I’m Sick of the Sound of My Own Voice – But I Hope You’re Not!

Well, I’ve finally done it! I’ve finished editing the audiobook of On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened. I confess it was a much more laborious process than I had originally anticipated, and even now I’m not sure I’m quite going to meet ACX’s specifications. I suspect that I may have to do a bit more digital manipulation and possibly even some re-recording before they give it the go-ahead, but with only three days remaining until my book release, I’m thrilled just to move it to one of my two dozen back burners for a while.

I’ll admit that I was surprised to learn that my book cover would have to be reformatted for the audiobook. I mean, I understand why they want a square cover – presumably to mimic the look of a CD, laserdisc, or vinyl record – but in the current digital age, it doesn’t really seem as if it should matter, particularly when the cover is for browsing purposes only and no one is actually going to receive a physical product. Evidently technology moves faster than consumer preferences over what their book covers, whether audio or eBook, ought to look like. Anyway, here is the adjusted cover. As you can see, although the execution differs, the “empty chair” theme remains:

Mother's Death Audiobook

But more on the audiobook production and publishing process later. For now, here’s the five-minute sample recording I submitted along with the rest of my files. I would really appreciate any feedback you could give me on this, because I’ve just noticed something very strange – when I play it back on the desktop computer on which I did the editing, it sounds pretty clean, but on my laptop there are quite a few annoying clicks and pops, and it also seems a lot quieter. I thought you weren’t even supposed to get degradation on a transfer of a digital recording, so maybe it’s my crappy laptop speakers or my even crappier internet connection.

So what do you think? Could you listen to me read for two and a half hours? At this point, believe me – better you than me!

19 thoughts on “I’m Sick of the Sound of My Own Voice – But I Hope You’re Not!

  1. Annecdotist

    Congratulations on getting this far, Lori. Like others, you have a great reading voice, it is a bit quiet, but no clicks or pops!
    I’m wondering about your plans to bring this to the attention of mental health professionals? Training courses especially might be interested. Going to raise it with some of my UK contacts tomorrow.

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      Great idea, Anne! I’ve been looking into various outlets outside the scope of traditional readers and book buyers, but I had not had the idea of approaching those in the profession. My book isn’t very scientific, but I’d be curious as to whether there’d be interest nonetheless. Thanks! :)

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    2. lorilschafer Post author

      Also, Anne, I noticed on your blog yesterday that you had created a page for Sugar and Snails. Only read a bit of the excerpt – busy week! – but I was wondering whether I might start promoting it for you, or do you think it’s too soon? I’ve got these nearly ten thousand Twitter followers now and my experience so far has been that free excerpts really do raise interest. I don’t want to jump the gun – but in the grand scheme July isn’t really all that far off, after all. I’m not thinking a lot – maybe once a week – but you can let me know what you think.

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  2. Sarah Brentyn

    Oh my gosh, I love your reading voice. Lovely. I could so listen to this whole book (and I don’t normally listen to audiobooks). As others have said, it’s very quiet. Not sure if it’s the recording or my laptop.

    Congrats!

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      No, you’re right, I must have read the levels wrong, but I was reluctant to change it in case they did something on their end to boost it. At this point, though, I think I’ll wait and see what they say. As fearful as I am of failing the quality review, I guess I’m glad that they do it! Thanks for listening – much obliged :)

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  3. TanGental

    Great recording and I have the same results as everyone else; a bit quiet otherwise smoooooooth vocals. At first I wondered about modulation but that was fine; when you discussed the psychosis and especially at the end when you talked about your lack of feeling letting go your voice took on more emphasis. I could easily sit in the car one a long drive and love this.

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  4. Norah

    Oh Lori, I am sooooo excited that you have made an audio recording of your book. I love listening to books, especially when they are read by the author! Although I have pre-ordered your book, I am also going to get the audio version. The recording sounded fine on my iPad, just a little quiet though with the volume all the way up. I am very much looking forward to hearing you read your story. Can’t wait! It will be next on the list, but that may be a few weeks away.

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      Ooh, I’m glad someone’s excited – I don’t even want to admit how much work it’s been! Thanks for confirming what everyone else said about the sound level. There must be something wrong, but I think I’ll wait until I get the results from ACX before I up it – just in case there are any other changes they want me to make! Thanks for listening, Norah – really, really appreciate the feedback.

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      1. lorilschafer Post author

        It depends on whether ACX approves it or not. I submitted it Monday, and they say 10-14 days for approval. But I’m guessing they’ll tell me to boost the amplification, and there could be other problems where I’d have to re-work some segments and re-submit. So maybe very soon – and maybe not at all. At this point, it’s a rather horrifying crapshoot!

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      2. Norah

        I hope the volume can be adjusted without re-reading. That would be a pain, or maybe not. You may enjoy reading it again, imagining a new audience. I don’t like the ‘not at all’ option. I hope something can be worked out, without too much further effort. :)

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      3. lorilschafer Post author

        The sound-level boosting is easy to do – I’m just reluctant to do it until I hear back in case they have some other method they use. Plus, if they have other issues they want me to fix, I figure I can do those simultaneously, which will save a bit of time :)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Norah

        I thought it should be easy enough to boost the sound. What is technology for after all! I agree it’s better to make all changes in one go. I’m eagerly anticipating the finished product! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. mandy

    I think it sounds good, Lori. No clicking/popping. I could understand very clearly. My only problem might be with my computer–I had the volume all the way up on both recording and computer and had to strain to hear. If I’m the only one then I’d say it’s on my end. Congratulations–what an accomplishment!!

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      See, now that’s what I thought, too. With headphones it’s fine, but much too quiet otherwise. I made a point of adjusting to the levels that ACX recommends – or at least I thought I did, but maybe I misunderstood the technicalities. Not a sound expert, after all! But the cool thing is, that’s the one thing that’s simple to fix, because I can easily boost the amplification, so if that’s the only significant problem, I will be very, very happy! Thanks for listening, and for the feedback, Mandy! :)

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  6. jan

    The recording sounds fine to me. I didn’t hear any clicking. Your voice was clear and very soothing. I learned in a public speaking class that sometimes it’s best to include a “pregnant pause” here and there. Hope that helps and best of luck with the backburners! jan

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      Yes, I know what you mean, Jan. My early recordings were quite fast – in fact, it took me a while to get to the slow-downed pace of this one! I did finally get in the habit of making better pauses, which I will hopefully be able to carry forward into the next book. Thanks for listening! :)

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