Friday, April 01, 2016

Self-Publishing, A to Z (AUDIO BOOKS)

Welcome to the Trogloblog, where I ramble on about whatever strikes my fancy. For April, I'm participating in the epic A to Z Blogging Challenge, where Monday through Friday, I'll be posting a new article following the letter of the day.

This year, I've chosen to focus on Self-Publishing. It's something I've been doing for about 4 years now, and despite my low midlist status, I have learned quite a few things. Instead of hosting seminars and charging admission, or selling a book on How to Self Publish, I'm going to share this knowledge with you, the reader, FOR FREE. That's right, April is All About Self-Publishing.

If you're not interested in learning how to self-publish, or if you just can't read enough, check out my fiction blog over at STONE SOLDIERS. For the third year, I'm going to be doing listings of people, places, and things from my Supernatural Military Thriller series. But this year, instead of looking back at what's been done, I'm going to look ahead, and offer a sneak peak at what's to come in 2016 and 2017. 

Now back to self-pubbing...

Rather than try and go in any particular order, let's stick to the A to Z theme. And write off the bat, when I think A, I think Audio books. 


If you're reading this, I think that you're in a minority. I too prefer blogs, but it sure seems as though podcasting has exploded in the past couple of years. Everyone has a podcast and everyone seems to listen to them. Reading is down, listening is up. But that doesn't mean the book is dead. It lives on, in audio format.

Whether you prefer iTunes or Audible (a subsidiary of Amazon), audio offers a considerably smaller number of stories for you to enjoy. And unlike print, you can enjoy while driving, jogging, rowing, walking, or doing anything that would otherwise prevent you from holding a book or e-reader/tablet up to your face. That makes Audio the third possible format for aspiring authors to consider, after print and digital.

But how do you get to Audio? Writing a book is easy (it is, I swear). Vanity publishing made it easy to print your book, and Amazon made it easy to digitally distribute your book. But how do you move your written words into the ears of possible customers?

The Answer is ACX, an Amazon company that allows content creators to publish audio books for sale on the Audible and Amazon sites. 

What's that, you don't know the difference between kilohertz and cattle herds? You aren't entirely sure which jack the microphone plugs into on your computer? Not a problem. For authors, it's pretty easy: upload a finished product (that meets the criteria and format required) or pair up with a producer/narrator to turn your words into heards.

Don't reach for your checkbook just yet. While you do have the option to hire one of the many narrators ready to audition to read your work, ACX offers up something even better for the author on a budget--profit sharing. That's right, some narrators are willing to narrate your work for a 50-50 split of the profits for 7 years. That may sound like a lot, and a long time, but if the alternative is to keep storing all those vanity-printed deadtrees in your trunk, it is definitely something to think about. 

Many a reader/listener has professed a desire to hear the author read their own work. And unless you sound like Tinkerbell, it's entirely doable, without breaking your bank. That's right, self-pubbing your book in audio is not expensive or particularly difficult. You need a good microphone, somewhere to record in peace and quiet, and an editing program to fix it all up afterwards. And due to the recent surge in podcasting brings this all home for under $100.

Gaming headsets offer amazing sound quality and many will plug into the ports on a laptop or desktop PC. Opt for the wired ones, rather than the wireless to keep costs down. These devices come with op shields (the little foam thingey that reduces wind noise over the microphone boom). 

If you don't want to try that route, you can go for a podcasting microphone--many of which are under $50 on Amazon. 

Software? Yes, alas, you will need software. But fortunately, podcasting again comes to the rescue and the free program Audacity can be had for converting, merging, or editing your files--you can't leave in hiccups, phones ringing or the dog barking. 

What about those pesky background noises? Kids, neighbors, and even wives can ruin a perfect string of narration. You can again turn to the how-tos for podcasting and record in your car (while it's parked--safety first), or you can go cheap and clever. Get some moving blankets from the local hardware store, hang them from the ceiling and create your own little sound dampening recording studio in a corner of your basement or that closet filled with useless junk.

From here on, it just falls down to technique. Once more, podcasting saves the day. There are dozens of websites that tell you how to make your spoke word a reality, giving you tips, tricks, and technical advice. It's all adaptable to making an audio book, when coupled with ACX's detailed instructions on file uploading. 

So, dust off those short works you worked so hard on, grab a cool drink and a comfortable chair and start reading to your audience. The audio book market continues to grow everyday and listeners are hungry for content.

Check back tomorrow for the next article on self-publishing: BOXED SETS. Until then, check the comments below for links to other A to Zers participating in the Blog Challenge 2016.

1 comment:

Troglodad said...

Don't stop now! Enjoy the A to Z by visiting these other interesting-sounding contributors to the April challenge: