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12 Fun Facts from Recording My Audiobook
Imposter syndrome, typos, and sharing the booth with celebs
Welcome! I’m Tawny, an advice columnist better known as “The Sober Sexpert” and author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze. I’m here to empower you to find your *intrinsic* courage without booze—regardless of your relationship status—one date at a time.
Recording my audiobook was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in my creative life. There is something magical about adapting a written book to an audiobook—especially because so much time has passed since I officially turned in the final draft of Dry Humping last September.
Jack White has spoken about finding songs he wrote as a child and then working on them as an adult. “That's how I'll do these vocals on these songs: I'm going to collaborate with a 19-year-old version of me, which is half my age. I have experience now,” he said in a 2014 NPR interview. “What would I be telling myself how to do? If I could go back and say, ‘No, this is how you write a song. This is how you work with metaphors. Try it like this.’ So that became the way I got out of that bind.”
I wrote about experiences that shaped me and changed me to my core—including some drunk memories and sober reflections. As I re-read those 40,000 words in the recording studio, I felt a great deal of empathy for younger versions of myself: the party girl who hid from reality by using drugs, alcohol, and sex to self-medicate, and even the younger version of me who began writing Dry Humping a few years ago.
I never fully understood Jack White’s quote until I recorded my audiobook, collaborating with my younger selves.
Before we dive into this list, here are a few quick updates:
DRY HUMPING COMES OUT IN FOUR DAYS!!!
Want to submit a question to my weekly advice column that obviously drops every Hump Day? There’s a form for that!
Here are 12 fun facts about my audiobook recording process:
Typos - I always spot typos when reading books. Even now, as someone who wrote my own book, it still blows me away that typos can still happen after countless keen editorial eyeballs and proofreads and fact-checks happen before the book lands in the hands of a reader. But my engineer and I found a few! This is super common. We just send the publisher the typos we found, then they can update the eBook and the (fingers crossed!) second printing.
My Southern Accent Came Out - I moved to NYC from Texas in June 2015. People asked why I didn’t have much of an accent. I told them it was because I grew up in both Texas and California. But sometimes, after drinking, a Southern draw slipped out. My NYC friends found it endearing. I haven’t had a drink in nearly 8 years, so, needless to say, there were no Southern slips… until I entered the recording booth. Apparently, vocal fatigue also triggers my Southern draw! The sound engineer and I laughed when some words hung a bit longer than others.
Talking is Hard - Some words were insanely hard to read, especially with vocal fatigue after hours and hours of talking. “Brewery” and “kombucha” just wouldn’t leave my tongue without making me work for it. Stay tuned for some funny blooper reels!
Twice in One Week - I read the first 60+ pages of my book the night before my first recording day to make notes on where to inflect, read them aloud the next morning and all day, came home to read 60+ more pages to anotate, then repeated this a few more times. And because I’m a total nerd, I still read for fun before bed.
I Wanted to Edit!!! - I don’t usually read my published work because I want to change things. So I wasn’t surprised when my desire to edit took over sometimes. Luckily, with audiobooks, I could make small line changes as I went. I couldn’t make structural changes, but I made minor tweaks that overall improved the book-to-audio adaptation.
Hype Up - I listened to Spoon on the way to and from the recording studio to hype myself up.
Previous Vocal Experience - I volunteered for Road Recovery for years. Though I don’t volunteer weekly anymore, I’m still close with the founders and some of the team. A lot of my work with them took place in recording studios, which ultimately prepared me for recording my audiobook. Those years with Road Recovery taught me how to voice act, take direction from producers and engineers, and work as a team to accomplish a shared goal. The latter lesson is so valuable because writing is such a solitary process. I love moments when I can collaborate with other creative folks. And, as my fiancé so lovingly reminds me, I made an A+ in 8th grade choir, so I’m a natural on the mic.🤭
I Smiled A Lot - Dry Humping is a journalistic exposé about liquid courage's role in our love lives. You’ll hear parts of my story throughout the book, but the bulk of its contents are research-based (interviews, studies, data, etc.). A few of those interviews were with dear friends: My best friend of 20+ years, Keegan, who is now a therapist in Denver, my podcast co-host and mentor Lisa, my friend, and Beyond Liquid Courage’s Managing Editor Irina, to name a few. Reading their words felt like a sweet love letter written in a language that only the two of us could read. Dry Humping is a collaboration, a collection of quotes from people I love.
Bestie Advice - My friend Katie Mack, whom I interviewed about breakups for the book and for this piece, is currently going through a breakup. She provided sage wisdom for the breakup chapter of my book, so I recorded a video of myself reading *her words* and then sent the video to her. She told me that hearing her own advice helped her along her breakup process.
I Liked “Going to Work” - I love working from home. The flexibility suits me—and I’m extremely privileged to be a Manhattanite with a home office! I also loved having a recording schedule for a few days because it gave me a reason to shower every morning and wear cute clothes.
Imposter Syndrome Be Gone! - The recording process helped me get over some imposter syndrome. Artists experience imposter syndrome regularly. Yes, I wrote a book. But there’s part of me that’s still processing it. I actually felt my imposter syndrome strip away in that recording booth. There were moments of “Holy shit, I really wrote this?!” and “Wow, I really did a lot of research!” and my new favorite, “Wait… this audio actually sounds good!”
As a big fan of audiobooks (I read 1-2 per week), this experience was a fun behind-the-scenes moment of what the authors of some of the books I read go through, too. Hope you enjoyed reading my own BTS!
P.S. I wrote about my audiobook audition process here if you want to hear more BTS content.
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