Elaine: “Can you hear me?…Jack?…Are you there?”
Jack: “Elaine?…We can start now….GO!”
Elaine: “Chapter One………On October 15, 1979, Ron Calhoun received a surprising call…”
On December 10, 2019, I sat in my good friend Jack London’s recording studio and we started to work on my fourth book. We had already recorded and posted with ACX Audible the three books of my Loyalist trilogy and I was anxious to put this one in the can as well.
In the photo above I am sitting in the tiny sound booth, my iPad open to The Man Behind the Marathons resting on the music stand before me and all connected to headphones in front of a great mic. The room is cosy this night, the little heater silently warming me as I sit on the high-backed stool and immerse myself in the story.
My iPad sticks magnetically to the metal music stand so that we don’t have to worry about me dropping it to the floor. A fresh water bottle is waiting for me when I arrive each night, and I take sips often to keep my voice lubricated. We take breaks when needed.
I’m excited. Jack is, too. We both know the drill. He runs the recording equipment, a bank of screens and squiggly lines that he somehow understands exactly how to operate.
I sit in the studio and try to keep my thoughts focused on the words before me. I imagine I’m performing at an author reading. There are real people out there and–ever the entertainer–I put life into the voices of the different characters and the narrator who is telling this wonderful story.
I keep self doubts at bay by remembering how audiences seem to love my reading; in fact, one librarian told me that, when I had left them one night after a reading, everyone agreed they could listen to me read the whole book! That gave me the courage to record all of my books myself. My hope is that listeners will have an extra bit of enjoyment knowing that the author is doing the reading.
Here is Jack posing for the photographer before we start the actual recording one night. You can see some of his recording equipment but certainly not all of it.
Jack is a singer/songwriter himself as well as the owner and master of his recording studio. He’s a little like me that way. When he wants to do something he just figures it out and goes ahead. He is a tireless worker and quite the perfectionist, both as a singer and a technician. He hears every little snuffle, strangely pronounced word, motion of my foot on the stool, clearing of the throat and I don’t know what all. And he stops me. He wants the recording to be perfect. It is Jack’s voice you hear doing the intros etc. on all of my audio books. Have a listen. It’s the most mellow sound you’ll ever hear!
A great big thank you always goes out to Jack!
In this final photo we have set up the shot to show where we both are during recording. Of course when actually recording, the sliding door is closed tightly and the sound muffling curtains are closed. I am shut into my booth and no sound gets in from outside. That is what makes the recording so clean. Thanks to my husband, Ron, who took these shots before one of our recording sessions a few weeks ago.
There are other ways to get your books out on Audible which, by the way, is connected to Amazon so that your audio books are listed as options just as Kindle ebooks are. Here is one of my books (The Loyalist’s Wife) where you can see that.
Audible and ACX are connected so that when you want your books on Audible, you go through ACX. You can upload your own files or you can search for someone on their site who will read/record your book for you. Apparently you can hear demos but I’ve not done this. Choose whichever way makes sense for your situation.
My message to other authors and performers is obviously that you may very well be able to do this. Of course there is a cost and I’ll let you talk to your audio person about that. For the listener having the author read her own books is kind of exciting people tell me. That coupled with my desire to live up to that old 4-H motto I learned so many years ago–Learn to do by doing–has helped me through much of my writing journey.
The Man Behind the Marathons audio book will be coming in the next weeks. In the meantime here is a link to my trilogy audio books on Amazon. Notice that if you are a new Audible member, you can get your first book free! Pick mine, please! And don’t forget to write me a short review on Amazon and Goodreads.