Showing posts with label audiobooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label audiobooks. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Indie Authors: The Joy of Working with Artists

Page with No Words, by Illustrator Nancy Batra

Today we indie authors—an author who has published a book at personal expense—a self-published author—have some advantages over traditionally-published authors. We are our own boss, we can produce and publish our work in record time, and we can find many professional individuals and companies who help us turn out quality products. There is a downside, of course, but we won’t go there for now.

One of my greatest joys as an indie author is having the privilege of working with four artists: three illustrators and a voice actor. In each project I’ve had a say, and have had the enjoyment of considering the beginning sketches, and as in the case of my first book, Secret in the Stars, have been rewarded with the completion of the final product. The same is true for the audiobook. Here is the process as each project has evolved so far.

Secret in the Stars: Tiffany Tutti began by sending me sketches of her vision, which she created from notes I sent her. We sent the files back and forth for edits until they were completed. Tiffany created extra illustrations for my website as well. Due to the nature of the project, I own the files. This is key, as I have the freedom to use Tiffany’s illustrations in all my materials.

Secret in the Stars audiobook: I chose Findaway Voices for the company to produce my audiobook after watching “Is Findaway Voices Worth It?” by Dale L. Roberts on YouTube. Also, Draft2Digital, a self-publishing company, highly recommends Findaway Voices. I am glad I took their advice because Findaway Voices is a terrific company to work with. The price for producing an audiobook is reasonable and no payment is made until the finished product is approved by the author.

  • Findaway Voices begins by matching your project with comparable voice actors. I had a choice of 5-6 actors, learned about their backgrounds, and listened to a short excerpt of my book by each one. I chose the one whose “child’s voice” I liked best: Kae Marie Denino.
  • Kae narrated a larger section of my book for me to comment on. Once I gave my approval, she finished narrating the book.
  • She and I messaged back and forth, which helped solidify how she interpreted the various voices. 
  • The audiobook will be available soon on Amazon.

Secret in the Mist: Danika Corrall, the web designer who created my website, has agreed to illustrate Book 2 in the Abi Wunder Mystery series. Danika has designed the cover and will create the illustrations as soon as the manuscript is ready.


A Packrat Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift
: Last but not least is my work with illustrator Nancy Batra, who has agreed to illustrate my picture books. This packrat story sat in my “drawer” for years. I reworked it (many times), especially by cutting down the words and taking into account how the illustrations tell much of the story. I wound up with two pages in the book with no words, which was the most fun I had with the project.

I created quite a few book dummies for the packrat story before coming up with the one that worked best for me: simply 8 ½ x 11” paper folded in two, stapled together and numbering 32 pages. Nancy and I collaborated on the ideas for the illustrations by sending the sketches back and forth. She has agreed to illustrate more of my picture book stories, which are seeing the light of day for the first time in a long time.

There are too many joys of being a children’s author to name here, but working with these artists has allowed me to visualize my stories on paper, not just with words, but with an artist’s eye for things I haven’t even thought of. The experience has been one of the most rewarding of my journey into children’s literature.

Sources: 

Dale L. Roberts on Findaway Voices can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwUP7pJYWGI

Danika Corrall Design Studio: www.danikacorrall.com

Findaway Voices: https://www.findawayvoices.com  

Nancy Batra Design Studio: www.illustratornancy.com 

A note about last month's post, "Is an Indie Kirkus Review Worth It?" 

I talked to a salesperson at Kirkus Review about the possibility of placing an ad in one of Kirkus's publications, their website, magazine, or newsletter. She informed me that Secret in the Stars was earmarked as a Kirkus "recommended" book. Great news that I can include in my promo materials. I asked her why I hadn't been informed of this designation and she said Kirkus doesn't have an icon for this, such as the star for starred reviews, but that when there is room, Kirkus will recommend these books in their materials. The only way to learn about this designation is to call. I recommend any author who has received a Kirkus review to call to see if your book has received this designation.

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda: https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

 


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Listen to Bestselling Books (For Free)


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Many libraries have temporarily closed (including the one down the street from me). The good news is their online feature are still open and accessible if you have a library card. I continue to check out and listen to books from my library--and you can too. 

Recently I listened to the new memoir by actress Demi Moore  called Inside Out. About the time I finished listening to the book, the hardcover print memoir was #1 on the nonfiction bestseller list from Publishers Weekly.  

While Inside Out was unusual listening for me, it wasn't the first time I heard a current bestseller about the time of its release. In fact, it happens to me often. I read or listen to many bestselling books. In this article, I want to show you how you too can listen to the latest books about the time of their release and when people are talking about them and you are reading about them in the news.

1. Read about forthcoming books and use free online publications like Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, newspaper or magazines. As you read, be watching for the information about forthcoming books and then take action. The action that I'm encouraging you to take is to sign up to get the book coming your direction (free).

2.  If you see something of interest, search for it at your local library on Overdrive and get on hold list for the book. You will have to learn how to use the search tool of Overdrive then get on the waiting list for the book. The beauty of this process is to find the book, put a hold on it, then get in line for when the book is available. Using the hold process, when the book is ready for you to check out, it will automatically be checked out to you and you will receive an email that the audiobook is ready for you to download on your phone. I love the Overdrive process because it is free, easy and I carry the books everywhere on my phone. It allows me to listen when I'm in my car for a few minutes or a longer drive. I can listen to an audiobook when I exercise or even when I travel on an airplane—because the audiobook is on my phone. After 21 days the book “expires” and returns to the library. This expiration process is automatic and does not involve physically returning the book since it is all done electronically.

3. If you can't find it, then make a request for it through your local library. They can possibly buy the book and if you have requested it, you get to be one of the first people to get the book. I've gone through this process a number of times with books and my local library has ordered the book.

4. From looking at the books that I've been reading and writing about on Goodreads or Amazon (follow these links to see the books), I hope you will see the diversity. While I'm a conservative Christian, I do not read or listen to only conservative Christian books. I mix into my reading books from people who are at the opposite political spectrum from me. For example, in recent days, I listened to Susan Rice's memoir called Tough Love. I enjoyed this audiobook and heard it cover to cover (which I don't do with every book). 

Also I vary the types and genres of books that I consume. The diversity builds something intangible but important in my life. It is a pattern I recommend for you as well. Don't be in a reading rut but be open to many different types of books. Because I'm using the library, there is a wide spectrum of available books.

I've given you the steps and ways I learn about forthcoming titles and then listen to them for free. Are you listening to audiobooks? Maybe you do something completely different. Let me know in the comments below.

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You can listen to current bestsellers for free. Get the details here.  (ClickToTweet)


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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June and AudioBooks


By W. Terry Whalin

June is AudioBook Month. This area of publishing continues to expand and explode from everything that I read online and in print, in consumer magazines and in trade magazines. 

For example, I encourage you to read this article from the recent Book Expo America and mega-bestselling author, James Patterson. “Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio) opened his presentation with a declaration: “Listening to an audio is reading. A lot of gatekeepers don't buy into that, but I do.” Noting the audiobook “is only scratching the surface of its potential importance and its audience,” he offered a pair of recommendations. “The first suggestion is that some audiobook people have to go out to Silicon Valley. We need to redesign audiobooks so they can be sold at a better price.” He also advocated for offering an irresistible audiobook package, which “could include, just for example, a John Grisham, a Patterson, Hillbilly Elegy, a Wimpy Kid novel, Alan's new book,” to automobile makers at close to cost if they would agree to put it in every new car they sell.” I found this idea interesting and will be watching the publishing world to see if someone takes James Patterson up on such an idea.

If you are wondering about the viability of audiobooks, just look at these recent statistics:

In 2016, Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9% Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association's annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%. The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015.” 

“Among other findings:
  • More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
  • Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
  • Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
  • More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
  • A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
  • 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
  • The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
  • The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance.
  • 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.”
I hope some of these numbers caught your attention about the importance of audiobooks. I want to finish this article with three ways you can get involved with audiobooks:

1. Listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. The first way for any of us to get active in an area is as a participant. I have written about audiobooks in past articles

2. Use your activity to promote and encourage others to listen to audiobooks. As you complete an audiobook, take a few minutes and write a review. If you examine my Goodreads book list, you will notice a number of these books are audiobooks.


3. Get active creating audiobooks. If you have no idea where to begin, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Richard Rieman's book, The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation. This little book will help you learn more about the audio book industry and give you resources for launching your own audio products. 

Are you using and creating audio books? Let me know in the comment section.
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 W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.

Tweetable:

Are you taking  advantage of the audiobook boom? Read this article to take action.  (ClickToTweet) 

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