—Comments closed as of 10/1/13; Winner to be announced 10/2/13 —
People tried to talk me out of narrating my own audiobook. They said it would be really hard, it would take forever, and I would be better off hiring professional “voice talent” to read it for me.
They had a point, but I couldn’t imagine having someone else to do it. Hiring someone to read my memoir out loud would be like, I don’t know, asking a stranger to wear my socks or something. Too intimate. So I did it myself.
Here’s a sample:
It took five intense, half-day sessions to read all 88,000 words. They were right about it being hard. By the end, I lost my voice. But what they didn’t tell me is that it was also really fun, and strangely meditative. The time flew by.
Writing this book was a non-linear process. On a typical day, I might work on a first draft for chapter 22, then edit chapter 7, and then do some research for chapter 10. Reading the whole book, out loud, from beginning to end, (knowing I couldn’t change a word!) forced me to experience the story in a different way. I experienced it much like a reader would. I traveled through the whole emotional journey—it made me sad and angry and then happy and in the end, hopeful. It was cathartic.
I recorded at Live Oak Studio in Berkeley, which has an impressive history of hosting audiobook recordings for authors I admire like Anne Lamott and Michael Pollan. My sound engineer and director, James Ward, was a total pro, reminding me to take bites of green apple (to cut down on mouth noises) and keeping my spirits up when my energy was flagging. James found a diplomatic way to stop me every page or so when I’d inadvertently dropped a word, or to check my pronunciation.
The hardest decision was how to say the word “pajamas.” In the end I decided to say it the way I say it in real life, “jam” like the thing that’s jelly, not “jom” which is how most people say it. It turns out that word appears in almost every chapter, so I had lots of time to wonder if I was saying it wrong, even though it was too late to change my mind.
After I went home each night, James stayed late to cut out my weird sighs (I get a bit breathy when I read) and toning down my sibilant ‘S’s. He made me sound much more competent than I felt.
We’re giving away three free copies!
HOW TO ENTER Leave a comment at the end of this blog post. Tell me when you plan to listen to the audiobook, or share your “maxed out” moment, or just tell me how you pronounced the word “pajamas.” I will select three winners (using random.org) and announce it here on the blog in two weeks.
Update 10/1 Comments now closed. Thanks everyone for participating. Winner to be announced tomorrow!
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Want a free audiobook without the wait? Sign up for a free 30-day trial at Audible, and choose Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink for your free download.
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P.S. I thought you might want to check out the interview the Washington Post ran with me last week about the book.