Listening to books

Not everyone wants to read – at least not all the time. Sometimes, it’s better to listen.

Audio books are hugely popular – just ask Audible.com (now part of Amazon). And they have some real advantages, even for people like myself who mostly prefer to read. I have a friend, a smallholder, who spends most of her day in the garden. She often gets through a book a day and loves the ability to be transported while she toils.

At WebVivant Press, we’re planning to issue some of our books as audio books. It takes a lot of work, but it’s fun to do and helps reach a wider audience, including those with impaired vision.

That’s a little way down the road yet, but in the meantime, we have started a series of podcasts. These will include readings by authors from their books, plus interviews with the writers – about what inspires them, what interests them, their writing processes and so on.

TwistingTales150The first podcast is available now. It features Clare Le May reading one of the short stories, ‘Disguise’, from her collection Twisting Tales. We also have an interview with Clare talking about her writing process and what inspires her.

It was an interesting process and a fascinating result. Clare’s stories, while sometimes superficially whimsical, have an unsettling quality. She often uses elements of magical realism, but usually as a kind of counterpoint to the everday settings of her tales.

I’ve read these stories many times, but hearing Clare deliver ‘Disguise’ caused me to experience it in an entirely new way. And that’s the value of an audio book or podcast: it doesn’t replace the printed word but stands alongside it as simply another interpretation.

I’m looking forward to doing many more of these. We already have plans for some original short stories, not yet in book form, so they will be ‘published’ first as podcasts.

For those of you who like the technical production details – and I know you’re out there – here’s how the podcast was produced.

The reading and introduction were recorded in our office using condenser microphones (Rode M3 and Audio Technica AT2020) via a Behringer mixing desk to a Zoom H4N digital recorder set to record 44.1kHz 24-bit Wave files. These were imported into Apple’s Logic Pro software. After editing and adjustments (some EQ, volume etc), the file was ‘bounced’ out to a 128kbps MP3 file for uploading to SoundCloud. We’re currently looking at making the podcasts available via iTunes, too.

We were lucky enough to be able to use music by Clare’s sister Louise Le May. It added a great deal to the professionalism and ambience – but more of that in the next post.

» Listen now to Clare Le May reading ‘Disguise’ (also downloadable as an MP3) »

 

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