Saturday, October 5, 2013

THE WORLD OF AUDIO CX-INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAYS



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.

Rachel Fulginiti


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

185 comments:

Clari Dees said...

Thanks for the great post. It was fun to peek into the world of turning a book into an audible experience.

I love, love, love audio books! It's how I've done a lot of my "reading" this summer. I have a two-hour work drive every day and I can get a lot listened to that way. :-) I'm thrilled that you've made your book available this way, too. I'll be watching for it to appear on Audible

Reading out loud is something I've always enjoyed doing, and one of my dreams is to narrate books someday. :-)

Hope everyone is staying safe in this nation's crazy weather today. Blizzards in S.Dakota, tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa... Good grief!

Oh, and thanks for the cake. I'm grabbing a slice of the cookie one 'cause it's my birthday today (Saturday). Happy B-day to all you other October babies!

Melissa Jagears said...

Saved this to my marketing folder if I ever have the time to Indie publish my odd ducklings!

And YAY! I should have an audio book available at the end of February for my first book. My blind grandma will be so happy.

And I have the best carrot cake recipe ever, I don't like any others anymore.

And as for storms, I can hear and see the one coming at us, that's like the tail end of the storms that went by north of us. Hubby's not here to track tornadoes, so I just hope we don't have one, so he won't be mad at me when he comes home and learns I didn't drag three little ones all by myself into town to the big tornado shelter.

Jenny Blake said...

Is that a black forrest cake I see in the distance? It seems to be calling my name.

Thanks for the post on audio books. they sound interesting. I have an older mp3 player I listen to music when walking am wondering if it would hold a book. then I wonder if I would walk into something cos I got so absorbed in the book ore would I tune out at times like I do with music. Could be interesting reading a suspense when walking at daybreak (day light savings starts and I will be walking in the dark for a bit) when a murder happens.

Love hearing how they are made.

On a personal note had the ct scan yesterday. Had to go back today as the pain was just unbearable. Results are clear so no issue with the sinuses. they are not sure what is causing the pain but have me on stronger pain meds which have brought the pain down from a 5ish to about 2ish and under. Will see my dr Thursday and todays will be talking with her about what they can do next.

Oh and my ride to the scan became grand parents again yesterday morning and my friend who was to meet me at the scan place rang to say her daughter was in labour. Both had baby boys yesterday and both start with and e. Elias and Ethan.

Christina Rich said...

This is way cool! And fascinating. Like Melissa I will have to file this away for future reference.

Rachel, what is one if your favorite most memorable characters/stories you've read?

Lyndee H said...

I blew about a half hour listening to commercials voiced by Rachel! Sandra, I think you just got me into a new hobby. I like listening to how people speak. That site will entertain me on long winter nights when writing has brain fried me.

This is an area I'd never thought of, so thanks for the post! Very cool.

Tina Pinson said...

I've listened to audio books before. I didn't realize they were so popular. Will have to check into it and see if I have audio rights. And will certaintly have to keep this on file.

Thanks Sandra

Debbie Wilder said...

I love audio books. I went through a period last year that I was having a terrible time reading because of cataracts. I read so much that it was very hard on me. I really started listening to the audio books then. Even though my eyes have both been fixed through surgery I still put an audio book on when I'm going to be in the car for an hour or more.

I really enjoyed reading about how they are recorded. Thanks so much for your post and for the chance to win great prizes.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Hi there!

I don't listen to audio books at all! But I heard it really adds to sales, so I went to ACX, too. At first I only got about 6 auditions, but then the Austen series was selected for the stipend program, which means they would PAY the narrators out of pocket. The narrator I chose would then get paid in cash and also get a percentage.

So far, I've been very happy with sales! I didn't expect anybody to buy any at all! And then they gave me 25 to give away... Which reminds me I need to do that. HMMMM.

Anyway, I've never listened to a book on tape in my life, but from what I heard during this process, LOTS of people listen to audio books!

maudemaxine@gmail.co, said...

Wow! This was interesting about making an Audio book. I've never listened to one. Not how I expected it was done. Hope win something at your party. Wish your Anonymous was enabled cause I hate having the email that's on here because it was not of my choosing. I used it only once and did not fill out the Blogger info. But Google put me down as one I guess for next I knew they had changed my email on about 2/3 of my sites. Some I had since 2009 Not right .
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Abbi Hart said...

This was really quite the interesting look into the world of audiobook making! I have always been kinda curious as to how it was done so this was a really fun read! I personally am not an audiobook fan since I really don't like being read to. I think it has something to do with the fact that my brain usually goes faster than the person reading and it would take me so much less time to read the book myself.

Abbi Hart said...

Ok just went and looked up Julie's book A Love Surrendered on Audible.com and for this almost 400 page book it was 15 and 1/2 hours of audio!! That's crazy! It would take me less than 4 hours to finish this book! I had no idea it was that big of a difference!

CaraG said...

All the info in this post is new to me. Never thought about the "behind the scenes" work that goes into an audio book, but I've been a fan for years. How exciting that more and more titles are becoming available.

The square cover turned out well. Eye-catching.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

You had me at CAKE!!!!! Oh, for that montage of deliciousness to appear before me right now!!!!

SUHWEEEEEEET!

Sandra, can we talk cost? I think that's a huge factor in independent publishing and we've come way beyond the place where everything is a state secret in publishing... I'm amazed we let that go on as long as it did.

Having said that, money is a balancing act for so many people. What kind of costs did you incur in this process?

Also, I think your choice for a strong, deeper voice for this particular book works well. I've only heard male audio books because they were male pov stories, so I can't wait to hear how this goes. Thank you for being a groundbreaker.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

CLARI!!!! Happy birthday to you!!!! Happy birthday to youuuuuu! Happy birthday dear Clari! Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu!

:)

Off-tune and out-of-key but sincere!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Maxie, we had to change the anonymous because of wretched SPAM. Have you thought of just getting an e-mail account that you only use to access internet sites? That way you don't have to worry about spamming friends, etc. You just sign up for a g-mail account (it's easier because it hooks into all things Google related) and then just use that account for getting into blogs/websites/etc. That way your personal stuff is not connected and you have easy access. They're free so its a great way of "vetting" how you handle personal vs. web-related.

But so good to see you here!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

VIRGINIA! That's cool that they offered that option because it dared you to tiptoe into the waters when money is tight!

That's why I asked Sandra about the cost, because it's tricky to balance budgets in a tight economy. And there are so many places/people/things in need of money when times are tough and I'd have to say for a lot of our country, times are tough.

Cindy W. said...

I think audio books are great! I have only used them for when we are taking long trips. It really makes the travel time whisk by and gives us something more to talk about when we stop for meals along the way. But when I am not traveling I just love a good old fashioned book. We had a friend who has now gone on to be with the Lord but he had Macular Degeneration in both eyes for many of his senior years and he used audio books everyday as he was a heavy reader before his eyesight failed. It does do a great service for the blind or vision impaired.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Annie Rains said...

I LOVE audiobooks. Since I'm in the car so much for my day job, I'm always listening to audiobooks. I have an Audible account and I listen on my iphone. I think it's so amazing that the self publishing world can do audiobooks now, too.

Thanks for your post today, Sandra. I'll be looking for your book on my Audibles page when it comes out!

Happy Saturday, Seekerville!

Jackie said...

What an interesting post today. Thanks for sharing and thanks for all the cake choices.

I do enjoy listening to books when I'm driving.

Happy birthday Seekerville, and happy birthday Clari Dees!

kaybee said...

"Oh brave new world that has such people in it." Miranda in "The Tempest." Yet another way to connect with the readers, which is what it's all about for Christian writers. Will definitely investigate this once I am published.
Cake. I love layer cake with buttercream frosting. I may be the only person alive who actually likes wedding cake. But I'm a diabetic now, so I'll have a small slice because it's the weekend. I have a terrible sweet tooth! When I was diagnosed as a diabetic, I gave up pizza and French fries for good so I could keep the occasional cupcake.
SANDRA, FYI, I'm working on your 28-day writers' devotionals over the month of Oct. in preparation for NANO, and also because I'm at a place where I need to be reminded WHY I DO THIS. Thanks.
Kathy Bailey
Thoughtful and eating cake in New Hampshire

kaybee said...

JENNY, congratulations on your grandchild. And hope you feel better.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

RUTHY, you are right about cost. Many of us are working with tight budgets these days -- or always were. I can't enter every contest I want to, and have to really plan for conferences. It's worth it, but... It's a good thing we can deduct expenses, hope that doesn't change soon.
KB

Jenny Blake said...

Kaybee not my grand child two friends. but it is exciting

Naomi Rawlings said...

It's birthday month, and I haven't stopped by once yet. Ahhhh!!!!! So sorry. Loved the posts that I read this morning . . . though I'm obviously several days late.

And I must confess I know little to nothing about audio books . . . besides that Melissa's going to have one for A Bride for Keeps. (Awesome, isn't it?) Thanks for the post, Sandra!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLARI. My dh has an October birthday. You October babies ROCK. A couple Seekers do too but I won't tell. smile So thanks for the birthday wishes.

You will have to ask RACHEL how to start narrating. Sounds like a great job to me.

Stay safe in the storms. It is gorgeous here in Arizona.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Okay MELISSA are you going to tease us? Will you share that carrot cake recipe? smile Or maybe you already have sent it to Yankee Belle cafe.

Yes, an audio book for your grandmother will be perfect.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JENNY you are too funny. I can't read horror even in my safe house because a good writer scares me to death. But to walk in the park with a murder mystery. YIKES

Take care with those health issues. We are all praying.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CHRISTINA, It is way cool. I am really excited about this. It has been an interesting process. And I'm really loving audio books.

Sandra Leesmith said...

LYNDEE how funny and I so know what you are saying. I was fascinated with the site and hearing all the different voices.

Be warned everyone.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi TINA P, Great idea to check your audio rights. They are becoming popular.

Have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi DEBBIE, That is a great reason to love audio books. I can't imagine not being able to read. So glad you were able to listen to them.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi VIRGINIA, How exciting. I'm like you as I never listened to one before, but now I'm hooked. It is a great way to get to that TBR pile during times I normally can't read.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI MAXIE, Yes, it is an interesting world. RUTHY gave you some great advice about email addies.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi ABBI, You are a speed reader so that will make a difference for you. I like the slower pace and it is especially nice to be able to "read" while driving and walking. Makes a better use of time. l

But I'm thrilled you can read that fast because that means you read more books. SMILE

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CARA G. Thank you. And yes, more books are becoming available and that is always a good thing.

Kav said...

What fun, Sandra! I've always wondered about the process of producing an audio book. I've listened to them from time to time and they are definitely a better option for me than ebooks as far as reading comfort goes. I think I'll be adventurous and buy an audio instead of an ebook the next time I have that option.

And thanks for cake -- it made a great breakfast...it's okay to eat cake for brekkie, right -- I mean since it's birthday month and Clari's actual birthday! Happy Bday, Clari!!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI RUTHY, If you go to the AudioCX site, they explain the cost. You could do it with very little cost. Audio CX charges nothing as they get part of the royalties. The only for sure cost is the cover and I don't think that is much. You can get them for less than $200.

As for the narrator there are two ways to go. You can pay them outright when they finish the recording to your satisfaction. The charges range from $200-400 per hour. So if the audio book is ten hours then you pay for that ten hours. Not the actual hours it takes to record. And you can see from Rachel's answers there are many more hours spent than the actual finished product.

The other way to go which will cost you nothing is to split your royalties with the narrator. Audio CX does that for you.

Your royalties go up the more audio books you sell. So they can go up to 70%. you can see those figures on the audio site also.

Does that answer your question?

Oh yes, you can record the book yourself, but you would want to sound professional. And as RAchel pointed out you would need a good production studio.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CINDY, Thanks for pointing out more uses for audio books. I'm like you. I will be listening to them during all the driving I do. They are great and the time does pass more quickly.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks ANNIE, My niece listens to audio books during her commute to work also. I called her to ask what kind of voices she preferred when I was selecting a voice.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JACKIE, Glad you are enjoying audio already. Yes, it is great to have while driving.

In the old days hubby and I used to listen to stories on the radio while driving across country. The only problem was we would get out of range before the story ended. Now with audio books we won't have that problem.

Mary Hicks said...

Sandra, a good and timely post! I've always loved audio books. I drive back and forth between Texas and Oklahoma, listening to books pass the time.

When I listen to music, I drive too fast! :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi KAYBEE, So tickled that you are enjoying the writer devotions. And yes, our choices have become amazing. I love it. Just wish I understood it better. lol I was rather proud of myself that I managed to do this.

Sandra Leesmith said...

H NAOMI, Thanks for dropping by. Lots of great things happening this month so we are glad you could make it.

Sally said...

Enjoyed reading this post about audio books. I have never tried listening to an audio book. I get lost sometimes in a movie, thoughts wander, or I get up to do something. Is it the same thing with audio books? Do you sometimes have to go back to listen to something again because you got distracted?
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi KAV, Of course it is okay to eat cake for breakfast. That is my favorite time to eat dessert actually. I love it with coffee.

And yes, audios are easier for me also than ebook. More fun anyway. I still prefer a good ol' paperback.

Sandra Leesmith said...

MARY HICKS you made me spill my coffee when you said you drive too fast with music. Maybe we should tell ABBI because she wants the books to go faster. See there is a good reason to hear the slower audio process. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SALLY, Yes, you can go back. I had to whenever hubby came by with a question. You know how that goes. Just a quick question but it does take you out of the story.

Most electronic devices have a little bar that shows you how far along you are. You just push the bar back a little if you want to hear the story over again.

Sandra Leesmith said...

PS SALLY, That might be tricky while driving. You might have to pull over. chuckle

Sally said...

lol. I get distracted when I see cows in a field. Or geese flying by. Or by just random thoughts. I would be doing a lot of pulling over. Or driving down the middle of the road. But this would be better than trying to read an actual book while driving. I can walk and read, but I don't think I'll try driving and reading lol. But a lot of time is wasted driving that could be better spent reading! Thanks! How is the voice different for the different characters? How do you know who is speaking? And I also drive faster with music. Would it be possible to speed up the narrator if you were in a hurry to see how a scene turned out? Not exactly skip a section, but speed up the words like you do when you skim to get ahead.

Sandra Leesmith said...

SALLY you are too funny. No you can't speed up the narration or it sounds all garbled. But you can fast forward.

A good narrator like RACHEL will make the voices sound different. I think that is why they are called actors because they really act out the rolls when reading. You hear the emotion and can picture it Margo's mother was French and Rachel gave her mother a French accent. I loved it.

kaybee said...

Can anybody (well, not just anybody but One Of Us) put a recipe on Yankee Belle Café if you're not one of the original Seekers?
KB

Amy C said...

I do listen to audiobooks. A lot of times I turn on the text to speech on my Kindle. That way I can "read" while I clean the house. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

KAYBEE, I'll pass the word along to Missy and Ruthy. Do you have a great recipe?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi AMY great idea to listen while doing housework.

I know that a book on audio can be purchased with a kindle ebook as whispernet. I think for 99 cents you add whispernet when you purchase an ebook and then you can switch from reading to listening. It knows your place when you switch. Sooooo cool.

Mary Connealy said...

My neighbor has a ONE HOUR LONG commute to work every day. EACH WAY. She says audio books have saved her sanity. Plus she's 'read' some really good books. She never read mine until they were available on audio books. She just doesn't have the time to do any reading with an eight hour day, two hours on the road and two kids and a husband to see to when she gets home, so reading isnt part of her busy life. But she has four libraries she haunts to get audio books.

Audra Harders said...

Audiobooks! I must confess, I haven't listened to an audiobook in years. Mainly because the quality of the cassettes (Yes! Cassettes!!) didn't mesh well with the engine noise on long road trips. It was frustrating trying to listen to Narnia with the kids when every bump we hit drowned out the narrator.

I'm excited to hear the new and improved process...or probably just the end product...is so detailed and streamlined.

Yes, I think I'll download a book today and go for a walk.

Sandra, I'm excited for all the groundbreaking ideas and facets of book promotion and publication you've researched. Love's Miracles was a great read, now I can't wait for the audio version.

Next? The movies!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARY, Yes, audio books are available in the library also. Thanks for pointing that out. And yes, some of us don't have much sit down and read time so the audio books are a great solution. My niece has the same issue with her long work days, long commute and family when she is home. So audio books have been her way to read especially on those long commutes.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Fascinating! Love a good audio book for a long car trip. Brings the car-riders together :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi AUDRA, You can get a pair of earbuds and you hear the audio books just fine. I used mine when driving and could hear really well in spite of engine noise, hubby talking, etc.

The new technology is amazing. I just went out and bought a new ipod from Apple. It is the size of a credit card. LOVE IT

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SHERRI, You are so right. My hubby is really enjoying them now also.

Marianne Barkman said...

Sandra...I don't have this book yet, but now, maybe I'll get it and Mom and I can listen to it on those trips from Phoenix to Yuma this winter! Happy Birthday, Seekerville

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for this look into how audiobooks are produced. I'd wondered what was involved. Sounds like an interesting process. I enjoyed hearing that Rachel spent time choosing "voices" for each of the characters for whom you did the same thing when you wrote them, Sandra.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARIANNE, What a great idea. You do have a long drive. I hope you enjoy the book. It is gorgeous in Arizona right now. Hurry on down. The geese are flying by. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi KELI, Yes, the process is interesting and rather exciting. I love how RACHEL did the different voices. She did a wonderful job.

Wilani Wahl said...

I love audio books. There are times when I struggle with Vertigo and when that is going on, the only way I can read a book is if I have one on audio.

Happy Birthday

Wilani Wahl said...

I love audio books. There are times when I struggle with Vertigo and when that is going on, the only way I can read a book is if I have one on audio.

Happy Birthday

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi WILANI, Wow, what a blessing audio books are for you. Sounds like you truly are happy to have them.

See how much I've learned today about audio books. I love it.

Valerie Comer said...

Love this post. The high cost of purchasing audio books has held me back, and it looks like the high cost of producing one will probably keep me from creating one myself. If it's $200 per hour (finished) and Julie's is 15+ hours long, that means it cost $3000 (or more) to produce.

The alternative, I think, is the split royalty method, right? You have the choice of paying the reader outright or splitting royalties? Though I'm sure some readers will not be willing to take the chance on it "paying out" for them, which is totally understandable.

I'm going on a long solo road trip this week, so I should have a scout around the Audible site and see what I can buy. Or, at least, I should download a lot of podcasts to see me through!

My cake-of-choice is a chocolate chip layer cake with a butterscotch filling and a chocolate chip glaze. Made one just yesterday for my daughter's birthday. My 3-y-o granddaughter claimed it was her favorite cake ever.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi VALERIE, Audible.com has a deal where you can pay $7.9+ cents a month and get an audio book. The only problem with that is, they send you ads for other books and I get tempted and buy them at full price. LOL

You can check them out at the library.

Evidently there are narrators who will do the royalty deal. Remember if it is a best seller they could end up making a ton of money. Like you.

Jamie Adams said...

This is very interesting. It must be fun to do the recording. (and a lot of work)

Cindy Regnier said...

Thank you Sandra. Can't say as I've given any thought to audio books except that they're great for listening to on the treadmill. So interesting. Carrot cake sounds fabulous.

Jeanne T said...

Sandra, I LOVED this! I've listened to audiobooks for years, since they were recorded on cassettes. Yes, I'm that old. ;) As for places to listen to them, I listen a lot when I'm cooking dinner or working around the house. I LOVE AUDIOBOOKS.

I've always thought it would be cool to be a reader for an audiobook. I'm so glad you shared the process and Rachel.

Great post today!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JAIME, I'm sure RACHEL would agree that the process is a lot of work. But what a fun job to have. smile

Myra Johnson said...

Really interesting process, Sandra & Rachel! Thanks for explaining everything that goes into recording an audiobook! I haven't listened to many but may need to try another one next time we go on a long car trip.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CINDY, Oh great. Another good place to listen to an audio book. I see people with ipods at the gym all the time but I just thought they were listening to music. They could be listening to a book. I've tried to read while on a tread mill and it is to jiggily.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JEANNE T. Yay, another great idea. Some cooking is long and tedious like baking cookies or making jam. An audio book would be great. Oh boy, I'm getting great ideas today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MYRA, Sounds like a good idea. With the new technology, they are easy to listen to. The sound systems are right on.

CatMom said...

Wow, this is fascinating, Sandra (and Rachel)! I confess I've never listened to an audio book (*gasp*) but I think I'd enjoy it--I'll have to try one--especially now that I've learned about all the work that goes into the process.

Those cakes all look YUMMY, Sandra--thank you! I've love a piece of that one with red roses---love that gooey icing. ;) HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEEKERVILLE!!!

Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow! All that cake is giving me a sugar high, Sandra! :-) Carrot cake is my fave.
Thanks for the interesting interview. I hope my books will be on audio some day. :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi PATTI JO, I think you will love the audio books. I was like you and had never listened to one, but now that I have, I'm hooked.

Help yourself to a big gooey piece of cake. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MELANIE, Glad you liked the interview. Your books would be awesome on audio.

We'll have to have a carrot cake party. I bet Ruthy makes dynamite carrot cake.

Salyna xD said...

I do not listen to audio books because I prefer to read the book myself. There is just something different about holding the book in my own hand and reading the book in my voice. Normally, sorry to say, I don't like the way the people on the audio read the book. Most of them don't put the emotion into their voice or they just plain sound silly trying to do different voices.

I'm still commenting though because I would love to get an audio for my Mom. She is really busy and only has time to listen to books in the car. I know she has also been having a hard time finding Christian audio books that she would be interested in. Since I have read books by Julie and one by Mary I'm sure she would love any of these choices as well as yours.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

What a valuable post. I am highly interested in audio books. I’ve listened to over 1000 of them and I own about 4000 more. A few years ago I thought I was going blind and I bought audio books like crazy as a hedge against not being able to read. I still listen to audio books whenever I’m in the car (and no one else is with me). These days I only listen to college course lectures. However, when we take trips, my wife and I always listen to CD mysteries. Listening to mysteries makes a long two day drive to Florida an entertaining part of the vacation.

One thing you did not mention is that a large percentage of audio books are condensed. Sometimes there are two condensed versions along with the unabridged version. I think most people prefer the abridged versions. Authors may feel shocked by this but many stories are better as audio books because they are condensed. That is something an author may need to think about.

What could you cut out of your story and still have a great story? This turns out to be quite a lot with many best sellers! Often more than half the book can be cut! Just go into a big bookstore and check how many best sellers are available only in the abridged form on audio.

Reading the full book and then listening to the abridged version on tape can teach a writer a great deal about ‘story’ that the writer could learn no other way. I have done this many times.


BTW: They do make special tape recorders that can play a tape at twice the normal speed and not change the pitch (that is, the voice will not sound like the chipmunks signing). However, these were very expensive and I don’t know if this feature is available on digital.

Another thing to consider is that most books on Kindle can be read out loud by the Kindle itself. These are not bad but they really are just audio ‘reading’ and not a true audio book listening experience.

That is to say, listening to an audio book is not 'reading'. The ‘reading experience’ is very different. Reading takes place in your head. It is internal. It is private. An audio book takes place in the outside world. It comes from the audio player. The experience involves sense data coming into your inner world from the outside. It is something other people can hear.

This gives the audio experience an independent reality. As such, I have found that one can read a book one really loved and then play it in audio and enjoy it just as much again as a far different kind of experience.

Coming from the outside world there is usually no ‘head-hopping’ problem. Just as there usually is no such problem in real life. There is also a tone, attitude, and coloring that comes from the reader’s voice – and not the author’s. This again creates a very different listening experience -- it is substantially difference from the reading experience.

Some readers can make anything sound good. These readers are the superstars. The best selling authors get these readers and these readers have a following just as if they were authors themselves.

Then there are readers who can make even the best written copy sound bad. Mary Higgins Clark had her daughter read one of her books and it was so bad I could not listed to more than five minutes of it. Terrible.

I’ve only heard one author read his or her own book that was worth listening to and that was Tony Hillerman. He was far better than the very good reader the publisher provided on his other books. If you can ever get a Hillerman audio book in which he reads the book himself, you have a jewel.


I’ll say this: I have never been able to read a Vietnam story. Never. But I think I could hear your “Love’s Miracles” as an audio book. I will get it when it becomes available.

Thanks for a great post. The more information on this the better the listening experience can be made.

Vince

P.S. I’d like to hear Ed Asner read Mary’s books and Linda Blair read Julie’s.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome Rachel with the GREAT Italian name!!

I listened to the RWA MP3 audio on AUDIO CX. Wonderful info.

Thanks, Sandra for sharing this great interview.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Did Melissa Jagears tell us she has a recipe for carrot cake and then not share it??? WHAT?????

Rachel said...

Hi Everyone! Tina: Thanks for checking it out... And yes, Fulginiti is my husband's last name but I'm Italian too! My maiden name was Moriello!

Rachel said...

I wanted to address a couple of questions that were asked earlier. To CLARI: She asked how one gets started narrating audiobooks. The best way is to take a class with the best in the biz - Pat Fraley. He does a weekend-long class called The Billion Dollar Read. You will pretty much learn everything you need to know in that class - not that you will necessarily be fully ready, but you will have a great window into the world and know what you need to get started. Go to http://patfraleyteaches.com. He is a wonderful man - if you do it, let him know I sent you!

Rachel said...

Whoops! It's just patfraley.com

Chill N said...

Sandra and Rachel, thanks for sharing the process. I've listened to just enough audio books to realize a narrator can 'make or break' the story ... so I'm in awe of narrators who are so skillful the story is what I listen to and not the narrator's voice.

And for a bit of off-the-wall info gained from experience, a gentle human speaking voice from an audio book can be very reassuring to a recuperating animal :-)

Sandra, do you know if anyone has done an audio book first, on its own, with no paper or ebook already available?

Nancy C

Rachel said...

Besides taking a class, I think it helps to have acting experience and also to just read out loud as much as you can. You also pretty much have to have a home studio these days, but I wouldn't rush into that. I'd do some research and practice practice! Also listening to audiobooks can really help. I'm an avid listener and I learn so much from good narrators!

Rachel said...

Chill N.. Aww that's so sweet about turning on an audiobook for your animals- I love that idea!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SALYNA, How sweet to get audio books for your mom. I hope she enjoys them. I'm glad you found out we do have some books out there she would enjoy.

Rachel said...

The other question came from CHRISTINA who asked if I had a favorite character/story I've read so far: In addition to Sandra's book, which I just loved because of the depth of characters and the power of the dramatic scenes, there's a book I recently recorded called Absent a Miracle by Christine Lehner that I loved doing.
https://mobile.audible.com/productDetail.htm?asin=B00EJL8Z12&s=s

It was very funny and I laughed through the whole thing as I was recording it.

Rachel said...

Whoops don't know how to turn links into hot links but you can find it on Audible.com


The other one I enjoyed doing recently was a book called Left by Tamar Ossowski. That was interesting because it was narrated by myself and two other women, so I have no idea what their chapters sound like, I'll have to get the audiobook!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi VINCE, You make some good points. 4000 audio books, my my I guess that does make you the expert. smile

How interesting that some narrators have followers. And I imagine it would be awful to listen to a bad recording.

Wait a bit for my next book which I will put on audio. I don't want you to have bad experience with a Nam book. I'm going to talk to Rachel about doing Love's Refuge. You'll enjoy that one more. smile

In the meantime you can listen to Julie's and Mary's books.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI RACHEL, WElcome to the party and thanks for answering the questions.

That's great info about the week class. We have lots of workshops for learning to write also so we know what you are talking about.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI TINA, Glad you like audio. I can picture you using it on the treadmill. smile

MELISSA did say she had the best so I think we need to convince her to share.

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, SANDRA ... you have me REALLY interested, girlfriend!! I'm going to have to check this out for A Light in the Window!! :)

And, WOW, I didn't know you were giving away one of my audios if requested, so do NOT buy it if that happens. I have several just lying around, so I will be happy to provide that to the winner if they request ALS, okay?

I gotta admit, the gal they chose to read ALS sounds like she's from New Jersey and chews gum, kinda high-pitched and dumb-blondish, you know? So it kinda threw me off when I first heard it since my heroine is actually a very bright redhead. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI NANCY (CHILIN) No, I'm new to the audio business. Interesting question though. I don't see why not.

I agree with RACHEL. Animals would be soothed by that voice.

Julie Lessman said...

And, VIRGINIA, DOUBLE WOW on the stipend for your audio -- WAY COOL, girlfriend!!

Hey, you are the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits, aren't you? I just bought that and cannot wait to dive in!!

Hugs,
Julie


Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you RACHEL. I'm curious about reading Christina's book. Did all that laughter make it more difficult to record? Bet it was more fun though.

Julie Lessman said...

ABBI SAID: "Ok just went and looked up Julie's book A Love Surrendered on Audible.com and for this almost 400 page book it was 15 and 1/2 hours of audio!! That's crazy! It would take me less than 4 hours to finish this book! I had no idea it was that big of a difference!"

LOL, ABS, I think we talked about the fact that you can read one of my books in four hours, didn't we??? That is INCREDIBLE, but I guess you fly through it, wanting to get all that angst and drama behind you!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VALERIE SAID, "If it's $200 per hour (finished) and Julie's is 15+ hours long, that means it cost $3000 (or more) to produce."

HOLY COW, I had NO idea it was that expensive. No wonder Revell hasn't done any of my other books in audio -- most of them are 475-500+ pages, which would cost a fortune. My editor made me cut 50,000 words out of ALS, which shortened it enough, I guess, for them to consider audio on that one.

Hugs,
Julie

Clari Dees said...

Thanks for dropping in, Rachel, and thanks for sharing the website! I've already been clicking through it. I'm not an actress, but I've read out loud to people a lot and they seem to enjoy it. I'm going to do some serious thinking about taking his courses.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks JULIE, I'll keep that in mind if your book is selected. Just so you know, Julie did not get to select her narrator. Her publisher did that.

You will have fun putting A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW on audio. Let me know if you have any questions. If I can do it, you certainly can since you are way more savvy than me. lol

Sandra Leesmith said...

JULIE, Don't forget you can get it produced without that expense if you split the royalty with the narrator.

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID, "P.S. I’d like to hear Ed Asner read Mary’s books and Linda Blair read Julie’s."

Oh, Vince, you NEVER fail to make me smile, you know that??

What I want to know is ... why Linda Blair??? Do you feel one must be exorcised after reading my books??? ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CLARI!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIRLFRIEND ... HOPE IT'S THE BEST YEAR EVER!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ho CLARI, That sounds exciting. Let us know if you do. We'll cheer you on.

Jackie McNutt said...

I love audiobooks, they are so convenient in car, walking or just keeping up while cleaning house. I have borrowed them from the library for years.
it was interesting to learn more of how they are made. Thanks'

Sandra Leesmith said...

JULIE, I like the idea of Ed Asner reading.

Rachel said...

SANDRA: I wouldn't even realize how funny it was until after I'd say a particular line- then I'd chuckle to myself and maybe have to stop and start again. It was also a very challenging book because it had a TON of references to obscure Saints - very difficult to find pronunciations for a lot of them! And, about a third of the book took place in Argentina so I had to do a ton of accents - that slows down the recording process a lot for me bc I want to make sure I'm being consistent.

Abbi Hart said...

JULIE-Haha! That's actually just norm reading for me since I read about 100 pages per hour. But you are right in the fact that it does help to be able to push through all the stuff rather quickly and see how it turns out!
BTW-I finally got a copy of A Love Surrendered!! I cannot wait to finally read it and will be jumping in as soon as I finish my current read!

Sandra Leesmith said...

RACHEL, I bet the pronunciations were a challenge.

By the way, RACHEL emailed me whenever she wasn't sure of a pronunciation so that she would record it correctly. I so appreciated the extra effort.

An example was my name. Did I want it with the accent sounding like three names or my last name as one. Little things like that make a difference.

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, that is absolutely fascinating!!! thanks so much for sharing.
I know a lot of people who listen to audio books.

Rachel said...

That's a cool thing about ACX. I like working directly with authors! When I work with publishers a lot of times I have no contact with the author. If I have questions I have to ask the publisher to help and sometimes it takes a while to get an answer!

Jeanne T said...

PS—Please add me to the drawing for a Seeker audiobook. I'd love to add that to my audio library. :)

Melissa Jagears said...

Well, you know, most of my typing has been one handed these past 3 weeks, but I'll suffer for you.

Carrot Cake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 3.5 ounce can flaked coconut (I just measure out something from the bag!)
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
2 cups sugar

Buttermilk Glaze
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream Cheese frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9 inch cake pans. Sift flour, soda, cinnamon and salt together; set aside. Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut and nuts. Stirl well. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While cake is baking, prepare glaze by combining sugar, soda, buttermilk, butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Remove cake from the oven and slowly pour glaze over hot cake. Cool in pans until glaze is totally absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool Completely. To prepare frosting, cream sugar, and orange juice. Mix until smooth. Frost cake. Refrigerate until frosting is set.Serve chilled.

bonton said...

Yikes, JULIE LESSMAN!

50,000 words cut? How time consuming, & doesn't that hurt - having to get rid of all that emotion, angst, & work? Is it EVER possible to use those scenes in another book - with different characters, setting, plot, etc.? Maybe a ridiculous question, but I am NOT a writer!

bonton said...

P.S. JULIE LESSMAN,

Have you ever considered doing the audio reading, of at least one, of your books, yourself? Would be time consuming, but readers would love to hear you do that - am betting it would sell, even more, copies of your wonderful books!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Sandra: Your post was an eye opener into the process for turning a book into an audio version. First listened to audio books on tape, some borrowed from the library, on long trips with sons and still buy them now to suit my preference. I agree the narrator can make or break the experience.
Clari: Happy Birthday. Hope you're having a memorable one.
And Happy Birthday Seekerville!
I'd like to be included in the drawing for a Seeker audio book. Thank you, Sandra.

Vince said...

Hi Julie & Sandra:

You’re right I did not mean Linda Blair! I meant to say ‘Blair Brown’ who is a superstar reader. She’s narrated some of the biggest best sellers. Grisham and King. Her reading is outstanding. As far as Ed Asner goes, he is a great book reader. I think he is far better at this than acting. I named these people because they are already among the best readers out there.

Vince

P.S. It would be interesting if Rachel would tell us who her favorite readers are?

Vince said...

.
To paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith:

“Any author who feels like narrating her own audio book should go into a room and sit there until that feeling goes away.”

bonton said...

VINCE:
I'm sure audio recording by the author, could be a "pain in the butt", but (no pun intended) - I've heard some wonderful audio books read by the author (Liz Curtis Higgs, in particular). I already had the print books, but bought the audio books, also, because I wanted to hear the author's voice.

Jenny Blake said...

Oh Sandra I dont do horror or really scary but do read LIS books.
I find on my walks I turn out alot and can have music on and go oh how did I get to this song what happened to the 3 before it!

The pain med is starting to work this morning down to a 3 from a 6. not sure if I am up to a shorter walk yet but I can feel a difference. half tablet doesn't get rid of it but it sure helps. have another half for midday and then tonight if not reaction will go onto a whole tablet.

You know maybe I need to find a way to listen to audio books as reading at present im to tired but do like listening. (but would I fall asleep)?

Rachel said...

hey Vince:
My favorite narrators tend to be actors, I just finished listening to Kate Mulgrew narrate NOS4A2 - it is not for everyone as it is a very creepy supernatural thriller but she was amazing! Kate Mulgrew is now on Orange is the New Black if any of you have seen that Netflix show.
I also loved Gillian Flynn's Dark Places - excellently narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell - but another dark book!
The Help is brilliant as well, blows away the movie in my opinion! And same thing for Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. David LeDoux is wonderful.

Natalie Monk said...

I'll have a piece of cheesecake! Actually, don't let me near the table or there'll be none left.

Such an interesting post! Thanks for sharing, Sandra and Rachel!!!

My sister told me today that she would rather listen to a book than read it. Something about reading comprehension. I'm reading my ms to her and am amazed by all the typos and logistics it helps me catch.

I've listened to Frank Peretti's author-read young adult series and the Hobbit read by some very talented british man who I can't think of his name. Robert somebody? It was... I almost said delicious. I was so in the story. LOL. I love audio books and listening to the voices.

Question for Rachel or Sandra. I've heard of something called whisper-reading. Is that only a YouTube thing or do they ever do that with audio books? Do you think it will go anywhere?

Rachel said...

NATALIE: I haven't heard of whisper reading. I've heard of whispersync, which is a way to sync your Kindle and the audiobook so you can pickup wherever you left off. Not sure if that's what you're referring to though!

Vince said...

Hi Bonton:

You make a great point! I love to hear sections from books read by authors. Anais Nin did this and I enjoyed hearing her. I also like to hear poets read their own work. But a whole book with characters who have identifiably different voices, I’ve only heard Tony Hillerman do that. I’ve been disappointed with all the other authors who I’ve listened to who have read their own books. Fortunately very, very few authors try to read their own books. And those that do, I will no longer listen to so I have not heard them.

I must admit that I have not heard, Liz Curtis Higgs, read any of her books. I just put one of her audio books on hold at the library, “Here Burns My Candle”, and I am very interested to hear her voice. I hope this is a good book.

Of course, I could be spoiled. I’ve heard many of the best narrators in the world, over and over, again. I know how good a narrator can be. Thanks for your comment. I’m looking forward to the Higgs’ book.

Vince

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI JESSICA, Thanks for joining us.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Sorry folks. Went to an apple class to learn how to use my new ipod and download books on it. Yes, I am a serious audio listener now. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

MELISSA I am going to make sure RUTHY AND MISSY see this. They will nab you for Yankee Belle.

Thanks for the recipe of my favorite cake.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI BONTON, It sounds good to read your own book, but it really is a craft and I'm sure RACHEL can attest to the fact that it takes lot of training and skill besides production equipment.

I bet Julie reading a scene aloud at a book club or something would be really fun. In person where you could see her facial expressions, etc.

Interesting idea though.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI PAT JEANNE, I think you're right. When I listened to all of the samples it was amazing how different the voices were.

Sandra Leesmith said...

VINCE and BONTON, I think some authors may have the skill and the equipment to read their own work. But most of us might not. And might not even want to.

After working with RACHEL I do think each one of us should read our book outloud before sending it off. We would catch a lot of typos and grammar mistakes.

Sharon Wagner, the first author I ever met and mentored me used to read each of her books to her cats. I just thought that was her quirk but now I am understanding it was a craft technique

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JENNY, Glad the meds work. The nice thing about audio is that if you fall asleep you can always go back to where you left off.

Vince said...

Rachel said:

“My favorite narrators tend to be actors,”

This is also my experience. Sometimes you can’t tell who the actor is. When I heard an Ed Asner book, I thought he was one of the best narrators I’ve ever heard. When I checked who the reader was, I didn’t believe it! No way did that sound like Lou Grant!

But that’s the thing. Narrating a book is not reading, per se. Actors don’t read lines. They become the character and then they live the lines. This makes all the difference in the world. And it is why actors do so well.

One of the worse read audio books I’ve heard is Willie Nelson reading Louis L’Amour. It is always obvious that you are hearing Willie Nelson read you a story as if you were one of his grandkids getting ready for bed.

Professional question: what kind of selection should an author send for the reader to audition with?

I would pick one with four or five voices in it and not the passage that I felt was the best moment in the book. However, I don't know if this would be wise or not.

What should an author look for in order to select the best narrator? I hope I have to make this choice in the future.

Vince

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Hi Sandra and Rachel,
Thank you for the wonderful post. I'd started interviewing voices and it is addictive. Then I got involved with the next and book and dropped the idea.

I really want to do this for each book, but it also has to be cost effective to do so.

You've made me want to start again looking at the process.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RACHEL It is so wonderful to have you share your thoughts and expertise with us. Thanks so much.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi NATALIE, I think RACHEL has it correct. It is a feature that comes with Kindle. You can buy the ebook and if you pay extra you can add whispersync which allows you to switch back and forth from listening to reading. I thought it had to be an audio book but apparently from what others are saying it is a mechanical voice on the kindle. Not sure I'd like that.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good question VINCE. I had the same question when I put out my sample. I did what you suggested and picked a scene that had more than one character. But it will be interesting to hear what RACHEL says.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi LESLIE ANN, Be sure and share what you find out. We are all asking the same questions.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

Don’t you think your animal stories would make great audio books? Think of all the cute animal voices each would have. However, I do think with those books the audio should come with the book as an option. Think of it on I-Tunes.

Can an I-Tune book have an audio accompaniment? Just think of the kids who could have the story read, acted out and come alive,(complete with real coyote sounds) as they were learning to read on their reading device! I think that would work from a marketing point of view.

Vince

Melody said...

Happy Birthday to the wonderful world of authors! I love books, no matter what form they come in!

Jenny Blake said...

Sandra I read apple class and first thought was what is she learning to do with apples then read it was apple as in phone.

I may have spoken to soon pain is coming back again. but it still manageable. at a 3 now. wish I had time for a nap before church.

Chill N said...

MELODY said...
I love books, no matter what form they come in!


I second that! :-)

Nancy C

Susan Anne Mason said...

Great interview, Sandra. I just listened to an audio book this summer as we were driving to Washington and New Jersey. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again on a long drive!

Love Rachel's voice. It would fit well with narrating your story!

Cheers,
Sue

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Holy Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree with Sandra and her audio books!!!!

147 comments.

Oy.

Oy.

Oy.

How to cook for so many????

TAKE OUT!!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi VINCE, The animal books are on ITunes. I've never used ITunes so don't know if they have voice. That is a terrific idea. I will look into it. I did hear some voices I thought would be great for a children's book.

Sandra Leesmith said...

YAY MELODY, You're my kind of gal.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JENNY, that is funny. Nope, not apples. We would have to talk to RUTHY about those. But Apple has a wonderful program. For $99 per year you can sign up for as many classes as you want to learn about their programs and products. It is so wonderful for me. Most of their students are my generation. LOL

Praying you feel better.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks SUSAN ANNE, I think RACHEL did a terrific job.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RUTHY, you can do it. I know you can. And yes, we are rockin today. yay!!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

NANCY, I see you already seconded MELODY'S comment so I'll third it. YAY for readers.

Anna R. Weaver said...

Wow, this is ironic... I just finished reading a how-to book about making audiobooks and that's exactly what I find when I wander over to Seekerville. I think someone is giving me a hint...

Thanks for sharing! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan Christiansen, Betty Crocker used to have a recipe like that... I have it in the older editions of her cookbook. Love it!!!

KayBee!!!!! Of course we'll host you at Yankee Belle!!! We'd be honored, are you kidding me? The cafe is all about normal life, hangin' out, me annoying folks with my books and some good food on the side.

Wait.

Those other cooks have books, too????

Who Knew?????

:)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Shame on Jagears... Hey!!!

"I've got the move like Jagears, I've got the book like Jagears, I've got the moo-oo-ooo-ooves like Jagears!!!!

Adam Levine eat your heart out!

Jagears, carrot cake? Is it traditional recipe or different. Stop feeding that baby and tell us!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Just saw it.

Um....

(embarrassed for yelling at new mother, but hey....)

Thank you.

Rachel said...

Hi everyone - sorry I had to drop out for a while there- not sure if this is still going but for the audition question: I'd choose a scene with both a male and a female voice but not one with as many as five characters - that's a bit too much to ask of a narrator for an audition, especially since they haven't read the entire book and therefore couldn't make great choices about who each of the people were. Sticking to two or three characters with both dialogue and description will allow you to see how the narrator will handle both. I'd also use something from relatively early on in the book so the narrator isn't missing too much important info. If they have a basic idea of the plot, using something relatively early on will probably work well.
Sandra, I thought your choice was actually excellent; she chose an important scene near the beginning when they first meet. I got a great sense of who both of the characters were just from the scene itself, without having read the whole book.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, I have copied Melissa's recipe and it looks amazing.... and clearly she needs to bring baby Nathan with his peachy-meatball cheeks to the cafe and chat with folks...

Breast-feeding tips are encouraged!

:)

Rachel said...

Hey everyone - thanks for including me in this and for all your kind words. It was a lot of fun! Good luck with your projects and Happy Birthday!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI RACHEL, Thanks so much for sharing all your terrific information. I

'm so relieved I sent a good sample page. You pointed out some good things to consider for next time.

You did a great job of portraying Margo and Zane.

Sandra Leesmith said...

ANNA isn't it fun when you get the message loud and clear? Go for it. If you have any questions be sure and ask. And don't forget, the Audio CX team are very helpful during the process.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RUTHY, shame on you. She did share. I want to see that recipe on Yankee Belle. We all will enjoy it. I'm so hungry thinking about it. smile

karenk said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEEKERS!!!

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Piper Huguley said...

I hope you don't mind a little newsflash interruption Sandra (and I love audio books by the way), but the fabulous Debby Guisti just won the Nancy Knight Mentoring award at M&M. No one deserves it more! She's the first one I thought of when it was time to solict nominations. Congrats to you Debby!

Piper Huguley said...

Sorry Debby,

I spelled your name wrong in my excitement...

Piper

Anna R. Weaver said...

Thanks, Sandra! :)

Elaine Manders said...

Sandra, thanks for all the great info on audio books. I've never read? heard one, but I must agree that the reader's voice is important. That actress (Sigourney Weaver, I think) who narrated the Planet Earth series made it a success. No one they got after that came close, not even Oprah.

Congratulations Debby. Even though I've never met you in person I could guess you'd make a great mentor just by your presence.

Wanda B said...

Audio books are great when you don't have time to just sit and read a book. whether in the car, walking and exercising. I love books of ALL kinds! Thank you for the giveaway and such a great post. :)

Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Sandra Leesmith said...

PIPER what terrific news.

CONGRATULATIONS DEBBY.

AAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!

SNOOPY DANCING.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you KAREN K.

Waving at ANNA

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi ELAINE, You're so right. Debby is a wonderful mentor and friend.

She has helped sp many of us. I'm thrilled for her.

Thanks for hurrah

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi WANDA, I'm with you. I'm finding I can put in a lot more "reading" time doing chores, walking, and all the things that keep me from sitting down, but I can certainly focus on a good "listen."

Sandra Leesmith said...

So glad the M&M is going well. I know there are a lot of Seeker friends attending the conference. One of these days I might have to get out there.

Now that I have an ipod I can listen to on the plane. smile

Pam Hillman said...

Wow, this was so interesting! Makes me want to grab a copy and go for a drive! :)

Pam Hillman said...

Bonton & Vince: Liz Curtis Higgs was a DJ before she became an author, so narrating her own books would be a shoe-in for her.

She is an AMAZING speaker, and her voice has got that husky quality that I could listen to all day. I can see her being a great narrator, especially for her own books.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi PAM, Interesting point about Liz Curtis Higgs. Like I said, you need training for this. I'm sure it helps.

It has been an interesting day. Let's go for a drive. Wouldn't that be a kick.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks all of you for such a fun day. Be sure to check the WE tomorrow for winners.

And we have the grand week prize too.

I love birthdays.

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Hey Sandra,
Did you go the royalty route or pay by hour route. And if you don't want to say, I understand.

I have this post bookmarked :)

Thanks again.

Clari Dees said...

Congratulations, Debby!

And thanks, everyone, for the nice birthday wishes.

Edwina said...

Great post. Love the audio books for long car trips, especially when I'm driving by myself!

zoemmccarthyblog said...

I enjoy listening to audio books, and have been waiting for more inspirational books to be offered. Glad for the list given in this post.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Congratulations, Debby!!! WAHOO! Well-deserved!!!

When we first got involved with publishing May's stories, we thought audio would be a terrific idea. So, we recorded Chapter one and linked on our website.

It seems to be a popular feature. I'm still unsure about recording the entire book myself, especially considering the costs. Had not entertained someone else reading it until your post. Will seriously consider this.

We write MG, so... unsure how the payout will be, but what a blessing to get the story into the paws of those who for one reason or another CANNOT read.

Thanks for the excellent post, Sandra. Lead on!!!

bonton said...

SANDRA:

You are SO right - it would be fun to WATCH Julie read her book, no doubt she's one of the most facially expressive persons, ever!

Loved the vision of reading books to one's cats, & enjoyed the post! Thanks!

PAM: You're correct about Liz Curtis Higgs being a DJ, & I'm sure that would be helpful in doing the audio on her books. I live in the same town as she does, but, was living in another state when she was a DJ here, so never heard her on the air, & hadn't even forgotten about it. I'm sure she was a riot, on the air, just as she is -in person.

SANDRA: Liz is another person, that you love to WATCH speak, as much as you want to HEAR speak, because of the hilarious facial expressions. I have never seen anyone as talented in that field, as she is!