It might happen in the First 15 Minutes submission, it might happen later, but guaranteed, somewhere along the line your producer will make a mistake. Anything from forgetting how to pronounce a character’s name to getting the stress on the wrong word to omitting an entire sentence.

When I first flirted with the idea of recording my books by myself, I tried reading out loud. I’m a good reader, with lots of experience reading aloud in front of a group at my writer’s workshop. I didn’t get more than a couple pages when I made a mistake. I tried again, and again. Second or third or fourth time through, it happened Every Single Time. Imagine, then, reading a book of 200-300 pages or more, and doing it all perfectly. Your producer deserves all the credit you can give them.

But that doesn’t get the blooper fixed. I worked out a system that all of my producers seemed to enjoy. I hardly think I can be the only one who came up with this same system, but it worked very well, both for me and for them.

When I started listening, I had the book open on my computer, and the recording playing, and followed along word by word. It doesn’t matter which program you play it on, whether the ACX player or ITunes or any other one, they all (at least the ones I used) have a counter running. As soon as the producer made a mistake, I clicked over from the manuscript to the player and ran it back until I caught the minute and second it happened. Then I kept a list, minutes and seconds, what was said, and how it should have been said.

I kept the list going, each chapter, every minute and second of the blooper, and the corrections I needed. I tried not to send too many chapters with their errors at any one time, but each producer might be different on how they want to receive ‘mistakes’ listings. Some might well want to get it all at once. I felt sending sections at a time helped them know that I was in fact listening, that they hadn’t been forgotten, without overwhelming them.

Granted, it is a bit of a juggling act, keeping track of which version of each chapter you have already proofed, but I can’t think of any way around that. Each of my readers numbered their revisions, “chap 1 v[ersion]2, chap 1 v3,” and the like. Some readers just fix the particular error, some reread the entire chapter or section in which the mistake occurred (which is actually how ACX wants it done). Until you get to know your producer’s particular method of handling corrections, it is probably best to listen to the resubmitted chapters in their entirety. If you get a producer who reads the chapter over, there is always the chance of a new mistake.

One other thing: hearing your book read will show up any mistakes you might have missed. Redundancies, sentences you thought were clear that weren’t – when someone else reads your work, trust me, anything that should have been fixed in your manuscript will show up. Producers’ jobs are not to fix your mistakes, only their own. Some producers will agree to let you fix a few things, but sadly, you will have to live with your fluffs and bloopers for the next seven years, longer if you choose to keep the same narrator. Go ahead and correct them in the Kindle and Createspace versions, but know that they will still be there in your audiobook.

It will take time, and a lot of effort on both your parts, but eventually you will have a tight audiobook, ready to be sent out into the world.

(original blog date 8/30/2015)

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