Put on your talking pants. Making Tracks, A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks by J. Daniel Sawyer

Spurred by Emma Calin’s recent blogs on Caleb and Linda Pirtle and Bert Carson’s comments about Amazon’s new Kindle feature that allows a reader to sync back and forth between an audio book and a Kindle one, I  decided to get to the bottom of the audio book deal.

I mean, I wanted to know how to produce a top shelf audio book in a home studio.  The whole thing, belts and suspenders.  I stuck my toe in this water about a year ago when I recorded a couple of short stories using an iPad and a couple of other gadgets.  That experience was just enough to convince me that there is a lot involved in even the simplest production of a single reader audio book,

I followed my usual pattern and began researching the topic.

Making Tracks

Since audiobooks are growing in popularity, I was not surprised to find several blogs about them.  One of these blogs led me to a resource book called Making Tracks A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them) by J. Daniel Sawyer.

Who is this J. Daniel Sawyer cat?

Here’s how he describes himself on his Amazon author page.

J. Daniel Sawyer is a hat-wearing, obsessive-compulsive nutcase attempting to write his way out of the loony bin. He’s the author of numerous fiction podcasts including Sculpting God, Down From Ten, and The Antithesis Progression (which earned him a spot as a 2009 Parsec Finalist). Lacking in personal qualities things that make for respectable character (such as the ability to sit still and shut up), he’s forced to channel his lack of decorum into the fields of photography, a/v production, and writing for outfits like LinuxJournal and the occasional speculative fiction anthology.

When not working on his new secret steampunk fantasy adventure or getting into other mischief, he can be heard hosting the skeptical salon The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour, and as the narrator of Free Will, book two of The Antithesis Progression, both available through http://www.jdsawyer.net.

J. Daniel Sawyer
J. Daniel Sawyer

I don’t know if a person can discern from that description just how well Sawyer knows the audiobook gig, but now that I have read his book, I have no doubts about his expertise.

If anything Making Tracks is too complete a treatment of the subject.  That’s not a criticism.  I would much rather have too much information than too little.  My only point here is that about a third of the information in the book was focused on my one reader, home studio project type gig, while the rest of it was far beyond any project I can see in the near future.

Without a doubt, any writer serious about producing quality audiobooks will benefit greatly from Sawyer’s book.  He will learn the jargon of audio, receive a primer in the necessary equipment, benefit from Sawyer’s long career in the field.

I cobbled together my equipment, am preparing a room, and sometime in the next few days will click the red button and start recording a novel or two.

Editing the son of a gun is the hard part.

I wonder if J. Daniel takes calls from writers after they go crazy in their home studio isolation booths?


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