Vacation is a Love Story set partially in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England, where the lovers meet. In this preview clip, we find all the main characters who appear in the walking tour part of the story. Two extremely attractive and cultured French women (mother and daughter), a gay couple from North Carolina, an older couple from Australia, Annie from Vashon Island, Washington, William, our hero, and their bumbling tour guide. Listen as they deal with a “wee” change in itinerary.
This week I began audiobook production for Vacation [Sneak Preview], JC Miller’s charming “tale of love and loss and real friendship, artfully told. JC Miller is keenly observant not of the sensational but of the quotidian, the fleeting thoughts and sensations that overtake us when we think we’re strolling in a meadow or preparing a meal; the subtle inflections of the heart as it speaks to us. You will know her characters intimately and you can’t help but feel with them.” – Daniel Coshnear, author of Occupy & Other Love Stories, winner of the 2000 Willa Cather Fiction Prize
Set in the gentle hills and stone villages of the Cotswolds of England and in the atmospheric Pacific Northwest, a vacation walking tour of pastoral England sparks an attraction between an introverted scientist and a wounded and independent history professor.
Vacation is set for a Summer 2017 release. Listen to a Free Preview Clip from this week’s recording session.
Are audiobooks responsible for a return to an “oral tradition,” due to the “unbridled power of the spoken word” and our evolving culture of multi-tasking? Or, as a narrator, am I simply paying more attention to the industry than before? I think the numbers speak volumes. The audiobook boom is a thing.
“…Despite the forces fostering the audio-storytelling boom, Susan Shipley of Dorchester, who often listens while she knits, sees the rise more as a return than a digital-age innovation.
‘Storytelling was originally an oral tradition,’ Shipley said. ‘When the scribes came along, I imagine the bards thought that was really new.’
D’Acierno of Penguin Random House Audio said she thinks the boom is pretty easy to explain. She believes that there is something natural in the attraction.
‘All of us love to hear stories,’ she said. ‘This is a way to get in touch with that again.’
“Even if you’re doing a work of nonfiction, talking about, say, the history of immigration at the turn of the 20th century, you still have to know how to best communicate the through-line of the author’s intent or the character’s thought.”
4.75★ Audiobook⎮ After finishing Omari and the People, I’m left with both a feeling of wonderment and confusion. Sort of like what I experience at magic shows. On the one hand, I’m in awe. On the other, I’m left a little baffled, but not in an unpleasant way. If you understand how the magician performs the trick, it’s not quite as magical.
Every single second of this audiobook captivated me…(read more)
What is the most difficult thing about narrating and producing audiobooks in your own home studio?
I am by no means a self-production expert, or any kind of audio production expert for that matter. I know just enough to sound as close to professional industry standards as I can with my equipment, my recording space, my signal processing, and whatever storytelling and acting skill I may possess. I couldn’t audio engineer my way out of a wet paper bag in a big studio. Now, two years into a serious effort to make audiobook narration my profession, achieving the ultimate goal of making audiobooks that evoke a compelling and satisfying storytelling experience for the listener is the primary and never-ending challenge. It’s a long road, but for people like me whose brain works a certain way, it’s at the very least fun and interesting. At best it satisfies my need to create in a big way.
I was a Radio-TV major in the mid-seventies and then I got my masters degree in directing for the theatre. I also started acting in stage plays my junior year as an undergrad. So I have at least a conceptual reminiscence of audio production, acting, and directing. I grew up splicing magnetic tape, ripping and reading news copy from the wire, producing and hosting live and pre-recorded radio, and envisioning, guiding, and being guided in the creation of theatre, the kind with a live audience. Throw into the mix a more recent and much longer career managing projects and it feels like audiobooks might be a good fit. Right?
One of the most satisfying things about self-producing audiobooks at home is having total control over literally every aspect of the effort to create an orally delivered work of literature that fulfills the promise of the story as only the spoken word can. While at the same time, one of the most difficult things about self-producing audiobooks at home is having total control over literally every aspect of the effort to create an orally delivered work of literature that fulfills the promise of the story as only the spoken word can. I am producer, director, audio engineer, and talent. This is not as easy as it sounds.
What do my directing brain and my technical brain do while I’m in front of the microphone attempting to reach my full potential as a storyteller? Do these two brains monitor the performance in real time, guiding and shaping theatre of the mind on a separate track as my storytelling brain delivers the best story it knows how? Or do the director and technician somehow take a break or at least objectively observe and simply wait for the storyteller to finish? So far, I’ve found the more aware I am of the director and technician in me while I’m speaking into the mic, the worse the performance. For me, this is the most difficult aspect at the moment.
When I go back and listen to my first audiobook, I am truly embarrassed. I have to think of that production and narration as my audiobook boot camp. In truth, I very nearly bit off more than I could chew as I reacquainted myself to mic technique and taught myself waveform editing, signal processing, and mastering on the job and on current technology platforms. The narration alone was a significant challenge with over fifteen characters, including teenage boys and girls, as well as four languages in addition to English, and three distinct European accents. What was I thinking? Add in my beginner level and slowly developing processing and mastering skills and the experience of completing my first audiobook nearly killed me. Well, not really, but it was very, very difficult. However, I learned a lot. As a result, my next project was a bit easier, as each successive one has been since.
At the same time, I become increasingly more aware that I still have more work to do to meet my own standards. I know I get better with each book, but I do have high standards where listening to someone tell a story for ten or twelve hours is concerned. So, I will continue to have more work to do as the most difficult thing about self-producing at home changes over time. And that’s a good thing. It means I’m making progress.
A romantic desert adventure with a touch of Magic Realism. A thief leads the survivors of a devastating fire into the desert in search of a new life. 5-minute Audible Audio Sample
Who doesn’t love Ira Glass? No hands raised. In this five-minute video, he absolutely nails the struggle of the artist, in my opinion; the gap between vision and creation. That seemingly insurmountable thing, whatever it is, that keeps an artist from achieving a work that actually expresses what they intended in all its nuance and effect, a work that resonates with those who experience it and satisfies and fulfills itself. What makes an artist continue for years striving to close the gap? I believe Ira’s answer is pretty clear. Love.
Many thanks to Karen Commins for surfacing this video.
A thorough and detailed December, 2015 article by Michael Kozlowski on Goodereader.com shares the continuing and dynamic growth and expansion of the Audiobook industry into 2016 and beyond. New players in the industry, new platforms, expanding technologies, new markets and distribution models, greater competition, impressive statistics, increasing demand for narrators, and in particular, (deep breath) reviewers. “There simply are not a lot of review websites that specialize in letting you know what new ones are worth listening to and what classics have been done by really good narrators. The average customer only knows what the front-page of Audible says is good or their local library. There needs to be significant investment in helping people discover great new content and blacklist titles.” Growth and opportunity for reviewers and bloggers, not to mention the increasing demand for great narration. Grab a cup and have some encouragement along with it.
Happy Birthday, ACX. Can’t wait for the next chapter.
I’m an old radio guy and also an actor like many narrators. I cut my teeth editing magnetic tape. But I left performing and media many years ago when my daughter was born. Now, after 3 decades away from the microphone, I’m acting again and narrating audiobooks. ACX made it all possible. I had to relearn everything about production in general as well as all the new tools as I built my home studio and my learning platform was ACX. My 6th audiobook was just released this week and is doing well. Thank you, ACX, for all the knowledge, resources, opportunities, and assistance. Your help desk is awesome too. Happy birthday from a happy camper.
Way back in 2011, Audible launched ACX with a threefold vision: to help Rights Holders get their books into audio; to provide work for talented audiobook Producers; and to get more audiobooks into the ears of Audible’s listeners. Here in 2016, we’re thrilled to celebrate five fantastic years of fulfilling those promises made possible by you, the authors, actors, studios, and publishers that have created over 60,000 audiobooks through ACX.
Watch as ACX team members, past and present, take a trip down memory lane. Then head on over to ACX.com to see what we got ourselves for our birthday.
Share your favorite ACX stories in the comments below.