• John Lim

MF 227 : Two ways to use your first draft recordings for your book

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

On this bonus episode, I share two ways you can use your recordings to frame your book. More at www.bemovingforward.com.

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Spotify.

Option 1: Transcription

As we covered last week and with Alissa Carpenter on yesterday’s episode, one way you can write your book is by talking it out and recording it. You can use something as simple as your phone’s memo recorder or a simple recording app and record your first draft.

From there, you can get transcriptions of those recordings. Alissa Carpenter mentioned this technique yesterday and many authors use it to create first drafts of their books from their audio content.

If you decide to go this route, I don’t recommend transcribing them yourself. It’s too tedious and time consuming, especially if you have a bunch of audio files.

Instead, outsource the work. You can find freelancers on Fiverr and Upwork or use a service like Rev.

From there, you will have a ready-made rough draft that you can use for your second draft.

Option 2: Reference for your outline

Option 1 is a common practice for many authors but it’s not the only way you can use audio files. When Andy and I recorded our conversations, we did so mostly to get a handle on the story and to jog our memories on details we had forgotten.

For each conversation, we focused on a narrow topic and once we recorded the conversation, I labelled it accordingly as a reference.

Next, I organized these according to a natural flow, grouping together some and moving others around, to form an outline.

I put the recorded files into a shared Google Drive so we could both access them when needed but the real work product for us was the outline.

Once we had the outline, we used that as the framework to write out the next draft. We kept the recordings as reference points but didn’t actually go back to them often. We discovered that the act of talking out the story was enough for us.


Continue working on your first draft. If you’re using the recording option or a hybrid, consider whether you want to use a transcription or summary of the recordings. Or, if you’re like me, you may simply use talking and recording as a way to flesh out the story. Remember, the goal of the first draft is to get your ideas out so you can start shaping them into what will become your book.


Scrivener (available for Mac, Win, IOS) is a book writing program that auto formats for self-publishing on Amazon’s KDP and other platforms. It’s a great tool with rich features that allow co-writers to collaborate through Dropbox. Scrivener has a bit of a learning curve but I’ve been a fan since 2017 and have talked to many authors who use it as their go-to. If you’re interested in Scrivener, you can use the coupon code MOVINGFORWARD to get 20% off your purchase (for Mac or Win). It’s a one-time license fee and available for Mac, Win, IOS.

Note: this section contains affiliate links and coupon codes for which the author may receive some compensation.

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