If you haven’t listened to my debut audio release, PERSEPHONE, be sure to check it out!
Years ago, I discovered audiobooks with JR Ward’s BDB series (and I may have to relisten to that now after I finish Immortals After Dark and maybe have a Highlander fix.) When I started getting ready to put some of my own books in audio, I remembered why I loved audiobooks so much and have started listening again.
As an author I often feel I don’t have the kind of time to sit around and read that other people may have. For me, sitting down curled up with a book feels too much like “the exact same thing I do for my job” and so becomes an extension of “work”. It’s not relaxing.
When I have a big 500 page book in my hands… I am like holy FUCK that’s so many pages to read. It’s too much. I’ll never get through this. And unless it’s nonfiction I’m really engaged with, that turns out to be prophetic. There have been times it has taken me MONTHS to get through ONE book. And the whole time I’m basically the kid in the backseat whining “Are we there yet?”
Then of course there is the ability to multi-task. I can’t sit and read because I feel like I should be doing something else. There is cooking and cleaning and errands and exercising to do. There are gardening tasks.
Our earliest form of storytelling was storyTELLING as in LITERALLY some person used their mouth to say words out loud and you HEARD them. Story both from the earliest ages of humanity and the earliest of our own memories are spoken aloud to us. There is something very magical about that. So it feels somehow “right” to consume story in this way. (This doesn’t mean I think other ways are “wrong”. Oh the perils of blogging and sharing thoughts in longer than a couple of pithy sentences.)
I can’t read in bed because it keeps me awake. Whereas I listen until the words start “falling on me weird”, then I turn it off, put the ipod on the nightstand, and drift right off.
I can’t read in the tub because the pages get wet and messed up. (ebooks feel even MORE like work to me considering that all my work is done on a screen.)
Recently I read an article by Debbie Macomber (yes, THAT Debbie Macomber), who talks about her love affair with audio books and how one of the big reasons she enjoys them is because as an author she can see the problems in other people’s work.
THIS. OMFG THIS! And maybe more than all the other reasons this is the biggest reason I didn’t even realize until Macomber mirrored my own experience back to me. After a while authors can ‘see the seams’ of other people’s work. We see the problems, the missteps, the places where maybe it could have been written a different way. And we can’t enjoy stories in the same way we could before we started writing. We’re always fucking critiquing them. We can’t get swept up in the way a reader can. It’s the same way a dancer can’t watch a ballet without realizing that pirouette was off-center and those two dancers on the left were out of sync with each other.
There is a great joy in being an artist of any type, but it does affect your ability to TRULY enjoy that art form again in the same way someone who doesn’t do it for a living can. Audiobooks are the key I found to unlock that box again. So now I can enjoy story as a READER. Like Macomber, for some reason… I can listen to an audiobook and not “see the seams” of another author’s work. So I can just enjoy the story in probably a very similar way to a “regular reader”. And that’s very refreshing.
Also, don’t forget… I have a couple of GIVEAWAYS closing soon: