This week I finally decided to tackle trying to put my cozy mysteries into audio. At this point I’ve put at least five non-fiction titles and a half dozen or more short stories into audio that I recorded myself, so I’ve done the practice and fine-tuning to be ready for this.
Maybe. A novel is a whole level of difficulty harder.
The main challenge is character voices. You have to find character voices that are distinct enough to be audibly different and also that aren’t too annoying to listen to. The one romance novel I paid to have put into audio, this was the issue I had with it. I really didn’t like the second female character voice at all.
Now that I’m doing this myself, though, I begin to understand the issues involved and how challenging it can be to do multiple good character voices. Only reason I’m willing to tackle these books is that it’s written in first-person so technically all of the character voices can be that narrator’s interpretation of the people around her.
Still hard, though, even with that allowance.
Anyway. What has me writing this post is my intense desire to start rewriting the cozy after doing the first few chapters in audio.
Some of it’s minor issues I’m noticing, like a sentence that has “nearby” and “world go by” that creates an unintentional rhyme that I don’t like. Or another one that used making twice in two different ways where I could replace one or the other to get rid of that repetition.
And there’s a bit of a pacing issue, too. I can see as I read the audio where I could’ve maybe tightened things up better when I was giving the needed background info.
The narrator voice in those books is very much stream-of-consciousness first-person so there’s going to be more random information included than other POVs might use, but there’s a bit of repeating information that probably didn’t need to happen.
What’s funny is I’ve reread this book at least three or four times over the past few years as I wrote the series and didn’t notice these issues. But narrating the story for audio gives a whole other level of feedback.
I think it will sound fine to listeners so these aren’t fatal flaws for the audio version. Still. I really want to fix it.
But I’m not going to let myself do that. It is what it is at this point. (I did find a typo, so that’ll get fixed. But nothing else.)
Why not fix it? Why leave it as is if I can see a way to improve it further?
One, because it’s done just fine so far and I could inadvertently break something that works if I try to fix it. As of right now the book has 529 ratings on Amazon with a 4.3 star average, so readers in general are not hating it.
Two, there’s a temptation to get stuck in a loop of ongoing minor improvements at the cost of forward movement. My readers would rather have the audiobook (or a new book in that series) than have me tweaking the first book in the series forever.
Three, because no matter how many times I loop through that book it will never be perfect. I don’t do minimum viable product, but I do subscribe to the “as good as I could make it at the time” approach. So there’s always a little room for improvement, but it’s in A territory already and that distance from A to A+ is too much effort for too little change in the ultimate product.
So I will just have to suffer through on this one and leave it as is. (Except for that stupid typo I found. I swear those things breed when you’re not looking at them.)
Okay. Off to try to come up with a secondary female voice that’s about the same age as the first voice but different enough you can tell them apart. That should be easy to do …Not.