Elizabeth Meyette shares her first audiobook experience with The Write Way Café.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card below!
I was startled when I listened to the first audition for my audiobook version of The Cavanaugh House. The narrator read one of my characters, Italian cop Marty D’Amato, like Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon. You know, like a 1940s Bogart detective, all wry out-of-the-side-of-your-mouth: “Okay, Bugsy. I’m a copper, ya see…” Holy smokes. I didn’t see this coming when I decided to create an audiobook.
The process of creating an audiobook was vastly different from writing or publishing that book. On the upside, the writing, editing, revising, editing, revising…had been completed. On the downside, I had a huge learning curve.
Then I decided to publish The Cavanaugh House as an audiobook. I used ACX.com which is the audiobook self-publishing arm of Amazon. I had used Amazon’s CreateSpace site to publish my ebook and POD (Print on Demand) versions and found it very user friendly. Because I had gone through the process with The Cavanaugh House as an ebook and POD, I felt prepared. But publishing an audiobook follows a very different path.
After setting up my profile on ACX, I uploaded a scene for auditions. Selection of this scene is critical because I wanted to include several voices in order to hear how the narrator would read them (see above). I was amazed at how many interpretations there were of my characters! One narrator read them all in a breathy, sexy way that made me feel like I was being seduced. I narrowed the field of the readers I liked and listened again. One stood out above the rest—Amy McFadden. She nailed my protagonist Jesse’s attitude and personality.
I sent her the contract and we set dates for her First Fifteen Minutes reading and the Full Final reading. When I heard the First Fifteen Minutes I was convinced I had chosen the perfect narrator for my book. Once again I was handing my baby over to someone else to care for. But this was different from handing Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit over to an editor. Instead of someone telling me what to do, I was the one telling someone else what to do.
I became the director. I wrote detailed notes about each character including what I thought their voices sounded like (sweet soprano, alpha-male bass, etc.) or I referenced characters in movies as examples (Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada). I was thinking about my novel in an entirely new way. Amy, a professional actress, appreciated the director’s notes, but cautioned me that how I heard characters in my head would not be the same as how they sounded in the audiobook. She was wise to tell me this. All authors cherish their characters having lived with them for months or years. We do hear them speak in a certain voice.
Words can’t describe how I felt when I started listening to the Full Final reading. Tears streamed down my face. Rich came into my office, looked at me, and realized that my smile meant they were tears of joy. My heart swelled with happiness as I listened to my characters come alive in a whole new dimension. See, I’m so besotted there are at least five clichés in this paragraph. I can’t find the words—clichés will have to suffice.
The process of listening to 10 hours and 34 minutes of my book was wonderful, but also grueling. It wasn’t like listening to a book for pleasure; I had to attend to every word. Any place needing a correction required that I go back to the exact minute and second into the chapter, note the time, write the correction I wanted, and send the list to Amy. Fortunately, she did an amazing job, so there were not too many corrections needed.
Jesse and Joe, Marty and Maggie, have lived inside my head for years. I’ve heard them laugh together, yell at each other, whisper sweet nothings and sob in each others’ arms. I know what they sound like, and now thanks to Amy McFadden, so will my readers…uh, listeners…hey this is a whole new audience!
Now my audiobook is available and I am celebrating with a giveaway on my website. You can enter it below!
Elizabeth’s books are available on: Audible Amazon iTunes
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When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn’t realize she’s unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years. Reeling from a broken engagement to acclaimed musician Robert Cronmiller, Jesse wants to leave the city where her name is linked to his in all the society pages. Her best friend Maggie, aka Sister Angelina, convinces her to take a job at a private girls’ school in the pastoral Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Anticipating a quiet, revitalizing life in her aunt’s deserted house, Jesse is instead thrown into a maze of danger. Questions about her aunt’s death lead Jesse to investigate events surrounding it and the people involved, but she uncovers a web of deceit that reaches far beyond the occurrences of over two decades earlier. Still dejected from her broken engagement, Jesse finds it difficult to trust anyone, even her self-absorbed mother. Joe Riley is irresistible, but secrets obstruct involvement with him until Jesse can solve the secrets of the Cavanaugh House. Someone doesn’t want those secrets unearthed and will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep them hidden.
The Cavanaugh House excerpt:
This house held secrets. Secrets that wafted through rotting window sashes on the winter wind. Secrets that spiders wove into webs anchored between the ceiling and walls. Secrets that scuttled on the feet of cockroaches across stained kitchen linoleum and scurried into its cracks. Secrets that peered from holes in the baseboard from glinting mouse eyes. This house held the secrets close to its bosom where they had slept for decades. No one had disturbed these secrets in all the years the house sat decaying from neglect. There was no reason to, and there was no desire.
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