Friday, December 15, 2023

I'm prepping for my one and only gig as an audiobook narrator

This would be me recording an audio version of my book if I was younger. And better looking. And had more hair.

Over the years, I've listened to dozens and dozens of audiobooks. I discovered early on that just as important as the quality of the book itself is the quality of the narrator.

My favorite audiobook narrator is the late Frank Muller. I can't think of "The Great Gatsby" or "A Tale of Two Cities" without hearing his voice. He brought those works to life for me.

Which is why, when several people suggested I record an audio version of my book "5 Kids, 1 Wife," I initially balked.

Yes, I'm the guy who wrote it, and yes, having had some experience with a microphone, you would think I'm the ideal candidate to narrate it.

But good audiobook narration requires more than just a decent voice and a knowledge of the text. The best narrators are also actors. They understand inflection, dynamics and pace.

Especially pace. I'm a fast talker. You can't be overly fast when you narrate an audiobook. Then again, you don't want to be too slow, either. I'm afraid I'll be so self-conscious about the speed at which I'm talking that I'll forget everything else that goes into making an audiobook listenable.

Still, despite these misgivings, I'm going to give it a go. It turns out you can record, edit and distribute your own audiobook just as easily as you can self-publish a paperback these days. The folks at Amazon make it especially easy through their ACX audiobook platform.

You do need to know how to set your audio recording software to fit within certain ACX-prescribed parameters to make it sound good, but I think I'm just technically savvy enough to manage it.

My goal is to record the audiobook in January and have it edited and available for sale by the end of Q1 2024. It will go right onto the "5 Kids, 1 Wife" Amazon page, which already offers print and Kindle versions of the book.

All I'm saying is, don't expect perfection. And if I end up talking too fast, you can slow down the playback speed on your device.

With all of these caveats, it's starting to feel like any price point for this audiobook above, say, $2 will be a ripoff.

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