Guest Blog: What it Was Like to Record My Own Audiobook (and a giveaway!)

April 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm , by

In her twelve best-selling novels (Promises to Keep, To Have and to Hold, The Beach House), British-born writer Jane Green has consistently mined the very issues that LHJ readers hold most dear—marriage, motherhood, friendship, home. Green’s latest, Another Piece of My Heart, takes on the subject of blended families. Using alternating points-of-view, Green tells the story of how Andi’s marriage is threatened by the hostility and rebelliousness of her husband’s teenage daughter, Emily. Like Green’s other books, Another Piece of My Heart immediately shot to the top of the bestseller lists and has been released in an audio version. (We at LHJ are big fans of audiobooks! Can you say “multi-tasking”?) But this time, instead of having the book read by a professional actress, Green’s publisher agreed to let the author narrate the audiobook herself. Here’s Green’s account of the experience—and click here to listen to a sample of the result.

Jane Green in the recording studio, reading her latest novel, Another Piece of My Heart, for its release as an audiobook.

Despite my love of performing, I would have made a horrible actress. The last time I thought about acting was at University, where I followed my gang of friends—all actors—to their auditions, and somehow found myself on stage during a student production of Cabaret, doing a rather dismal and painfully self-conscious Sally Bowles.

I laid my acting dreams to rest, but have always indulged my secret desire by throwing myself fully into character when reading my books aloud at events, dreaming of the day I might be allowed to read my own audiobook.

The publishing people in charge smiled indulgently. Every author thinks they can read their own book, they said. Few of them are any good, they said. Eventually, skepticism written all over their faces, they agreed to let me audition, and I gave it my all as I became first Andi, then Emily, switching back to the narrator.

I passed the test, despite having a very British accent, for my very American book, and blocked several days out of my diary to sit in a small cubicle in New York to read the novel I had worked so hard on.

I loved every minute of the recording, but it was an eye-opener. Reading the book out loud threw up every mistake, every repetition, every flat sentence that could have been better. I made changes where I could—I still had two weeks to get final edits in—and vowed to read my books aloud in future before handing them in, if only to catch all those mistakes. Finding unique voices for each character was also hard for me, as a non-actress. Minor characters would appear whom I had completely forgotten about, leaving me with no idea what they were supposed to sound like in order to differentiate them from the others.

The response has been mixed, the biggest criticism being the issue of having an English voice read American characters, which I understand. I’d love to try again, although I recognize now how hard it is—and, perhaps, why novels should be read by actors. They bring a unique dimension to the task. Having said that, let me remind everything that it was my first time. And were I to be invited to read the next book, I would make two changes:

First, I would ensure I have a different voice for each and every character.

And second, at least one of those characters will be English!

Want to listen to Green read her fabulous book? You’re in luck! We’re giving away 10 copies of the Another Piece of My Heart audiobook! Just post a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win.

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55 Responses to “Guest Blog: What it Was Like to Record My Own Audiobook (and a giveaway!)”

  1. I’ve always wanted to try audio books. With a bus trip coming up in May, this would be perfect for traveling!

  2. I would love to win a copy. I have daily EECP treatments and they are quite painful. I put in my ear-buds and try to escape. Listening to great book by Jane Green will definitely help to pass the time.

  3. This is a great outlet for a book when so many people are so busy and on the go lately. Kudos to you and good luck with continued success.

  4. I look forward to reading her newest
    book. I hope I win.

  5. What a Great altenative to Music

  6. Hi Jane,
    I’m also Jane Greene, born in Ipswich England. I really enjoy your books. My husband and I make frequent long trips to California to visit my elderly father and we always listen to audio books to make the long ride more enjoyable. Having had an English Mum and spent a great deal of time there, your English accent would be enjoyable to listen to.
    Jane Greene (with an “e”)

  7. I’m looking forward to the book.

    Yes, please enter me in the giveaway! (Thanks)

  8. would love to read her new book.

  9. I love audio books! being very disabled, it makes my day pass when someone reads to me. i have not read any of Jane’s books; however, i would love the chance to read this book, it sounds like a great read! thanks for the opportunity!

  10. I love Audiobooks … for long rides in the car or late at night when my eyes are tired or at the beach, or sooooo many other times.

    I am looking forward to this book, thanks for the opportunity to win it!

  11. I’m a big fan of Jane Green’s books. I can’t wait to read (hear!) her latest.

  12. oooh- very excited !

  13. I love audio books!!


  15. I love audio books and I love the British accents too!

  16. I love audiobooks. They allow me to enjoy two of my favorite hobbies at the same time; reading and knitting. It would be great to win a copy of this book.

  17. Love audiobooks, and though I don’t know this author, her subject matter and this novel interests me greatly. Thanks for this opportunity!

  18. Jane Green is one of my FAVORITE authors! I have read almost every one of her books (Swapping Lives, Second Chance, To Have and to Hold, The Other Woman, Mr. Maybe) but Jemima J really influenced how I live my life today! I follow both LHJ and Jane Green on Facebook and have been looking forward to “Another Piece of My Heart” coming out for a while! (Plus I have a really long commute so I love to listen to audio books!). PICK ME!!

  19. I am a retired school teacher. I finally have the time to listen to audio books. I would love to have this one, Another Piece of My Heart. It would be great to have on a long trip. Hope I win!

  20. Would love to try listening to an audio book as I drive to work each day. I am always looking for ways to “read” good books. Would love to listen to Jane as she tells her story Another Piece of My Heart. Will make it so much more personal.

  21. I would love to win Jane Green’s audio book. It would be perfect to listen on my 8 hour trip to see my sister. I travel by myself and this would make the time fly by. I hope I win!!!

  22. PS: If you would like someone to record your next book, give me a call. As a work project I was asked to do the voice overs, and now I am doing them all the time. I love it!

  23. I would love to win this book by Jane Green. It would be perfect to listen to on my 8 hour trip to my sisters house. It would make the trip just fly by. I hope I win!!!1

  24. I would agree with speaking with a British accent, it would be natural to place it in Britian.
    I have read Jane Green’s work in the past, so all I could say is this will be just and good as her past work.

  25. I love audiobooks and I really like Jane Green’s books. I like listening to them when I’m outside doing gardening.

  26. Being read by the author is the best especially with a British accent. I would love to hear this book and this would be a first read by this author, We have watched so many good British made movies recently and I love listening to the people. I’m so into audio books and especially love them when I drive or do home projects like painting rooms or lawn furniture. Good luck to me. Hoping I’m one of the ten. Thank you.

  27. I’m not familiar with her work but the book sounds intriguing.

  28. Sounds like a great story! Would love to win this. :)

  29. Audiobooks are practically the only way I read these days with a full time job, husband, and 4 month old. Great giveaway!

  30. Please, please!!! Pick me!!!

  31. My sister recently had cranial surgery and suffered a stroke which left her legally blind. Other than never being able to drive again, the thing she misses the most is reading. I would love to win a copy for her. She loved to read everyday!

  32. I love reading but have never tried an audiobook. Would love to be able to take one with me when I travel to Las Vegas for Dad’s 97th and Mom’s 86th birthdays.

  33. What an amazing author and then to have the talent to also be your own narrator is the best of both worlds. Jane Green also happens to be my mother’s favorite author (she keeps me posted on each release date) so I would like to “win” a copy in honor of my mother and give it to her for Mother’s Day.

  34. I have read every one of Jane Green’s books but never have listened to one of her audiobooks and apparently this new book will also have an audiobook with her doing the actual reading. Now this I would love to hear and eyesight is going and what better way than to pass the day.

  35. My mom likes this author so I think this would be a great Mother’s Day gift for her as I never know what to get her. So please enter me in this contest.
    Thank You,

  36. Audiobooks are perfect for travelers!

  37. I love Jane Green and I love audiobooks. It would be awesome to win this one. I like to listen to them when I’m driving to and from work. I find it relaxing.

  38. Would love to win this!!

  39. I never win anything. I probably will not win this audiobook either. Sure wish I could win it, as I am sorry to say I have not read any books by Jane Green but would love to start.

  40. I never win anything and probably will not win this audiobook. I am sorry to say I have never read a book written by Jane Greeen, but would love to start.

  41. Audiobooks are great. My Grandmother used to listen to cassettes [oh yeah back in the day] she was blind so could no longer read and audio books filled her world with joy. I’d love to win one!

  42. I will love to win this I am a Author of “A Baby Having How I got over” My Sold Look back and Wounder. I believe In Miracle.

  43. I am the Author of “A Baby Having a Baby How I got over my Sold look back and wonder. I believe in Miracle.

  44. I love audio books I just started a couple of months ago and I am so hooked it makes the the story come alive and when the author reads their own you can here the love and time they put in the book

  45. This audiobook by Jane Green is just what I need to take on my summer road trip. It will make the miles go by faster.

  46. Jane Green fan here, too! I’d love to hear her latest!

  47. HOW AWESOME !!!!!

  48. luv her books!

  49. I love audio books (they’re a great way to enjoy the commute to work daily!)and haven’t heard one of Jane Green’s yet. If I don’t win, I’ll have to try and find one.

  50. Jane Green is one of my all time favorite authors. I’ve meet her in person and I can only imagine what a terrific mother she is. I would love to hear her read anything, but especially her book. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  51. I have never read one of Jane Green’s books but after reading this bio I am anxious to hear (or read) one of her books.

  52. I am an audiobook addict and really enjoyed this glimpse of the author’s perspective as narrator. In my years of experience as an audiobook listener, I definitely appreciate a professional narrator, but I think no one knows a character like the author. Interesting that Jane Green saw some of the novel’s weaknesses by reading aloud.

    I’d love to win!

  53. Just received email that I won a copy of Jane Green’s newest audiobook.
    My address:
    Bridgett W. Jochum
    8820 Cottongrass Street
    Waldorf, MD 20603

  54. I love audiobooks!

  55. i would love those i have a hard time reading