Lately, I have been listening to a lot of podiobooks. A podiobook is a novel which has been broken down into installments, recorded as an audio series, and released as a serialized limited-run podcast. The books I have been listening to are mysteries archived on podiobooks.com, but there are other sources for podiobooks available. For example, the folks who brought us the Self-Publishing Podcast have begun something they call the Indie Fiction Podcast.
I find the format interesting, and consider it a great way to introduce new readers to a series. Most podiobooks differ from audiobooks one might find on such sites as Audible.com in three major ways. First, obviously, is that they are serialized. Second is that they are offered for free – something which audible does not do unless one is also a member of a paid service. The third difference, however, is a major distinction. Podiobooks are generally read by the author whereas for-purchase audiobooks are generally read by a paid actor.
There’s a reason for this, obviously. If a reader is buying a novel, they expect it to be as professional and well-made as possible. Since podiobooks are offered for free, not only is it cost prohibitive to pay the high costs of voice talent, it’s also not something most listeners are going to expect or complain about.
The problem for me, though, is that the books in my series are clearly narrated by a woman. I would love to be able to narrate my books, but it would be very strange to hear a man’s voice saying such things as, “Mia was the only one there, and when I saw her, I was glad that Trevor had made a point to ask me to invite her along for his friend. It helped diminish the overwhelming envy I was feeling for her.”
That has to be read with a feminine voice to translate correctly. I would have to read every word of the narration in a fabricated feminine octave. I suppose I could use software to change the timbre of my voice, but I’d have to remove the filter for the male characters, which would create a false impression that the book had two distinct narrators.
When the first book was initially released, a friend made several sample audio files for a series of brief ads. The woman who volunteered to read that had the perfect voice for it. She did an amazing job, and I would love to be able to hire her or somebody like her to narrate the entire novel – maybe even the entire series – someday, but I’m not financially there yet.