by | May 6, 2021 | General | 4 comments

By Ashley Lister

 The main hurdle to audiobooks that I’ve encountered is not the technological barrier, or the complexity of packaging an audiobook, or even the difficulty of marketing such a product to a cold audience. To my mind, the biggest hurdle to creating an audiobook was learning to like my own voice.

The technological barrier is not really a big problem. Thanks to the world created by Covid I’ve been sitting in front of a laptop for the past twelve months talking into a microphone and faffing about with controls so I better understand the quality of sound I’m producing. I’m not suggesting I’ve got the skills to call myself a sound technician, but I know which end of the microphone gets plugged into the PC, and which end I’m supposed to speak to.

Similarly, the complexity of packaging an audiobook is not a massive problem. I’m using the ACX Dashboard (so my audiobooks are available on Amazon) and the interface is obscenely user-friendly. If it were any more user-friendly, I’d probably need a condom.

This means that the marketing is relatively easy because the product is available on an international platform and I’m able to point potential buyers in the direction of a legitimate site that gives my audience confidence in the quality of what’s for sale.

But, as I said before, the biggest hurdle involved learning to like my own voice.

Like most people in the world, I’ve always worried that my voice has got too much accent. Recordings make me sound like I’m dumber than a rock, probably because I’m hearing what my voice really sounds like, rather than the melodic harmonies that I imagine I produce when I’m simply talking, rather than listening.

However, it only ever takes a single recording and I’m reminded that my voice is far from the Received Pronunciation of a BBC newsreader, or the RSC edge of a Shakespearian actor.

But I’ve recently learned to live with the imperfections of my voice. Partly this is due to poetry performances. I’ve heard some of my work recorded and, whilst my voice isn’t wonderful: it was getting a positive response from audiences, and I think the audience’s attitude toward my voice is likely to be a lot less impartial than my own jaded opinion.

It also helps that I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts recently and they’re a wonderful reminder that not every voice coming out of a speaker needs to sound like Jean Luc Picard or Hugh Grant. Some of the most inaccessible accents are saying some of the most engaging things.

So, as well as working on my series of horror novellas, which are all going to be narrated by me, I’m also in the process of converting my collected poems into an audiobook. Below, you’ll find an audio-clip of the title poem: Old People Sex.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Roy Clements

    Ashley, please no modesty, you’re brilliantly oral……apparently

    • Ashley Lister


      Thank you. That’s the first time I’ve herd those words from a man 😉


  2. Lisabet Sarai

    Ash, you are truly a brave soul, narrating your own books. I would never try that!

    You should know, by the way, that ANY sort of an English accent sounds incredibly posh and sexy to us benighted Yanks! We don’t make the regional and class distinctions that you Brits do (ala My Fair Lady…) It all sounds delightfully foreign and educated.

    • Ashley Lister


      At first I tried to use a text-to-speech programme, but even the high end programmes were too robotic. I’m actually enjoying the adventure of recording my own stuff because it’s clearly such a different way to share a story with an audience (well, when I say ‘different’, I’m obviously overlooking our heritage of telling stories around camp fires to audiences who consumed narratives through their ears, rather than from text on the page, but you know what I mean.)

      And I’m now thrilled to think that my voice might be considered posh by anyone 🙂


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