The ups and downs of audiobooks.

As many of you know, I’ve been working for the last year on completing self-publishing on the some of my books for audio. This has been while also writing and publishing six other pieces of fiction. Confession time: I hate producing my own audiobooks.

I don’t hate audiobooks! Though they’re not my favorite format for reading fiction, I absolutely love listening to non-fiction, especially for memoir and comedy, and I’ve slowly crept into appreciating short fiction in audio format. My son adores audiobooks and has a ton of them on his iPod in lots of genres, but mostly sci-fi and fantasy. And he’s the one that really got me started on appreciating the format. In fact, I have some audiobook recs here.

But producing my own books? Nope. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. ALL of this has to do with me being the author of the thing being produced. Several things are at work here:

  1. All these characters exist in my own head, most of them in very complete form. And while I don’t have clear mental pictures on all of them, they all have their own distinct voice.
  2. It is categorically impossible for one person—I don’t care how talented they are—to capture every voice of every character how I hear it, even if I give them incredibly detailed notes, as I have done.
  3. I have this huge aversion to hearing my own books. I don’t even like doing live readings, though I’ve done them in the past. It’s just WEIRD to me. It gives me the willies. I imagine it being similar to some actors hating to watch themselves on screen.
  4. IT TAKES A LOT OF TIME. Time casting narrators. Time listening to drafts. Time corresponding and working out payments, time promoting, etc.

For the first books in my three series, Audible was my publishing parter and they did all the stuff. I sometimes chose narrators. I sometimes did not and had no control over that. They were not as interested in the later books in my series, which is fine. (And everyone has been telling me that I can make more money producing them myself in the long term.) But I know I have lots of wonderful and dedicated audiobook fans, so I buckled down and got to work.

It’s been a slow and not-always-steady process, but I’m happy to say that all three prequel novellas in the Elemental Legacy series are now available. Midnight Labyrinth has also finished production and is just waiting for approval. I’m in the process of paperwork for The Staff and the Blade, but that’s finished, too. And hopefully by the end of the month or beginning of next, both of those will be available to buy.

I’ve also been working two hours this morning on details related to all this. Two hours of my workday. That’s two thousand words. Almost a full chapter. That’s two hours I can’t get back of my very limited writing time.

So you see why this isn’t my favorite thing?

I’m very glad to have this format available for readers/listeners, but just please understand when you send me irritated emails or messages about how you hate this narrator or I’m the worst because the book isn’t already available or why can’t I just be faster or recast the entire book or you really hate that I’m changing narrators or the narrator didn’t voice your favorite character correctly AT ALL, please remember a few things.

  • The narrator you hate may be one that other listeners love! Voices are a very personal thing.
  • I have limited control over anything that isn’t produced by me. As in, if you don’t like early books of mine, then I don’t really have any say over that. Those audio rights do not belong to me.
  • All this takes a lot of time, and I don’t actually make a large portion of my income from audio, which means when I’m spending time on audiobooks, it’s time NOT spent writing other books, which is actually what pays for groceries and my son’s shoes. (Which he grows out of approximately every ten minutes now. Thanks, teen years.)

This is a labor of love. Truly. I love that I have so many wonderful listeners who love my books so much. I truly do. The reason I spend the time and money to produce these is because I want this format to be available for you. But please be patient. I know it takes time, but I really am working as quickly as possible on a very crowded schedule.

And that’s all. I need to get back to work.

Love and blessings to everyone this holiday season,

EH

Posted in Writing.

6 Comments

  1. While audio books are not my favorite form of “reading”, it does allow me to cheat and listen to the books I get hooked on while I’m working, cooking or travelling so thank you for taking so much of your time to do this. In the end I always know that I can back to the print version and listen to the characters voices in my own head when I have the time

  2. Thank you, as a committed audiophile, though they say they’ll let me out soon, I must thank you for putting your books in this format. I rarely have time to sit and read. As a child they could not give me enough books to read but as an adult I had to put my favorite pastime aside. Since my first Books-on-tape (Laurell K. Hamilton’s Incubus Dreams) I have enjoyed my passion once again.

  3. Seriously? People contact you to complain about the narrators? Actually make an effort to complain that their preferred version is not ready waiting when they are? Such an Age of Entitlement we live in nowadays.
    I have never been particularly interested in audiobooks, although I used to enjoy the late night book reading on radio. But several of my Book Club pals love them, so I’m thinking this could be a good way to introduce them to your work.
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Or happy Hannukah if you celebrate that, or Kwanzaa (apologies for spelling) or Saturnalia, or solstice or….. I wish you well.

  4. As a commuter on the road about 2 hours a day, I am very grateful for your audiobooks and sincerely appreciate the hard work that goes into producing them. Yours, and others, have saved my sanity. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for the time and effort you put into audiobooks. As another audiophile, I’m thrilled that you’re books are available in my preferred format. I like that you’re self publishing them, it means the character voices are the closest to how you created them. I’m patiently waiting for the remaining audiobooks to be released.

    Cheers!

  6. I am an audiobook junkie, having listened to 1000s and your Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World audiobooks rank up there as some of my absolute favorites. No small feat because I am not particularly a fan of the fantasy genre. I I actually thought that Dina Pearlman’s narration was a perfect fit for these books and was so disappointed when I realized she would no longer be narrating. I enjoyed the Cambio Springs audiobook series as well and thought the narration was good, although not quite as perfect a fit as Pearlman. I couldn’t wait for the Elemental Legacy books to come to audio so I read those on my Kindle but will also listen to all of them. So, while I am sorry producing audiobooks is difficult, please don’t stop doing so. I’ve recommended them to several people and I always get positive feedback.

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