Audiobooks. They used to be something you listened to on long journeys if you didn’t want to or couldn’t read. Or maybe while you did boring tasks around the house. According to the stats I’m seeing, they are coming into their own – because of the likes of Alexa and Siri.
“Siri, find me a new book featuring adventure, time tunnels and flying machines.”
“Alexa, play a book involving battles between castles and inventing things.”
No browsing, no looking for books where you love the cover; no reading the blurb. It’ll all be down to keywords.
So here on IWSG day, I wonder how many of you are thinking of audiobooks, and whether you’ve tried it out yet.
Of course, it is IWSG day, so I’d like to thank the co-hosts:
I’d also like to give a nod to the question of the month which is….
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?
I’ve googled (or yahooed, or whatever my browser wants to use today) a lot of wacky things in my time. When you write fantasy and scifi, and like to have aliens, or even weird planets, I can delve into all sorts of places. Mostly to do with possibly physiologies of non-carbon-based lifeforms and things like that. And whether you can use a vacuum cleaner in space. It’s not as simple an answer as you think, but I would like to ask someone who’s done a space walk.
For example: Do trees communicate? I have sentient trees in the Viridian series. And recent research shows that trees do communicate, mostly by the aid of fungi transmitting some sort of chemical or electrical response through the soil to other tree roots.
Quite a lot of my research I don’t have to google. By some serendipity, things pass through my inbox, via either Earthsky.com or New Scientist mailings, that have a direct bearing on something I’m hatching for a planet or two. And the research on exoplanets has already turned up the amazing fact that our solar system is nothing like most of the other planetary systems out there. Things we thought physically impossible are out there doing their thing.
But sometimes I have to go and look at things to do with ancient or pre-technological developments. Just to make sure I get the logic of development right!This month's #IWSG post - googling weird things for book research, Audiobook for Princelings in the East, and join the launch of the ninth in the series! #princelings #audiobook #ebook #series Click To Tweet
Audiobooks for the Princelings of the East
You may think I have enough on my plate, what with the launch of Chronicles of Marsh (Princelings #9) out next Thursday (tomorrow week). If you haven’t grabbed the information and you still want to do a post to help me with the launch, the details are here.
Yes, it took me ages to finish the chapter illustrations, but it’s all done now, loaded to Kindle and Smashwords, and winging its way to the various websites that will launch it. You’ve still time to preorder at the special price of 99c at iTunes, B&N and Kobo. It’ll go up in stages to the full price early next year, at which time the Amazon introduction price will also go up from its current $2.99. You might get a price match if they notice the iTunes price. The Kindle file (.mobi) will also be available on Smashwords for 99c for few days after publication day.
and after publication at Smashwords (for any eReader).
But while I was doing all that, I was keeping up with my emails. I kept seeing discussions on the way people’s reading habits are changing, and it’s now Siri and Alexa and other voice controlled gadgets that are presenting consumers with things they might like. That’s going to be a nightmare for indie authors’ discoverability.
Audiobooks, Audible and ACX
As several of my writing buddies have taken the plunge into audiobooks recently, I thought I’d investigate more. I knew about Audible ACX, but didn’t realise ACX is not Audible. Reading the Amazon KDP page, (found under Amazon Programs in the Help pages) it seems that ACX is Amazon’s audiobook producer, who provide the tools for you to produce a professional audiobook. If you get it right, you can also have Whispersynch for your ebook, where people can read and have it read to them as they go.
But your ACX file can go on sale through Audible and other platforms, including iTunes and Amazon itself.
Given the value of my iTunes ebook sales, that’s a must for me.
Smashwords and Feeling Voices
I do like Smashwords. I find it easy to use, full of very useful help and guidance, and the distribution to other platforms (and payment) seems slick and painless. Hmm, maybe I should touch wood!
So I was pleased to see they’ve linked up with an audiobook production outfit, Findaway Voices, so that their authors have access to audiobook production and don’t have to go independent or via Amazon.
The main thing that both do is let you ‘audition’ a stream of voice artists, giving some a small sample to read, and choose the one you want—or try again.
Some of us mad fools find an artists first. MT McGuire confessed on her blog (right at the bottom of the linked post) that a voice artist contacted her direct because he wanted to get into audiobooks, and he loved her books.
I fell for the voice first. Funny, really, since I was watching the auditions for The Voice (UK) a couple of seasons back. They show you what the next person does in their real life. This person did audiobooks and acoustic rock gigs. They showed him doing a voice recording and I knew he was the one for my Fred & George! In one of those strange coincidences, he lives within ten miles of me.
So when I decided I really needed to act now to get the audiobook for Princelings of the East done, I tracked him down first through the Voice online lists (he was accepted, and if anyone remembers the guy who brought the house down with the Genie’s song from Aladdin – that’s him), then via his Facebook page.
Yes, I could do it the usual way through auditions etc. But he’s doing the things he usually does to set up a contract, with 5 and 15 minute samples to see if we’re a ‘match’. After that, the process is the same as with a ‘big’ organisation. There’ll be more to learn, and I’ll tell you how (not) to do it in the new year, probably!
And maybe I’ll get one of my friends who only reads audiobooks, to listen to the samples too.
There’ll be a lot more to talk about with this, I’m sure.
See you next month!
Can you help me launch Chronicles of Marsh?
If you’d like some content for a blog post any time between now and Christmas, please help me launch Chronicles of Marsh, the latest in the Princelings of the East series. All the materials are here. The giveaway closes 6th December, so if you post before that, let me know your social media contact for inclusion, and you can get a link in the giveaway.