How the Saga Audio Books are made

By the end of July, Tindr, Book Five of The Circle of Ceridwen Saga, will be released on Audible. I have already heard the first 15 chapters and it is magical. And perhaps you’d like to know a bit more about the alchemy behind the making of the Saga as audio books.

Birch stand on Gotland

Birch stand on Gotland, a landscape that Tindr knows and loves so well…

If you’ve been listening, you know the wonderful Nano Nagle is “the Voice of the Saga”. Nano is a working stage actress in London, and teacher of dramatics, as well as professional book narrator. I found Nano on ACX, a website which is the “back end” of Audible. ACX is for rights holders (that would be me) and voice producers (narrators, such as Nano.) Many hundreds of narrators post their sample voice clips on the site, and those looking for voice talent can search the clips via a wide range of desired accents, vocal quality, apparent age, and many more vocal traits. At the same time, the rights holder – the author or publisher – posts their book, and can invite auditions based on a 15 minute excerpt.

In my case, I found Nano right off, wrote to her and invited her to audition. It was the warmth of her voice that won me over, because above all, Ceridwen has warmth – fiery warmth at times. A number of other actresses auditioned as well, including two quite famous ones in the audio world, but I knew I wanted No One But Nano.

As Nano records the chapters, she sends me the audio files via the ACX dashboard. I put on my headphones and sit down with a pad of paper, listening raptly, chapter by chapter. If there is a mistake such as a skipped word or a misplaced emphasis, I stop the recording, note the exact minute and second of the chapter, and write the correction down. I am not reading along from the book; I am just listening. But I know the novels so well that any thing out of place stands out. I then sometimes open the book, just to check, and then get back to being immersed in her performance.

After the recording is complete and all corrections made, she sends everything back to me, and I re-listen to those portions. Nano is very skilled as a sound editor and her splices are always undetectable. Once I have approved them all Nano submits the audio files to ACX Engineering. It takes them about two weeks to ready the files for sale, including balancing levels, cleaning up any extraneous background noise, and all the other things they need to do to mount the new book on the Audible site. During this time I send ACX the supplementary PDF, so listeners can download the maps, Table of Contents, Glossary, and all the other goodies that come with each Saga book.

Where do you listen to audio books? On your commute, while walking, or around the house? Let me know below or on my Facebook page. I know at least some of you are professional truck drivers, and others are hand-crafters, who love to listen as you create things. A few of you like Nano to read you to sleep at night!

And if you’re new to the magic of audio books, there is never a better time to escape into another world than right now. Joining Audible is free, and Book One of The Circle of Ceridwen is free when you make it your first selection!

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Sharon Newell July 8, 2017, 7:20 pm

    Thank you for the update! I can’t wait!!!! 😊 I listen on my hour drive each way to work & back….and mostly wish the book would never end! Been an audible book listener for over 10 years and totally love being read to!

  • Robyn July 8, 2017, 6:33 pm

    Hi Octavia, I read on my commute. It’s only 20 mins each way. But listening to books takes out the frustration and I actually enjoy the time. Looking forward to more from you.Robyn

  • Marilyn Copeland July 8, 2017, 5:48 pm

    Thank you Octavia for that insight into the Audible process. I can barely wait for the fifth book to be released, so thank you for letting us know that we haven’t long to go. My favourite way to listen is while driving. Unfortunately, since retiring I don’t get to drive as regularly, but love an excuse for a road trip and a long, uninterrupted listen. Otherwise I listen most days while doing house or garden work, so gravitate towards the quiet jobs like dusting and weeding. Thank you for making these mundane jobs so enjoyable with the world you have created.

  • Kyra Rippey July 8, 2017, 2:57 pm

    I’m so excited to hear that Tindyr will be released for Audio soon. Ive been waiting for this for the past few months as I have more than 1 hr commute daily each way to work and find it very relaxing. Sometimes it’s very hard to get out of the car because I so wrapped up into the story. Thanks you.

  • Marla July 8, 2017, 12:21 pm

    This was really eye opening!! I was not aware of how the process works. Thank you for the info.
    You both are becoming my top author and reader!
    I listen Everywhere! On the way to work, at work , in the garden, in the kitchen and housework- just another reason to hate vacuuming – can’t here my book. Heavy sigh!
    Thank you again, keep writing! You make my life ever so interesting!!

    • Judy July 8, 2017, 11:37 pm

      I just plug in the ear phones when there is outside noise 🙂

  • Carla Morris July 8, 2017, 12:02 pm

    How wonderful! And how like you to take this approach on with such diligence, care and charm! 😊

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