Several well-meaning friends have turned green when I told them I wasn’t using a traditional publisher for this project. They were non-plussed since once there was a stigma about self-publishing – Vanity Press – was an apt description. Unspoken was the belief that anyone who had to publish their own book was a loser or illiterate chump. Well, times have changed and after having been published by a traditional Southern press years ago, I have joined the ranks of an “indie” author. Sounds like a belly-button, doesn’t it? More politely, I have gone the independent route and worked with a company to print and distribute my first work of fiction. The truth is, I have spent over 9 years working on Raine’s story and then begged someone to represent me as an agent to present me to a publisher. So, I write a query letter which has to have seductive wording to attract some overworked agent only to get a form letter saying “my book doesn’t fit their list just now.” What a load of b.s. No wonder so many good books fall by the wayside. Anyway, I gave up after only three of those rejections and went rogue. It is a daunting task for someone who is a card-carrying Luddite (technologically challenged), but with the help of many, I finally understand the difference in upload and download. And I have added the words JPEG and a PDF file to my data bank. But imagine my distress when I had to fit a narrative into a teeny-weeny space online. I watched countless videos on YouTube and Googled “how to” things I won’t even admit to. Let me just say I AM THE CREATOR, I am not the administrator. Writing a book is a joy, selling it is not.
As mentioned in my former Musing, I followed the same path when it came to producing an audiobook. Most authors choose some mellow-sounding AI (robot) voice or a celebrity that sounds like Othello or Nina Simone. A friend suggested I record my own book since I have the passion and understand voice inflections that should be emphasized in certain scenes. Afterall, I did produce a radio show while living in Montana, how hard could it be? It was like programming a satellite for StarLink. 1). My voice sounded squeaky 2). My accent was HeeHaw even if I tried to squelch it 3). Burping happens and the microphone knows it. Don’t mean a huge belch – although that happens – I mean a tiny uuugggg that you try to swallow. Nope, the mike catches it and the Sound Engineer hears all. “let’s try that again…” 4). And guess what, your voice actually gives out, just rasps itself to death. So, I’m given green apples and throat spray to lube the voice box. And we only recorded about 11/2 hrs. a day to get the most out of my vocals. 5). Then there was the singing. I forgot I had some lyrics that needed to be sung and that meant I had to do it. THAT I had not planned on. I tried to bribe the Sound Engineer – Dave, the coolest dude ever – to sing instead of me but he refused. Ergo, I made my singing debut, and I don’t wanna hear a word about it! Just concentrate on the story and my velvety delivery, okay?
In the next Musing, I’ll share the tragedy that hit during my recording session. It was personal and deals with one of the book’s characters. It made me concentrate on working from an intellectual place rather than an emotional one. In reality, it was heartbreaking.
Dave at The Talking Book, Indie Audiobook Studio in Asheville, NC