It was so important to me to read my book to you. Nearly a year since I started recording the audiobook and I’m pleased to share that my memoir, Fade to Light, is available for you to purchase and listen!
The final draft of the book was cleared by the editor in October 2022. With a launch planned for January, I knew I needed to get a move on with the audiobook recording! I did some research and found I needed a good quality microphone. My research took me deeper and I found that not only the microphone mattered, but also the recording space. We had an empty outbuilding I was hoping I could soundproof and use.
I pictured myself encased in foam, bent over my book to read!
My consulting work picked up so I prioritized that. I don’t have any income while on maternity leave since I’m self employed, so it was important to get as much money into the business as possible. The more funds in the business account, the longer I can pay myself, the longer I can stay on leave… you get the drift.
I realized in December ’22 that recording the audiobook on my own wasn’t a good idea. There was a misunderstanding with the publisher and they were clear that they could only publish finalized audio files. Darn! I went on the lookout for an engineer with sound booth that was close. Now six months pregnant, I didn’t want to drive after dark. And sunset at that time of year is 4pm!
I found an engineer here in town and we set our first recording date as December 27. A snowstorm stranded him away with family. Each day he waited for a flight, and I waited to record the book.
Our first session was December 30 – now just over two years since I started writing the book! Coming up on six months pregnant.
I had read about how pregnant people get short of breath in the later months because the growing baby starts to compress your lungs. I can attest that the rumours are true! I needed to stop a few times per page to catch my breath.
Oh boy, I thought. This is going to take a while.
Jacob, the engineer, would drop a marker into the recording file each time I stopped. “Little break!” I’d announce, panting for air as if I was running uphill.
Once we were done recording, he’d review each file and delete my breaks, taking care to stitch together the file so my narration would be seamless.
I knew close to nothing about audiobook recording and producing. Learning on the go came with many surprises. Along with narrating the book, I also took the role of QC – Quality Control. Each edited file from the engineer had to be reviewed to check for errors and verify completeness.
The relief of being done the book and “never needing to pick it up again” gave way to the realization that I would be listening to each chapter many times. Drawing from my project manager experience, I put together a spreadsheet to index each chapter and track completion.
Aside from breathing like I was running a marathon while wearing a heavy pack, pregnancy also came with insomnia. From month two, I’d be awake from 2am onwards. Sometimes only until 3am, but often until 4 or 6am! With the files coming in from Jacob faster than I could listen, I started doing my QC review during the wee morning hours.
Get a snack (pregnancy took a lot of calories).
Put in headphones.
Listen to a chapter or two of my memoir.
I set the emails reporting status to send at 9am that day – sparing Jacob from a late night notification.
A few errors couldn’t be fixed and demanded a re-record. On a rainy day in March 2023 – now eight months pregnant – I went to the recording studio for the last time. With the re-recording complete, Jacob sent what we hoped were the last set of files. But some of the studio settings were different from the original recording! More back and forth ensued as he tweaked the settings to make the re-recorded parts match the original.
I felt it was important to take downtime before transitioning to the role of mom. As mid-March rolled around, it didn’t feel right to keep prioritizing the audiobook. I put it down – not sure when I’d pick it back up again – and focused on my upcoming birth experience.
I’m so glad I prioritized birthing. I’m so proud of myself for the sacred two weeks I took to connect to my unborn child, and to research birth options as much as I could. We were blessed with gorgeous sunny skies and warm weather. The clothesline filled with teeny baby clothes and receiving blankets. I cooked meals in bulk to freeze for post partum.
The audiobook waited.
Flash forward to September 2023. My son is now five months old! I’m mostly recovered from birthing. I can walk further, I can lift and carry heavier objects! His naps are slightly more predictable. A friend in Squamish told me that she picked Fade to Light as the book club read for October! I wanted to get the audiobook ready for her book club.
Are you surprised that it took almost a month to get the audiobook approved for sale on audible / Amazon? Jacob and I were immersed into the back and forth again. Four, then five versions of the files moved from him to me for review. I was still up from 2-5am, but now with the responsibility of momming a baby. I needed to find little corners in each day to be able to review the files.
The first package to Amazon was rejected. Jacob and I gritted our teeth to edit the files One. More. Time. On October 10, 2023, the email showed up. Not only was the book accepted, but it was already available for purchase! Again, I set my personal boundary with the book. I shared the good news with a few friends who had let me know they were eager to listen, and now I have the space and time to share the news with the world!
I’m so proud that I narrated and produced my own audiobook. I’m even more proud that I put it on hold so I could properly honour the birth experience.