Our mini-series, “Recording Your Fiction,” is a on-going conversation about audio as a self-publishing option. I’m a published author who recently recorded my short story collection, Cain’t Do Nothing with Love. The stories have been rolling out on-line one story per week; they’re available for free listening on this blog, iTunes, and YouTube. Based on my experience with both the publishing and recording option, here are a few questions I’d ask myself if I were to make this decision again:
* Is there a reason you want the stories available in audio?
This sounds so simple, but recording your fiction is not a way to avoid technical issues, time commitment, or money. The actual recording is easy and inexpensive; the tricky part is cleaning up your recorded product so people want to listen to it. I could not have tackled the technicals necessary to learn how to do this. Thankfully, I had a friend who was a professional sound engineer who did it for me, but because he was a professional, he was not free. Thus, just like with self-publishing an e-book, you will have some combination of time and money invested in your audio collection. So, again, the question is: do you have a particular reason for wanting to record, rather then print, your fiction?
* Is your fiction suited to audio?
Listening is harder than reading. Sentences must clear. Action easy to follow, dialogue quickly attributed. This means you need a product that’s well written and, I hate to say it, well edited. If it’s not, the audio amplifies the problems.
* Do you like your recorded voice?
if you don’t have any experience with radio, etc., you might want to ask friends to help with this one. The first time you hear your recorded voice, you might think, God-almighty, that’s awful. Others might disagree. Or vice-versa—you might need some polishing that you don’t hear. But the bottom line is you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money producing something that you can’t stand to listen to.
* Are you ready to explain (over and over again) that you do not, in fact, have a book?
I have experienced a low-level of understanding about what I’m doing. I’m okay with that—I like doing new things—but the literary world isn’t really audio-friendly. Facebook, for example, has no page category for “audio book” so you check “book” and then—ha!—everyone thinks you have a book. If you want to fit easily into folks’ expectations, don’t record your fiction.
All of these answers, of course, are based on my very own personal experience. Others might feel differently. Hence a “conversation.” Let me know what you think.