The Audiobook Diaries | Week 11

Remember how we went from Week 5 straight to Week 8 because there was no news? And see how we jumped right to Week 11 now?

Well, things are now happening fast!

See the links above if you want to remind yourself what happened last. If you’d rather catch up from the very beginning, read the audiobook diaries from Week 1!

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 11: Approving the sample and going into production

The Extended Sample

Sunday afternoon, I got this email from Findaway Voices:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 11 - extended sample notification

*ensue minor freak-out*

My narrator had read and uploaded the entire prologue, and it’s fantastic. I had goosebumps at all the right moments when I listened to it, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

I listened to it on Monday, and then I slept on it – the last thing I want to make are rash decisions because I got carried away in the excitement!

So, on Tuesday, I started to listen to it again…

and immediately stopped.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 11 - Production dashboard
The production dashboard once the extended sample has been uploaded

As great as the sample of the prologue is, my main character doesn’t feature in it. Her story – and therefore the overall tone – doesn’t begin until Chapter 1. I felt that, while the prologue was fantastically read, it didn’t really give me an insight into how my narrator would read the rest. The prologue sets everything up, true, and it sets the tone, but my main character isn’t in it, so it didn’t feel like the right example.

I emailed FindawayVoices and asked if it’s possible to get a sample of the first chapter. Now, I understand that this is potentially inconvenient and that they likely do a sample of the first 10-15 minutes, not whatever chapter the author wants (I mean, they’d just have asked right away if that were the case), but I wanted to ask. Just in case.

FindawayVoices got back to me (very fast, as always!) and said that’s perfectly fine – I can request it myself with the handy Request Second Sample button. I thought that was just for revisions on the sample I already had, so lesson learned and sample requested.

My narrator was just as reliable, and had uploaded the new sample by the next day.

This morning, I approved the sample. The production is now officially underway!

How to Review Your Extended Sample

This is daunting when you’ve never done this before and want to provide helpful feedback, but good news! You need not fret, because FindawayVoices sent me guidelines for reviewing the extended sample.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 11 - how to review your extended sample

They had included a link in the email, and I could find the same link again on the production page. You’ll see both in the pictures above.

If you’re happy (and have hopefully slept on it first instead of rushing your decision) with the sample, you can click the green Approve Sample button.

If you had some issues with it, like your grim murder mystery being read too cheerfully or an accent being wrong, you can add a comment next to the Play button and request another sample of the same chapter.

You get up to two revisions of your sample, so you can make sure that you and your narrator are on the same page before you approve it.

This is not an invitation to show your narrator how it’s done.

It’s your book. It will inevitably sound a certain way in your head, but you need to accept that it will sound another way in your narrator’s head. You’re two different people – they won’t read it exactly like you read it to yourself. This is fine.

Remember that your narrator’s reading is their interpretation of your book. Accents and pronunciations of words you’ve made up are important, but you don’t need to micro-manage every little detail. In fact, you shouldn’t. You’ll only put off your narrator, and that’s not the right way to approach this professional relationship.

Your narrator is just that – a trained professional. They know what they are doing, so trust them to do their thing.

This is an opportunity to communicate with your narrator.

Up until this point, all communications has happened via FindawayVoices, but whatever notes you add to the sample will be seen and answered by your narrator.

I really appreciate the chance to talk to her personally (well, via chat, sort of), and it’s been nice to see that we want the same things.

Mistakes in Your Book

As we all know, no book is perfect. Every book has small errors in them – that’s just the nature of novels. Pick any book off your shelf, and I guarantee there’ll be at least one mistake.

Rise of the Sparrows is my debut novel, and I have put more work into it than the others because of that. When I first published it, I had 12 beta readers and got a professional proofread. When I re-edited it last year, I had the reviews as feedback and the chats about it with good author friends. I got a developmental edit, a line edit, and a proofread. I rewrote everything before I got my editor involved last year, and read over everything again when we were done.

It’s fair to say that we didn’t go easy on this book.

But my narrator still found three mistakes in the first five pages alone.

My first reaction was worry – we can’t have missed those things… so did I upload the wrong versions everywhere? o.o

I checked the extended sample against my version and against the version my editor sent to me last year, and I uploaded the right versions. My 12 betas, critique partners, own rewrites and edits, and my editors developmental edit, line edit, and two proofreads just… missed them.

Friends, that’s normal.

We all want to think that, when we make our books available for sale, they’re flawless, but that’s never the case.

So, if you’re considering getting your own audiobook, be prepared for some surprises–

And don’t forget to fix them in the ebook, paperback, and box set!

Summary

I approved the sample. The production of the full audiobook is now underway! *throws confetti*

What’s Next?

My narrator is hard at work recording the entire book, and she told me that she’s on track to finish by the end of July.

Does that mean we’re done?

No.

Once she has uploaded the chapters, I listen to them and make a note of everything that’s not quite right – mispronunciations, missed words, background noise, etc.

As I mentioned above, things are moving fast now, so I expect I’ll have another update next week!

If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I’ll reply asap.


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

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