I’ve spent the last ten days listening to The Amber Menhir on audiobook. The narrator, Cherami Leigh, produced her first draft just a few weeks ago. Thereafter, a sound engineer worked their magic and Cherami performed pick-ups (retakes). Those revised files were sent my way last Sunday for review.
I listened to the entire book twice: first within a program called Pozotron, which highlights each word in the manuscript as it is read, and a second pass, where I only listened for general feel.
The goal for the first pass was to catch misspoken words. I mostly caught typos of own, which somehow managed to slip past numerous editors. While that’s frustrating, Cherami’s wondrous performance still stole the show. Thank goodness.
So, for this week’s post, I thought I’d reflect on four lessons learned from listening to The Amber Menhir.
1- Like little cockroaches, typos bypassed my every attempt to eradicate them… For now. All in all, there are roughly a dozen typos across the 400 pages of The Amber Menhir. I think we can do better in book 2. I plan to have the second audiobook prepared prior to printing. So, we *should* be able to catch even the most slippery of typos.
2- Make the dialogue simpler. Cherami is wonderful actress, but I found my writing at times sounded needlessly technical in some of the dialogue.
The academic setting of The Amber Menhir prompted me to use stilted phrasing in some cases. But I don’t want listeners to be distracted by that kind of phrasing at the cost of the story. So, I’ll be hacking back on some of my wordier-than-thou instincts moving forward. Wordy isn’t a virtue.
3- Obtain the best talent you can to narrate your book. Reading is in secular decline. More and more, there are easier ways to engage our minds.
The good news? Until there are teleporters to move us to and from work, there will times most days when we’re trapped in transit. That means that there is a captive commuter audience primed for an audiobook experience. To compete with the premiere titles in each genre, however, one needs to make sure that their audiobook is captivating. That means both strong writing and acting. So, if you can manage it, don’t skimp on the talent.
4- Internalization is important and enjoyable. When I read The Amber Menhir, I find I don’t want much internalization. I can tell who characters are, and what they want, and why, based on what they do, and what they say.
However I found myself enjoying internalization far more when listening to the story. My mind wanders while listening, and internalization prevents me from missing something important.
So, as I move forward with The Shadows of the Monolith series, I need to keep both media (reading vs. listening) in mind. It’s better for folks to read something that they already know then it is to frustrate them.
Reflection – All in all, there are many lessons to be learned from my first audiobook. It’s okay to make mistakes, folks. But we must all work hard to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.