Finally the audiobook of Think like a Tree: the natural principles guide to life has made it to listener’s ears. This was a project that was a long time in the pipeline, with delays due to Covid/ a certain amount of procrastination on my part, and other projects getting in the way, but at last it’s here!
I made the decision early on that I wanted to narrate the audiobook myself. It’s a book that shares my own story and philosophy on life, so, however out of my comfort zone, I wanted it to be my voice that listeners heard.
I was approached by narrators and production companies but stuck to my conviction that it should be me narrating. Also, I’d independently published Think like a Tree in paperback and ebook because I wanted to keep control over what happened to it (a move I’ve never regretted), so it seemed logical to do the same with the audio version. And perhaps those who know me might say I’m a bit of a control freak (!), so the learning curve involved is far outweighed by the benefits of not handing over control of something so precious.
But Covid had other ideas about the timeframe – early in 2020 I invested in the necessary kit, microphone, recording equipment and set up a recording studio in our little holiday cottage in the garden. I bought an online course and made the first steps to mastering how to learn the Reaper software, along with how to narrate, pace, keeping hydrated and all the other things that you have to think about. I thought I was ok at reading, but narrating is a different story!
Then Covid struck and my recording studio was commandeered as an isolation pad for my son who was 17, so he could isolate from me and my parents who live with us and are also Covid-vulnerable. Little did I realise that I wouldn’t get the cottage back until September 2021 when he headed to uni.
So I scheduled the recording for January 2022 and set up the recording studio again (with blankets and cushions and mattresses, it somewhat resembled a padded cell!), and then set to re-learning everything I’d forgotten from 2 years previously.
Anyone’s who’s ever recorded an audiobook will know that Amazon ACX’s requirements are somewhat rigorous and it was a steep learning curve to discover what ‘noise floors’ and ‘RMS’ and ‘CBRs’ are (to be honest I’m still not totally sure), but I was fortunate to be helped by the talented Nick Beere of Mooncalf Recording Studios, who happens to be the husband of Milly Carmichael, Think like a Tree facilitator. Nick shared FX settings and was hugely confidence-giving in this out-of-my-comfort-zone time. Nick could do this kind of thing standing on his head, but instead of taking over he said I would be better keeping all the mastering under my control so that if there were any problems in the future I would be able to fix them. What amazing advice – and something to remember if ever any of us are called on for assistance – empowering the person is so powerful, whereas taking over allows the problem to be sorted quickly, but leaves gaps in resilience, and stifles their own growth.
So, a couple of weeks ago, after lots of swearing and altering of settings, I felt on top of the world when the final chapter was uploaded (there were 59 separate files). The feelings of achievement were off the scale – I’d done it! I’d mastered not one but four new tech platforms, learned how to narrate, drunk litres of water, edited hundreds of annoying mouth clicks, waited for numerous planes to fly over (recording near an airport is not ideal) and created over eight hours of my own work – my baby had come to life!
I knew also that this would instantly make the book available to a new audience – not only people who don’t like reading, but people (like me a few years ago) who find audiobooks the only way to take in information due to illness or disability, neurodiversity or other reason.
So I guess I’ve approached the audiobook in the same way as most of my business and here are some of the key natural principles that have guided me:
- don’t stop growing (being open to learning new things)
- bend with the wind (going with the flow after Covid hit)
- creatively responding to change (Covid lead to other projects coming to the fore, including the online Think like a Tree programme, and the Inspired by Trees creative workbook which was a very happy collaboration due to having my daughter/illustrator unexpectedly at home)
- slow and small solutions (I knew the project would happen when the time was right)
- follow nature’s cycles (recording in January made best use of my time during the dormant season)
- use your energy where it can have the most effect (reaching a wider audience)
- use your edge (recording an audiobook was definitely not within my comfort zone for many reasons, including not particularly liking the sound of my own voice, learning new tech etc, but I did it anyway)
- seek support (thanks Nick!)
- live with purpose (I know that having an audiobook will help reach an new audience for nature-inspired living)
I am now seeking support of a different kind – could you help promote the audiobook?
- become a reviewer (you’ll receive a free review copy in return for leaving an impartial review on Audible within 14 days of receiving it) If you’re interested please use the form below
- Buy the audiobook via this affiliate link (that way more of the proceeds go into the author’s pocket to do good things, rather than Amazon’s)
- Buy a copy for friends
- Tell your friends about it
Thank you! I’ve had so much support over the years from people reviewing books, sharing posts and telling their friends about Think like a Tree, I really couldn’t do it without you.