My Audiobook Adventure #1

The next big adventure for Bryan Mack Books is to do the audiobook versions of each of the first four Paradox Club books – The Valentine Trap, The Ghost In The Mirror, The Diamond of Tomorrow and The Serpent Strategy – before writing Book Five.

In some ways this brings things full circle as audio is where I started out on the acting adventure that culminated, on screen at any rate, in my Dr Who Fan Film Project: Fifty. Having taken the next step of creating literary texts instead of scripted audio-visual ones for the theatre and the screen, it seems only natural that an audiobook should be the next step on my Self Publishing journey.

If you want to go back to the very beginning, it all started with a poetry recitation competition at primary school back in 1974. From there I followed the usual route of the school choir & school plays and the local AmDram before progressing to radio commercials and then Youth Theatre and putting on my own shows.

As someone who’s always had an ear for accents and voices, though not strict impersonation as such, voice work has always been something that came naturally to me. Nevertheless, recording a whole audiobook is something I’ve not done before so I decided to invest in Derek Doepker’s Audiobooks Made Easy course to help knock off some of the rust.

In the old days, if you wanted to record an audiobook you would have had to book time in a professional recording studio and sit in a soundproof booth. With the advent of an upgrade in affordable microphone technology, the ability to home record and get equally good results for a fraction of the cost makes authors recording their own audiobooks a viable proposition.

Provided, of course, that you can stand the sound of your own voice and know how to read properly. Like what a professional actor does.

Since neither of those things were a problem for me, recording my own audiobooks was always the intention when I started writing The Paradox Club series. The books were purposely written with one ear, as it were, on the fact that, in time, they would be released as audiobooks as well as paperbacks and ebooks.

Hint: If you want to record your own audiobooks, make sure you write the book with the audiobook in mind. Which means you need to read it aloud to make sure it’s say-able!

If creativity as it relates to both visual media and the written word is the ongoing tension between art and commerce, creating audiobooks is the tension between the performative and the technical.

As far as performativity is concerned, for me, nothing could be easier. Being in front of a microphone doesn’t intimidate me at all. It’s the technical side of things, behind the microphone, where I lack the requisite degree of expertise. Which is where Doepker and his course come in.

When you write a book, the first big question after “What’s is going to be about?” is “Where are you going to self-publish it?”. Do you go narrow with Amazon or wide with the likes of Draft2Digital? When it comes to audiobooks, that version of the same question is do you go narrow with ACX or not?

My instinct right now is to go wide. That may change when the audiobooks are ready to be released, but for now that’s the plan.

The prep work for the audiobooks is to first go back over the text of each of the four books in turn and see if I need to make any tweaks to improve the say-ability of what I’ve written.

One of the easiest ways to improve your writing is to read it aloud. That’s something I do as a matter of course, but even in going back over what I’ve written I’ve already identified a few places where there are word combinations that, while easy to read in your head, aren’t the easiest to say out loud!

With the technical side of things, which is my microphone setup and my makeshift home recording booth, all ready to go, it’s simply a case of making sure what I’ve written is as say-able as possible before recording it.

The Audiobook Adventure is about to begin!


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