The Joy of Audio.

By Joyce Woollcott.

A debut author dreams of many things. A breakout novel, lots of sales, terrific reviews, guest panels at big conferences –– free drinks and tasty little finger foods. In reality, writers don’t usually achieve all these goals. Some of them certainly, but instant, glittering success is only for the few. Like many others, I’m just thrilled to have my book out there, and another on the way, (gosh, sounds like I’m pregnant, doesn’t it?) but then, that’s what a book is to many of us, our baby.

I’ve been fortunate with reviews, and the book has been well received, but the worry and stress of putting yourself and your words out into the world is something every writer shares. Now that the book is out there, the reviews are coming in, you might think, that’s it, and I did, until I got the call from my publisher and their agent telling me that the audio book was a go. I wasn’t thinking of audio. I’d dreamed of hearing my words narrated but never thought it would happen to me, well, you can imagine my joy. This baby was about to talk!

Then of course the worry starts.

I had a couple of concerns. As a writer, you usually have an idea in your head of how your hero or heroine looks and sounds, I do certainly. I wondered if my protagonist, Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride, would sound the way I had envisaged him? And another issue, my book is set in Northern Ireland. Would the audio company, Tantor, choose a narrator with the correct accent? Most of the time the author has no say in the choice of narrator and so you wait and hope.

My first news was from Tantor, who in a communication to me were happy to share the name of my narrator and a link to other books he had read.

My reader was an LA based Irish actor, Alan Smyth. He has narrated books by, among others, Stuart Neville, Flann O’Brian and oh yes, James Joyce. So, well, thank you very much. Needless to say, I’m thrilled and a little overwhelmed.

The next exciting development was hearing the little audio clip that Tantor Audio released. You can listen to it here… just hit Play Sample.

I’m happy because I realise there are challenging words all narrators have to face, and there are some really difficult ones in A NICE PLACE TO DIE. Getting those right creates a certain credibility for the book. I’ve had this conversation with Alan. Only in Northern Ireland do you have to grapple with – Shaneoguestown Road, craic, and Doagh. I don’t even know how to pronounce the first one. But Alan was more than up to the task and I hope you will give the audio book a try, and see how he did. I’m sure you’ll be able to clearly picture my hero, D.S. McBride, and his team, as they unravel this dark and twisty plot in the lovely countryside in and around Belfast.

Available on-line and at Tantor Audiobooks.

Twitter: @AlanGSmyth

12 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    I get the issue with hearing a book in audio. There are times I have to adjust when listening to an audio vs. what I read on the page myself. I think it would be even worse for an author. How wonderful that this seems to be a great fit for you.

  2. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Lucky for you to have found the right narrator, Joyce. It’s something that can make or break the listener’s enjoyment if it’s not done right. Congratulations!

    • Joyce Woollcott
      Joyce Woollcott says:

      Absolutely Gay, as I said to Mark, it really worried me. Especially the Irish thing, we’ll all a bit sensitive about that! So I’m well pleased as they say. 🙂

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