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Editing the Audiobook

Some jobs you just can't outsource. For one, the audiobook has to sound exactly like I've been hearing it in my head. I envisioned this story years ago and have spent countless hours elaborating and expanding upon that initial idea. I didn't picture words scrolling across my mind. I heard it. I heard how all of it was supposed to flow. Until Elon Musk invents a way for us to extract our subconscious thoughts in their entirety and forward them on through a telepathic link, I'm stuck doing the work myself.

That being said, I still thoroughly enjoy the process. Hearing all the phrases from the different actors come together, layered on top of sound FX and sporadic music cues--it's creation in its purest form. How often do creators get the chance to create exactly what they want? It took me decades to figure out how to do this and finally be able to afford it. Producing anything in the music industry is expensive, and most artists don't have the money they need to truly express their talents. It's one of the greatest pains from which the majority of us suffer.

Each chapter takes hours to edit. The first pass roughly takes 4-6 hours to line up all the phrases, dialogue, and basic sound FX. The second pass is more mixing, cleaning up files, adding the remaining sound FX, and seeing if there are any needed music cues. If there's a last and final pass after that, I don't know what it would entail because I haven't gotten that far yet.

Since most audiobooks are slower-paced, and this is a graphic audiobook, I've had to take every single phrase and shift it over to speed up the rhythm of the entire manuscript. I cannot automate it because each phrase's shift is different. I go by the feel of it and have to listen over and over to make sure it flows right. It's tedious but worth it.

I also have 150 tracks with files from all the different actors. As I go through the manuscript and find a line from a different character, I have to search through the other tracks, find them, and position them in their allotted spot.

It's a fun process, but it takes hours and hours of time. I'm hoping to launch the audiobook in January, but I won't release it before it's ready. I spent over four years on this project, I'm not about to release something that isn't 100% finished. This, of course, it a conundrum since most art is never truly finished. Everything is a "work in progress." Still, I'll know when it's ready to launch. I won't hold onto it forever. January is the goal!

When it does come out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Shaun Barrowes first audiobook
The Paradise Planets Audiobook


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