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America’s Next Audio Book Idol

I’m debating the idea of releasing each episode of the Queen’s Wife as a podcast (along with the eBook formats). Although I’m not sure I’ll do it, I have had a grand time practicing. Because of my love for music, it just so happens I have all of the software needed to create a stellar podcast. At first I dappled with GarageBand (provided on most mac computers). It didn’t take long before I got bored with it and discovered it doesn’t quite meet my needs for an audio book podcast. My main problem is the length of the recordings. GarageBand doesn’t seem too happy with my length. I’m sure there’s a way to fix this, but why bother when there’s Audacity!

For those of you who don’t know what Audacity is, I recommend you check it out (here’s a good place to start). It’s free and easy to use. You literally click record and it won’t stop recording until you tell it to. You can record sections, you can layer, you can edit, and you can change your irritating high-pitched voice that makes you sound like a little kid (oh, sorry, that’s my own problem).

It’s all pretty simple. Once recorded, there are countless sites out on the web on how to turn your spiffy new recording into a podcast. I haven’t done this yet, so I won’t direct you to which one I liked the best. If I choose to do an audio book podcast, I’ll update and let you know which helpful site is the winner.

But here’s what they don’t tell you on the websites:

1. Microphones. You can speak into your computers microphone and get a really neat hollow room – talking in a cave – sound. Fun? You can speak into microphones that come on headsets and hear everything including your tongue moving in your mouth. Nice added sound effect! I’m still finding the best mode for the recording without having to spend the money and buying a fancy microphone that will work.

2. Got animals? Got kids? Got anything that makes sounds (like old radiators)? Well then recording an audio book podcast is definitely for you. Nothing says fun like being in the middle of recording your book when your dog decides to sneeze and/or your cat decides to meow over and over again into some corner of the room to see if he can beat the decibel level he reached last time. Of course there’s the fun of children and their amazing ability to barge into rooms with exciting news like: “I pooped! Look at it. Isn’t it great?”; “I just fed the dog ice cream! He loves it!”; “I learned about calling 911 at school today. They want to speak with you.  Oh and there’s a policeman at the door.” (Alright – I don’t have kids, but if I did I imagine that is what would happen.)

3. Commentary. Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to speak back to my characters. Sure I know these stories inside and out, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion. As I played back some of my recording I quickly learned that I say these opinions out loud. Who knew? For instance, after reading out loud what a character did, I apparently said out loud, “She is such a b&%$^!” In one recording I went on a whole rant yelling at my character informing them that they better be careful because I know what happens and they are not going to appreciate it if they don’t clean up their act now. Of course, they don’t. I mean, come on, my characters need to listen to me! I’ve seen the end result. But no, they just go about their business doing it their way. Whatever. I’m currently not speaking to two of my characters because of this audio book podcast adventure.

4. It’s an audio book not a radio show. Alright – come on – who doesn’t want to make a knocking sound when someone knocks at a door? Or add in music? Or speak in different accents (I may not be British, but I just know I can pull it off!)? At the end of the day, I had a hard time not turning this into a Prairie Home Companion podcast. I almost wondered if I could call up Garrison Keillor and see if he would help me. Why not!? I’d help me if I were him. But it’s not a radio show. It’s an audio book podcast. Keep it simple.

Bottom line: If you want to record an audio book podcast, consider the option of building a padded cell in your house. Who knows, maybe it’ll raise your home value.

And that’s the news from . . . err. . . I don’t have permission to write that.

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