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Audible Audiobooks: How & Why I Made Mine
Contributor
Written by
Monica Starkman
November 2017
Contributor
Written by
Monica Starkman
November 2017

Audible Audiobooks: How & Why I Made Mine

Like all of us here, I’ve adored books since before I could read them myself. My parents told me that whenever one of their friends came to our home, I’d run to them with a book and ask them to read to me.  The day I realized I’d learned to read stands out in my memory as one of the greatest days of my life. And since then, holding a book in my hand and reading it has remained one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

It was therefore a surprise to me to learn that audiobooks were such a hot trend, and that many people were back to listening to stories read to them even after they’d learned to read for themselves. As I began to talk to friends about this, I was startled to learn how many of them already were part of that trend: younger ones were listening as they exercised or did housework; older ones were listening because their decreased vision made reading more difficult.

I’ve been immersed in learning about books-to-movies lately, since happily my novel The End of Miracles is optioned for a motion picture. But I decided to learn about and join this new audiobook trend, and the novel has been up on Audible since mid-October.

Here’s how I did that.

  1. As soon as I went to the ACX site for Audible and read about the financial alternatives, I decided to do a royalty share. I knew I’d have to do some marketing, and didn’t want to incur any other costs.
  2. After I selected my preferences for the kind of reader voice I wanted (female, lower voice range, etc) I received over 200 names with snippets of their readings). Of those, I listened to about 80 readers. For most, it took me about 5 seconds to rule them out.
  3. I found about 6 readers (called producers) whose voices I considered pleasant to listen to (important), and whose versatility seemed right for The End of Miracles.
  4. I corresponded with them, and 4 were interested.
  5. Following the directions on the ACX site, I listened to them read the brief composite I’d put together of small sections of my novel that included some key characters speaking. I then narrowed it down to two. It was difficult to choose between those two. I finally selected the one with the more pleasant voice to listen to and with emotional variability in voicing of characters, rather than the one with a slightly grating sound and highly dramatic character readings.
  6. My narrator, who had acting training, clearly wanted to be treated as a professional. She welcomed corrections but did not want me to behave like a director. She welcomed information about the characters at the start, my correction of the few mispronounced words, but was not enthusiastic about my commenting too much about how she read certain lines.  So I did a minimum of that, trusting her abilities and restricting my comments to the relatively few times when I heard a line read that didn’t sound consistent with the spoken voice of some character. She easily accepted these and made the changes I suggested. I know that other narrator-author pairs have a different and more interactive way of doing this, but this way worked well for us.
  7. I am very, very pleased with the result. The reader transmits the seriousness, psychological conflicts within and between the characters, character growth, high drama of certain plot points, and heart-rending poignancy that I worked so hard to put into The End of Miracles.
  8. Now, we are working on contests and marketing. At her suggestion, we entered the book into the Audie Awards contest, using her membership to get the $100 discounted rate instead of the $200 I would be charged.  I reimbursed her as we had agreed in advance, since she had received no money through the royalty share for all her efforts. She also submitted it for review to Audiofile Magazine (and paid the $10 cost.) They responded that they would take a look at it, but we still don’t know if they will accept it for review.
  9. ACX helps with getting reviews by sending codes for FREE audiobooks to both the author and narrator for them to give out in return for a review on the site. I have started giving them out to people. (If you would like one, please email me at: [email protected])
  10. You can also make a personalized link that highlights your book, which you can give to people who are not yet Audible members. It guides them to sign up for a trial membership. They receive your audiobook, and they can then cancel their membership within 30 days without charge.
    Here is mine: http://www.audible.com/offers/30free?asin=B0769XGP96                        
    You can make one for yourself by substituting your own Audible book ID for my letter/number ID at the end of this link.
  11. People quickly found and bought my audiobook through the Audible site prior to my doing any marketing. The first one left a glowing review with sentiments that brought tears of joy to my eyes. It expressed a deep connection with the book, which is the reason we write.

 

Finally – and this is no small thing – I’ve enjoyed listening to The End of Miracles being read to me.  It brings me back to my pre-reading pleasure of hearing a grownup read to me, with the additional pleasure of the words being my very own.

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Comments
  • Diana Y. Paul Writing

    I am so happy you now have an Audible version of your book too. Isn't it wonderful to listen to the narrator's voice for a different take on your story? I still listen to my debut novel, Things Unsaid, on flights to pick up nuances different from what I had expected from the actress! So much fun!