Back in June, I posted an article about recording an audiobook for Without Magic. Last weekend, it happened! I’m looking forward to sharing the finished audiobook with everyone.

Why did I record an audiobook for a short story? I’ve been researching writers who make a living through self-publishing alone, and all of them share certain characteristics. One which they all shared was that they have multiple income streams. Patreon, Youtube, Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Publishing, among others. They also tended to publish multiple versions of their work, such as through translations or audio books. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts at work, and I know I will record audio for my novels. Why not get used to the process with a short story?

I’ve never dabbled in audio before last week. I just ran with an idea someone suggested offhand. I knew I needed to do my homework. First, I looked for affordable equipment. I’m no audiophile and I don’t have much left in my penny jar, but I at least wanted the audiobook to be a cut above an mp3 ripped from Youtube. After some digging I found the Blue Snowball iCE, reportedly the best bang for your buck. I used my credit card’s reward points to buy it used, plus a pop filter. I then looked for cheap audio software and found Audacity, which is free to use and has plenty of tutorials and resources. A few days before recording, I practiced using the equipment by reciting short poetry and editing it. I also read articles and watched video tutorials about recording and narrating and put together a plan for recording.

I asked my friend Robyn, who I met at the arts camp, if she would narrate my short story for $50 and dinner. She has a wonderful natural speaking voice, has done speech and choir competitively in high school and college, and regularly gets small acting gigs. Last Sunday, I drove to Robyn’s house and we set up two laptops, the microphone, the filter, and untangled the power cords. We made sure the room was quiet— no fan ticking, no air vent, no dog tags jingling, no parents washing dishes— and began. The 6,980 word short story took an hour and a half to record, accounting for all the breaks, mistakes, noise problems, and the times we had to pause to laugh.

We ended the session and I drove home happy. And Robyn says she really enjoyed it and wants to narrate my other stuff! Hopefully y’all will get to hear her voice again.

For Part Deux I’ll go in-depth on how I edited the audio file using Audacity and submitted it to be reviewed by the ACX platform. Stay tuned!


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