SteviePuckett.com

Why I Love Audiobooks

Why audiobooks? I love listening and learning! I’ve been an enthusiastic audiobook listener for years because…well…what is better for a busy person than listening and learning while doing something else like chores or driving or working out? NOTHING! To me, it’s the best.

I’ve also learned that audiobooks are a great way to package knowledge and stories. Audiobooks are something that people are willing to pay for and for good reason. The experience of listening to a well-done audiobook is enjoyable, and it’s done at the time and place of the listener’s choosing. You are not tied to a screen while listening, and you can stop and start as you wish. From both an entertainment and educational perspective, audiobooks are a great value.

The actual production process is enjoyable for me. It’s a nice mix of art and technique. I like being in my studio interpreting information and stories for listeners. The technical and precise process of proofing and mastering the recording is fun for me too.

The ACX Royalty Share Program has been a game maker for me. I like royalty share projects the best because they fit my lifestyle very well. It’s a good trade for me and the authors I work with because I don’t need to worry too much about deadlines and they don’t need to worry about paying a big chunk of money upfront to get their audiobook produced. In the end, if all goes well, we all benefit from audiobook sales once the project goes live. It’s a win-win-win!

I hope you will enjoy an audiobook that I have narrated and produced soon, and if you know a talented author ready to get their book in audio format, send them my way.

How to Pick Clothes

I enjoy looking put together, but it has been a challenge for me. It’s expensive, and it involves visiting a store which I tend to find overwhelming. My lack of interest in fashion has held me back too. Recently, online shopping has made this chore easier for me, and so has learning from others more interested in fashion. 

Last year, after trying many other resources, I found a teacher with a worthwhile online course about creating a wardrobe. Currently, I’m in her advanced class, and because her training was helpful for me, I am now an advertising affiliate and will earn a referral fee when someone joins her class after learning about it from me.

The teacher’s name is Kelly, and “The Signature Course” is where to begin. Enrollment opens for the class a couple of times a year, and the next one starts April 21, 2021. That is in a few days, so you have perfect timing.

The classes are online, and you complete the weekly units at your convenience. There is also a private Facebook group for students going through the course at the same time.

Because I’m not a Facebook member anymore, I don’t access the group discussion part of the class. Although annoying, it also has advantages like not getting caught in other people’s struggles when trying to learn something for yourself. It’s also nice that I’m not being distracted by Facebook black holes. So the course is still worth it to me and worthy of a referral.

Also, Kelly added a bonus for this enrollment period. She is including the seasonal buying guides from last year. So when you enroll now to begin next week, you also get those buying guides as a free perk worth $75. They are great for a year’s worth of outfit ideas, and you may find pieces from last season on sale now or better yet pieces already in your closet that work in the outfit ideas. Win-win!

So sign up here and now if you think you would enjoy learning about a good strategy for building a flattering wardrobe that suits you well. Pun intended.

Andi Arndt’s Audiobook Agenda

Every little bit I can learn from Andi is a win! She is not kidding about consistency. Narrating an audiobook is a marathon and takes a special kind of person with exquisite stamina and attention to detail in addition to the obvious assets of advanced reading and comprehension ability and a pleasant-sounding voice. It’s a long road to learning the art and technical aspects and so rewarding to see improvement from project to project.

Are You Listening to Me? – Unschooling Mom2Mom

Sue Patterson’s work is valuable not just for relationships with kids (a.k.a parenting) but relationships with anyone. We all could likely use a little remedial relationship-building course of study. Check her out and pass on her work to others if you find it helpful. I find her information especially relevant now with school changes due to lockdowns and more and more people wondering if there is a better way for their kids. Sue has a podcast, as well as a YouTube channel, a Facebook group, and Clubhouse. She also has a excellent book out.

Back in the Studio

Phase two of my audiobook narration and production journey is well underway. I had a long pause as we moved from Virginia Beach, VA back to Las Vegas, NV. Now that I feel settled in, I’m ready to roll with audiobooks again. Of course, I’ve continued learning the skillset and learning about the industry as I was on hiatus. I set up my studio in my new home. I’ve re-designed my website. I’ve completed an official audiobook production and narration training course or two and I’ve continued to keep up with ACX University all while listening to several excellent audiobooks such as this one. All good and fine but nothing compares with getting back in the studio!

Yesterday, I connected a couple of my newest additions: a Shure high pass filter and a new-to-me but used microphone. The high pass filter is an idea I picked up from George the Tech. He strongly recommends this for all Neuman microphones. That caught my eye because I picked up a Neumann TLM 102 in 2018. It’s a sweet little mic but for my voice, it isn’t the best for audiobook narration. It’s too bright on me. The high pass filter does improve my ability to work with it in my home studio but doesn’t fix the brightness issue. I plan to keep the mic anyway and use it as a backup mic and maybe for commercial spots that could come up or maybe even for visitors to my studio.

The used microphone I purchased is an MXL 89. I did a short comparison test yesterday and the difference was subtle to those I asked for their opinion so far. It is subtle to me too but it makes a big difference for listening to audiobook narration for hours on end. Here is the little side-by-side test where I read a line or two from Steven Forrest’s book The Inner Sky (my favorite book of all time at the moment). It is unedited and unprocessed so that you can just hear the two mics plain. The only thing in play is the high pass filter.

What do you think? Do you appreciate any difference or like one better than the other?

Canoes and Mindset

When I lived in California in the late 1990s, I attended business networking events to promote my career counseling practice. I sat in at many networking luncheons and had many lovely conversations with new people. We all nearly always left inspired, and I enjoyed it very much.

One time as conversations simmered down and we prepared to part ways, someone said to me, “Have you heard of Esther Hicks?” I said that I hadn’t met her yet, and I asked more about her and why they brought her up. The person responded with what Esther and Jerry Hicks were all about and stated that I sounded like Esther when I talked about positive mental attitudes, inspiration, and hope. That seemed like a nice thing to say, but when the person explained what Esther did in her public speaking appearances, I freaked out and didn’t give it another thought.

But then Esther Hicks was brought up to me again and again over six months. That was my cue to pay more attention. Once something comes into my life more than a couple of times, I take that as a cue to check into it further. I consider that a type of intuitive guidance.

So I looked Esther Hicks up and gave her a fair shot. Once I got beyond the strangeness of what Esther did on stage, I took to listening in periodically over the years. In retrospect, I probably got all I needed to hear the first time I heard her speak.

The first idea that I heard from Esther is about being in your canoe, letting go of the paddles, and just laying back and resting in your canoe as you float downstream. The underlying idea is to trust the river to take you to experiences you will enjoy. That image resonated with me. I was tired of striving, and I knew floating happily down the river thanks to tubing the Illinois during my childhood.

I instantly felt substantial relief in my body, my intuition pinged, and I knew this idea was what I needed. To this day, I still do a mini-meditation where I picture and feel myself floating downstream whenever I’m grounded and aware enough to realize that I’ve been trying too hard.

For me, trying too hard is a surefire way to self-sabotage. My dad and coaches used to tell me that as a teen. They encouraged me to feel the play unfolding because, I know now, they appreciated the brilliance they saw from me when I just flowed with it and didn’t overthink or try too hard. When I was at my best, I was an intuitive athlete. Little did I know that my angels were trying to teach me something fundamental even way back then.

When I heard about letting your canoe go downstream rather than fighting the current to head upstream all those years later, it clicked into place.

As Esther said, “There’s nothing that you want upstream.” To me, that means that upstream there is only more paddling, struggle. I don’t want to struggle. I want to flow.

I have been welcoming much more joy in my life as I’ve remembered to let go of the oars, and this I appreciate.