This post, by Michael Hicks, originally appeared on his site on 10/11/12.
I’ve been asked by a number of readers if my books were ever going to be available as audiobooks. The short answer is “yes”. Getting there, though, has been an interesting journey so far!
While my book sales have freed me from my former day job (I hope permanently!), I’m still not at the point where I feel I can afford to pay a pro to do the voiceovers. Maybe someday I’ll be able to hire James Earl Jones, but I suspect that’s not going to be any time real soon!
And, like many things (other than electrical and plumbing stuff, which I never mess with!), I’m sort of a do-it-yourselfer. Partly because I’m cheap, but mainly because doing something myself is always a great learning process. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing, and you will have the power…as long as it doesn’t involve electricity, plumbing, or power tools.”
Being a gadget addict, I was initially focused on the gear. It’s always about the gear, right? At least until you know better. Anyway, I had a Blue Snowball microphone I’d gotten a while back, and I made a couple of test reads of passages from IN HER NAME: EMPIRE, which I’ll be offering as a free audiobook when it’s done, here in my junk-room-turned-office.
Okay, I’m not an acoustic genius, but I could tell the audio quality in this room sucked. So, I looked around a bit for potential solutions. I didn’t want to build a sound booth, so I settled on the Porta-Booth Pro, which is also something I can take with us when we go out in the RV (actually, the latter is the main reason I got it).
I set the thing up in my closet upstairs, plugged my Snowball into my MacBook Air, brought up EMPIRE in the Kindle app of my iPad (yes, yes, I’m a cheap gadget freak – go figure!), and off we went with a chunk of chapter 1.
That’s when I discovered what’s REALLY important in a story told through audio: HOW it’s told. How you present it to the audience. The first take sucked. I was just reading in a monotone, same cadence throughout. I could’ve been reading the phone book, and it would’ve been just as interesting (or not).