By Teresa Burrell
Recently, Jenny Hilborne posted here about audiobooks, but because of the market share they seem to be taking up, I think it’s worth another look.
A few years ago I sat down to my computer and I read one of my books onto about eight CDs. I did that because my brother wanted to read my books but he couldn’t because he is legally blind. It was a real chore. It was exhausting and it was a lousy rendition, but he loved it.
Now I am in the process of getting my novels professionally narrated for audiobooks. I have to tell you that my experience of making the CDs for my brother really has made me appreciate the narrators that have submitted auditions. I know it’s not an easy task and I don’t begrudge them their hourly fees (they’re not cheap). My problem has been in finding someone who gets the essence of the story. I have listened to some wonderful voices but the cadence just isn’t working for me.
I have had several friends listen to the auditions and most of the time they are all in disagreement about which one they like. Although, no one has yet told me, “That’s the one.” Which confirms my opinion that none of them are what I want. So, I’ll keep looking.
I have absolutely no experience with this sort of thing and after you listen to a lot of them, they all start to sound alike. Fortunately, I have a friend, and fellow author, who used to be in the advertising business. He can listen and tell me what’s wrong with the way it is done. All I know is whether or not I like what I hear. My only expertise comes from the many hours of listening to audiobooks, when I drive, when I walk at the bay, and when I workout. I probably go through two or three books a month, sometimes more. If it weren’t for audiobooks I wouldn’t get much reading done. So I’m thrilled with the way technology has made them so accessible. But I don’t know that what I like is what everyone else will like. My friend has helped me to see why someone may or may not like it.
This whole experience has been one more adventure in this wonderful career I have had the good fortune to have. I feel so lucky to be able to write for a living. And just when I was getting frustrated with this process I think I may have received an audition today that just might be the one. I’m passing it through my beta listeners to see if everyone else feels the same.
Meanwhile, I think I'll take a lesson from Andrew Kaufman.
There, that ought to get me started!
What do like about audiobooks? Have you ever listened to one that you didn’t enjoy because the voice wasn’t right? What is it you like to hear in a voice reading to you?