Maybe I’m not the best judge

Okay, it happened.

I just spent about an hour writing this blog and then decided I didn’t like where it was going (or where it had been, to be honest) and deleted it to start again. But I don’t have a lot of time so let’s see where we go with a restart – this might be short today.

At least I’m not sitting here typing “I got nothing” …okay, I just did, but you know what I mean.

I finished my latest book this afternoon: a fantasy the title of which I am not going to divulge. The past year or two I have been asked to narrate some fantasies that probably appeal to an audience somewhere but they’re not the kind I would choose to read in my spare time. What makes things worse is that for much of my career I have been given some really, really good books to read. Classics like Dickens and Trollope and wonderful writers of the 20th Century (like the recent Ishiguro) to mention a very few. Books that have been carefully groomed for the market by publishers of long experience.

These recent fantasies are not of that calibre. Which might be okay since I’ve read run-of-the-mill fiction as well from some major publishers but these are self-published and probably haven’t had the eye of a professional editor run through them, nor even a professional proofer it appears. I think it’s the nature of the publishing business across the board these days. A lot of the gate-keepers have vanished and anyone can get their work out there and find an audience. And that’s okay because it’s the ‘democratization of the market’. But they are hard to read and I’m glad this one is done.

Just saying.

I have a short classic to read starting tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. It’s been read before (many classics have multiple versions available on audiobook, so that’s no surprise) but I hope I can make a small mark with mine. It’s ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ by Carlo Collodi. It’s going to be less than five hours long but I’m excited to be narrating it. Of course I know the Disney version well, but was it authentic to the original? – Sometimes movies can get it just about right, but other times the adaptations lose some essential part of (or add some non-essential part to) the story. This may or may not be so in this case, though I’m already surprised to find that there IS a talking cricket – however his name is not Jiminy…

Following that, I have another of those fantasies and then… I’m unemployed. It’s the nature of being a freelance. Sometimes I have projects weeks or months into the future and other times just a few days. It’s not the most comfortable experience but I remain positive that something will turn up. If not, on the plus side, I’ll have more time to spend on the last few of these blogs and they could be really long (and filled with pictures).

Something to look forward to πŸ™‚

Take Care
– S.


About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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5 Responses to Maybe I’m not the best judge

  1. Ali Franklin November 14, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Simon! I’ve been reading your daily blogs as they are delivered to my email inbox. I know you mentioned website views, and it occurred to me that my views wouldn’t show up since I only have to go as far as my email notification, so I thought I’d pop over to the site to make my view today “count!”

    Incidentally, I have noticed the trend you mention above and it’s almost reassuring, or something, to hear you say you’re less than impressed with some of them. It means that maybe I’m NOT the super snobby extra harsh critic that I sometimes fear I am becoming… You’re a true professional, and I know that your work is top quality no matter what. But. I’ve tried some of “those” fantasies over the past few years, yearning for another world-shifting experience like when you lead me to Tigana and thence to all of the exquisite worlds of Guy Gavriel Kay, and instead I get halfway through, admit that even your amazing talents can’t redeem some of these books, and then just go listen to The Blinding Knife for the zillionth time.

    Not to bash anyone, honestly, like you said, I’m in awe of anyone with the dedication to see any book from daydream to publication. But honestly…

    ALSO, as someone who would (metaphorically) DIE to be a professional editor of fiction, I too am so sad that the editing process has turned into some sort of luxury that a shocking number of published books never receive.

    Anyway, this turned into a really long reply, but as I just read your piece on awards and this reply is basically the equivalent of a long-winded compliment, I’ll not apologise. πŸ˜€

    Wishing you all the best in general and better fantasies to narrate in particular!

    • Simon November 15, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      I’ll thank you for your compliment… and send one back at you for your excellent taste!

  2. Barbara Harris November 7, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    I know, Simon, you should write your own book. Look how fantastically these blogs are turning out! You have an innate wit and very descriptive way of putting things. It could be about anything…..I would read it no matter what. I love your words: the spoken ones that I listen to and the ones you put to paper…errr, computer screen. When I finish listening to a book narrated by you, I go to my online library and type in your name and adore looking through the hundreds of audio books narrated by you…just waiting for me to hear! Just like many others, I’m certain. So, any novel or memoir you write would show up under your name! Also, very interesting, today, learning that you aren’t a fan of some of the fantasy books you have read. It would seem hard to read with enthusiasm a book one does not care for! Makes me admire you more!

    Until tomorrow.

    • Simon November 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

      When you think about it, it’s impossible to love everything I’m asked to narrate. Don’t get me wrong; I do love a lot of what I read and I always admire writers for their ability to put the stories together. I just read the words!
      I think what annoys me most is the inability of these newer self-published (or however they are distributed) books to get the editing and proofing they deserve. In this new world I don’t think that’s going to happen because it’s expensive and it’s all about keeping prices at a minimum these day.
      As for me writing a book…? I’m still waiting for the plot fairy to bless me with insight. πŸ™‚

      • Barbara Harris November 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

        Fingers crossed that she/he will visit soon and tickle your fingers with ideas! ??

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