Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Recording this Audiobook, I Just Couldn’t Stop

 

Ricochet folks have been very kind expressing an interest in my audiobook narrations, and I wanted to show my appreciation (I’m not denying the self-promotion but I’m trying to keep it low key). Besides, the project I’m talking about is special. When it’s released it’ll be my 48th audiobook, and none of them have captured me the way this one has.

Usually, I record a chapter a day after getting home from the day job. This time, I did three or four. I couldn’t stop. When I heard my voice getting gritty I would quit and do a retake the next day. It generally takes about a month for me to record a book. I had this one edited and mastered in 10 days.

Redwood Audiobooks emailed me after The Federalist Society was turned in and asked if I was interested in something special. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, the first-person account of the Doolittle Raid, was being reprinted by a college press for the Pearl Harbor anniversary. They said they thought I would be the right narrator for it. I burned up some electrons replying, “Hell, yes, and thanks for the compliment!”

I read the book and saw the movie when I was a kid, but this new edition has some fresh material. The editor added an introduction comparing Pearl Harbor to 9/11, new text from Lt. Lawson’s wife Ellen, as well as a little biographical info about Lawson. The story he told remains just as riveting.

Here’s a chapter. It’s about 20 minutes long and should play via Dropbox by clicking on the link. Let me know if it doesn’t work.

The recording was handed in on Monday and Redwood is reviewing it. After I fix anything they want fixed, it’ll go through a review at Audible, a process that generally takes two weeks. So, I expect this to be available for sale in late February.

When it’s released I’ll post a link here, and if you want a promo code for a free copy, all you have to do is ask. That goes for any of my titles on Audible if you care to search on my name and one of them strikes your fancy. Audible is good about supplying me with freebies. And I’ve got to say, when I put up a message about a new release, the response is much better on Ricochet than it is on Facebook or any of the other message boards I look in on. You folks are great.

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  1. Hartmann von Aue Member

    This is a great assignment you got! Thanks for sharing it with us. 

    • #1
    • January 22, 2020, at 5:35 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That sounds interesting…I cancelled my Audible a few months ago because I was not getting to all the books. But I’ll take the free code if you have any to spare for this one.

    • #2
    • January 22, 2020, at 6:13 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Arahant Member

    Douglas Pratt: (I’m not denying the self-promotion but I’m trying to keep it low key)

    I would say not to worry too much about the self-promotion. It’s not like you’re writing the books. 😉

    • #3
    • January 22, 2020, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    That sounds interesting…I cancelled my Audible a few months ago because I was not getting to all the books. But I’ll take the free code if you have any to spare for this one.

    Sure, I can get you a promo code for any of my titles and you can get it without an Audible subscription at no charge. You just have to use the Audible app to listen to it.

    • #4
    • January 22, 2020, at 8:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt: (I’m not denying the self-promotion but I’m trying to keep it low key)

    I would say not to worry too much about the self-promotion. It’s not like you’re writing the books. 😉

    The author did the hard part, absolutely. I’ve written nine books of my own and I’ll never do that again…for one thing, I want to stay married. One of the reasons I love narrating is that it’s so much easier than writing. I like to think I’m making a frame for the portrait someone else painted.

    There’s also the fact that when you buy the Audible version, the author and I split the royalty. That’s another thing I love about audiobooks…they almost never go out of print.

    • #5
    • January 22, 2020, at 8:40 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    This is a great assignment you got! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    The offer lit me up like a Christmas tree. The book is just what I love, full of stories and really well-written. It’s also pretty amazing to have a publisher approaching me with a title, instead of me sending auditions and begging for their attention. I seem to be doing something right. It’s not an easy field to break into, especially when you’re doing your own engineering and post-production; there is no one to tell you what you need to fix. I got some professional voice coaching when I first started out, but that was a one-time thing. Rejections don’t teach you much, or at least not much specifically.

    • #6
    • January 22, 2020, at 8:43 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    That sounds interesting…I cancelled my Audible a few months ago because I was not getting to all the books. But I’ll take the free code if you have any to spare for this one.

    Sure, I can get you a promo code for any of my titles and you can get it without an Audible subscription at no charge. You just have to use the Audible app to listen to it.

    Thanks.

    • #7
    • January 22, 2020, at 9:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Question born out of curiosity more than anything else: do you get paid a fixed price for narrating a book? Or do you get paid some portion of the sales? Or both?

    • #8
    • January 22, 2020, at 9:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Arahant Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    do you get paid a fixed price for narrating a book? Or do you get paid some portion of the sales? Or both

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    the author and I split the royalty.

     

    • #9
    • January 22, 2020, at 9:42 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    There’s also the fact that when you buy the Audible version, the author and I split the royalty. That’s another thing I love about audiobooks…they almost never go out of print.

    You don’t split it 50/50 do you? No offense, but as you say the author does the hard work. I’m just curious is all.

    • #10
    • January 22, 2020, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    There’s also the fact that when you buy the Audible version, the author and I split the royalty. That’s another thing I love about audiobooks…they almost never go out of print.

    You don’t split it 50/50 do you? No offense, but as you say the author does the hard work. I’m just curious is all.

    None taken. The author’s royalties from the print edition are entirely separate from the audiobook. The narration contract, done through Audible’s ACX service, works out to 25% of the purchase price of the book going to the narrator and 25% to the author or publisher, who has presumably made a deal for the audio rights with the author.

    • #11
    • January 22, 2020, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    There’s also the fact that when you buy the Audible version, the author and I split the royalty. That’s another thing I love about audiobooks…they almost never go out of print.

    You don’t split it 50/50 do you? No offense, but as you say the author does the hard work. I’m just curious is all.

    None taken. The author’s royalties from the print edition are entirely separate from the audiobook. The narration contract, done through Audible’s ACX service, works out to 25% of the purchase price of the book going to the narrator and 25% to the author or publisher, who has presumably made a deal for the audio rights with the author.

    I see, I see. I hadn’t thought of the royalties for the print version being seperate, which is obvious now that you point it out.

    How does that work with books “sold” to Audible subscribers? My plan worked out to one book per month, and the subscription was $15 a month. In that case, if I have selected your book, would you have gotten 25% of $15? Or is there some other formulation?

    • #12
    • January 22, 2020, at 11:06 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Richard Easton Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt: (I’m not denying the self-promotion but I’m trying to keep it low key)

    I would say not to worry too much about the self-promotion. It’s not like you’re writing the books. 😉

    The author did the hard part, absolutely. I’ve written nine books of my own and I’ll never do that again…for one thing, I want to stay married. One of the reasons I love narrating is that it’s so much easier than writing. I like to think I’m making a frame for the portrait someone else painted.

    There’s also the fact that when you buy the Audible version, the author and I split the royalty. That’s another thing I love about audiobooks…they almost never go out of print.

    And they open up new markets for the book. Most of the time, the price audible has charged for my book “GPS Declassified” which Doug narrated has been $7.49. At that price, many people will take a chance on it whereas the hardcover discounted price of $26 and change is a barrier. Audible books are more competitively priced than the ebook. The only explanation I have is that publishers are still very conservative and don’t see the market for a cheaper ebook.

     

    • #13
    • January 22, 2020, at 11:43 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor

    It sounds like a terrific book, @douglaspratt! I’ll look forward t0 it’s being published!

    • #14
    • January 22, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    I don’t know how you do it. For the experience, I offered to record the audiobook for my next book, which comes out next month. It didn’t seem like a big deal — the book is only 60K words, how long could that take? I mean, I’ve done VOs for my TV shows and for Boy Scout videos for years. This seemed like a snap.

    Never. Ever. Again. This was three 8 hour days in a tiny studio reading from my computer screen into a microphone. Every stumble, ever mispronunciation required a do-over of a least that sentence, and more often, the entire paragraph. Each day my voice — not a great thing to begin with — would start to come apart. I drank hot tea and gobbled glycerin lozenges . . . . to little avail. I would drive the ten miles home each night in a daze and dream of endlessly reading aloud gibberish..

    And my throat . . . no amount of Scotch could soothe the burn. Then it was back the next day. On Friday night, we had guests over for dinner — I was the most mute I’ve ever been in a social setting.

    The tally: 23 hours of recording to produce 9 hours of usable material . . . and I still don’t know if it will be used. I only console myself with the relief that this wasn’t one of my big 200,000 word books.

    As I said, never ever again. Douglas Pratt, you are a Superman.

    • #15
    • January 22, 2020, at 1:12 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):
    As I said, never ever again. Douglas Pratt, you are a Superman.

    I tend to agree. I do readings for a dial-a-prayer line at church, and am lucky to get through half an hour of actual recording time, and that’s record five minutes, listen to the recording, make the next recording, listen to that for five minutes, etc. (And the edits and do-overs, of course.) There is no way I could speak into a microphone for an hour.

    • #16
    • January 22, 2020, at 1:21 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin (View Comment):

     

    How does that work with books “sold” to Audible subscribers? My plan worked out to one book per month, and the subscription was $15 a month. In that case, if I have selected your book, would you have gotten 25% of $15? Or is there some other formulation?

    Yup. There are some variations, such as sales to the UK, and if you turn the book back in my royalties get docked. They give me a pretty good report once a month. Sure can’t complain about Audible…they have treated me a lot better than McGraw/Hill did in the Eighties.

    • #17
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    … The tally: 23 hours of recording to produce 9 hours of usable material . . . and I still don’t know if it will be used. I only console myself with the relief that this wasn’t one of my big 200,000 word books.

    As I said, never ever again. Douglas Pratt, you are a Superman.

    Well, I won’t deny that it isn’t a trivial effort, but I ain’t no physical marvel. My voice coach gave me some good advice: drink something with a reasonable acid content or your voice will sound wet and your throat will dry out faster. Apple juice. Rose’ wine. A vaporizer is a good thing to have; since I’m an asthmatic I have a nebulizer and can spend a few minutes breathing albuterol steam. Since I don’t have an engineer, I don’t have to beat myself to death to justify $50/hr studio time. I record from the library here at Robin Hill, a small room lined with bookshelves that deaden the echo nicely, and it’s a lot more pleasant than sitting in a phone booth made out of egg crates. Although the occasional cat scratches at the door. I’ve learned editing and mastering tricks that make up for the less than pristine background, or “room tone” as the real engineers call it.

    23 hours of work for 9 usable hours is actually pretty close to standard. I figure on three hours of work to produce one hour of finished audio. My big problem at first was breathing; I sounded like an obscene phone call. Losing 100 pounds helped deal with that. The first book I did after the weight loss was about gastric bypass, but that’s another story.

    If you need someone to narrate your next book, I work cheap! What have you written? What are you working on next? As I said, I’m not tempted to write another book; it’s too hard on the people forced to live with me.

    • #18
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:22 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):
    As I said, never ever again. Douglas Pratt, you are a Superman.

    I tend to agree. I do readings for a dial-a-prayer line at church, and am lucky to get through half an hour of actual recording time, and that’s record five minutes, listen to the recording, make the next recording, listen to that for five minutes, etc. (And the edits and do-overs, of course.) There is no way I could speak into a microphone for an hour.

    Next time bring along a nice thermos of cold apple cider. You would think hot tea or something like that would work better, but your mouth membranes appreciate the acid.

    • #19
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:25 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Arahant Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    My big problem at first was breathing; I sounded like an obscene phone call.

    Time to narrate a Nero Wolfe book, or similar work with a corpulent hero.

    • #20
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. Arahant Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    Next time bring along a nice thermos of cold apple cider. You would think hot tea or something like that would work better, but your mouth membranes appreciate the acid.

    Very interesting. I usually have cold tea. Will try something more acidic next time.

    • #21
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:30 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    My big problem at first was breathing; I sounded like an obscene phone call.

    Time to narrate a Nero Wolfe book, or similar work with a corpulent hero.

    I could never do as well as Michael Pritchard. I treasure those books.

    • #22
    • January 22, 2020, at 3:34 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Bob W Member

    Sounds like a good listen. My dad was shot down over Tokyo near the end of the war so the story has a little more interest. “Unbroken” was very good too, but dad was lucky in that his POW experience was for only a few weeks. Will like to give it a listen. Thanks.

    • #23
    • January 22, 2020, at 5:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    … The tally: 23 hours of recording to produce 9 hours of usable material . . . and I still don’t know if it will be used. I only console myself with the relief that this wasn’t one of my big 200,000 word books.

    As I said, never ever again. Douglas Pratt, you are a Superman.

    Well, I won’t deny that it isn’t a trivial effort, but I ain’t no physical marvel. My voice coach gave me some good advice: drink something with a reasonable acid content or your voice will sound wet and your throat will dry out faster. Apple juice. Rose’ wine. A vaporizer is a good thing to have; since I’m an asthmatic I have a nebulizer and can spend a few minutes breathing albuterol steam. Since I don’t have an engineer, I don’t have to beat myself to death to justify $50/hr studio time. I record from the library here at Robin Hill, a small room lined with bookshelves that deaden the echo nicely, and it’s a lot more pleasant than sitting in a phone booth made out of egg crates. Although the occasional cat scratches at the door. I’ve learned editing and mastering tricks that make up for the less than pristine background, or “room tone” as the real engineers call it.

    23 hours of work for 9 usable hours is actually pretty close to standard. I figure on three hours of work to produce one hour of finished audio. My big problem at first was breathing; I sounded like an obscene phone call. Losing 100 pounds helped deal with that. The first book I did after the weight loss was about gastric bypass, but that’s another story.

    If you need someone to narrate your next book, I work cheap! What have you written? What are you working on next? As I said, I’m not tempted to write another book; it’s too hard on the people forced to live with me.

    Amazon “Michael S. Malone”. BTW: the book I was recording was The Autonomous Revolution.

    • #24
    • January 23, 2020, at 12:39 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    Amazon “Michael S. Malone”. BTW: the book I was recording was The Autonomous Revolution.

    Impressive catalog. I ordered a copy of “The Guardian of All Things.” Looks fascinating.

    I don’t know what might be in your contracts about audiobook rights, but you could encourage your publishers to use the Audiobook Creation Exchange to get them narrated. I would certainly audition for them.

    • #25
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. The Reticulator Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    I ordered a copy of “The Guardian of All Things.” Looks fascinating.

    I bet you’ll like it. I did: https://ricochet.com/709293/qotd-the-epic-story-of-human-memory/

    • #26
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:44 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Wow.

    Thanks for the inside info on how it works.

    While I was a cadet at USAFA, we were the keepers of the Doolittle Raider cups and last bottle of brandy. They held their reunion in April and when the goblets were returned some would be turned over due to the passing of the some of the Raiders.

    Thanks for the offer of a recording, but I’ll use one of my Audible credits. Looking forward to it.

    • #27
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Please post the sale link, looked for the pre order and it wasn’t there.

    • #28
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:46 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member