When my publisher, Wisdom Editions, asked me to consider recording the audiobook for my recently published book, FIZZ! How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant, I thought, sure! How hard could it be? I know how to read!
As it turns out, it was much harder than I thought – and I learned a lot along the way. Here are my big insights:
- Diction is key! I learned how sloppily I pronounced words and how often I slurred endings. (Examples: “…in” instead of “…ing” and “ta” instead of “to.”) When talking face to face it is not as big a deal because we anticipate and read between the lines when conversing. However in an audiobook, proper pronunciation is important to get the message out correctly.
- Slow down! Again, this is different than talking to each other face to face, in which we have an advantage in interpreting meaning. Listening to a recording in which the speaker is talking too fast is like getting a firehose of information that is hard to digest quickly.
- Don’t breathe during recording. Okay, this one was hard to figure out, because I do need to breathe to talk! However, it turns out that listening to someone’s breathing on an audiobook is distracting. (Again, in real life we tune this out.) So, I had to learn how to breathe deeply before recording a section, and then pause recording to catch my breath again. Otherwise the producer needs to edit out the breathing and might inadvertently edit out other things as well.
- The microphone is very sensitive. At one point in my recording process, I was visualizing talking to another person and forgot that I also talk with my hands. Suffice to say the mic picked up the noise of little movements I was making with my hands as I went. Boo!
- It takes longer than you think! To record just one chapter of 5-7 pages would often take me at least 1-2 hours. And with 36 chapters in five sections, it was a lot of recording effort. Also, I could not sit and vocalize for 8 hours a day and still keep my voice so this had to be spread out over time. (I had planned three weeks in July, and really did not finish until Labor Day.)
I am happy to report that FIZZ! How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant, is now available on Amazon at http://smarturl.it/FIZZag and I am pleased with the result. It also comes with a PDF of illustrations that were described in the audio book, for visual reference.
This was such a great learning experience that I am planning to record my first book, Confucius in My Cubicle: Practical Wisdom for the Leader in All of Us sometime next year. Stay tuned!