Can you believe a year ago today Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service made her debut?

I planned to share the behind the scenes but could not have foreseen that Looming Transitions would be an Amazon bestseller. The surprises continued with a workbook and companion guide for families being created.

And then I got another idea.

Some people in transition do not have time to read a book. Some people want to be readers, but they just aren’t. Some people would prefer Looming Transitions to be in audio format. Okay, no problem. I’ve heard of Audible (as I bet have you. They sponsor a lot of podcasts :)).

It turns out, and this is my interpretation, Audible is the mafia of audiobook publishing. I say this because they do not let authors set the price of audiobooks and force pricing to be between $15 and $25 a book. Hey, I’m a fan of books and paying authors a decent salary. But shorter books like LT are like Delaware against Texas in the House of Representatives. Of course people will tend to buy longer books to get more bang for their money.

There has to be a better system.

There is.

LT Audio promo

Using Gumroad, you can sell audio files where people can download them and listen via iTunes (or other methods) or Gumroad has their own app (both Android and Mac) that will play the audio book. I know!! So cool. So professional. So reasonably priced.

I have a promotional page where you can buy it for $5, either for yourself or as a gift until January 20th. If you go to my Gumroad page, it will look like it is $10, so use the promo code and save $5.

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I love hearing “Behind the Scenes” stories and thought you might like to hear from the voiceover artist who recorded my book and learn a bit about the process. I am especially proud of her, because it is my sister Laura!

1. What’s your routine when you are going to record? Do you drink something hot? Do you sing scales? Do you say I love my family five times :)?

You’re actually pretty close in your guesses. Because my recording studio is in my basement, I first go through the house and turn off anything that makes noise. Typically that might include adjusting the heat or air conditioning settings so those units don’t kick on while I’m recording, I turn down the temp setting on the refrigerator so the motor doesn’t kick on, and turn off the dehumidifier (in the summer). Once in my studio I do warm-up exercises to get ready to read, which includes some mouth stretches and I say tongue twisters. A couple of my favorites are “A big bug bit a bold bald bear and the bold bald bear bled blood badly”, “Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie”, or “A Tudor who tooted a toot, tried to tutor two tooters to toot. Said the two to their tutor is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot”  :)  I’ve got lots of ’em :)

I always have warm water with me and drink a lot while I’m recording. I also keep throat lozenges on hand and have a throat sprays in case my throat starts to get scratchy.  But mainly it’s water, water, water.

Not sure if you care about this part, the very first pre-recording preparation I do is actually thinking through what I’ll be eating or drinking before I’ll be recording. I avoid anything that will increase phlegm (mainly dairy, but there are others) and mouth clicks (coffee is the worst).

Laura recording LT

Laura in her recording studio and that ladies and gentlemen is Chapter 1 of Looming Transitions :).

2. How long can you record until your voice needs a break?

I do a variety of projects, many which include shorter periods of recording and then the editing, so with that type of session I don’t need a break from recording. When I’m recording an audiobook, I usually record one chapter at a time and then edit that chapter, so the actual recording time is probably not more than an hour at a time. I can record for a couple hours before I need a break, but it’s typically my brain that needs a break more than my voice. I need to keep my brain really engaged so I don’t end up sounding flat and droning on and on :)

3. What moments in this project stand out to you? I loved it when I’d be working in the library and would get a text saying “How do you pronounce,” say, “Liu?” and I’d call you as I walked outside and say, “Hey! It’s lee-oo but said a little quickly.” 

Being related to you, it was a unique project. In some instances it was a walk down memory lane, or I’d think, “Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that.” And in others l learned things about your experiences that I hadn’t know before, which was cool. It was also an interesting challenge knowing your voice (personality) so well, which comes through so clearly in your writing, and hoping my voice, which is quite different than yours, would do justice to your personal stories in particular.

4. What do you enjoy about being a voiceover artist?

I really enjoy bringing words and stories to life. When I’m alone in my studio I get jazzed when I am reading something that just pops and sounds so alive and not just like words on a page. It’s fun to think through the characters in a book and bring their own voice to the story. And then when I’m in a recording studio with an engineer or others involved in a project, I love the collaborative creative experience. To do something one way and then try it a completely different way and see what happens. Someone may suggest something I never would have thought of, and then we’ll try it and it it may be great or it may flop, but it’s fun to be stretched like that. I also really enjoy the flexibility of largely working from home, that’s been great!

5. What might surprise people to know about being a voiceover artist? 

That it’s surprisingly hard! Sounding natural and conversational and not just like you’re reading words on a page isn’t easy. You’d think it would be, we all know how to talk. But when you’re suddenly in front of a microphone reading someone else’s words, it’s amazing how different that is to having a conversation with someone.

Laura, thanks for being the voice of Looming Transitions and working with me.

For this project Here are a few of the reviews, you can read more here.

Amy Young’s, Looming Transitions, guides you as you embark on a transformative life journey. In moving us to consider what is means to go or leave, Amy affords you the tools and space to anchor yourself in relationship with God, self, and others. Laura’s voice is clear and easy to listen to. Actually, her calmness is one of the key features of what makes the audio book enjoyable to listen to. ~Cynthia Eden~

Listening through the audiobook version of Looming Transitions was a valuable experience that left me wishing I had access to this kind of personal and helpful resource before my own transition of moving overseas. I believe Amy’s wise words and encouragement not only apply in preparing for an upcoming cross-cultural transition, but are a reminder of the importance of cultivating and preparing our hearts so that we are able to end and begin new seasons well. I enjoyed listening along to this while I ran errands and did work around my house. I also think Laura’s soothing voice was a great fit for the audio version. ~Cosette Danielle~

How can you help?

  • Pray! Going outside of the mafia means it will be harder for people to stumble across the audiobook. But I know God will help get the word out through your prayers.
  • Share this post or the news of the audiobook with someone who comes to mind as you read this. Use the promo code. 
  • Tuck away this information, maybe you don’t know anyone now, but you will.
  • Rejoice! Let’s celebrate the fun of the past year and the ways God has used Looming Transitions.

Much love a happy author and sister,

Amy

P.S. Authors, we’re in this together, eh?! I’m going to write a post about how you too can turn your book into an audiobook. It is much easier than expected. And if you need a voiceover talent . . . I can hook you up. 

Amy

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  1. Mike January 12, 2017 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Amy, I’m sure Laura did an awesome job recording your book for you, but I was wondering, is there a particular reason why you decided to not record it yourself? As Laura mentioned, sometimes it was a challenge for her to “do justice to your personal stories.”

    Not everyone who purchased – or will purchase – Looming Transitions has had the privilege of knowing you and hearing you speak, which, I have to point out is quite unique, :-) so I just found it interesting that you decided not to let the “readers” hear the voice of the actual author.

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      Amy January 12, 2017 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Happy to answer . . . I do not own the professional recording equipment nor wanted to pay for the recording studio. I also don’t have a great voice for recording (it’s a fine voice! Just not great!). As I looked at other self-published authors who have recorded their own books — all say that the professional quality was not as high and will higher professional talent for future endeavors. I didn’t want to invest my time in learning to sound edit :) . . . I’d rather be writing and teaching. So, there were many factors. Most of which are: this is a professional book, not a home project, so why would I do it :)?

      Love fleshing out more of the back story! Recording it myself held zero interest for how I want to invest my time, talent, and energy.

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