Give Me A Sign – Week 30

I am not a big risk taker. Mountain bike rides are brake heavy declines and portage’s around the trials; at bats are soft looping liners over second base that are never stretched for an extra base; interstate travel maxes out at 10 MPH over the limit; and employment recently was two years of third shift work for factory wages.

For a few months, I have thought that I could get enough Voice over Work to replace the salary that for the most part I hated to earn. Sleep deprivation; an unsocial schedule that made it difficult to spend time with family; a work environment that precluded any advancement, recognition, or fulfillment; a general malaise at time bordering on depression that prevented completion of the most basic chores at home – these factors all came to a head this past week.

I was being encouraged by everyone in my life to take the leap. A recent narration talked at length about starting that new business and committing to it. All I wanted was a subtle sign – of course, I was ignoring all the subtle signs already around me. But I wanted that long-term multibook contract, that radio promo that would pay royalties for a year, or the Stephen King title that would provide income forever. Or maybe just the clouds spelling out, “Quit your night job, idiot!”

It never works that way for me, and I doubt it does for most people. This past Wednesday, after an appointment I decided that when I got home, if I had a book offer of any type, that would be enough of a sign, because I was on the edge. Imagine my surprise when I saw the email from ACX! Well, it wasn’t too exciting, because it was someone asking about the timeframe to produce a book I auditioned for, not an actual offer. And then an hour later, another title asking for rates and such. Two nibbles – does that equal a bite? BTW, five days later and I still haven’t heard back on either of those books, so maybe somewhere the gods are laughing at me. Regardless, that afternoon I informed the manager that I wasn’t coming back, and now I find myself effectively unemployed. Or, at best, self-employed. Wow.

That evening, after our celebratory/consoling dinner, the fortune cookie told me, “You will be unusually successful in an entertainment career.” Seriously. Also, the lottery numbers from that fortune are 12, 14, 16, 19, 27, 48, so if you want to play those, just share some with me for the tip.

Enough of the personal – I thought it would be useful to share some info on the area of filenames as you produce audiobooks. I have gone through many iterations of how to name files, and have finally settled on one that gives me the most benefit. As I am using Ardour, a lot of this filenaming is done as part of the process – something that I have not seen an option for in Audacity, but most likely is present in most full DAWs. Of course, my projects are divvied up into folders, but I suggest as you name your folders you include more information than you think is necessary.

As you know, my niche has developed into non-fiction narratives, hence I do many technical books, just to pick an area. My first book on Bitcoin I put into a folder called Bitcoin, and the same with my first book on Blockchain. For both of these topics, I have now recorded multiple titles, and the broadly named folder structure I used failed in efficiency pretty quickly. So, tip #1 – use all or most of the actual book title for your folder structure, and even in your filename.

Again, in my first few books when I exported the audio to MP3 for eventual upload, I used names like Intro, Preface, 1, 2, 3, etc. While not strictly necessary and not required, I have found it useful on ACX to enter the chapter names as I upload a book. By including the chapter name in the file name, if there is a chapter name, I don’t have to check out the manuscript or listen to the audio to get the chapter name – I can copy and paste much more quickly. Tip #2 – use the chapter number and title within the file name.

You will likely have to do some audio edits at some point, and when you start doing those it is very easy to get things muddled up and confuse the original with the edited version.  The timestamps in your OS are helpful, but they can get changed when you re-save, copy, or move a file, so I use a feature in Ardour that includes the date and time that the audio was exported to WAV.  Tip #3 – timestamps or revision numbers.

So, a typical filename that allows little room for confusion:

Trauma_7. Physical and Psychological Impact_2018-07-11_0345.mp3

This from Trauma and Tenacity, chapter 7, exported on the date and time listed.  Very clear.

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