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Category: Audiobook

Looking for a tune

Posted in Audiobook, Tales of Annwn, and Under the Bough

That's usually a topic for my fiddling website, but not this time.

This year I'm planning to do several of my audio books. That includes the stories from Tales of Annwn, and one of those (Under the Bough) includes a song.

I better come up with a tune for it. Oops.

It's a rollicking drunks-at-the-wedding sort of ditty. If any readers would care to make suggestions, I'll be glad to consider them before rolling my own, and give you a credit in the audiobook. Welsh or general Celtic styling is what I have in mind.


What did she see in him?
Who could explain?
Another full glass,
And we’ll not mind the pain.
Pain, no pain,
Again and again,
Another full glass,
And we’ll not mind the pain.

Over and under him,
Country or town,
Give us one more
And we’ll drink it right down.
Down, down,
Away with her gown.
Give us one more
And we’ll drink it right down.

Lift up your glasses,
And do what is right.
Wish them the best,
Of both day and of night.
Night, night,
An inspiring sight,
Wish them the best,
Of both day and of night.


Narrating and producing your own audiobooks

Posted in Audiobook, Just for Writers, and Production

I'm in the process of setting up an ad hoc home studio for narrating and recording audiobooks, and I know I'm not the only one. So I thought I'd share some of my choices with you and explain why I made them.

Right now, I have only one audiobook out. I did the narration, and a local music studio did the professional sound engineering. At $100/finished hour (for a 14.5 hour book), I was reluctant to do more, but I've decided that was a paltry excuse and I should just find a better, more financially acceptable route. You can read about that decision here.

My voice is up to the task, so all I need is gear and a room to use. Alas, I don't have the luxury of even a dedicated closet, nor can I panel a room with sound baffles. So, like most of us, I have to use the best space I can and make it as suitable as possible for quality recordings.

Typical domestic audio studio room

And that can be tricky. Once you've found the room that is the most isolated from all the noisy activities of a household (furnace, television, affection-starved pets, oblivious spouses and children) you have to consider how you can make it work for recording.
Read More Narrating and producing your own audiobooks

The year of the audiobook

Posted in Audiobook, Goals, Production, and Publishing

I've made up my mind. This will be the year I publish audiobook editions of all my titles.

So far, only To Carry the Horn has an audiobook edition. (I've written about producing it here.) I did the narration myself, and I relied upon a local music studio to do the recording.

I'm pleased with the quality of the result, and the reviews are favorable. I've even had a few fans contact me looking for more — but I've balked at producing the rest of them because of the cost of the studio work.

Today, however, my friend Katie persuaded me otherwise.

Here's why…

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm planning on writing several entries in the new series, The Affinities of Magic, before publishing them at the beginning of 2018, one every month or two. I think that'll be an interesting experiment in building momentum, and I should be able to manage 4-6 entries before my publishing schedule catches up with my writing. Since it's a new series, I'm hoping my readers won't mind too much waiting a little bit to begin it, if I can saturate them with new entries from the start.

It also lets me experiment with pre-orders, and all the marketing related to that, since I'll have plenty of time to line those dates up.

The bad part of that, for me, is that it means I won't be publishing much except a few shorter works in 2017, and sales tend to drop when no new titles come out.

Katie suggested putting up the missing audiobook editions (as well as audiobooks for the new series ahead of time). That would give me new editions to publish and keep the momentum going for 2017. It's a great idea.

We kicked around the idea of getting local college or high school media interns to help out, but then I realized nothing was really keeping me from just doing the whole thing myself. Nothing that I couldn't solve if I tried.

What's been stopping me from setting up a home studio is that I'm living in a tiny 1812 log cabin, and there's no room that's out of reach of the hot air furnace, and only one where the television is inaudible.

I don't have a good place to set up as a studio, with sound insulation and all the rest — not without making everyone else tiptoe around to accommodate it. It's not like we have a spare closet.

Desktop microphone isolation stand

But, you know, technology marches on. The popularity of podcasting has created a demand for gear that can create a mini-environment for recording on a desktop. If all the noise that reaches the mike is controlled, maybe the entire room doesn't have to be deadened like a real studio.

I'm an audiophile as a consumer, but not as a producer. I can grope my way around an audio editor program like Goldwave because I'm also a fiddler and I needed a tool to clean up workshop recordings, but that's a far cry from being an audio engineer. On the other hand, this is spoken word, not multi-track music.

What's one more learning curve for an indie author and publisher, eh?

I'll have to wait until spring is far enough along that I can shut the furnace down for a couple of hours at a time, but by then I expect to have a portable home studio set up for less than the cost of engaging an audio professional to do the work for me for a single book.

And then I'll start cranking them out.

Writer by day, and narrator by night.

Audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn

Posted in Audiobook, Release, and To Carry the Horn

ToCarryTheHorn - Audio - Trimmed - 800x800The streaming audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn, the first book of The Hounds of Annwn, is now available at retailers worldwide.

You can find a full (and growing) list of audiobook retailer links here.

I had a lot of fun producing this edition, and every reader who complained about my use of Welsh names should feel gratified that I was forced to say them myself. Repeatedly. Into an unforgiving microphone.
Read More Audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn

Audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn

Posted in Audiobook, Distribution, Just for Writers, Publishing, Release, and To Carry the Horn

ToCarryTheHorn - Audio - Trimmed - 800x800More than two years ago I decided to experiment with producing an audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn, the first book of The Hounds of Annwn. Many new authors were having success with audiobook editions, and I wanted to get some experience with the market and the process.

I looked at the primary partner at the time (and still), ACX, where most people went for this service. The process was well-laid out and very thorough. They offer voice actors who charge by the finished-hour of recording. There are ways of having some of that cost subsidized. It's a very clean, seductive marketplace, bringing authors and voice performers together and distributing the results.

I went through the audition process and located a couple of promising voice actors but then I… stopped. You see, the costs to produce an audiobook are quite high.

Read More Audiobook edition of To Carry the Horn

New Audiobook – To Carry the Horn

Posted in Audiobook, Release, and To Carry the Horn

ToCarryTheHorn - Full Front Cover Audio 200x168-RGB
The complete and unabridged audiobook for To Carry the Horn is now in the hands of the distributor. It will take a few weeks for it to become available in all channels, so stay tuned for updates from Perkunas Press on where you can purchase it in all three formats: Digital Download, CD-Audio, and CD-MP3.

In the meantime, the Digital Download (MP3) version is available now, direct from the author. You can listen to an excerpt and link to the retail site here. You'll want to have a high-speed connection to download the file from the retail site, since it's quite large – 1.3 gigabytes.

It was lots of fun to record and produce this audiobook, but I had no idea how much work it was going to be. To begin with, this recording runs 14.5 hours and spans 13 audio CDs. (The MP3 CD is much smaller). Just to record it, correcting errors as they occurred, took half a week. Then I had to listen to it carefully at least twice, and then re-do bits of it. I was fortunate to have a good studio engineer nearby to do the technical production (I still don't understand how he was able to remove all the pops and swallows without mangling the words — must have some impressive software filters.)

I turned up a few more typos in the process of reading it aloud, including one really impressive wrong name. My eagle-eyed readers who tell me about my typos (I'm looking at you, Joan) missed these, too, amazingly. One of the pleasures of self-publishing, however, is that I get to fix these things and upload ever-cleaner versions.

I'm sure that everyone who has stumbled over one of my Welsh names will be pleased to think of me trying not to mangle them myself, now that I had to read them out loud. Serves me right, eh?

If you listen to the excerpt, or buy the audiobook, I would very much appreciate your feedback on the narration. I am waiting for feedback before I proceed with audiobook production for the rest of the series. After all, if you don't like my voice, better I hear about it now rather than later.

Audio books

Posted in Audiobook, Production, Publishing, and To Carry the Horn

audiobooks1Exciting news — I'm in the middle of producing an audiobook for To Carry the Horn.

I was horrified to hear from one of my readers that there was an automated Whispersync version generated by Amazon. I couldn't imagine how that must have butchered all of those Welsh names! That motivated me into looking into producing my own version under Perkunas Press.

It's been an eye-opener of a journey. First of all, I had to understand that audio comes in three forms: digital downloads (MP3s), CDs with MP3s, and Audio CDs. Then I started looking at cost-to-produce. Sigh…

For my ebook and print editions, I do almost everything myself, even the cover design. This keeps the costs low and allows me to control the business expenses.

Audio is a very different story. Very, very different. Read More Audio books