Gave it my all

March 28th, 2014, 5pm

Irony doesn’t extend to endeavors which took you more than a year to complete.

Making an audiobook happen, I went to considerable lengths. Testing mics, interfaces, mic isolators and software took several months. Not that it was a very premeditated process - at one point I had to re-record five chapters of my novel because I just couldn’t convince myself anymore they stood up to my standards. In the end I had an off the shelf microphone shop modified, to capture my voice better. I built a vocal booth. Recording at night was still a must, to have as little surround noise as possible.

The ins and outs of sound engineering are still a mystery to me, of course - doing this in earnest is not a hobby, and my respect for sound engineers has grown tremendously. We take the sound quality of today for granted, but they make it possible. I got a glimpse of it, that’s what I got - and at times even this was enough to drive me almost insane.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely. I loved recording at night and will continue to do so. There’s something special about that situation when it’s only you and the mic. Everything will show. You will have to repeat ad nauseam. Your voice will show if you’re tired, bored, out of concentration and stamina, it will be influenced by what you ate & drank, and most of all, it will never be the same. You will make mistakes and repeat those as well. After that, the real work starts.

Mastering can be an incredible nightmare. With a good monitor headset, you hear everything. You even hear the grass grow, and you become painfully aware that grass growing sounds differently on different sound systems. In this situation, perfectionism is such a double edged sword. Of course I lost files through a stupid backup mistake. Of course.

And still I did it.

Was it worth it? A poem, taken not from the audiobook per se but from a side project: Der Brief des Nachportiers, mp3 (German).

My audiobook has just passed quality control at my distributor. Soon, it can be purchased for download on assorted shops. There will be hard copy versions as well.

And if it doesn’t sell? Well, then it doesn’t sell.

Shu, David Wade, Steve, Philippe and 2 others said thanks.

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Marcus Hammerschmitt

Writer, journalist and photographer. Eighteen books so far, on paper and on screen. My biography is boring, my life is not.

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