Creating an audiobook is an arduous task – to get inside the mind of the character and create a living entity from black ink and white paper – or 1’s and 0’s as the case may be.
Although it is not essential it is certainly more fun to get inside the author’s head as well and find out their original intentions. A greater depth and dimension is added to the creation of the audio. The ‘Getting To Know You’ phase becomes an integral part of the research process, if the author is willing to play.
There is, however, a certain dance, a certain smelling of the hindquarters, while Authors & Narrators/Rights Holders & Producers, figure out their relationship. This dance can often determine whether the two entities remain separate or whether a common ground is reached to allow collaboration.
‘Getting To Know’ Terry Odell has been absolutely intriguing. A quietly persistent businesswoman in the early going, her matter of fact, stalwart nature has allowed our relationship to blossom in the creative phase. Within the corners and folds of our correspondence, Terry has been revealed much the same as gentle giant, Detective Randy Detweiler, our hero in FINDING SARAH, the first novel for the PINE HLLS POLICE SERIES, ferrets out the details of his cases.
We began mildly butting heads over multiple auditions. Terry had four books and wanted to make sure she had the right narrator. Bruce and I were protective of over working before we had secured the contract. Our next obstacle was confirming dates that met both parties needs and the firing off of emails to make sure stipends and payments were secured. I grew to respect Terry’s attention to detail and her quiet but unrelenting press to secure what she needed and honor our requests.
More business of the business: What format for manuscripts to be sent? Were bound books available? Was the square cover art ready to go?
Delivery of the first fifteen minutes of the audiobook to the author and their response is a major plateau. The audiobook producer waits to see what will be the expectations of the author, what role they desire to play in production. The audiobook scenario is not set up like a directed commercial or theatrical session. There is no possible way a ‘client’ can ‘sit in’ on the endless hours of recording. The tight time frame does not allow for interpretive note-giving. Courageously, authors must place in the hands of their narrator/producer the life of their audiobook. This is the moment when that relinquishment of the reins may or may not take place. How this rolls out can color the quality of the relationship for the remaining weeks to come – in this case – several months. Four books, four months.
Our first fifteen with Terry opened floodgates of discovery. It started with an issue about a word. Click on any of these images to scroll through the email thread:
Following Terry’s Twitter feed, I learned she practices yoga, as do I. She photographs the epic countryside in which she lives. I do, too. She has a dog. You know I do.
When I asked if I could use the photo she sent, Terry shared with me about Feebie, her dog…
Terry was in born in LA, where I now live, but spent a long time in Florida, as did I when I was in grad school at the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory. Although Terry reutrns to visit her folks, LA is too nuts. Ditto.
Terry suggested a phone call and a To Do List as we agreed to coordinate marketing efforts. I answered questions submitted by Terry about the making of audiobooks from the Narrators POV and her answers to my questions about her writing and characters will appear in the next several blogs here at Stories From Storyteller. In that phone call I learned so much. Terry is an experienced author yes, but also an experienced blogger and an individual with a very clear understanding of her market, her readers and her role in her own success. Heck, Terry’s What’s Cooking Wednesday posted a recipe for Black Bean Brownies. It not only inspired me to cook up my own healthy Anasazi Bean & Red Quinoa Stew with Spinach and Delicata Squash, but encouraged me to take another look at all my blog can be.
A prolific writer, Terry has written 12 books. She has a practical approach to combining the category of writing where she felt she was – mystery – and the genre in which her readers see her – romantic suspense. At one time writing for 3 publishers, Terry has had agents, but chose to part company because they did not see eye to eye. She now self publishes and, as she puts it, is “Finally making money. :-)”
And in that same email thread, Terry schooled me:
Even our earliest memories of storytelling lie on common ground.
I look forward to spending the next four months with Terry. Her straightforward, no-shit-Sherlock demeanor is as refreshing as her approach to the romance novel.