Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For Your Ears Only

For a long time before I published my books last year, part of my description for being a successful author was to have multi-media presentations of my books. Various editions--large print, hardback, mass media paperback, that kind of thing.

But one thing that was always included was audiobooks.

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It probably hearkens back to my teenage years where instead of Hanson and Brittany Spears, I was obsessed with old-time radio shows. Comedies for sure: Jack Benny. Abbott & Costello. The Great Gildersleeve (yes, I'm in my 30s, and I know all these names better than I know Kim Kardashian.) But the dramas also held a great deal of interest, and just how they told stories. The Green Hornet. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.  Gunsmoke.

So when I got older and had a mindless job that didn't require full use of my brain, and before podcasting was easily available, I listened to audiobooks. I don't know how many over the five years I worked one particular job I listened to, but probably well into the hundreds. I met some of my favorite authors that way, like J.D. Robb, Janet Evanovich, and Kathy Reichs. And I was able to push through lengthy classics like The Lord of the Rings trilogy (which I have no patience for such mighty tombs in all real practicality.)

In my mind, success = having an audiobook.

Thankfully, in the last fifteen years, things have changed with the advent of self-publishing. Though I'm not a true self-published author, I'm pretty darn close, and I have complete control over what happens with my book. So after I finished publishing my box set this spring, I turned my attention towards audiobooks. ACX, which is an arm of Amazon, was perfect for this hybrid author.

The process is relatively simple: as long as you have rights to your book, you can put it up and have narrators and producers (sometimes the same person, sometimes not) put up bids and samples. It took some time, and I only had one narrator jump on my proposal, but fortunately for me, I liked her audition. Didn't hurt matters that she reminded me of one of the narrators I'd listened to multiple times many years ago!

We ironed out the details together, and by the end of September, I had a first chapter to listen to! I can't express how elated I was. My husband and children had to put up with multiple squeals of delight. Sure, there were things that had to be changed (pronunciations, character voices, etc.) But it was my book I was listening to.

And, it. Was. Awesome!

As I write this, about five chapters (of about 45-50) are done. About two hours of an estimated 16 (though I'm thinking it could be longer.) I'm having a blast working with my narrator, Sarah Rogers, who's pretty new to the game. I'm even making some adjustments to a couple of my characters based on her reading.

Of course, it's not all fun and games. There's a lot of work going into this--on both Sarah's and my parts. After she gets done with a chapter, I have to listen to it and approve it, or make suggestions for corrections, and listen to the changes to make sure they're right. With being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to two, plus a dog and husband, sometimes this goes well, and sometimes it doesn't, especially since it's best (for me at least) to get a chunk of time without interruptions to listen to it. Thirty minutes uninterrupted doesn't happen very often!

So far, with most of the first book in my box set done, I'm enjoying the process and eagerly anticipating the next few months as Sarah and I work through the remainder of the stories.

But mostly, I can't wait to share it with my readers!

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