Essay–The Trouble With Time
Time is a problem. It flows past us like a flood choked river when we’re not paying attention. It stops dead when we worry about something or are waiting for the next shoe to drop. But when you’re trying to make a deadline or attempting to create something new and interesting, time dilates. Each hour seems to jump by in seconds and you’re left wondering how you are ever going to catch up.
Since I started Shadowpublications.com and began podcasting, I’ve worn many hats. I write, I edit, I coordinate with my editors and cover designers, and I publish. In addition? I record, audio edit, post, and etc. All that while holding down a full-time day job. As you might imagine, this gets a little taxing, not to mention impossible to keep up.
When my writing wasn’t selling, and I wasn’t trying to run Shadowpublications.com as a business, deadlines were more or less meaningless. I set them. I broke them. I did my best to meet every deadline I gave myself, but I had flexibility. That’s no longer the case.
My goal is to become a full-time writer. For that to happen, I either have to find a way to make days last 36 hours, or something has to give. After all these years, I now know what I have to give up: recording and audio production.
Now let me explain. As with all things, this is not a black and white statement. What I really mean is I have to give up the majority of my recording and audio editing duties. For now. Why? See earlier comments about time.
It takes me four to seven hours to produce a single hour of “finished” audio. That includes recording, editing, and then preparing the various formats for podcast and audiobook. That’s a lot of time not spent writing.
Those who have been involved with my book covers, edits, and publishing know this is a time suck. I’ve been told over and over again I need to give it up. Truth is that I hate the idea. But I’m not sure what else I can do.
Even if I give up editing the audio to someone else, the recording process is still a pain in the ass. Finding a time when there is no outside noise, finding a way to pacify the dog, and finding a slice in my schedule where I can focus just on the audio is becoming increasingly difficult. And most of all, it hurts my ability to get words down.
I have two more books on my present contract with Severed Press. They are the last two stories in The Black series. Arrival, the second in the series, was released Memorial Day weekend. TB3? I want to have it done in time for a Halloween release. Have I started working on it yet? Sort of. Come July, it’ll be my main focus.
But in order to put out a book every 3-5 months, I have to bust my ass getting first drafts done, working through the second draft, sending it off for beta reading and editing, and then doing a final read through before I submit it to the publisher. Or before I publish it myself. That’s a serious time commitment that doesn’t really allow much time for distraction or non-writing pursuits.
That said, I’m throwing in the towel. The Black: Arrival will more than likely be the last novel I narrate for the foreseeable future. I’ve already picked out some of the best voices in the audio narration business to handle the process from now on. When I have contracts with everyone and everything’s ready to kick off, I’ll let you know who is doing what.
One thing I will not hand over are any stories in The Street universe. Oscar’s world is mine and mine alone and I’ll always get my ass in front of the mic to make those tales happen. It hurts my throat, it’s a pain in the ass, but I have a mad, selfish love for Oscar’s world and I refuse to share that with anyone.
I’ll still podcast essays, reviews, and other light stuff. But I can no longer afford the 100 hours of time it takes to record a full-length audiobook. Not if I want to turn writing into my full-time profession.
Should something wonderful happen and I’m able to retire from the day job, then I’ll definitely reconsider. But for now, that’s the plan. As always, I’m going to be as flexible as possible. Never say never and all that.
The good news is that in the future, my audiobooks will be available when the book is. I’ll no longer have to scramble to try and get things done when I promise them, and I’ll actually make more deadlines. I’ll still record the intro stuff for the podcasts because I know how much you love/loathe my voice. And really, I do like getting in front of the mic. So I’ll do that when I can.
That’s the plan. I’m spending a LOT of money this year to have professional voices narrate a lot of my back catalog. We’ll see cleaned up versions of Tattoo, Closet Treats, and Daemons of Garaaga. They’ll be available for purchase via both audible and Shadowpublications.com. Along with the new recordings, expect new covers and layouts. This is the year Shadowpublications.com cleans up its act and takes care of the back catalog. And to do it, I need professionals to do what they do.
I’m not leaving podcasting. Far from it. I’m just focused on writing the best stories possible and giving my patrons the highest quality audio I can. And that means I need to pass off some of the work. I hope you’ll stay with me when these changes are implemented. If not, I understand. But for now, enjoy The Black: Arrival.