Thursday, September 28, 2017

Producing Your Books in Audio Part Five: Proofing Your Book

By Angela Quarles, @AngelaQuarles

Part of the Indie Author Series

This month, I'm continuing my series on producing books in audio with ACX. Last month, I covered Producing Your Books in Audio Part Four: Prepping Your Book. This month I'll give tips on what to do when your narrator is done recording.

Tip #1 -- Evaluating the first 15 minutes

This is the 'speak now or forever hold your peace' kind of moment. Your narrator will send you the first 15 minutes, and you need to listen to it (preferably with headphones) and let them know any big pic issues you have at this point. Hopefully you've done your homework and picked a narrator who fits your story, but this is another checkpoint. Things to listen for and mention:
  • Pacing -- are they reading at a comfortable pace? You don't want them reading it soooo sloooowly that it drags. But you also don't want them rushing the story.
  • Characterization -- are they properly embodying the characters and their personalities? Especially your main characters?
  • Tone -- are they reading your story with the right tone? Playful when it should be playful? Suspenseful when it should be suspenseful?
  • Accents and pronunciation -- are there any accents that are off? Are words pronounced properly?
Don't worry about sound quality, as these aren't mastered, but if you do notice excessive mouth noises and pops, just touch base with your narrator to make sure those aren't going to be an issue when all's said and done.

Basically, this is your chance to make sure the project is unfolding how you envision, because after this, they will record the whole thing. And you'll have one very annoyed narrator if after this, you decide you don't like how they're rendering the voice of your main character.

Tip #2 - Follow their instructions for proofing

Once you've approved the first 15 minutes, they will go back and record the rest of your book! Then they'll send you the files for you to listen to and proof. My narrator has a Proof Sheet she has me fill out to mark down the time stamp of any mistakes. On this last one, her new sound editor also wants me to highlight in yellow the same passage on the PDF of the story. Obviously, follow their methods--you want this process to go as smoothly as possible for them. I can't imagine how time-consuming and difficult it is to do what they call 'Pickups" -- this is where they take your list of mistakes you found and re-record them.

Tip #3 - Understand what you're listening for

When proofing your book, you're going to mainly be on the look out for glitches and mistakes. Glitches could be distracting noises like a background noises, a breath that doesn't flow right with the story (I think some breaths are fine because they feel natural to the storytelling), or a mechanical issue. Mistakes are things like the narrator mispronouncing a word, dropping or adding a word that's important for understanding the story, using the wrong voice, missing a sentence, or having a sentence accidentally repeated.

Sometimes, you might come across something subjective that you want them to redo. But do this with caution. They aren't expecting to do pickups on lots of these types of issues, because ideally you gave them enough direction where that won't be necessary, and you also picked a narrator who "gets" your story and your characters. But sometimes, a narrator might completely miss the delivery, like read a line that's supposed to be sad as funny, or something like that. Just make sure you're not being overly sensitive.

Tip #4 - Have a separate sheet handy for changes

Sometimes while proofing, your narrator will drop or rearrange the words in a manner that's different than the text and you find that you actually prefer it the way they read it. I keep a doc handy where I paste in the old line and then the new one so that when it's all done, I can go back into the ebook and make those changes so that the text matches.

Tip #5 - Give yourself time

Don't give yourself a tight turnaround time for proofing. I mean, you can, but mistakes can happen when you get tired. Plus, while it is extremely fun and exciting to hear your book brought to life, it can be draining. I try to do mine over a week or so, and in short sessions, breaking it up throughout the day.

What about you? Do you have any tips for proofing your audio book? I'm actually in the middle of proofing MUST LOVE MORE KILTS right now! :)

Angela Quarles is a USA Today bestselling author of time travel and steampunk romance. Her debut novel Must Love Breeches swept many unpublished romance contests, including the Grand Prize winner of Windy City's Four Seasons contest in 2012. Her steampunk, Steam Me Up, Rawley, was named Best Self-Published Romance of 2015 by Library Journal. Angela loves history, folklore, and family history. She decided to take this love of history and her active imagination and write stories of romance and adventure for others to enjoy. When not writing, she's either working at the local indie bookstore or enjoying the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls, and creating the occasional knitted scarf.

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About Must Love More Kilts

What if your husband turns out to be the man sent to kill your ancestor?

A choice to make…

Highland Games fanatic Fiona Campbell believes her only value is her family's history, myths, and legends. So when she travels back to 1689 Scotland and discovers she's the Fiona of family legend, you'd think she’d be excited. And she is. Except that the legendary warrior she’s to save her ancestor from is the hottie in a kilt she just handfasted.

A heart to heal…

Duncan MacCowan once trusted his heart to the wrong woman, but when a strange lass drops into his life and pries opens his heart again, he impulsively handfasts her. Yet before he can finish spinning fancies of their domestic bliss, she flees on the night of their wedding, leaving him even more convinced that he can’t trust his instincts where his heart is involved.

A family legend that will tear them apart

Fiona wants to shake her fist at Fate--she finally meets the man of her dreams but can’t have him because of the family legend? Not cool, Fate, not cool. Duncan believes he’s just terrible at picking women and destined to be alone. But as the heat of their attraction flares, how far can they tempt Fate for love?

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