You want an audio book… Where do you start?

For a long time, I thought about turning the Darcy Lynch series into audio books. It seemed daunting, though, since I knew nothing about the process. But then, as most often things happen, a friend of a friend had a friend who was an actor and might be interested in the project. Not only that, but he had his own recording studio. How lucky was I? All I had to do was meet the man and love his voice.

A few months later, we got introduced and agreed to start the project. But then… he disappeared. No, not in some mysterious way that would lead to an interesting story, but in an “I’m going to do do something else” way, that left me hanging.

Back to square one. Months passed, but the desire still nagged me. It was something I wanted to do. “I’m an author, I write fiction, I do research all the time. I can handle this,” I told myself.

I didn’t have to look very far. It became pretty obvious that ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) was the way to go. Why hadn’t I looked into this before?

One Friday night, with no more excuses to procrastinate any longer, I went for it. I didn’t have to commit to anything, so I just went with the flow to see where it led me.

The next step was to figure out the content for the auditions. Simon Wood, an amazing author and very knowledgeable in this realm, told me that when selecting excerpts, it’s vital to do a few things:

  1. Pick anything that’s hard to pronounce to make sure it will be done right (like “hors d’oeuvres”).

  2. Pick dialogue that defines your characters.

  3. Don’t make the excerpts long. Select a few specific paragraphs that give the flavor of your book and your style, rather than a whole chapter (I made this mistake and ended up revising the excerpt a few times).

After selecting and uploading the content, I closed the laptop. Nervous and excited, I braced myself. Would people be interested in this project? Would they be any good?

Before I went to bed that same day, I got the first audition. I was pretty intimidated so I decided to wait until the morning. When I woke up, I had two more. This was amazing! I made coffee and got ready to tackle the voices. I had no idea what I would find.

The first thing I noticed was how totally weird it was to hear my book read by someone other than me. It actually made me giggle. Then I noticed how good it was. Actually, it was fantastic. Could the first actor be the one? I went on to check the other two. They were great too. So now I had to pick? I never contemplated that possibility. This was going to be hard.

By the end of the the week, I had eight auditions. And to my delight, every single one was first-rate. The lesson I learned from this is to not wait to do something you want to do, and to be open to surprises.

I took another week to re-listen to the options and shared them with my mom, who is an audiobook fanatic, and with my brother, who works in the movie industry and has a lot of the experience with actors.

When deciding on a voice, there are several choices you have to make:

  1. Will you record your own book? (I’m a horrible out loud reader, so this was never an option for me.)

  2. If you don’t, will you have one or multiple actors?

  3. If you have one actor, will you do one or multiple voices?

  4. If you do one voice, should it be male or female?

From the beginning, I knew I had to pick a male voice, as my main character is Darcy, closely followed by Sorensen. But the bigger question was whether I would have one voice to do the narration and the dialogue, or an actor who could give life to each character individually.

The moment that Wally Schrass and I got on the phone, I knew I had found my narrator. I already knew I loved his voice and it became clear pretty quickly that our approach to the project was aligned. He suggested to go with different voices and this appealed to me, given how much dialogue I have in the books.

So, Wally and I embarked on this adventure together. He’s a pro, having recorded many books before and as a professional actor, his experience comes through with every line.

Now I have the actor, he has the manuscript, and the fun begins!

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