I was once one of those who convinced themselves I didn’t need a schedule. I had it all under control in the ole noggin. I felt I had nothing to fear. I was a dang fool! For years, I wasted too much time thinking I had everything under control. It had even got so bad that moms around me would say, “Oh, that’s just Brandy. She’s always late.” Not the best feeling in the world, let me tell you.
And the only person I had to blame was myself.
The problem was I didn’t know where to start or how to keep my commitment strong. I tried, over and over again by keeping a planner, but then I’d forget the planner or wouldn’t write something down because ‘I would remember.’ Like any bad habit cycle, it was one I had trouble breaking.
To say my life was a mess was an understatement.
Still desperate to find a solution, I watched an online video on Marketing and Sticking With It. The video gave me several ideas. They also recommended several apps to help keep you organized. Taking the leap of faith with myself, yet again, I bought a notebook and purchased the app Any.do. Needless to say, it changed my life!
I’m happy to report, I’ve been organized and keeping to a schedule for six months now, with no setbacks I might add. This may not seem like much to some, but trust me, it’s a HUGE improvement in my life and my families. And let me tell you, it was so gratifying to be able to surprise others by being on time to events with all the necessary items that were asked to be brought. Yes! Rewards.
The two things you need to get organized.
1. A To-Do List
This list will help you identify what needs to be done and help you define and organize. For me, when I’m planning a book release, I no longer freak out and try cramming so much into a short period. For instance, I’ve planned out the release of Whisper on the Lake, the third novel of the Chindi Series, and am already way ahead of schedule compared to past releases. This can happen with any business or personal plan you want to achieve. The longer out you can plan, the better. Think of you local Calander of Events. I received a copy of the Downtown Russellville Organization jus the other day and was amazed at the details. Inside, they had a year full of events from the college to the local businesses to city events. It was well planned out, and people could plan for these events well in advance.
2. A Calendar
This is where you identify when you’re going to do those things. For me, I use Any.do and implement my to-do list on specific days. Any.do allows me to assign tasks or events throughout the year, and then helps me plan my day every morning for the tasks I assigned that day. Throughout the day, it reminds me of the tasks that are not complete. Amazing! And it’s so gratifying getting to click on those tasks and watching them disappear.
An important rule when planning, always leave time for breaks and free time. You’ll quickly burn yourself out if you don’t live a little and watch that show you recorded on the DVR or read that book you bought two weeks ago. Goals are great to be reached, but not at the cost of forgetting yourself and those you love.
Scheduling and planning is such a confidence booster.
Tell me, what are your planning hacks and tips?
Audiobooks: What I learned
Eight months ago, I started on my journey with audiobooks to produce Deep in the Hollow. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Where did I start? How long would the process take? Could I even afford to make an audiobook?
All these questions swirled through my mind like a wind storm while I contemplated whether I was ready to take this step or not. Most would think, yeah, let’s do this. It will take me to the next step in publishing. That’s true. It will take you a step farther in this tech-savvy world. However, there is an appropriate time to make this decision.
Did I? No!
You’ll notice after reading over previous blog posts; I tend to make a lot of on the fly decisions. Sometimes it’s worked out for me, but more times than not, it doesn’t. This works out good for writing articles about what not to do, such as this one. Hey, you got to look at those plus sides.
When I decided to leap audiobooks, I didn’t leap, oh no, I flung myself off the cliff. I got pumped and went straight to audible and signed up. From there, I posted my book and started taking auditions―all within ten minutes. I didn’t read any of the warning blogs. I didn’t bother to read the policy. After all, how hard could this be? My book was finished, and I wanted that audiobook.
Here’s where things started getting complicated. The auditions started coming. This should be a great thing, and it is until you have to fit listening to them into your busy schedule because you didn’t plan on having to listen to twenty different girls try to nail the voice you have imagined for your character. While I have major respect for all audio actors/actresses, they’re not all going to cut it when it comes to your character.
After stressing over cramming more into my schedule and going through the auditions to weed out the ones who weren’t a fit, next came going through the ones who I liked. For me, I hate making decisions. If I could, I’d have an assistant who did nothing but make decisions for me.
Once I thought I had the perfect actress to fit Jo’s personality, I sent an offer. This is where I wish I had negotiation skills. My first pick wanted too much out of my budget range per hour and demanded to be paid per edits afterward. What does per edits mean? It means after the first draft is created if there was an area in the book I didn’t like and I wanted her to fix it I had to pay for it. Needless to say, I had to move on to my second choice. Now, if I’d looked at each profile before narrowing them down to favorites, I would have seen my first picks demands in her profile and could have saved myself several hours and mad faces.
After weeding through more choices who didn’t fit my budget, I found Jo’s voice actress. Yay! The recording began. From there, it’s pretty simple. They record. You listen, note what might need to be fixed, send it back. They fix it. You listen again. This process is repeated until the book is where you think it should be.
Now, Deep in the Hollow is available in audiobook and I couldn’t be happier.
However, here are some tips I should have considered first.
1. Be prepared for the journey.
Once you’ve decided to jump into an audiobook production, read all the recent material available on the site. I chose audible. Look for a change in policy, warnings, and other tips to help make the process smoothe for you and the audio actor/actress.
2. Set a budget and make it clear.
Some voice actors/actresses charge by the hour, others might charge by the project. Be sure you know your budget and an estimation of how many hours it may take to produce your project. Most audio sites will have a chart of estimations.
3. It’s not a race.
Listening to your auditions are going to take time, make sure you have it. You can’t listen to ten seconds of a recording and go, “Yep, that’s it.” Take your time and be sure.
4. Check the audio actor/actresses profile.
Know their expectations, so when you reach out to them, you can tell them yours and the discussion will not be a blindsided conversation.
5. Don’t rush through the finals.
When receiving your first draft don’t rush through listening to it. Be sure to follow along with the book on hand to be sure there are no missing sentences or words. We are all human, and accidents happen, but it’s best to catch them before approving the final copy.
If you're thinking about creating an audiobook, it truly is a great feeling to hear your story being told, but be sure you are in the know and ready for a long process.
Best of luck!
Writing my thoughts and experiences one post at a time.