook for Not Without My Father in time for the January 15, 2015 worldwide launch. I’ve got a complete track, but because of all the things I realize I don’t know until I do it, I’ll never be able to make this track the best it can be.

So.

There will be no audio version of Not Without My Father on January 15, 2015.

MTM and I have come up with a way to mitigate all the problems, and I will work on recordings for a May/June release of both To Live Forever and Not Without My Father.

I wish I could afford to rent a studio and pay for a professional. I CAN’T.

And I have about a billion things to do to get ready to launch this book next week.

Geez……..did I just type NEXT WEEK???

I’m giving you an update, because I don’t want to drag this issue to my new website LAUNCHING SOMETIME TOMORROW, JANUARY 5, 2015. Not sure about timing, but I’ll let everyone know here when it’s live there.

Happy weekend, Everyone. I’m off to make a newsletter template………..something I KNOW how to do. 🙂

In the meantime, you can listen to a sample first chapter of Not Without My Father. This is probably the best cut I have.

42 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you made the right choice.

    January 4, 2015
  2. Tell me again what’s wrong with this? I’d venture to guess that no one, save one who chooses to nitpick, would find this flawed! But I understand that there are many whose ears are probably more attuned to the “professional” reader, so do what you gotta do. For my money, however, I’d happily listen to this version, unless there are great, gaping holes in it somewhere! Looking forward to the 15th for sure!!

    January 4, 2015
    • Karen, this is an example of what I’m striving for. Many of the tracks sound like I recorded them in a tin can, and I didn’t realize that until I processed them. The drop-off in quality from Chapters 1 to 2 is significant, all because of my not following certain protocols. I want the whole book to be like the chapter preview I gave you, and because I’ve done that chapter, I know I can do the whole thing with that quality.

      January 4, 2015
  3. Oh wow… that reminds me about my experiences with sound recording. Passive noise cancellation is hard. I was using a directional mic with a foam cover, but I might just make a homemade booth. It’s basically a storage container lined with egg crate foam and mounted on a microphone stand.

    I’m also a bit of a linguistics nerd. Your accent sounds like a mixture of Midwestern and Southern. If I was a little more schooled in linguistics, I could articulate properly why I think that is, but all I can say is that your pronunciation of certain words are little bit more flat and not so drawled. It’s good stuff, mind; I’m sure you know we don’t hear so many voices like yours on popular media.

    And this is a great recording! Sure, I could probably hash out where it could be tweaked closer to perfection, but my wife listens to enough audio recordings, that I’d say it’s comparatively very good. I mean, seriously, this is from a guy that answers the telephone and people ask me if I’m a recording.

    January 4, 2015
    • We’re going to soundproof our guest shower room. Ha. That way, I can knock both of these out when I’m back from touring, without having to do twenty chapters in one long read.

      I’m really glad to have this feedback. I’m very self-conscious of how I sound. I’ve never really liked my speaking voice, but for a memoir, I think it’s vital for the author to read it.

      January 4, 2015
      • Aye, and it seems like it’s required for authors to at least consider it just to promote their work. I’ve read some of what Wil Wheaton has said in that regard– that audiobooks, e-reader formats, and so on… all demand consideration now. Ignore a format, and opportunities are missed.

        January 4, 2015
      • I’m very self-conscious of how I sound, too… which is why I think I get people asking me if I’m a recording now. I worked so hard to sound perfect over the years.

        January 4, 2015
    • An audiobook is really a good tool, and when I get these together, I hope to sell quite a few. Because of the sound, they can cost more than an e-book, and I’m removing an excuse for people to connect with my work. It’s a win-win, if I can put together a quality product.

      January 4, 2015
  4. You were in the building and I didn’t even know it?! D’oh! I could have gotten you a coffee or something. Or like an herbal honey tea for your voice at least! lol

    January 4, 2015
    • My voice held up pretty well. I thought you weren’t working in that building anymore??

      January 4, 2015
      • I’ve been back over there for about a year, even ran into MTM and the Fiat a few times!

        January 4, 2015
  5. That sucks. Totally. I once recorded a near two hour podcast with guests and such… and had not hit the “record” button. Messing up a recording is bad enough, doing it when you inconvenienced two other people is something all together else.

    I feel for you. Honestly.

    January 4, 2015
    • I can’t think of any other way to learn all this stuff than to just screw up and do it over. I have a very detailed checklist now of how to record, what levels to use, what order to process, all the right steps, so once MTM makes our guest bathroom shower into a soundproof shroud, I should be able to knock this out relatively easily. It does suck that that’s how we have to learn sometimes, but I don’t know how else I could’ve done this. I mean, I could’ve taken a class at Tech or something, but the only cost I’ve got in this thing right now is my mic and my time. Now that I’ve learned how to do this myself, my audiobooks will help defray some of the costs of getting the print book ready to go…….and that’s a good thing.

      January 4, 2015
      • Experience is the best teacher, but still a bitch. I don’t want to even think about the other ramifications of you having a soundproof shower though … the imagination boggles. 😉

        January 4, 2015
  6. sorry this has been such a challenge, but you’ve learned a lot along the way and we will just be that much more excited when it happens ) thanks for not giving up –

    January 4, 2015
    • All in all, it’s a win, Beth. A very frustrating win, but a win.

      January 4, 2015
  7. Listening to you read NWOMF is a treat, Andra. Nothing can match the opportunity to settle in and hear your story in your own voice, each word comes to life through your telling and unique sound. Thanks for sharing a preview and I can’t wait until both audio books are ready for sale. 🙂

    January 4, 2015
    • Lisa, I know I’ll sell audiobooks. I love reading out loud. Always have. Learning ain’t easy. 🙂 But I’m glad I pushed through to figure out what I need to do.

      January 5, 2015
  8. I’m so very excited for you. I think you’re right that a memoir should be recorded in your own voice! It brings us closer to you and your story. Thanks for the preview. Looking forward to the book!

    January 4, 2015
  9. Work is work. Even when it’s good work. But a labor of love rewards all across the board.

    January 4, 2015
    • I don’t want to release something that isn’t good. It’ll never be perfect, but it needs to be good.

      January 5, 2015
  10. I think you sound great!! I love listening to you.

    January 4, 2015
  11. So excited, and I’d love to know more about your recording process! What mic and program did you use? I think I’ve got – I kid not – a corner of my closet that would be absolutely isolated and insulated (and that failing, I could probably use Scott’s office) but am curious about equipment.

    January 5, 2015
    • This requires an entire post, a series of posts or a very long comment reply.

      When I started down this road, I googled this and basically found: Anybody can read their own audiobook with Audacity and start making more money!!!!!!!!!

      I knew nothing about soundproof rooms, microphones, the Audacity program itself, or pretty much anything else. I just had a book I wanted to record and make a wav file.

      Whatever anyone says online, this process is HARD. It has a BIG learning curve. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it, because I’m glad I’ve put myself through it. But you have to go into it realizing that you’re going to spend a ton of time messing up, tweaking, and redoing to figure out how to do your first one. Once you find your process, future books will be easier.

      I absolutely think the investment is worth it, because audiobooks sell for so much more than e-books. They have to build in the cost of the help to record them. I’ve cut that cost by learning this myself. If you want to chat about this for you specifically, let me know. I’d be happy to give you the unvarnished pros and cons.

      January 5, 2015
  12. I’m so glad you can now officially call yourself a geek! You have really stayed the course and from the little clip you’ve generously shared, you’ve done well! I can hardly wait to begin reading the book. We are traveling to Kauai at the end of the month for Jonathan’s wedding, and I’m not a really good “airline traveler”–so I’m going to read it “in the air” on the 23rd. Thank you so much for timing your release just for me. 🙂 This is exciting, Andra. ox

    January 5, 2015
    • Oh, I hope you’ll buy the print version, Debra, just so I can imagine you flying over the Pacific with my book on a plane. I’ve always wanted to see someone holding my book on a plane.

      Very exciting about Jonathan’s wedding. I hope it’s a lovely respite for you and Jay. Please give my best to your family there.

      January 5, 2015
  13. Good luck with the new challenge….I guess once you’ve sorted it you’ll be working out how to record it under water or something even trickier….Happy New Year to you and MTM..try to take the easy road, at least for some of the time:)

    January 5, 2015
  14. This was great, I never realized how much was involved with audio recording. The story really does come to life with you doing your own reading; it’s fun to imagine your facial expressions as you do Roy’s voice, I can just see you trying to set your jaw into your neck and gruff out the words.

    January 5, 2015
    • I’m not sure I’ve nailed Roy’s voice yet. What’s great about the audio version is I can actually include his voice as an extra. He gets the last word in the book, and I think that’ll be really cool.

      January 5, 2015
  15. I was just about to ask when the book release was happening, but I’m glad you answered the question without my having to ask! I’ll email to see when you can come on the blog.
    How extremely frustrating about your recording! But I loved hearing you read your book (and sing the song at the beginning of the chapter).
    My father listens to audiobooks, so I know he’ll love yours when it’s available.

    January 5, 2015
    • Happy to be available any time you need me, Linda.

      I hope singing the titles doesn’t get me in trouble. Titles are not protected by copyright. Hence, I can use them as chapter titles. But I’m not sure how that translates to singing the music in a paid piece………..

      January 5, 2015
  16. Just think of how much easier the recording of all your future bestsellers will be, now that you’ve figured all this shiz out! 🙂

    January 5, 2015
  17. tarakianwarrior #

    Andra, your voice is charming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it and I can hardly wait to download it. Thank you for giving us a sneak listen…. Charming.

    January 5, 2015
  18. Cindy Duryea #

    What a teaser! Hooked, I am, and cannot wait until the 15th. See you at Parnassus.

    January 5, 2015
  19. Oh, Andra!!! The pressure we put on ourselves….Good decision, you have enough pressures!!! Dont forget the gin and tonics. 😜

    January 5, 2015
  20. I love the title of this postI need to print it out! Good one Andra!

    January 5, 2015

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