Publishing an Audiobook
For me the concept of an audiobook has always been disagreeable.
When I read I want to hear the voices of the characters the way I think they speak and immerse myself in the world at my pace, not someone else's. That's how I enjoy a story.
I can see the benefits of audiobooks clearly. It's a way of dispersing a story for those who perhaps don't enjoy reading or don't have the time, but could listen to the audio book as they drive to work or go for a run. Audiobooks have made writing more accessible through the use of technology and inspiring a love of stories surely can't be a bad thing.
Perhaps this is partly why I am a hypocrite...
This year has seen the culmination of several years worth of work which I have done to complete my degree. This journey of blood, sweat and tears involved creating a project using creative writing and music composition.
Sounded simple enough in my head:
Step 1 - Research examples from other practitioners
Step 2 - write a novel
Step 3 - write a score that fits with the novel
Step 4 - smile happily that it's done and get my degree!
Except things are never that simple... There were very few examples out there to use as inspiration. Now, a normal person might have looked at that and thought "I wonder why there aren't many", but not me. I looked and thought, "wow. I'm doing something quite unique. That's got to be impressive and very creative."
Cut to writing the novel and that was fairly uneventful and everything was going well, then I began trying to compose the score... The truth is, the reason there aren't many other examples is because it's bloody difficult to do!
After several gruelling months however, I did manage to complete the work. I explored traditional instrumentation for the natural world and Fae characters within my fantasy/science fiction novel, and electronic instruments for the futuristic world and there are, I think I can proudly say, some shining moments of glory.
It was at this point that I realised that it was never going to work as a book where you listen to the score as you read. The music needed to reflect the mood and characters appearing in any given scene as and when these changed. Everyone reads at different speeds, so there was no way to ensure the novel and score stayed in sync, unless...
I had to agree that audiobook was the only way my project would work. I might not like the way they change my imaginative experience as a reader, but this format was going to be a fantastic way of linking my narrative and score perfectly.
Cue several more months of recording and editing, then changing after feedback and rewriting, re-recording and editing... then editing again to make sure the music didn't overpower the narration and become an overloading experience, but finally
Flawless, and audiobook with score that deals with body image and issues around reliance on technology and the effect it has on the natural world. (yes, the irony of needing technology to make my project successful was not lost on me).
I became a podcaster, YouTuber and audiobook writer and embraced the advances in technology that are helping artists, like myself, to reach a wider audience.
I still think there are improvements to make, but then I'm never 100% happy with what I create, however I am proud of the extent of this project and how much it has challenged and taught me along the way. I might never be an audiobook listener at heart, but an audiobook writer... now that's another story.