Taking the Audio Route

Believe it or not, I just found out that Gizmo (my "old" Kindle from 2010) can play audiobooks. Pretty cool, huh? What's even cooler is that three of my writer pals have recently had their work transmuted into audio format, and their audiobooks are now available on both Amazon and iTunes.

To share about his journey from text to audio, please welcome fellow speculative fiction author Roland Yeomans to In Medias Res for an informative interview:

Milo:  How would you describe your work in one sentence?

Roland:  Roger Zelazny coined a phrase for the kind of writing he did: science fantasy -- and that is my word for my work, too. I'm very taken by mythology. I read it at a very early age and kept on reading it. Before I discovered science fiction I was reading mythology. And from that I got interested in comparative religion and folklore and related subjects. And when I began writing, it was just a fertile area I could use in my stories.

What is your process like? Are you a pantster/plotter/hybrid?

Often the character will occur to me, and I say to myself: what would be an interesting problem for that person to have to survive or solve? Other times, the crisis will rear its Hydra head in my mind, and I will have to think what hero would prove riveting in that sort of mess. I have a general idea where I want to go, and then I let my characters loose to make of their gauntlet what they would. In the words of Roger Zelazny: "Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant — you just don't know which. You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place. Trust your demon." I try to trust my demon. :-)

Lately you've had many of your books produced for audio -- what's that been like?

It's too early to tell just yet. Each voice actor/actress that I have worked with so far has been excellent. But life is a harsh mistress, and storms in their personal lives can stall the process.

For authors out there considering having their work produced as audiobooks, what advice would you give them?

I have only dealt with ACX, but since they offer a Royalty Share where you do not have to put a dime to get your book done, it seems the way to go. Audible takes its cut and then you share 50-50 with the narrator. It takes the narrator 8 hours total work for each audio hour, so for an 8 hour book (the average time), the narrator will have spent 64 hours that she/he cannot get back. So to get them to gamble that much precious time, you have to write a sales pitch on your book's ACX page that will persuade them you are a good gamble: How many visitors per month do you get on your blog? How many Twitter followers do you have? How many good reviews did your novel receive? How high in Amazon's sales ranking did your novel go? What outside factors might stir interest in your novel being made into an audio book? Are you a one-hit wonder, or are there books in your backlist that the narrator can look forward to doing if your audio book garners high sales?

Where can we find your audiobooks?

You can find my audiobooks at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Check out The Bear with two Shadows, French Quarter Nocturne, and The Last Shaman.

Thanks, Roland!

So, what do you think? Ready to take the audio route yourself?

34 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting and have been thinking about it, but just need to find the time

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    1. As struggling Indie writers, we find it hard to stand out from the crowd. One solution is to make the crowd smaller -- and audio books is the way to do that. But now is the time. If you wait until everyone is doing it, you will find yourself lost in the crowd again.

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  2. I have to finish my book first. ;)

    Have a great Sunday.

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    1. Yes, first things first! Good luck with your book!

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  3. Audio is way down on my list at the moment. I'm struggling to get more books out. After I have more product, then I'll think more seriously about audio. Great interview!

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    1. Don't wait too long. If you have three books out, you have enough booksr in your backlist. Your audio book may well direct traffic to your prose books!

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  4. I've been watching Roland as he's worked on his audio books. Not sure if my publisher ever intends to go the audio route, but it would be wild to hear my books.

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    1. Yes, it is wild to hear your books. In FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE when the evolved raptor first speaks, it actually creeped me out! And in END OF DAYS, currently being produced, when the special effect to the Turquoise Woman's is first heard, it is truly eerie!

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    2. I am at work. I meant to write the Turquoise Woman's VOICE. Oops.

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  5. I love that "trust your demon" philosophy for writing the story. I often listen to that crazy voice that says "do it anyway." :)

    And I can't say I've ever listened to an audio book, but I know they're very popular with people. If I commuted long distances, I think they'd be ideal to listen to in the car.

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    1. Since I commute long distances, I listen to a lot of audiobooks: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John D. MacDonald, Patricia Briggs, Roger Zelazny -- I especially recommend Zelazny's audiobook, THIS IMMORTAL.

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  6. I don't have any books written, but I was playing with the idea of doing an audio version of one of my short stories...since no one else wants to.

    Oh, and I love science-fantasy. :)

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    1. If you have a series of linked short stories or stories with the same character, it would be a great idea.

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  7. We used to listen to audio books in the car during long travels. (Back when they were on cassette.) Tempting to try one. Elizabeth S. Craig has been turning her older titles into audio books, too.

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    1. The great thing about audiobooks from Audible or Amazon is that you do not have to change cassettes or CD's. It just plays continuously. I recommend my THE LAST SHAMAN. It is only $6.08 from Amazon. Neat price, right?

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  8. It sounds like an interesting way to add readability for a book, but I'm not ready to take the plunge yet - I'm not sure I have the readership for it. Maybe in a year or two, I'll get started on something like this. It's been in the back of my mind for awhile.

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    1. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd while the crowd is relatively small (as compared to all the prose eBooks out there!)

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  9. I've thought about doing the audio route. It's good for people who are driving cars and want to listen to something other than music.

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  10. I've been seeing more and more audio books. I think it's a great idea.

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    1. Cross your fingers for me -- and listen to the free samples on the audiobook pages, will you? THE LAST SHAMAN is only $6.08 on Amazon, and the voice actor is awesome. :-)

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  11. This is a great interview! I will definitely share it with my friends who have books already published. I especially liked hearing about Roland's process. I'm learning to trust my demon, but it's hard sometimes--she has some CRAZY ideas. :)

    I'm a huge fan of audio books (all things audio actually) so I'll definitely check out yours.

    Thanks, Roland and Milo.

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    1. THE LAST SHAMAN is only $6 on Amazon. How cool is that? I'm happy you liked our interview. Learning to trust your demon is hard. But if it were easy, then you'd know it was the wrong path!

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  12. Thanks Roland and Milo. I've never thought about doing audio. You've just opened a door for me.

    Thanks so much.

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    1. Doing audio is one good way to shrink the crowd you're trying to stand out from! Glad you liked our interview! :-)

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  13. Whew! Such a process! My hubby and I used to be in audio production and theater, so with a significant portion of audio books, I cringe. The actors are typically phenomenal, but I had a mentor recently ask me, "Who knows your book better than you?" I echo his sentiment. If authors have decent theatrical/public speaking experience and access to the equipment required, I'd suggest giving it a go on your own.

    Thanks for the insight, Roland. =)

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    1. With your unique background and skills, you have an excellent foundation upon to build a great audio book. But while I may know my novel well, my way with accents leaves a lot to be desired! And mortal beings should not be exposed to me trying to speak like a female!! :-)

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  14. Wow, this audio book info is priceless. Thanks!

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  15. Gizmo, I think that's the cutest name for an old Kindle.

    I definitely think branching out into audiobooks is something for an author to consider. I know I would think about going with ACX to create an audiobook, if my book was selling well otherwise. You can never go wrong having your book in as many formats as possible.

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  16. If I only had the sales that would make an audio company take notice, I would definitely pursue this. Thanks for the very handy information.

    I also really the term "personal demon" -- it has more edge than my "inner goddess."

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  17. I'm impressed that your Kindle also does audio.Audio books can be great. I edit audio text for the RNIB and so far I love it.Trusting your personal demon is really paying off for you. :O)

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  18. Great info. I'm not an audiobook listener, but these are things to think about since others enjoy them.

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  19. Great interview! Science fantasy sounds like a fun genre/world to get lost in!
    I might try audio but would never have the nerve to read my own story :-)

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  20. that is awesome! i know so many who use audiobooks and science fantasy rocks!

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