Around the time Talking It Better was published last year, people began to ask “Oh, will there be an audio version?” Actually, they asked about an electronic version first off. That was easy, because it was already in the works and came out on Kindle and elsewhere within a few weeks. But an audiobook? I was intrigued. The book is full of different characters and their stories and so, I thought, maybe it could work as an audiobook. Plus, some of those who’d asked me had mentioned challenges with dyslexia and so I knew an audiobook could make Talking It Better more accessible to them and that felt like a reason to explore more.
All this was during the lockdown and one of the things that was keeping me going was a weekly open mic night on Zoom. What had been a bar-based event, where there wasn’t really that much time for chat, had become something of a lifeline for a small band of singer-songwriters. We shared our tunes but also what was going on in our lockdown lives. So I ended up talking about my book and a couple of my musical buddies even came along to the Zoom launch and bought a copy.
One of our crew, Jim Bryce, just happens to be a well-established audiobook reader. He was curious about the book and when I asked him about the world of audiobook creation, he both gave great advice and also suggested he might be up for the job himself. So I sent him a copy. He read it and liked it. And then he recorded Chapter 15. This was the chapter that had really caught my publisher’s attention and helped secure my book contract. She’d loved the story about Martyn and his hope-protector. So it seemed like a good test case.
It’s quite a thing to hear a professional actor read your words and bring your characters to life. The Jim-voiced version of the author seemed far smarter and more interesting than me. And as someone who’s lived in Scotland for more than half my life, it was nice to finally take on the accent, albeit via a vocal avatar. Everyone who heard Jim’s chapter was keen and so…
… it turns out getting these things recorded isn’t that cheap, but Jim reckoned he could do me mates-rates. And if I took on some of the editing and audio clean-up work that would help keep the costs manageable. It wasn’t clear whether there was money to be made or not, so it wasn’t something that my publisher, PCCS, could underwrite – and at present they don’t publish any audiobooks. But I wanted it to happen. And, I thought, I’ll learn a lot about audiobook production along the way and that sounds interesting. So, after a few more conversations with Jim and the publisher, I decided to go for it.
Well, it’s a complicated business. Editing text is a lot easier than editing audio. And checking the audio just takes a long time. These, and many other things, I learned about audiobook production. Who knew, for example, that there are multiple kinds of silence and that Audible and the like are very fussy about the silences you have between your words? So, like most creative projects, it all took far longer than I first imagined. But it’s here now. It’ll be intriguing to know how many people take a listen. But whether it’s a few or a lot, it’s good to have the book out there in a different format. And now I can finally get back to those folk who were asking more than a year ago. Yes. Whether for accessibility reasons or because you just want to listen on the bus ride into work, Talking It Better is now an audiobook.
If you do give it a spin, please do let me know how you get on via my Contact Form.