Necessity is the mother of invention and this year’s necessity involved creating a new source of income. I won’t bore you with the details but the financial cushion of the day job is gone, and like a gazillion other people whose jobs went poof, I’m in a panic. Unlike year’s past, I need to find a solution that’s outside of the box. Specifically, a way to replace the lost income by working from home, which is every worker bee’s ultimate dream.
I knew this day was coming, and tried to set up a new foundation by signing up with a company called Taskrabbit which connects you with both online jobs, and quickie one-shot jobs in your neighborhood. Taskrabbit requires you to set up a camera and microphone and do an online interview. I think there are other ways, such as emailing them a video interview, but I chose the scary route.
Our computers aren’t set up for online audio/video interviews, especially the camera part, and we don’t have cell phones, so we scrambled for hours trying to set it up for me to do the interview. By the time we’d finished scrambling, I wasn’t on top of my game any more. Nervous as all get out, I kept flubbing the name of the company and calling it “Taskmaster” instead of “Taskrabbit.” Needless to say, I didn’t qualify for the gigs and they won’t even talk to me.
So here I was, the financial cushion gone, needing to generate income from home NOW. Trying to open my psyche to new possibilities, I was totally ready when a chance came to narrate audiobooks. I’d done voice work in the past, though not on this level, and my previous endeavors had been years ago. Nevertheless, I’d been told enough times that I had an amazing voice that the seed was planted.
A fellow writer turned me onto ACX, which is the Audiobook Creation Exchange owned by Amazon that connects narrators with authors in an environment that is safe for both. I didn’t go there as a narrator, I went there as an author who wanted to turn their books into audiobooks. So I put three books into the system, hiring other narrators to turn them into audiobooks.
Once I saw how the system worked, I realized that I could become a narrator if I had the equipment, and that’s where the Blue Yeti microphone comes in. After days of researching microphones I chose the Blue Yeti, and this was a tough choice because the most recommended microphone was the Rode NT1-A. As far as I could tell, the Rode NT1-A required an additional piece of equipment in between the microphone and the computer, and I was hoping for a more direct solution.
The next recommendation was the Blue Yeti microphone, which plugs directly into the computer via USB, and plays nice with Audacity, the sound editing software that I was already familiar and comfortable with. I took the plunge. I later discovered that several ACX narrators use the Blue Yeti microphone. There are several Blue Yetis, including the Blue Yeti Pro USB condenser microphone, and the Blue Yeti Silver USB condenser microphone, and both work on Windows or Macintosh computers.
Here’s what I’ve learned. First and foremost, I can do this! My voice is now attached to three books, with two more on the way. They aren’t live on Amazon yet, but when they go live you’ll find them under the name Allie Mars and they’ll appear on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. In the meantime, you can listen to me, or hire me, from my ACX narrator page.
It helped a lot that I had experience in both using my voice commercially, and with using sound editing software. For me the learning curve was in using the Blue Yeti microphone itself, finding the sweet spot of where to position the microphone, and figuring out which software tweaks turned the raw audio into a polished audio.
How would I rate the Blue Yeti microphone? Definitely an A+++. Easy to set up, easy to use, generates beautiful audio — IF you take the time to learn how to use it. Will audiobooks fill the financial slot for me? I don’t have a clue, but at least I’m doing something toward financial freedom!