Audio stimulation can help a ton with writing–I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s worth bringing up again. Reading a draft aloud can help you find mistakes that you never could have caught otherwise, and playing appropriate music can bring your writing to life in ways that you’ve never imagined. BookTrack is a digital platform that allows writers to customize soundtracks to their novels and then share those soundtracks with readers. I first learned about this service from IndieReCon last week, and since then have tried it for myself. Here’s a summary of my findings:
What is BookTrack?
BookTrack is an innovative service that provides a new and enhanced reading experience through customized playlists. Writers can use music, ambient background noises and sound effects to enrich their novels and then share their books through BookTrack’s own online store. It’s free to use, and the possibilities are endless. Not to mention that it tracks reading speed to make sure that the soundtrack is perfectly matched to each reader’s ability.
How it works/Detailed review:
Signing up for BookTrack takes under a minute, and starting work on your novel is pretty easy. Copy and paste your chapters into a simple workspace, and you’re ready to begin!
But then it gets complicated. From what I gathered, writers are supposed to be able to highlight sections of text and then find the soundtrack that works best for those sections. I was unable to highlight anything at all on the site and had to apply sounds and music to the entire sample of text I had pasted on.
The music selection itself is fascinating. The book I was working with is a Steampunk adventure, and I didn’t know where to begin when looking for sounds. I looked under both genre and emotion tags (“historical” and “quiet and curious”) and the first selection was so perfect I was dumbfounded. I added some spooky background sound and was excited to listen to it.
Unfortunately, I never got to listen to it. I clicked excitedly on the button that would let me sample my selection as a reader. It took a while to load, but then the page came up completely blank. I clicked around for a while, paused and re-played it, re-loaded the whole page… nothing. Maybe I’m missing something.
I also tried to read someone else’s story on BookTrack, H. P. Lovecraft’s classic “The Reanimator.” Same problem. Maybe it just doesn’t like MacBooks.
This could be a powerful tool, and I hope I can soon recommend it or even add it to my list of resources. But until I figure out how to read, I can’t say for certain how good it is. I’m not done messing with it yet, and I do think it’s worth keeping an eye on. Hopefully I’ll have more to report soon!