I’ve always said that a day without learning something new is a wasted day. And it seems I have that sentiment so much ingrained in my head that I continue to attack projects that would be better suited to professionals. Or would they?
My latest endeavor was to produce an audiobook of my memoir, Close Enough to Perfect. I knew it would be challenging and time consuming, but I wanted to give it a try. I set myself up at my desk with the new microphone my sister bought me last Christmas intended precisely for this purpose and downloaded a free audio recording program to my desktop computer.
Good start, right? First, I learned how to use the microphone. Then I had to figure out how to use the software—how to record, edit, splice, clip, mesh stereo and mono, add section breaks, and so on: a plethora of tools at my disposal, each of which I had no clue how they work. I pressed on and eventually began recording and editing the first few sections of my memoir.
I played them back.
Oh, no! I had produced a fifteen-page snooze-fest. And I hated listening to my voice.
But I had done my research beforehand, and experts say that if an author reads their own material, they should not try to disguise or change their voice in any way, which includes my New England tendency to drop an r where it belongs and add one where it doesn’t. Experts say the authentic voice is part of the charm.
Okay, I guess that remains to be seen.
Knowing I would need to inject emotion into the reading, it still ended up sounding like the death march. (I was going to take out the death-march comparison for obvious reasons, since the book recounts the death of my husband, but ”death march” best describes the cadence and tone of the recording.)
When I realized I had been reading the book as a disinterested party instead of one of the central characters, I think I did a much better job. It wasn’t always easy, and I got choked up more than once, but I got through it. I was ready to upload it to the website that publishes audio books for Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
But wait. There is a problem with your file.
Here we go again. I found myself delving into the murky world of dBs, kHz, and RMSes. I used levellers, analyzers, and normalizers—all of which taunted and snickered at me as I tried to figure out why -3.0 is more than zero. I still don’t know how it operates, but I figured out how to manipulate the darned thing to make it work.
More than a month later, I uploaded my audiobook to the website, and it was accepted!
Oh, wait. The email says I will be notified within ten days if I need to make any adjustments to my files.
Stay tuned, I may have more to learn. After all, tomorrow is a new day!