Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last week I downloaded a program called Audacity. For those of you who attended the QRB panel on May 17th, Stacey and I both talked about this during the discussion for those interested in podcasting. I'm finally getting a chance to play around with it.

For one thing, I'm at quite an advantage because I have a brother in NY who has been a professional audio recording engineer and producer for about twenty-five years. He's got the gold records to show for his talent, too. Before he made money from it, he and my other brother used to record their demos from their studio in our basement. I used to love sitting in on the sessions and watch (and listen, of course) them put together a song track by track. These days, recording is all digital w/ much higher end programs than Audacity (and yet, my bro said he heard good things about Audacity, so coming from him, that's a solid recommendation for me). But I've watched him in his present-day home studio as well, so I came in having just an inkling of an idea of what to do and what to listen for.

And yet, I've been telling people that Audacity is also the 21st century equivalent of playing w/ your dad's tape recorder (although you can't leave it under the bed and tape your sister and her friends w/out their knowing...). Up until this morning, I haven't done much more than "testing one-two-three-four" or reading a few lines from a story.

So this morning I decided to try recording the first chapter of my first novel. It took well over an hour to get four pages done. That's right -- four pages! And it wasn't just manuvering through the program and my cheap mic, but also learning to read, so to speak. I have newfound respect for audiobook readers. (My respect for my brother, of course, still hasn't changed -- it's as high as ever.)

Pretty cool what you can do w/ a laptop and a mic though, for starters...

My intention is to put together an audiorecording of my novel and then make it available either in podcasts or podiobooks, or even through my own web domain, which is on my Get Aggressive list. I realize I've taken on quite a task -- most authors get actors to read their work. I don't know if it's a control issue, a money issue, or a learning experience issue (or d: all of the above?), but I've always imagined that my books would be Read by the Author. Why not give it a try?


Sarah said...

i always shy away from books not read by the author. i think it's because i *know* what the characters sound like in my head, and dangit, they never get it right! but when it's the author reading, well, they pull trump.

i say go for it. but do your homework and practice practice first.


The Purple Panda said...

I find that I enjoy books read by the author even more, depending on the book and the author. Especially nonfiction. I just "read" Alan Alda's book on audio (I have it in hardcopy and already read it), and enjoyed it just as much as reading it on my own. Ditto for every single Bill Bryson book, and Stephen King. Even Harlan Ellison--what a great reader of his stories!

Jim Dale, the guy who read all seven Harry Potter books, totally rocked, though. Kevin Spacey is really good, too. I had found out that Chris Noth narrated an audiobook, but it was Kiss the Girls and I don't think I could take it. But I would've loved the feeling of being read to by him. And dammit, Anthony Hopkins can read the telephone book to me and I'll go gaga.

It's a skill, definitely. I read pretty well in person. But on tape -- it really is different. I'm going to keep practicing.