April 4, 2023 4:09 pm


From Eyes to Ears

I’m Vie Portland and I’ve published my book, La Vie Est Belle: Learning to live hopefully ever after, as both a book and an audiobook. Read on to learn how I did it.

I have always loved to write. English was my favourite subject in all of the schools I went to. Books have always been my friends and my respite. 

I had often thought about writing a book but I never got further than a paragraph or two, a page at a push. Self-doubt would convince me there was no point. Who am I to think I write well? Who on earth would want to read my stories?! And, even though my self-belief grew, writing a book was a some day project - you know, those projects that you love the idea of but never actually get around to doing.

Then I met Jennifer.


She told me that I needed to write a book to establish my expertise in my field. Now, I don’t know about you, but when someone as intelligent and as knowledgeable as Jennifer says they believe you can do it, you do it!

And I did!

Jennifer’s coaching helped immensely and opened up the creative parts of my brain that hadn’t been stretched in a considerable amount of time, so as well as starting on the book she encouraged me to start, I also started writing children’s stories: Where Are We Going? and Who Am I? I love doing both.

To begin with, writing was hard, then Jennifer suggested I organise co-writing sessions; she introduced me to a lovely woman and she and I arranged two sessions a week. It was incredibly helpful! It felt rude at first, saying our hellos, saying what we were going to be working on, then turning off the camera and mic for over an hour, but that accountability ensured that I was writing a few thousand words a week. I highly recommend co-writing sessions to every writer I talk to now.

Publishing my book

My first book for adults, La Vie Est Belle: Learning to live hopefully ever after, was released in December 2021 (I would encourage you to never publish a book or product that month; battling with postage is an unnecessary stress at an already busy time). It was important to me that the book not only read well but that it felt and looked good. As a book lover, I feel it’s a wonderfully sensory experience, and I find it troubling when a book doesn’t feel good to touch.

Book reviews and emotions

Before I hit publish, I’d sent the book  to my beta readers: that was scary. I felt as if I was sending a newborn to distant aunts to stay. When I sent the final book out to people that December, it was even more scary! 

My book was my story; there were things in there that people who had known me for years didn’t know. I was concerned about what the response would be. I felt raw, as if I was stripped of all my clothes, of all of my skin, and I was saying to the world, “This is me, all of me.” I felt vulnerable. 

Then the feedback started coming in. WOW! I cannot express enough how important those reviews are. If ever you have doubted the importance of your review on a book, do so no longer - your feedback matters. 

People were saying how they loved how the book looked and felt, and how the words inside were so powerful. I received so many messages of thanks, because my story helped them not feel so alone (I cry at every one. I feel honoured that people share so much of themselves with me). I had several people with dyslexia saying that my writing style made it easier for them to read, which is great! Then they, and others, started saying, “It would be great for this to be an audiobook.”

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I started to research.

A new experience: Recording my audiobook

Thankfully, a wonderful friend said that her son was a sound engineer; serendipity! We planned several weekend afternoon sessions to record.

I am fairly open about my history, should the topics be relevant. I have given talks to audiences about them, and my fear around being judged for the subjects in the book had dissipated. But, goodness! I didn’t realise how hard it would be to read it in a small room. I am so grateful that my friend was there to give reassuring smiles, and that her son is a fantastic human. It’s also odd to be the only one talking in a room, with no  sounds other than your voice.

I did deliberate over getting someone else to read the book for the audio version but, because it’s my story, I felt it was important for me to read it. No-one else had lived my life and it was important that my story be told in my voice. But it was hard.

Listening to my own story

A few weeks went by before the audio came back to me. I knew I had to listen to it before anyone else could. I felt really nervous! What if I sounded awful? What if my writing style sounded clunky? What if I had wasted other people’s time with this nonsense?!

But none of that was true.

My partner and I would listen to the book when we were on long car journeys, so we had time to focus on it. 

It was weird.

I could hear my story, in my voice, but I wasn’t doing anything! I felt disembodied at times. 

I heard every mistake I made, every tremble, every catch in the throat. I contemplated getting that all edited out, so that it sounded “perfect”. Then I decided that my story needed to be told in my true voice, the voice that still wobbles over some parts of my history. 

I felt my story needed my honesty and vulnerability; my listeners deserved that. If they were using some of their valuable time to listen to my book, they deserved to hear the real me. And, if you listen to it, you will, hopefully, understand why the audio had to be real, to not be perfectly polished.

Now, the audiobook is entering the world without me monitoring who is listening to it. It's going on adventures I can't be part of - going into the ears of people I may never know.

The feeling of vulnerability is back because I am sharing even more of myself this time. In addition to my story, listeners will hear my emotions. That feels a little scary, but I know I feel these things because I care, because it's important to me. And I know the book is important to others.

My recommendations


If you’re considering writing a book, I would highly recommend getting coaching with Jennifer; her knowledge and support are exceptional. 


I would say do co-writing sessions, as they’re great for accountability. 

Beta readers

Ensure that the beta readers you send to are people you trust, and listen to what they have to say. 


When getting the books published, go for the best you can afford. If readers feel the book has been done cheaply, they may see you, and what you offer, as cheap, too (logic doesn’t come into a lot of thought processes).


If you decide to do an audiobook, definitely get help for production and editing. Doing it all yourself can be time-consuming and frustrating. It’s also hard to be objective. If you struggle to listen to your own voice, listen to the audio with someone you trust, so they can give you feedback. Actually, listen with someone else, even if you love how you sound; their feedback can be invaluable. 

Authors’ groups

At all stages, join groups for authors on social media. They can be great places to ask questions and learn from others' experiences.


And, through it all, look after yourself, reward yourself every step of the way, and remember that what you have to say is important because you are important.

Where can you purchase Vie's books?

Hi! It's Jennifer again. I always encourage my clients to publish their books to both Amazon and IngramSpark to increase their reach. Thus, you can get Vie's print books from all good booksellers and from her own website. She's opted for a similar approach to her audiobook. So, I'll list a few platforms you can buy it from below, but if you prefer another, just search for her name and title on your preferred platform - there's a good chance you'll find it there, too!

About the Author

I help entrepreneurs get their books out of their heads and into print!

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