Sunday, December 16, 2007


How can I make Laura's book available to people who are visually impaired?

That's the biggest issue I'm pondering these days. There are many options, and trying to figure out which one is best in terms of cost, feasibility, and simplicity for the end user is difficult.

Obvious option: Audio book. However, creating an audio book is a ton of work, or a ton of money. Seeing as I don't have a ton of money, I'm doing it the hard way; reading Laura's book myself into a microphone connected to my computer late at night while my daughter is sound asleep. All 210 pages. I'm up to pg. 40. The delay has come from ridiculous technical problems, like the microphone sometimes doesn't "appear" on the computer and the recording levels we set (we being Rick and I) will not stay set. Then, when we actually get everything working properly, I make mistakes, which must be corrected in the audio file, but every time we stop, the microphone disappears again! Reading a book out loud is extremely difficult. Try it. Pick up your favorite book, one you know almost by heart, and try reading it out loud without stumbling over any of the words. It's impossible.

Why am I the one reading it? Like I said, I'm broke and can't fork out the thousands of dollars to hire a company to transform the book into audio format for me. Luckily I have a drama degree and am a trained actress with good vocal control and excellent articulation. Take advantage of your strengths. Laura isn't reading the book because scheduling recording times around her full time job and my child-care needs was impossible. So I'm "it," every night, 10:00.

But the microphone problems can only be fixed with cash, so I'm forking out my credit card once again and going over budget to buy a good mic and a better audio program. Happily, there are programs out there that are share-ware, one of which has received raves for reliability, called Audacity I'll give that one a try.

To expand accessibility, I've uploaded Laura's book to Book This non-profit, on-line company turns books into programs that can be downloaded by people with vision impairments who can then print the book in any format they need, including braille. This process also involved technical difficulties, but the file is now with the Book Share company and hopefully soon it will be available for download. Medusa's Muse doesn't receive any fees or royalties for this, but it is important to me that our books are available to any person who wishes a copy, even if the person can't read print.

That being said, I'd better get back to learning the Audacity program. Our goal was the audio book would be available on Jan. 1, but that date will probably have to be pushed to Feb. 1.

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