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Jeff Nania Asks Was I the Victim of a Nefarious and Premeditated Scheme?

Jeff Nania is the author of the Northern Lakes Mystery Series. You can find out more about him here, see his books here, and read his last post here.

Image of the Figure Eight audiobook cover on a smart phone with headphones attached.

As a result of this story, you may hear other versions as key players come forward in an attempt to diminish their role in a nefarious and premeditated scheme. Do not be fooled. This is the real story. 

Recently we began to look at whether there was a demand for audio versions of my books. Initial interest was driven primarily by my wife’s grandmother who due to vision issues can no longer read. 

Like most things do around here, it got started as a friends and family affair. My wife began to research whether the demand was significant enough to support the production and marketing costs.  When she was happy with what she found, she strongly suggested we go forward with a new venture— our first audio book.  

The whole process started out harmless enough. We requested and received different samples from trained voice actors. Those samples went out to our devoted early reader group and production folks.  They quickly got rid of the Australian guy (although we sell our books there) and the soft and gentle voice which just wasn’t Cabrelli (my main character).  I went along with things, listened to the samples and thought a couple of them sounded pretty good. We sent requests back for additional samples from narrators we liked.  

I was, however, naively unaware that there was a conspiracy a foot.  It started with a minor rumble much like a round rock slide or a thunderstorm. Then my wife broached the question, “Have you ever thought about reading your own book?” 

My answer, “Nope the thought never crossed my mind.” 

“Would you consider it? You know there is a new trend where authors read their own books. It really goes over well with audio book listeners.”

I had never heard of any such trend. But the fact that I never heard of it doesn’t really account for much.

Soon the rockslide pummeled me into the recording studio where I did a voice sample. I was certain, absolutely certain that they would reject me. I didn’t know how deeply the conspiracy went. The audio engineer said, “Hey Jeff that sounded great, we can work with you.”

Next I knew, my voice sample was sent around with others we had received and everyone was asked to pick their favorite or say let’s continue the search. At the end of this process I voted for Ethan, unfortunately Jeff won.    

Suddenly, I was booked into the studio to record myself reading my first book Figure Eight.  Once put to a task, I always try to give it my best. In this case the first obstacle we had to overcome a lack of talent on the reader’s part. The sound engineer was patient, I’m pretty sure he found working with me a challenge, but we persevered. Halfway through the reading, I contracted some sort of “not covid” plague that wiped out my voice. I tried but they said I needed to wait until my voice got better. At this point, the last thing I wanted to do was delay things.

As soon as I healed, I was put back in harness and began to try and figure out what I sounded like before we had to take the break. Then the day came, we had come to the end. It was over—that is, until it wasn’t. The sound engineer needed me back for some retakes, and then back for more retakes. Finally, it was really over, and everyone was happy.

Jeff Nania fixing a tractor

Now that it is released, folks have been asking me if I like it. I’m sworn to tell the truth: I never have and never will listen to it. I can’t think of anything further down on my listening list than hearing me drone on. 

Will I be reading the next books? 

Interesting question, I have some skills, I can fix my tractor (most of the time), do pretty well in the outdoors, repair what needs repairing, and cook. My personal skill list is okay. 

So now can I add audio book narrator to the list? No not a chance, it will fall into the abyss of one and done. Ethan has nothing to worry about.

Happy Trails,


Jeff Nania

Award-winning author Jeff Nania draws upon careers in law enforcement, conservation, and a passion for our natural resources in his bestselling Northern Lakes Mystery series. Jeff’s narrative non-fiction writing has appeared in Wisconsin Outdoor News, Double Gun Journal, The Outlook, and other publications. Download a free short story and read more of Jeff's writing at, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon

    I love the thought of reading my work, but then I have a background in performance. Hope your audio book does well.

  2. Avatar
    Avanti Centrae

    I love audiobooks. Congratulations on tackling a new venture. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

  3. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Good luck with this audio venture, Jeff. I can’t imagine slogging through a whole book myself. You were brave to try it and of course it was wonderful to do it for your relative who has a tough time reading now. A noble and loving cause.

  4. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    Thanks for being direct and honest. At least you can say you “did it.”

  5. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Jeff, I applaud your taking on that new, challenging project. I know the hard work my experienced voiceover person went through when he taped my first two books. But you were a newbie at it. Bravo!

  6. gpgottlieb

    Kind of sorry I already read Figure Eight, although it was a fun read – wish I’d have listened to the author reading it instead!

  7. joyribar

    Jeff, kudos to you for trying. Cross it off the bucket list and enjoy your other pursuits!

  8. Margaret Mizushima
    Margaret Mizushima

    Wow! I know LEOs are brave and now you’ve proven it! I join in the applause for your effort, which I’m sure has achieved a great result. Consider it a job well done! And then grab your favorite beverage and relax.

  9. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    All of my books are in audio, done by professionals. I tried to read one myself, but as you found, there is a lot more than just reading involved in producing an audiobook.

  10. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    I’ve narrated two short stories for Audible release and it takes forever! I had a very talented film professional direct and produce for me. I would not consider doing it for a novel. You’re a brave man, Jeff!

  11. Tim Chapman
    Tim Chapman

    I recorded some of the material in my short story collection. I know what you mean about not wanting to listen to yourself. Gak!
    BTW yours is better. ;^)

  12. Valerie Biel
    Valerie Biel

    I enjoyed your narration very much, but I know how hard this . . . just by all my deleted takes when I’m trying to narrate a short video. I think you did a great job!

  13. Tracey Phillips
    Tracey Phillips

    Jeff, You have such a great voice for the part. I always imagined John Cabrelli as a man like yourself. But It understand it’s an arduous process. Cheers for a job well done!

  14. Avatar

    Jeff, early in your above story I thought you would be a natural reading your own book. I was surprised you were reluctant. Who better I thought. I’m glad you eventually agreed but may lobby for you to continue with additional books. To know you is to love you. “Tommy’s brother!”

  15. Avatar

    Congratulations on mastering a new skill. Great for the brain, great for the ego. And now you have a multimedia presence.

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