I’ve been…putting off my next real authorly project which is to do the recording on a book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for a year and a half or so. Instead I’ve picked up a couple of jobs on ACX, and I’ve read a ton of descriptions. So I thought I would put it off some more and give some tips on finding a narrator on ACX.
I’m not really an expert, I’ve only been doing it for about a half a year and I’ve only got a handful of books to my name and pen names.
These comments are really focused at authors looking for royalty share. Which means that the narrators aren’t getting paid anything up front and only make money when they author makes money.
Recording isn’t easy, treat your narrators well!
First some really good things I’ve seen authors do.
show that you are marketing (things I like, say that you have an email list, or are active on social media, whatever – if you are planning to do ads, you have another book coming out and will be promoting this one? All great things! Authors who put a brief marketing plan? Oh yeah, so much awesome.)
tell narrators what you are looking for
tell narrators if there is adult content (and a little idea of what kind of adult content is awesome)
explain that it is a series and you’d like the same narrator for the whole series (a timeline is super bonus for this)
think through if you want a male or female narrator (a female narrator for a male 1st person pov is a little odd, I can do a husky masculine voice, but I mostly think you aren’t paying attention – if you explain it, this is fine)
say that you already have a narrator
say up front if you have a goal date (new book release, signing, whatever)
respond, thank the narrator even if you don’t select them, especially if your book has been sitting for over a month, you want to build potential relationships here
reach out to narrators if you have a shorter deadline, you don’t have to just sit there and wait, a proactive author is a good thing here
Soon. I will start recording Dangerous Metal soon. But first, one more quick project!
Which earrings look best with fur? Kira Walker is a geek and UNIX systems administrator who has a bad hair day at least once a month. But when a wolf attacks Kira and her BFF in downtown Denver around the full moon, she’s devastated. Now, like it or not, Kira is unemployed, and the head of Denver’s werewolf pack is getting a little too friendly for her tastes. And, oddly, she keeps finding herself naked in front of road workers. Caught in this new world, Kira discovers there are sinister forces at work. Rogue werewolves have declared war against humans, and when Kira’s other BFF is kidnapped, it gets Kira snarling mad. Can she solve the riddle of the Enchanted Forest before the rogue werewolves kill again? Fashion-challenged Kira will learn that werewolves have a strong bite.
I’ve got a giveaway for audiobooks to announce! (This is my first giveaway so if there are any problems, please let me know.)
You can win a free audiobook at Audible. If you don’t know about Audible they are a great place to get audiobooks. You can either subscribe and get a credit every month (or a year’s worth up front) or you can buy a book here or there. (I was a member long before they were bought by Amazon. I’ve clearly loved audiobooks for a long time.) Or…right now you can take a chance to win a credit for an audiobook!
This mailing list will only give notifications of future novel, novella, and anthology releases and giveaways. I promise less than 6 emails a year! (This year I expect to send out two emails.) a Rafflecopter giveaway
Weekly Email Giveaway!
This mailing list will let you know when each episode of 600 Second Saga comes out, along with novels, novellas, anthologies, and giveaways! a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you don’t want to sign up for anything but you write? You can be an author. 600 Second Saga authors will be entered into a quarterly drawing for an audiobook. (There is currently a slot for June left!) It is a great way to share your work, bring it to life, and promote your work to new readers (and listeners).
So why audio? Why do I make it? Why produce things as audiobooks? I like to write, so why do audio?
I recognize not a lot of authors create audio, and even fewer authors create their own audio. (Which is 100% ok!) I was asked why I did it, especially when I talked a little about how much work it is.
I’ve actually got a good bit of experience in doing audio. Not entirely like audiobooks or podcasts but similar.
I worked in radio for a while. I produced news segments. (I actually have the skill of splicing tape, and I’m not that old, but I’ve chopped audio up into tiny bits and put it together.) I also hosted several shows and spent a good chunk of time on air.
I also have experience with doing shorter, more highly produced audio for elearnings. I do quite a bit of professional audio work that way now.
Audio is something that I like to consume. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. (I was a member of audible a forever ago, back before it was an amazon company.) I’ve been listening to podcasts for a really long time. I’m sure I listen to more books than I read. I don’t know that the majority of my information consumption comes from podcasts and audiobooks, but it is a significant portion.
I also know that audio is valuable to a lot of people for a range of reasons.
Some people have commutes that are hours and hours long, being able to escape into a novel is a great way to pass a commute. I’ve known people who have jobs that are primarily driving, same thing. So just having a lot of time commuting and being able to spend that with consumable information is wonderful.
For people who have trouble reading, audio is incredibly valuable. Being able to listen to a story and enjoy reading and other worlds, as well as consume information in a quick way is a great boon of living in the future now. (And yes, there are tools like text to speech, but they don’t have the same kinds of human qualities that a person would **yet**.)
I like bringing worlds to life. I know that some people really enjoy and focus on cover art and other art for books, but for me the moment it is brought to life is when I hear it. It creates a richer world. Both for me creating it, and when I consume it.
Audiobooks are better. I said it. Ok maybe not all audiobooks are better than all written only books. But in general I think that doing a read aloud of a book makes it better. Even if you aren’t going to publish the audio version reading it will help you catch things you wouldn’t otherwise. I know when I’ve read something of mine or someone else’s when I read it out loud I always catch something new. I think that it really does help to improve the book to have a pass of reading it.
So why audio?
Because I like it. Because I want to share my work with people who need the accessibility or the flexibility of being able to listen to audio. Because it helps me improve the quality of my work.
(As a bonus, I will often do multiple audio reads because one of the people I turn to for beta reading sometimes prefers audio. These pieces I feel like really improve greatly.)
Yesterday I posted about how to listen to podcasts, today I’m going to share some of my podcast recommendations. This is only a slim selection of what I listen to, but they are some of my absolute favorites.
600 Second Saga – 10-minute science fiction and fantasy delivered weekly (I promise!)
I Should be Writing – Interviews, thoughts, suggestions, support – this is a great podcast for writers who are looking to get encouragement (check out Ditch Diggers for a more harsh get in there and do some work view of it).
Writing Excuses – Billed as 15 minutes long they are usually closer to 20 but entirely worth it. I cannot recommend going back through the entire season 10 enough.
Science-ier (because that’s totally a word)
Quirks and Quarks – Canadians! – This is a great science news show. I really recommend this (and go for the complete show) over some of the other public science news shows.
Astronomy Cast – Everything you want to know about Astronomy. The back catalogue is amazing too.
The Titanium Physicists Podcast – This is several brilliant currently working in the field physicists explaining things to people who do Not Science stuff. It is an amazing example of great science communication.
(I would still say I’m not a huge history fan, but I really love both of these podcasts because they are about stories, not here’s a bunch of dates, go memorize them without context.)
Stuff You Missed in History Class – Another podcast with a huge back catalogue. Whenever I need to know a quick and dirty about some historical thing I go look to see if they have an episode on it.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – This is the podcast I listen to when I have a really long travel thing. Most of the episodes are in the 4+ hour range. Generally only a couple episodes a year, but really chock full of information.
Like knitting? Gardening? Shadowrun? Warcraft? Owning your own business? Elearning development? Other thing?
Yes, there is a podcast for you. I really enjoy podcasts for when going for walks, commuting, and cleaning.
Basically a radio program on the computer. Or like going to the library and picking a series, and then the rest of them are already checked out when are ready for the next one.
If you can think of it, if it is your hobby, something you like, there is a podcast about it. It is the internet, it exists.
Podcasts can be regular, weekly, monthly, daily, or irregular sort of whenever the podcaster puts them out. You can have video podcasts. Most podcasts are audio. They can also range from just a few minutes up to hours and hours.
So how do I listen?
Do you have a smart phone? If you do get an app. For iPhones or iPads I cannot recommend Overcast highly enough. Once you’ve downloaded it, tap the plus in the upper right corner, then find a podcast.
Go ahead and try with my podcast (you knew this was going to come up!) Just type 600 Second Saga into the search directory.
You can add a single episode, or subscribe so every time a new episode comes out it will download right to your phone.
I don’t have an iPhone!
Stitcher is a fine cross platform tool. (Meaning you can use it on your Android phone, or desktop, probably not Blackberry, Windows phone apparently not. Windows phone users might be on your own. I spent over an hour trying to help a friend with this, it was a challenge.)
If you are on Android and use one of the other tools this link (Android) should make it work for you. You can also find me in the Google Play app.
You can listen on the page of the podcast. On the side of the page you’ll see a player, click and listen. You can also subscribe on YouTube if you are a YouTube fan.
600 Second Saga each episode has a link to play right in the browser at the bottom of each post. You can also listen right from my Facebook page.
For other podcasts, most of them will have the ability to listen directly from their webpage as well.
And Overcast has a website too. (I swear this isn’t an ad for Overcast, it is just the best tool I’ve found.)
I did user test these steps with a couple smart but not tech savvy people in my life, but if this still confuses you please comment and I’ll be happy to update it or help you.
What smell would win in your world? I like the smell of thunderstorms and campfires a lot. Though enemy’s tears? Hm…I think maybe I haven’t smelled enough of those. Is that good or bad? What would win in your tournament of smells?
Similar things in different areas, might have different reasons or similar ones. But the more fairy circles they can find and compare, the better. Off to google earth! (I would have sworn I saw about five since I read this article. Not really, but it is still very cool.)
Each word or phrase is very different from the previous one. It might get you to imagine a pear, a lamp shade, a rock, fishing, trying on hats, skiing, whatever. This is meant to imitate and induce the first stage of sleep (“N1″), where your mind drifts from one “random” thing to another.
This is a fascinating tool. I’ve used it a few days and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I love that there is science behind it. Worth trying if you have trouble falling asleep.
Another Friday, another challenge from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds. Last week people posted the first sentence for something, only the first sentence. He got over 500 comments, eep!, and selected 10. I picked one of those and this is my take on that sentence.
“Of all the things I expected to find in my tomato soup, this wasn’t one of them.” (Stella Wood)
I grinned and slurped down the chunk of real, fresh tomato. I pushed my spoon through the soup and saw a sliver of green, I dug hungrily for it. Inhaling deeply I could almost smell the real black dirt that must have been used to grow the basil.
The shredded cheese on the top was standard for the cans of soup everyone used, but the rest, was magic. I wasn’t even sure what else was in it but I knew I wanted more. I ate the rest of it with abandon, slurping, licking the bowl clean.
The waitress finally came back over to my table as I leaned back and tore the bread. I hadn’t even dunked it in the soup. It was great too, but great bread was easy to find. Actual tomato chunks? Not so easy.
“That was amazing, how do you even get fresh tomatoes?” I stared up at her in awe.
“We grow them in the hot house. We’ve got lots of herbs and in the fall, fresh squash.” Her warm smile sharpened and she shifted uncomfortably. “It’s perfectly legal and most of our customers like it, you don’t have to eat here. Some people just prefer the whole thing.”
I waved my hand to stop her. “I think it is delicious.” She was worried I was going to lecture her. “The last time I had a real tomato, it was a caprese salad at a very fancy place. They advertised as shipping in all their produce whole grown. It wasn’t anything like this. The waitstaff lectured us about how they did only the bare minimum to enhance the flavor.” She snorted.
“No, you have to salt the tomatoes or they just taste like tangy water.” I laughed and she glanced around the empty cafe. She pulled up the seat across from me. “We use the prettiest ones in the BLTs. You should try one, they are my favorite this time of year. The lettuce is still crisp and the first tomatoes are ripening. They explode with flavor.”
“How can you do it? I know people can grow stuff for themselves, but…” I trailed off not quite sure. Was I asking too much? Prying? Exposing something illegal? I knew the really high end places had to have lots of certifications and the food would be flown in from specialized growers. I couldn’t imagine this tiny little alley way cafe could do that and serve three dollar soup.
“If you don’t buy the vegetables you are ok. We have a garden upstairs in our sun plot. There is always a chance, I suppose, that someone is going to push back against that. Although people who think that spending the time and energy on a potential crop failure should be banned aren’t the kinds of people who usually come in here anyway. They prefer to know exactly what they are going to get every time.” I felt my face turning red as she spoke.
I was one of those people. I went to the same places for all my meals, they were always the same, it was always good. I fumbled for something to say but she reached out and put her hand on my arm.
“We know all of the benefits of that. We understand, there is nothing wrong with it.” She smiled and patted my arm. “We just can’t afford those things. And I personally like making the soups.”
I frowned. “How can you spend all that energy on something that might fail?” I carefully guarded my energy, usually. Today had ended up being a disaster and I had to find new work, I didn’t really have the energy to be here spending time and thought on soup.
“I love it. Sure some days are failures, but those days end. I go to bed and get back up and try again the next day.” She leaned back in her chair and looked at me. “Not everyone thinks a bad day is the end of the world. Not every job fires someone for one bad day.”
I tore another chunk of bread and chewed it, giving myself time to think. Maybe you could be a waitress and have a bad day, though the places I frequented had an immaculate service standard, they wouldn’t sit down with a customer. They wouldn’t have a slow afternoon. I didn’t understand how this place hadn’t gone out of business. “Do your parents own this place?” If they were a wealthy family, maybe that would explain it. Children of owners were the only people who failed with impunity.
“No.” She grinned. The door chimed and someone came in. She raised a hand and waved. “Go ahead and sit anywhere, I’ll be right with you.” She gave me a sad sigh. “They say we are a creative world, but they punish actual creativity. I’ll bet you were released from your current contract today. If you need something we are looking for someone to wait tables in the morning.” She scribbled a number on the paper and walked over to greet the other patron.
I wanted to complain that I was better than that. I was an artist. I was part of the creative class. I was in charge of my own career, I could leave any job when I wanted, find something better.
I looked down at the soup bowl again. I paid the tab and left a good tip. I thought about the soup, the moment when that chunk of real tomato surprised me, discovering the basil. I always heard that art involved discovery. I wanted that feeling again. That rush of something new and unexpected.
I’m starting a podcast at the end of March. It will be 600 Second Saga. It will be a flash fiction podcast. 600 seconds (or 10 minutes) or less of science fiction and fantasy delivered as a weekly podcast.
I will be writing and reading my own works, but I’d also like to read flash fiction from other authors.
I am in search of pieces that are 1,000 words or less that float anywhere within or near the sci-fi and fantasy realms. I’ll read it. Put the audio, along with credits and plugs for your work, in my podcast. I’ll make sure that you get the audio to use on your site as well.
A couple of updates and then onto another flash fiction piece (or jump ahead for Alone – Again).
Thieves has been updated and remastered and is out now on Amazon for $.99. It will also, hopefully, be out soon on Audible as an audiobook. (Check back for updates on that.) I will also have another audiobook (I’m reading someone else’s book) coming out soon on Audible. I’ll announce that when everything is finalized and it is available.
I will be kicking off my own podcast in March. It will be a primarily flash fiction podcast. So episodes will be normally 10 minutes or less of audio fiction. I may also create opportunities to feature flash fiction from other authors, so please get in touch with me if you are interested.
Update: Dead stuff…wait…
I think I found – yet another!- dead podcast, but it had a flash fiction challenge I decided to take on anyway, despite being…months late. Whoops.
The glass shatters on the closing door. I kick the couch and growl at the pain.
“Alone.” I huff and storm across the apartment. The apartment was designed for two, now it would be just me, alone. “Again.”
I brush my hands across my face, red and hot with anger. I growl at the empty space. I snarl at the hole left behind. I won’t get irrational and overly emotional. I’m perfectly rational about this.
She’s the one who is being irrational. I have been nothing but rational, reasonable, and kind.
I grab the plates off the table and toss them into the kitchen recycler. I flick the switch and it starts separating things. The recycler will pull the organic detritus from the strong, sturdy, remoldable plastic.
I storm over to shelves and throw them open. I snap at her clothes “I was great, she said. I was everything she wanted. She loved me.” I grab an armful of her clothes and throw them into the laundry chute. “LIES!” The chute flashes Recycle or Clean. I smack Recycle.
I stop in the middle of the living room and look around for evidence of her. A painting she made. Worthless. Her absurdly, expensive collection of old fashioned silverware. Sell it. She said she never wanted to see me again, so she wouldn’t.
I unclench my jaw and massage my neck. “I don’t deserve this. I deserve someone who cares about me.”
I sink into the chair and lean back into the computer. I look through my files, cleaning her out of them.
I’m going to make her go away. I open my editor and start pulling out memories. I start with the oldest ones, the best ones. I have a note in my editor to never start with the newest memories. I don’t know why it is there, but I trust me. I feel my anger, my frustration rise as the memories slip away. Until, I sweep the last of them out and my body relaxes.
I look at my system, my brain editor is open, I frown for a moment. I must have been stressed out about something but that’s gone now. I think maybe I’ll turn in early tonight. I hear a chime from the door.
A beautiful blonde in an incredibly sexy red dress shoves past me. Her face is smeared with makeup and tears. She grabs down a painting I don’t remember buying, and weird collection of shadowboxes with something shiny inside. I watch her with confusion.
“You already deleted me didn’t you?” She wipes at the makeup, smearing it more. “You’re never going to be happy if you don’t start learning and stop deleting. But it doesn’t matter. You’re going to delete this right now aren’t you?” She snorts and leaves.
I go back to the computer to pull up whatever I’d just deleted. I look at the editor and instead delete my recent memory with a swipe.