Guest Post by Debby Mayne
Thank you for inviting me to your blog again, Valerie. It’s always an honor and a blessing to be here.
When I first signed the contract with B&H Publishing to write the first straight-to-digital book for the Bloomfield series, I knew they were committed to trying new things. The very thought of blazing new trails with B&H and the Bloomfield gang, also known as the Bloomers, has been exciting and fun. When someone comes up with a new idea, we run it by our editor Julie Gwinn, the marketing strategist Shannon Kozee, and the publicist Jeane Wynn. They have been open to all our suggestions, and they’ve even come up with quite a few of their own.
Creating the audio version of the book came from someone at B&H (perhaps Shannon?). Julie emailed me, said they’d been discussing having me read it into a recorder, and asked if I would be willing to give it a shot. Of course I said yes. I mean, who wouldn’t?
About a week later, I received a brand new portable recorder in the mail with guidelines on how to set it up and recommendations on the best way to read the story into the microphone. One of the instructions was to talk in “voices.” Since I had so many characters, I practiced speaking in different voices—including those of a squawking parrot, a meddlesome but loving grandmotherly type woman, a know-it-all garden club president, a couple of men, and of course the heroine.
When I finally sat down to read the story, I had the recorder, printed manuscript pages, and a glass of ice water in case my mouth got dry on the table in front of me. After my husband left for the day, I immediately started to read. Somewhere on the second page, I messed up a sentence, so I started over. No big deal. Then during my second try, I messed up about halfway through. I started over again. This happened a couple more times.
This wasn’t going so well, so I pushed back from the table, drank the entire glass or water, refilled it, and sat back down. On the next try, I got to the last page of the first chapter, and I had a coughing attack. I turned off the microphone, recovered, and decided to go back over my guidelines. One of the lines stated that if I messed up to pause and then read that sentence again. The recording would be edited later. I should have done that during the first go-round, but I considered it a lesson learned the hard way.
The first chapter took almost six hours to read, including all the mess-ups and starting over. The rest of the book took a total of about ten hours. I did this over several days. As soon as I’d completed it, I packed the recorder in the same box it arrived in and sent it back to Shannon Kozee.
Now that the project is finished and actually being listened to, I’m glad I did it. I don’t know much about the process of uploading it to Soundcloud, but I’m pleased with my part of the process. If other authors are interested in recording their own books, I recommend finding a quiet place, keep a glass of water nearby, and don’t rush the process. I don’t know much about recording equipment, but I do know that you need to know where to find the PAUSE button. You’ll definitely need it.
I’ve enjoyed working with the fabulous group of authors who got together and created this town of quirky folks in the garden club whose main goal is to do whatever it takes to get the population up to 10,000. And now I’m hoping to listen to someone else do voices of the characters in their stories, including Murray the parrot. The other Bloomfield authors are Gail Sattler, Kathi Macias, Martha Rogers, Trish Perry, Miralee Ferrell, Jenness Walker, and Tracy Bowen.
Debby Mayne has published more than 30 books and novellas, 400 print short stories and articles, 1,000 web articles, and dozens of devotions for women. She has worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, and creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group. She also judges the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition.
Three of Debby’s books have been top ten favorites by the Heartsong Presents book club. Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars and a Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine in July 2009. Debby’s 3-book Class Reunion series with Abingdon will be available in 2013. In addition to Waiting for a View, Debby has two more projects scheduled in the Bloomfield series, including a full-length print novel, Good Intentions (January 2014), and Early Bird Special, a novella in a Christmas anthology (2014) with Martha Rogers and Trish Perry.