Guest Post - Talking about the process of going from print book to making an audio book
By Mary Morgan
Lots of people want to know the process, so I'll do my best to explain from my point-of-view. To start with, for long form narration, I don't often get to record in a professional studio, I record mostly at my house, which I did for The Emerald Talisman. I don't use cheap equipment but it's basic, the most expensive thing being my microphone. There's all kinds of audio software to choose from, and yet again, I go for the most basic because I'm not an audio engineer, I'm a voice over. I read the book first and foremost, it's not a good idea to just read and record without knowing the story, the characters and where the plot is going. I'll take note of the number of characters and create a vocal identity for them. When I prepare to record the space I'm in must be quiet. No TV, no phone ringing, no radio, no fan, no air conditioner and no excuses. I try to eat carbs or lean protein, lots and lots of water and no dairy products before I start as I want to read with clarity and not have junk on my vocal chords. Since I'm a woman with a young sound, male characters are the most difficult to voice. There's also the necessity of remembering the vocal differences of characters so listeners don't get too confused.
It's said that celebrities who narrate audio books only spend about an hour reading in a top notch professional studio and get paid monster sums of money for that little time. But true voice over talent spend up to 4-6 hours at a home studio or recording booth, and make much, much less than celebrities. By the time they finish for the day, they might be dripping with sweat (summertime is the worst), and have sore vocal chords. It's exhausting, and doesn't necessarily work out as I'd like. Because of this, I rely on the ears of the authors themselves to tell me if the voices and the reads work for them. Once the whole book is recorded there's editing to worry about. Editing audio is some of the most strenuous work, so I typically hire outside help to take care of cleaning up mistakes I can't fix on my own. It doesn't always turn out the way I'd hoped or expected (because sometimes I hear mistakes that the editors don't hear, or claim they don't hear and therefore see no point in fixing), but as long as the author is happy, nothing else matters.
One of Mary's favorite childhood toys was a cheap tape recorder she used to record made-up stories before she learned to read and write. Growing older, she started to mimic sounds, dialogue and voices she heard in cartoons, movies and tape recordings from children's books. By her teens, the habits slowly went away as other interests caught her attention. But throughout school years when she was asked to read passages aloud from textbooks, make a class presentation, perform plays or occasional puppet shows on stage, teachers and directors commented on the uniqueness of how she spoke or delivered her lines. Mary had dreams of acting in film and television, and ignored constant advice to look into voice overs for more than fifteen years until in 2007 she finally gave in, recognizing her true skills and learning to nurture her talents.
In voice acting, Mary has had the opportunity to use her voice in anime programs through Funimation Entertainment, video games and animation projects. She loves being able to interact in a visual story with a passion for voicing all kinds of unique characters in fantasy, sci-fi and horror genres.
Aside from voice acting, her second passion is writing. Her collection of books heavily outnumbers any other hobby. She is writing her first novel and, hopes to add a collection of short stories and eventually move into screenplays. Every so often she keeps up with a blog varying on topics that she finds curious and interesting. http://marymorganwriter.wordpress.com/
Mary still has other aspirations she hopes to incorporate in her life like world traveling, publishing, creating her own production company, and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
You can some of her demos online here: http://soundcloud.com/mary-morgan
The Emerald Talisman - Audio Book released: September 20th, 2012Author: Brenda Pandos
Publisher: Obsidian Publishing
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.
Brenda Pandos lives in California with her husband and two boys. She attempts to balance her busy life filled with writing, being a mother and wife, and spending time with friends and family. Working formerly as an I.T. Administrator, she never believed her imagination would be put to good use. After her son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder her life completely changed. Writing paranormal romance became something she could do at home while tending to the new needs of her family, household, and herself.
Three years later, Brenda now has five books published, The Talisman Trilogy: The Emerald Talisman, The Sapphire Talisman, and The Onyx Talisman, and Mer Tales: Everblue and Evergreen. She is currently working on the third book of Mer Tales, Everlost, coming February 2013.
Find Brenda Online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Order the Audiobook Online:
Amazon | Audible