I am in the process of recording my book, Superstition Murder Club, for the Arizona Talking Book Library. The library staff contacted me last year, saying that my cozy murder mystery is especially desirable to those who want a Talking Book. As part of the National Library Service, a division of the Library of Congress, Talking Book selections are digitally mastered and made available around the country for download.
I am thrilled that a new audience will enjoy my book. I readily accepted. I was given the option of having someone record it for me or record it myself at the studio in Phoenix. I chose to record it myself. It is estimated that it will take six months to complete the audio book.
On my first day at the recording studio, I eagerly jumped in. The program director went over the basics and supplied me with the pages of my first three chapters, plus cover text and dedication. I was sealed in a soundproof booth, with a chair, a reading easel, headsets, and a very intimidating microphone covered in gray foam pointed straight at my face.
I am quite confident that I can do the recording. I have had lessons in elocution, plus am very familiar with the words in my own book. However, the recording process is more challenging than I expected. I thought I would be able to race right through the pages, cutting the six months down to three. I was wrong. It is an onerous task. My first session took two hours to read three chapters.
Right at the beginning, I made a mistake by adding an “and” in the listing of “other works by” section in my book. The program director stopped me and told me that by agreement with the Library of Congress, I must not add or subtract any words from the printed material. It must be exactly as printed.
This amused me because I am forever adding and subtracting my words. I have yet to find a sentence I have written that I cannot improve—even in already published works. Through the years, I have learned to let well enough alone or perish. My infernal internal editor is a cruel mistress.
While I am reading my book out loud with the monstrous microphone staring at me, my mind is criticizing the use of a word, the placement of a comma, the awkwardness of a phrase. It is at this time that my reading falters and the director stops me for a retake. I am learning to muffle the infernal internal critic so I can read without a mistake. It is my goal to get through an entire chapter without the director asking for a retake.