To Read or Not To Read, That is the Question?

Recording studio for a day

There is nothing so excruciating as hearing your own voice played back with all the stumbles and sibilants. I take my hat off to the professional voice actors who do this day in and day out. My editor suggested that I record me reading my debut novel, Warm Pearls and Paper Cranes. I would have loved to pay for a professional to bring the characters to life, but it is a dual timeline, dual romance book, which means it is long, and would be beyond the budget of a debut author, unless I treat it as a loss leader!

We only recorded three chapters ( of fifty) as a sample and it took all morning. I was very lucky that a friend has all the equipment ( and editing skills) and was happy to do it as a favour, but I felt guilty at taking up his time. I couldn’t help giggling at a malapropism or two and was surprised at all the pacing errors, sharp intakes of breath, and crinkly trousers. Who knew walking trousers have a noisy rustle to them?

You would have thought with two degrees, professional qualifications and a career’s worth of presentations that I would be able to read my own words without sounding inarticulate, but no. To be fair, Paul, my friend, said with some practice and chopping it down into smaller segments I could get there. The question is whether I want to invest the time and effort and maybe still not be happy with the result. Conversely, I could squint at my bank account and pay for a professional, but what if they don’t voice my characters as I have them in my head, and I’m still disappointed?

So I’m left with a dilemma; to record my own work or not. What are your views on authors narrated their own works?