When I offered to host other writers on this blog, Alex J Cavanaugh was one of the first to respond. Read below to learn how his popular books became audio books.
Over a year ago, my publisher announced they would be moving into audio books. During the next two years, the most successful titles would convert to audio. I had no idea what to expect. Even scarier – my Cassa trilogy would be first!
Now, I can only tell this story from the viewpoint of an author with a publisher taking care of the audio. Self-published authors will take on a lot more work than I did during the process. But many of the steps will be the same.
Once my first book began receiving auditions, my publisher passed along the best ones. This is where my input mattered. I was warned that the narrator wouldn’t read my book exactly the way I’d envisioned it. I was just to select the best of the lot, the one who not only got the voices right but captured the essence of the story. My favorite was Michael Burnette – and fortunately, he was also my publisher’s favorite.
The narrator selected, my next task was to make a list. Since I write science fiction, the first part was to list all of the potentially challenging words and their pronunciations. I had to search through my manuscript for names, places, and things that might cause confusion. I had to type out the word and its correct pronunciation. (To the best of my ability – Ernx is easy to pronounce but tough to describe how to pronounce.)
I was also asked to list all of the main characters and describe them. What did they sound like? What was their personality like? The narrator would take a lot from what I’d written, but it helped him to know up front a bit about the characters.
After that, the narrator went to work. I received a chapter now and then, just to be sure the narrator was on track with everything. (Michael Burnette narrated all four of my books and put together the Cassa boxed set for audio, and only once during that time did he pronounce something wrong that had to be changed.) There was one instance where he selected a different pronunciation than what I’d envisioned. But you know what? His was better. So I let it go.
And I think that’s the biggest thing with audio books. As authors, we have this vision in our head of how everything looks and sounds. But so do our readers. And every one of those visions is different. Our narrators will also see our story in a different light. We have to accept that. No matter what, as long as the narrator is good, it will be all right.
I’m fortunate that all four of my books – and one boxed set – are available as audio books now. It blows my mind to see them offered in three different formats – print, eBook, and audio. Plus hearing them, especially with all the layers of special effects my narrator added – well, I can hardly believe I wrote those stories. (The last two in particular. Really, I wrote that?)
Even more fun – my publisher has been running a giveaway the past couple months on Twitter for all of their audio books. (And I believe one of mine is the current giveaway!) https://twitter.com/DancingLemurPre
So, if you get the chance to get into audio books, I highly recommend it. Just keep an open mind and work with your narrator. Let that person bring your books to life!
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
Dragon of the Stars
CassaSeries boxed set
Dancing Lemur Press LLC - http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com/