Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday dear Seekers, Happy Birthday to us.
Yep, this is our birthday month and I am so excited to be celebrating again. Miss Tina advised us that the theme this month would be what I learned since getting "The Call.” I don’t know about you, but the list is really long. So I decided on the most recent and exciting thing I learned would be the topic for today’s post.
At RWA in Atlanta this summer, I went to a workshop about audio books. I was not really that interested. I mean I haven’t really listened to audio books, but it was presented by my publisher and authors who have published audio books, so I thought I should go. It turned out to be one of the most impressive workshops I attended. And it inspired me to publish LOVE'S MIRACLES as an audio book.
The author presenters of the workshop had published several audio books with Audio CX and were touting how the audio book business was growing, largely because of the popularity of iTunes, iPods, tablets and smart phones. These electronic devices make it so easy and convenient to download and listen to an audio book. Add to that mix, the busy schedules of our purchasing population and we have a hot item. Picture these people listening to books as they commute to work, hike in the mountains, push the baby stroller in the park, jog down the lane, or bicycle along the old railroad tracks.
The presenters that work with Audio CX were personable, excited about their product and guaranteed that making an audio book was an easy process. They are correct. My part has been easy and fun. The tech support that the Audio CX team offers is excellent. They are readily available and willing to walk you through the process.
If you have the audio rights to a book, it is well worth looking into. You simply go to My Account on Amazon, find the tab “Independently Publish With US” which is way at the bottom. Then scroll to the bottom of those choices and you will find the button for Audio CX.
The webpage is extremely user friendly with precise and clear directions. I mean, I was able to follow them, so that tells you how simple and easy they are. (Keep quiet Miss Tina) Not only are the directions easy and clear, there is a tech support phone number and these people are awesome. They gladly help you with every little detail.
The first thing you need to do is find a narrator. They call them audio actors and Audio CX has hundreds listed in folders. You click on the folders and listen to recorded samples. Each artist lists their specialty genre and what they are willing to record. As you scroll through the list, you are able to click on sample narrations. I must warn you that this can be addictive. It is rather fascinating to listen to all the different voices.
When you hear the voice you think fits with your novel, you can email that person through the website and ask if they are interested in auditioning. If they say yes, you send a few sample pages and they make a sample recording for you to hear. I listened to several auditions and selected Rachel Fulginiti because I liked the deep sound of her voice and I liked the inflections she gave each of the characters. Her voice fit my images of LOVE'S MIRACLES.
Working with Rachel has been the best part of the whole audio process. We signed a contract and she recorded the manuscript in three weeks. I really like how she interpreted Love’s Miracles. Rachel agreed to answer a few questions about her end of the process.
1. Can you tell us the process involved in producing (or narrating) an audio book?
Rachel: I read the book through once for content/storyline, making notes about the characters and underlining any words I'm unfamiliar with. Next I go through the script a second time, researching pronunciations and deciding on character voices.
Then I begin recording. I engineer and direct myself as I'm recording and end up with an un-proofed but complete version of the entire book. I then send those files to a proofer to listen through while following along the script, noting any mistakes I've made or extraneous noises that make the audio unusable. The proofer creates a list of all the things that needs to be fixed, sends it back to me and I do "pickups", where I re-do any lines, as necessary. After that, post production does a finer edit and masters the tracks. Then it's a finished audiobook!
2. You have mentioned using a production studio, can you explain why you need a production studio?
Rachel: I don't necessarily need to use a production studio, but I choose to, mostly because of time. I'm so busy narrating that I usually don't have time to do post production. I also think it's helpful to get other "ears" on the project to check my work. They tend to hear things I might not catch.
3. What is involved in editing your production? Do you take out sounds of breathing? Outside sounds? etc.
Rachel: When I'm recording in Protools I use something called a "punch and roll", which means that every time I make a mistake, I stop, put the cursor right before the mistake and the sound rolls back one and a half seconds so I can hear what just came before. I then "punch in", fixing the mistake. So, theoretically, at the end of recording the entire book, there shouldn't be any mistakes, because they're all being edited out as I record. As far as breaths, we leave most in these days for a natural sound, but very large ones are taken out by myself while recording (if I can catch it) or in post production. Outside sounds, like helicopters overhead, can sometimes be taken out in post, but sometimes they can't, so when I'm recording I have to be especially cognizant of any noises happening outside. If I hear something I have to stop and re-record the line. If I don't catch it, the proofer should, and it will be kicked back to me for pickups.
4. Sounds like an interesting process, Rachel. How did you get started in the audio business?
Rachel: I started out as an actress, then became a voice actor and a couple of years ago started narrating books. I've always had a passion for books so to me narrating is great fun, especially when it's a wonderful story - like Sandra's! I love being totally absorbed in a book, embodying all the characters and points of views and communicating the author's message. It's an honor.
Awww that's sweet, Rachel. Thank you. I think the process sounds fascinating.
Rachel might pop in today and visit with us so if you have any questions for her, feel free to ask away.
By the way, the act of reading the manuscript out loud really shows up the most subtle typos and errors. Rachel found some that our copy editors missed and I had to fix them before she could read the text. Little things like whether a word was plural or singular so only an "s" was missing but certainly changed the meaning of the sentence. Something to think about before sending off those manuscripts.
I had to contact Lena Goldfinch again because the cover had to be formatted for the square audio packet. And we added Rachel's name as the reader.
As soon as we finalize production with Rachel, AudioCX takes over and puts the audio book on their site Audible.com. It should be available by the end of this month.
I must say that I am really into audio books now. We just drove 1,100 miles and it was wonderful to have an audio book to listen to.
Two of our Seekers have audio books available. Their publishers produced the audio books so they weren't personally involved in the process. But it is really nice to have this option.
Julie Lessman's A LOVE SURRENDERED is available.
Mary Connealy's OUT OF CONTROL, OVER THE EDGE, and SWEPT AWAY are available as audio books.
Do any of you listen to audio books? Do you have any insights or questions? Feel free to comment or ask. Commenters will be put in a drawing for their choice of a Seeker audio book. Mine (when it is available) or one of Mary's or Julie's.
Since its our birthday month, I have a big pot of Millstone chocolate velvet coffee, some Ghirardelli Double Chocolate hot cocoa and a selection of teas ready for all of you.
And what goes with this? Birthday cake, of course.
I have a table full of cakes. All kinds of cakes. My favorite is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. However, German chocolate is good and I have a nice big one sitting in the middle of the table. There is pineapple upside down cake, cookie cake (hubby’s favorite) and there is some lemon cake too. Another favorite of mine is Boston Crème Pie and of course cheesecakes are a must. I brought one of those boxes that have different flavors of cheesecake. Yum
|GIVEAWAY DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE|