Thursday, April 30, 2020

Audio Series: Dare to Matter

Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was iriginally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.

In light of all the social distancing and recommended reduction to group events, we're happy to help support those who have recently published, or will soon be publishing, a book. It's hard enough to get your books out there, and now with the cancelation of book events and readings making it even harder, I want to do my part to help you spread the word!

Today, Shifra Malka joins us to write about her experience recording the audiobook and she shares the preface excerpt from her memoir Dare to Matter

Shifra is fascinated with the inner spaces humans inhabit. As the producer and host of a weekly radio program on social and educational issues that aired live in the Mid-Atlantic region, Shifra was known for eliciting hard, honest responses from her interviewees when posing the questions that others were too hesitant to ask. Underlying these conversations was one pressing question Shifra always wanted to answer: what makes our lives matter? Daring to step right into the heart of life’s complexities, her search for answers to this question is refreshingly approachable and impactful. Shifra resides in Maryland, where she occasionally puts her pen down so that she can roam around in pursuit of her next writing desk. She can be reached at 

Recording the Preface, Reading my Life

It took three hours to record the preface and the first two chapters of DARE TO MATTER.

"Ben," I told my editor/publicist after that first session, "There is something powerful about recording one's own story. I didn't expect that."

It was also intense, because the story itself was. I wondered more than a few times if I'd just resort to a pesky little habit of mine, to curtsy out of the remaining project, claiming that it didn't matter much anyway. And that it was too strenuous to sit there for hours at a time, drawing myself into the appropriate emotional space needed to tell the story. I did have an advantage, though. I wasn't merely doing a voice-over, as I had been professionally trained to do. I could hear the voices inside my head. Yes, they were the voices that traveled through my pen onto my hungry page. I knew how they sounded. Some were so hurt and cried deeply. Others laughed right out of my belly. 

And one other thing: This was a story about mattering. I knew that I would need to finish the effort because judging whether or not this work mattered was not an indulgence that I was willing to take.  Not now, not with this. It took me four years to get here. 

Not all Studios are Created Equal

This was not my first time in a recording studio. But it had been a long time since I last took a seat behind the mike – as the producer and host of a Sunday night live radio program that aired in the Mid-Atlantic States. I did that work at the radio broadcast station in Towson, MD, sitting comfortably on a high stool behind a semi-circular counter, with the sound engineer nearby in the same room. I kept my handwritten notes directly in front of me to prompt me as I moved along the program. Because radio is live, there is no editing or even pausing. The clock’s second hand is your master, and dead air space your demise.

Now I was in the Bel Air, MD custom-built studio of audio producer and sound engineer, Jamie Cerniglia. I read the audio book from my PDF manuscript on his iPad.  I could and would have to stop many times to re-record a line that did not cooperate with me. Often, I would catch it, while Jamie chased it other times. When all was spoken and done, he had 30,000 edits to do. The rough calculation is that six hours of editing is needed for every one hour of recording. Who says the spoken word is simple?

In both studios, the mike felt natural to me. Almost as natural as the pen in my hand …. both instruments for communicating our voice. And to be clear, our voice is who we are at our core.

Click the link below to hear Shifra read the preface to Dare to Matter: 

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