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Have A Listen Tags: audiobooks writing

How does your story sound? When I read what I’ve written, I hear the story in my head. I hear the mood created by the narrative passages and the sound of each character’s voice. I imagine most writers have clear ideas about how their stories sound. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a reader will envision it in exactly the same way. Each reader will have his own perception of it.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a format in which to present your book to readers in the way you envision it? Creating an audiobook gives you the opportunity to do this. I have to admit that I’ve always concentrated on getting my thoughts down on the page in written form and haven’t been very interested in any form of aural presentation of my work (live readings or audiobooks) but this autumn I decided to dip my toes into the waters of audiobooks.

 Why? Well, audiobooks seem to be a market that is becoming increasingly popular as people lead busy lives and don’t have time to sit down to read. Instead, some choose to listen to books as they do something else. Also, audiobooks give people who are vision impaired access to them, opening another market for writers.

There are several established companies that produce audiobooks, but for those of us living outside the United States, we only have access to a few of them. The primary one available to most of us is ACX.

Discussing the pros and cons of each of the companies is outside the remit of this blog post. I’d like to concentrate on the process of creating an audiobook. So we’ll stick with ACX as our model.

 ACX allows an author to either narrate his book himself or hire a narrator to do it. If you choose to hire a narrator, you can either pay for the project upfront or hire a narrator who is willing to profit share with you.

I decided to hire a narrator rather than narrate the book myself as I don’t have the technical knowhow to record and produce a good quality recording, nor the right accent for the character in the story (not to mention that I wouldn’t trust my temperamental computer to co-operate with me either). For my first foray into the world of audiobooks, I’ve chosen a short story (the finished recording is half an hour long) to record.

I uploaded the manuscript to my author dashboard then started making necessary decisions to get the ball rolling: before I chose the narrator, I had to decide exactly what I wanted so I could explain it to her.

 An Irish female character is the first person narrator of my story so I knew I wanted a female narrator. For a story told in the third person, the writer would need to consider whether a male or female voice best suited the book. Once the narrator is chosen, the writer needs to guide him to create the desired mood and pacing for the story, as well as explain each character’s way of speaking and any accents any of them have. The narrator needs to understand how the writer envisions the characters to portray them accurately.

 After providing as much detail as possible about what I wanted, I received audition tracks of several narrators’ readings and requested a sample narration of an excerpt from my story from a couple of the narrators. I initially chose narrators whose voices I enjoyed listening to and who could produce convincing British or Irish accents as I needed a regional accent for my project. Later, when I listened to the narrators I chose to read an excerpt from my story, I considered whether the story sounded the way I envisioned it. Were they able to create an air of tension and suspense without being melodramatic and could they produce the accent I wanted for character.

One of the narrators did an excellent job so I hired her and we began working on the project together. I found it an interesting process to work with a narrator. Although she grasped how I wanted to present the story with minimal direction, I did have the chance to comment on how she read passages (too fast, too slow, more tension etc), how dialogue was delivered and how words should be pronounced to fit the accent of the character. I imagine it was a bit like being a theatre director on a very small scale (I tried very hard not to let the power go to my head).

After the recording was finished, I reviewed it. At this point, it’s important to be sure that everything is exactly as you want it to be because once it is approved that is the final product, just the same as when you upload a book file to Amazon to digitally publish it. There’s no turning back after you approve the recording.

I hadn’t known what to expect before I started this project but I really enjoyed the process and was thrilled when I heard the completed audiobook. I felt like my character, Bridie Murphy, had stepped off the page and become real when I listened to recording. That’s the magic a skilled narrator can make happen. Although I had never considered creating an audiobook until a couple months ago, I’m glad I’ve dipped my toes into the water. I haven’t even begun to think about marketing it yet, but no matter what the sales figures will be for the book, it’s an experience I’m glad I’ve had. And, unless I find I was wrong and there is no market at all for audiobooks, I think I will create more audiobooks in future.   

This Week 27 November 2017
Category: Site News

Blog: Crilly mused about how much time we spend waiting and what we do with it. She included a link to an article on the subject and another on writing in your head. How much do we write in our heads while waiting for something to happen?

Monday Muse: Angela’s prompts produced some lively ideas on the subjects of whisky and wails.

The Third Space: Jo reported that WA7 has had 72 viewings in Joomag and 51 PDFs. Of 435 subscribers, 185 opened the email, but we do not know how many read the magazine. Nobody has yet entered the quiz. All WA members have agreed to share the information on The Third Space with their contacts.

Bragging Stool: Jill’s run of success in short story competitions continues. ‘Fingal’s Cave’ has been shortlisted in the Erewash Competition and ‘Rainbow Nation’ was runner-up in the Kosta’s Olive Tree Competition. Many congratulations!

Felicitations to Alyson too, Her story ‘Belonging’ was also shortlisted in the Erewash Competition.

December Challenges and Opportunities:

Lulu New Writing Deal – Writing magazine – deadline 31 January 2018

Historical Society New Novel Writing Award – HN members only

Now or Never Competition – 800 words – deadline 28 January 2018

Magic Oxygen Competition – short stories 4000 words, poetry 50 lines – deadline 31 December 2017

Other News: Chris has finally got her blog ‘Almonds and Olives’ up and running and hopes to post a poem each Friday. Great effort, Chris!

Susan has posted a link to Friday Fictioneers, which requires 100-word stories. Unfortunately, Susan has decided not to continue with WA, as she feels unable to give the commitment to the group. We wish her well.

Wonderful news from Sue, whose follow up tests are all clear and her cataract operation went fine. From us all Sue, continued good health and happiness.

Nina now has her story ‘Bittersweet Christmas’ out on Amazon.

Jo is talking to Debra about her trial.

Laura now has an addition to the family, Adam Johnathan, born 20 November. We will all wet the baby’s head, Laura, splendid news and an early Christmas present.

Words Waiting to be Written Tags: Waiting Words Time Writing


Words Waiting to be Written

Has it ever occurred to you how much time we spend waiting?

In the good old days, we’d wait for the postman to arrive but with the march of time, we glance at the screen and wait for emails.

We wait for the kettle to boil, wait for the train, wait for the rain to stop, wait for the long overdue baby to be born, wait for the kids to come home and wait for the results of medical tests. Doubtless there are many examples of waiting but you get the idea.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could harness this time and get some of it back?

The question is -how?

Do we use that waiting time wisely?

Lately, I have spent a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms with my husband. There are days when he doesn’t want to talk so my options are to read a book (there is always one in my bag!) gaze at the dusty old pot-plants, out-of-date magazines or retrieve the notebook (also in my bag) and jot down ideas relevant to writing.

Which brings me neatly full-circle. I am waiting (there’s that word again!) for my writing spirit to return. Did the anaesthetic I had for my recent hip replacement kill off my creative side, has the last month of worrying about my husband’s health caused writers block? It certainly feels big enough to be more aptly called a writer’s blockade. Twelve-foot-tall, six-foot-wide, a mile long and made of concrete. A definite wall through which words to paper cannot pass!

Just writing this blog and sitting at the desk and reconnecting with my laptop has been a good thing. I hope I’m not imagining things, but it feels like the neurons or pathways in the creative hemisphere of my brain are beginning to fire.

Having said all that, the idea of all this waiting fascinates me. This morning I had to ring a courier. After the 7th “Your call is important to us” I hung up, sick of waiting.

The time I spent on hold, I could have walked the parcel of faulty goods to the depot, based the other side of Sydney. The rising frustration prompted me to google the idea and surprisingly, there is a lot of relevant information. Included below is one of the better links.

It was while I was leaning on the kitchen bench, phone in hand and waiting to be answered I realised how much writing is done in the head. This is before one commits ideas to paper.

Again, turning to Google, I find this link and share it with you below.

Scroll down to Item four for the paragraph on writing in your head, it’s worth a look.

In conclusion, how do you spend your time when waiting? What examples of waiting cause you the most frustration? Have you learnt a secret mantra, or perhaps you breathe deeply to achieve a state of calm?

Is your latest masterpiece composed in your head whilst doing that very thing …waiting.

I shall wait your reply! 

















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