Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Draft2Digital and Findaway Voices

With Alex's guest post on audiobooks on Monday, I thought it timely to get an announcement from Draft2Digital about Findaway Voices, an audiobook production company that D2D just partnered with. I don't know much about it, but it seems similar to ACX, which is what I used to produce the audiobooks for Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes. On both sites, you set up your book, choose a narrator, listen to and approve the audiobook, and set up distribution. Findaway says they don't require exclusivity and give you more control over pricing than ACX does. Unlike ACX, Findaway does charge a setup fee, but apparently this is waived if you go to them through D2D. ACX allows you to do a royalty split with the narrator instead of paying a set fee per finished hour. Findaway doesn't have this option, so you do have to pay up front and hope you earn it back. I currently don't have audiobooks for the Season Avatars series. However, if/when I get to that point, it's good to know there are options available for indie writers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Guest Post: The Audio Book Process

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!)

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.

Audio Links:

Dragon of the Stars



CassaSeries boxed set

Dancing Lemur Press LLC -

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saint Louis and Cahokia

Our family took a short getaway to the Saint Louis area last week. We visited Meramec Caverns...

 and the Science Center, which had a special exhibit with replicas of King Tut's treasures.

The City Museum had so many things for kids to do, along with surreal art, that Alex wanted to stay there all day. (We only saw part of it.)

The main reason we went down to Saint Louis was to see Cahokia, the site of a Native American city. About all you can see today are the mounds they created for their ceremonial buildings and a recreation of Woodhenge, which helped the residents identify the first day of each season.

Of course, no trip to Saint Louis would be complete without a visit to the Arch. We also saw the Old Courthouse where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom.

 On the way home, we stopped in Springfield to visit Lincoln's tomb. For some reason, my photos haven't uploaded to Google yet.

We had a misadventure with our stuffed animals Stan, Rex, and Oscar Friday evening when their traveling satchel was left behind at a restaurant. We had to make a 40-minute round trip to get it, but luckily "the boys" were still there.

We spent a lot of time in the car on this vacation, but I read several books during the trip and nearly caught up with my Goodreads reading challenge. I also finished my second pass-through of Summon the Seasons on the Kindle, but I still have to update the text before I send it out to beta readers.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Young Seasons Now Available--Free Today and Tomorrow!

Young Seasons went live on Amazon yesterday. You can download it here. (Sorry, Alex, it's currently in Select, but I plan on wide distribution to iTunes and other stores in October.) It'll be free today and tomorrow to celebrate Prime Day. Afterwards, it'll be $0.99. If you like the stories, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Young Seasons--Cover Reveal and Publishing Update

Maria Zannini of Book Cover Diva finished the cover for Young Seasons in late June, but I wasn't ready to reveal the cover until now:

Maria came up with a design that ties in with the novels in the series while incorporating elements from two of the short stories. You'll have to read the stories to figure out which two. Thanks, Maria!

I finished correcting errors last night, so the collection is uploading to Amazon as I write this post. I'll add the link and price once Young Seasons is live. Otherwise, I may have to post an update tomorrow.

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