Audio from the Authors: Just Then and Right Now
This is the first post in which talented authors share some experiences in producing their tales as an audiobook. I’ve been privileged to work with fabulous folks from all corners, and I hope this small series will encourage fellow authors to engage with a crucial market niche and win new customers. Listeners too may enjoy hearing about how the tale-tellers made their way to and through audio. As I bring one of their stories to your ears, here perhaps are more for your eyes.
Part the First: How It’s Going
This post features two writers who either hired or have me at present (May ’21) on their latest project. I asked certain things in common to all my authors to help set their context. Following that, some questions about their unique journey and opinions.
Dave Ashmore, Taking Care of Business
Dave brought Detective Mike Ash into my life, together with some terrific detail-oriented crime stories featuring a lot of focus on procedures and the city of Tampa Florida. Taking Care of Business is the third in the series.
How many titles have you published to date?
Three. All of them are paper, e-books and audiobooks. While I did not write my first book, Unfinished Business as an audiobook, my next two titles, Business as Usual and Taking Care of Business, were written to be narrated, especially by Will Hahn. I happen to believe in audiobooks; I think they have a great future.
Do you have a “Home” genre, or have you “played the field” in your writing?
So far, I have stuck with my “Home” genre, crime fiction with themes of murder mystery and vigilante justice. I will not rule out branching out in the future, but right now I’m having a lot of fun with Mike Ash and the ‘Heroes and Villains’ in Tampa.
How many audiobooks have you issued before this collaboration?
Did you listen to audiobooks before you started writing?
Interesting question. I had not listened to a contemporary audiobook when I wrote and self-published Unfinished Business on Amazon. When the idea of turning my first novel into an audiobook presented itself, I was intrigued.
As a boy, before television was a staple in every home, there were two major networks, offering a daily fare of radio dramas. They were very similar to audiobooks with the exception that instead of having a single narrator, the old radio dramas had a “cast” of characters sitting around a table on stools behind boom mikes, and bring a different world (as Will describes in his video) into the living room.
Ten years later, as a young radio-tv production major, my professor assigned a group I was in to do a radio drama based on a scene from Edgar Allen Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher. Then late one night, I heard the KRLD Radio Theatre of the air. Wow! I, of course knew intellectually, that this had been taped earlier in a studio with actors sitting on stools, reading from a script. The sound effects were on cartridge tapes in the control room, but not much else was different. The effect was the same. The effect of these voices reading a script over the radio was transformative.
And today, I find listening to my words being read in an audiobook exhilarating. The old magic of a story being brought to life by a voice is still there for me.
We’ve worked together on Audible/ACX as well as Findaway Voices. How do you find both these platforms? Do you have a preference?
I definitely prefer Findaway Voices. I would recommend them for neophyte as well as experienced authors. All the ‘metadata’ questions up front are a little intimidating initially, but once the project gets underway, it’s smooth sailing, especially with a high-quality professional narrator.
Let me add some advice to authors: choose your narrator carefully. S/he has to be someone with whom you can work closely. This especially includes someone who “gets” you and your work.
Have you found that hearing the audiobook read by someone else has altered your views about Out of Business, the next title in the series? Any pleasant (or un-) surprises?
With a background in radio production, I tend toward writing for a good ‘sound.’ And no worries: if a story ‘sounds’ good, it will ‘read’ even better. Definitely as I write Out of Business now, I do so with an ‘ear’ as to how it will sound with William Hahn narrating. And having a narrator with whom you can work well, who “gets” you and your work, to me is a make-or-break issue in producing audiobooks.
I personally believe in the future of audiobooks. The power of a human voice bringing a written narrative to life is just as much alive today in audiobooks as it was in radio dramas long ago.