What does this mean for a writer? First, it opens your audience base. Just like there are those who want print over digital, or vice-versa, there are "readers" who prefer to listen to books. And, with a wider audience base, there's the potential for increased income, which is rarely a bad thing.
As writers, we're aware of the importance of a good editor. How do you "edit" an audio book? There are some authors who say they simply sit back and listen. I couldn't do that. Here's my process.
With the ACX site open along with both my manuscript and a new document for notes, I close the door, pour a cup of coffee (okay, sometimes something a tad stronger, depending on the time of day, but snacking on things that crunch, even a little, won't work), and I start listening. What am I listening for? Of course, I'm listening for accuracy. The words the narrator says have to match the ones in the manuscript. I listen for inflection, for whether it's clear who the character is (all those admonitions to avoid too many speaker tags can kill an audio book passage), for whether the character is thinking or speaking (italics don't show up in audio, either), and for things like whether the character's 'voice' matches my vision of the character.
Unless there's a genuine problem with characterization, I don't usually say anything. In one book, the narrator had read a scene with cockiness when I thought it should be tenderness. We discussed it, she agreed, and rerecorded. But it's a LOT of work, and unless it's glaring, or clearly wrong (such as if I've said the character has a French accent and the narrator reads it with a German one), I'll leave it alone. Since I'm doing the royalty share option, I'm not the 'boss.' It's a partnership, and the narrator's opinions are just as likely to be right as mine are.
The word matching is 'easy' – if the narrator has made a mistake, I will mark the time, copy the paragraph, and highlight the mistake. Sometimes, the mistake is one that doesn't make a difference, such as reading "a" for "the". If it's no big deal, I'll change it on my end. Because, going in, I know there are going to be mistakes in the manuscript. There's always a typo. Maybe it's just comma placement, but this listening process is probably the best editorial pass you can give your own work. And, since these are indie books, I can fix things, then upload the new version.
Sometimes, the narrator will read exactly what's written, but it'll be wrong. Then, I'll flag it and ask (as nicely as I can) if she'd mind redoing that passage. Rerecording is a lot more complex than using a keyboard to replace a word.
It's a time consuming process. There's no way to move any faster than the narrator reads. If a chapter takes 19 minutes to narrate, it's going to take 19 minutes to listen to it, and that assumes there's no stopping to annotate corrections.
One thing I've learned. I'm not an auditory person. I have to force myself to pay attention and not get distracted while I'm listening. I'm reading along, but I have to keep slowing down, as I automatically read at "my" reading speed, and the narrator is reading at a "storytelling" pace. But I'm very glad there are people out there who do enjoy listening. And if you're one of them, you can find my audio books at audible.com, Amazon, and the iTunes store.
|Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She’s the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.|