I have just released the audiobook for my first book, “Once Bitten, Twice Die”. I am fortunate enough to have a friend who is a music composer/producer, and he offered to assist in making the recording. I have some previous voiceover experience, and so jumped at the opportunity. I was excited to create an audiobook of my novels, and to actually narrate it myself was a thrilling prospect. However, my previous voiceover experience was not precisely the same as making a complete audiobook, and it was a fascinating opportunity.
There were a few decisions to be made early on. Some audiobooks are narrated by several people making it easy to differentiate between the various personas in the story. Often though they are read by just one person, occasionally a well-known actor, who adopts different accents for the different characters and hams it up a lot. But sometimes audiobooks are simply narrated by one person who, while putting in a lot of energy, does not attempt to reproduce the various accents. I had to think carefully about how I was going to narrate my books.
Was I going to try and reproduce the various Jamaican, Liverpudlian, Scottish, Persian and decidedly vampiric characters in my story? And what if my accents slipped half way through? Or what if they were so bad that my horror story became a farce? After all, most of my attempts to mimic an accent end up sounding vaguely Welsh or Pakistani. And so, I must admit to having bottled it. I most definitely threw my heart and soul into the narration, but thought it best not to cause any national offence with my risible take on the various accents.
This seemed to be the safer option but came with its own challenges. For example, when a man and woman are talking how does one differentiate between the two? Well, I listened to a good many audiobooks read by famous actors and decided that the best solution was, obviously, to make my voice a little higher pitched for the lady, and possibly a little more breathless and, dare I say it, more feminine. I felt a little daft at first but had to get over that. Hopefully I didn’t sound too much like Widow Twankey. Simple so far. But what about when two male vampires are arguing, for example? There are many ways, I learned, to distinguish between supposedly similar sounding voices. The volume, the cadence, the enthusiasm, a slight tonal difference or even a vague accent, whilst giving enough clues to the listener, is not too difficult, and I felt did not leave me too much out on a limb. No hint of any Welsh Pakistanis.
The actual recording itself takes quite a reasonable amount of time. It requires about three hours of work to produce just one hour of narration. Given that the average three-hundred-page book will turn into roughly eleven hours of narration, it is no surprise that it took a couple of weeks of continuous hard work to create my audiobook. At the end of each day, having been pouring my energy into the mic for a good seven or eight hours, I was absolutely shattered. But hearing the results, especially after my producer friend had gone through and removed my slurps, lip-smacks and odd little noises, it was well worth the effort.
Writing and publishing my books was a fascinating experience, and a steep learning curve. Now creating the audiobook has been more of the same. I am delighted with the results and hope that you might be too. And after discovering my inner Widow Twankey I’m even considering joining a panto this Christmas. Oh no I’m not.
The books are available on:
Itunes – http://apple.co/2kWdXCK
Amazon – amzn.to/1MrY3AW
Audible – http://adbl.co/2hOfdmU
There is a trailer with the opening passage on Youtube here: http://bit.ly/2yN5kQa
If anyone wants a free taster, message me and I can send you the first three chapters.
If you do happen to listen to the audiobook I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. But just please don’t laugh too much!
Antony J. Stanton