Well the title really gives away the question this blog is founded on, doesn't it?
Even before the first book in The Ascension Legacy series was printed, I knew I wanted to have an audiobook version of them. I even contemplated at one point of doing only the audiobook versions of each book and leaving traditional print versions behind. Eventually, I decided that it was probably best not to alienate that group of the reading audience that prefers to read books as opposed to listening to them, especially since I am one such person who prefers reading over listening.
I did a lot of research into who distributes audiobooks, what their submission standards are, royalty rates, and more. Some groups offered voice actors to record books for a fee (usually a hefty one) while others only distributed recordings that met their standards. I found a number of different people/places that claimed to have experience recording audiobooks and would create one from my written material for a price (again, usually a hefty one). I even found some how-to guides online for recording an audiobook yourself.
Being something of an antisocial go-getter, I first decided to try the do-it-yourself approach. I already have a pretty beefy PC for gaming which was a a good portion of the hardware requirements. From there, I bought a nice microphone, some good headphones (not gaming headphones), and a lot of software. I was ready to go but by this time the first book in The Ascension Legacy series was going through the process of being turned into a "real" book. I opted to wait until after all of the editing and changes had been made for the book so that whatever I recorded would for sure be the final copy. I wanted the audiobook, physical book, and e-book to all match.
After months of back and forth with the publisher, I finally had in my hands the 100% complete copy. I was ready to record.
The DIY instructions all recommended to record one chapter at a time and to record it multiple times until you had a single copy of a "perfect" reading. The justifications for doing it this way were extensive and valid. Only after having each chapter recorded were you to stitch the individual recordings into one master recording that covered the book from cover to cover.
I never made it to the first chapter.
Book 1 contains a short epilogue and I started there. I did not want my first effort to be long. I knew there would be some learning curve to getting everything right and that I would do several recordings before finding the one that was "perfect".
I made only one recording.
I read the epilogue with near perfect enunciation and pacing. I had read that section of the book so many times over the last few years that I could have largely done it through memory. I nailed the reading part of it.
And then I listened to it.
It only took hearing my voice coming back at me through the speakers for a few minutes to quickly decide that I would not be the voice of my books if they were to be an audiobook. I am a country boy from small town Texas and that redneck twang is thick when I talk. The quality of my recorded voice was not the voice I wanted to bring my story to other people's ears. I mean, there was a time that even other people from Texas would make fun of my twang. That should tell you something of just how country I sound (apparently).
With my voice being declared undesirable, I was on the hunt for a new voice. I considered looking back at some of those professional recording services but a lot of those started at $4,000 and I wasn't prepared to pay that much on top of what I had already paid in getting the physical/e-book copies done. I needed a different approach. I needed a better voice.
Enter John F. Kaiser III.
John and I have been friends for decades. Our families lived nearby (a relative term when talking about out in the country) so we grew up playing together since before starting school. And even though our lives took us in different paths, sometimes taking John to different states even, we've remained good friends. And for those of you who have never heard John speak, the closest comparison I can offer is James Earl Jones. John's voice is distinctly different than JEJ's but it is equally deep and mesmerizing. It has a sense of drama to it and the deep bass is both riveting and the sound of inevitable doom at the same time.
With a background in theater and a voice that is unparalleled among our generation, John's voice was an immediate no-brainer once I had given up my ego and was willing to use someone else's voice.
John and I have collaborated on a number of projects over the years and the idea of being the voice for The Ascension Legacy series was something that appealed to him too. We agreed to terms regarding his involvement and off we went. The hope was to have a complete audiobook in a few months.
That was nearly 2 years ago and there is still no audiobook.
Some people might be reading that and think that I got bamboozled in that deal or that John is somehow incapable of meeting the goals we set but the truth is nowhere near that. Between then and now, there have been a set of unfortunate circumstances that have kept not just John but also me from putting this together.
The first few recordings had a bad echo and we were unable to edit the recordings or rearrange the recording area to remove the echo. Another friend had a setup in their house for audio recordings but then COVID hit and we were all in lockdown which kept anyone from leaving their houses for a while. A few other technical issues, a death, our day jobs, our families, and more has constantly hampered our efforts but we have not given up or forgotten. With COVID largely behind us and a number of the technical issues resolved, we are back at it. John and I talk about the progress every few weeks. I listen to samples and provide feedback when necessary. It is now only a matter of time before we have final recording for Book 1, which is good since Book 2 is already out and Book 3 is on the way.
It is our hope that Book 1 gives us both a better understanding of what is involved in getting these recordings done and released so that Books 2 & 3 (and beyond) can be recorded much more efficiently and released quicker. Released when, I can't say but hopefully quicker.
For a while, I had a number of people asking about the audiobook version but here lately those questions have been few and far between. I guess people have given up waiting. Hopefully when they are available interest will return.