recording an audiobook for a decorating book

by | Oct 14, 2021 | Decorating, Writing a Book | 7 comments

When I first saw the mention of the word “audiobook” in my book contract, I was a little skeptical.  I mean, this is going to be a photo-heavy decorating book.  A book that relies heavily on visual examples and, in most cases, is a book that looked at more than read.  I do read some of my decorating books, but I usually look at the pictures and take away what I want from them.  Sometimes I read them if there is a compelling story or if I’m eager to hear the design process and creative ideas behind a space.  But, I confess that I have never bought an audiobook for a decorating book.

But, as I was writing the Feels Like Home, I had all of this in mind.  (Affiliate link.)  I wanted to make sure that what I wrote was something worth reading and offered more depth and encouragement than the photos alone could offer.  And, I wanted to makes sure the words could stand on their own.  Sure, the pairing of images and words is stronger, but as I was reading the book, I realized that listening to it without the pictures could be valuable in an entirely different way.

Feels Like Home Book | audiobook | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

It’s a common thing for those who read novels – you imagine what the places and characters look like as you read.  Your own ideas populate the story, mingling with the words from the author.  Once you see the movie, though, your own ideas can be overshadowed and hard to even recall.  I mean, who has a hard time reading Pride & Prejudice and not picturing Colin Firth as Darcy?

I think the same thing can be true of a decorating book.  When you’re looking at the pictures, that is how you imagine the words that are not necessarily style-specific.  We’re talking about kitchens, but now the picture makes the conversation about that kitchen.  But the goal of the book is to encourage you to think about your kitchen and apply the principles and ideas through your own unique style in your particular space.

Feels Like Home Book | audiobook | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

By listening to the audiobook, you have an opportunity to hear the words and imagine your own rooms, furniture, accessories, spaces, and style.  You can digest the content in an entirely new way.

While we’re talking about the audiobook, I thought I would share some behind-the-scenes for those who are curious about the process.  I did have the option of reading the audiobook myself or having it read by a voice actor.  I felt like no one would be able to give the words voice as well as I could, so I opted to read.  Well, with one caveat…  I made it clear that my team could honestly tell me if listening to my voice for a few hours would be annoying!  I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks and I know full well that a grating voice can ruin it.  I was allowed to read the book, so I guess my voice meets a bare minimum standard at least!

The recording timeline was pretty tight and a local studio wasn’t available, so I was able to record in my house. In my closet to be more specific!  Closets are great for recording because they are generally quiet, can be closed off from the rest of the house by a couple of doors, and are typically filled with lots of fabric (clothes) that will absorb sound.  So, for a few days over the span of a couple of weeks, I sat in my closet for 4-5 hours and read my book off of a PDF on my computer.  Fortunately, I had a professional recording mic and a pretty nice set-up for good sound quality.

Through the internet, I connected to a director in his studio in New York who would record my voice on his software.  He would also direct me – stop if I made a mistake or if there was a noise in the background.  I would also redo sections if I fizzled out at the end of a paragraph.  I learned that some words and word combinations are tricky for me to say over and over again and I inadvertently wrote a few tongue-twisters.  I also learned I’ve been mispronouncing damask my entire life and had to say that word about 15 times to get it right.  Pete, the director, would patiently stop me and say, “No…no…it’s DA-mask, not da-MASK.”

“Okay, DA-mask.  Got it.”  And then I would read the sentence and again say da-MASK.  I was just wishing I didn’t even mention damask.

It was a fun project, albeit an exhausting one.  It’s amazing how tiring reading a book out loud for a few hours can be, especially if your one who has a tendency to paraphrase and you have to start the sentence over if you do that.

In the end, I am so pleased with how the audiobook turned out and I’m glad I went through the process of reading it myself.  My mom and dad listened to it on a long car trip yesterday and my mom called to tell me it was great.  She thinks I should add voice actor to my business card. Of course, my mom thinks pretty much everything I do is amazing, just as moms should, but she will speak her mind if she doesn’t like something!  So, for what it’s worth, my mom gives it her support!

The audiobook is available on Audible and you can listen to a sample there to see if you might want to hang out with me while you’re working on a project or take me for a walk or on a long car ride.  It’s 6 hours and 17 minutes, so it’s a pretty hefty listen!  I’m sort of surprised I wrote that much.  And, in case you’re wondering, I do not read the tutorials on the audiobook.  We felt that listening to a list of materials and step-by-step instructions would be boring and hard to understand anyway.  So, the audiobook is much more like hearing a bunch of encouraging and down-to-earth home decorating podcasts on various topics from furniture to finding your unique style and how to practice your decorating skills to not apologizing for your home.

If it sounds like that’s up your alley, you can purchase the Feels Like Home audiobook HERE.


  1. Irene Kelly

    I think it would be fun and very interesting to hear the audio version along with book in hand ! Love your book of which I have been anticipating for a long time. And just love all your beautiful furniture esp all the chests stained in their natural colors. I passed up on a new chest from Country Curtains and now they are out of business. I am really not into antiques or used pieces so concerned of smells etc. Thank You for a wonderful volume !

  2. Terry

    To start I love, love, love your book. I am amazed you don’t read every word of others decorating books (wink wink) actually relieved to hear. BUT you can be assured I am reading every word of yours! It is obvious that you wrote it for the words to stand alone. I’m already reading it and picturing my home even while looking at the pictures. An audible is awesome. Loved seeing your closet/audio studio by the way. And so glad to know how to say DA-mask, who knew.

  3. Donna Burke

    I haven’t seen any announcements on who was selected for the recent giveaways. Perhaps I missed it? I’m sure you contact the lucky person, but I haven’t seen anything.

    P.S. I’m not sure I can change the way I pronounce Damask- maybe if I used the term more often. Crazy when you realize you mis-pronounced it forever.

    I got my book yesterday and can’t wait to settle in with it proper. ♥

  4. Glenda

    I am excited you did an audio book. Sometime you want to separate your self from what others have done. To see in your own minds eye what is in your own heart. I hope that makes sense.
    Well, girl, I’m getting the audio book and you are going on a flight with me next week. After that I’ll get your book because that will add to my vision 😉

  5. Jennifer

    Marian, I’m going to listen to the sample. As much as I LOVE books and reading, I know exactly what you mean by the pictures formed in your mind while reading. This will be helpful, I think, for someone like me to think about my own home and not feel overwhelmed about comparisons.
    I’m so HaPpY for you and the relationship you have with your mom. There really is no other like a really close mother-daughter bond. But, as you know, even us mothers of boys tend to think they can do no wrong. But when you’re outnumbered, it’s always nice to have your favorite girlfriend to talk to! xx

  6. SUSAN

    I was so excited when I was looking at my “Cottages & Bungalows “ and came across your house. But who’s living room is that on page 112? I don’t recognize it. Just ordered your book for my sister!

  7. Shelley

    We closed up our summer camp this past weekend. I brought your book along to keep me company while my husband and son did the bulk of the closing up. Like you mentioned in your book, I too usually just look at the pretty pictures and take away inspiration from those. Not only did I study all the pictures, but I literally read every word in your book-cover to cover! The pictures are stunning, the written word is compelling and the overall quality of the book is fantastic. Congratulations on a job well done! I especially LOVE that you encourage us not to apologize for our homes! I love breaking the “decorating rules”!!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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