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.
More 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.
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.
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.
For one week only (Tuesday, July 9 through Monday, July 15) Perkunas Press is offering the ebook edition of To Carry the Horn for only $0.99. The regular price is $5.99.
Now is your opportunity to pick up a copy for yourself or to tell your friends and family.
The sale is on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE, as well as on my eCommerce site GUMROAD. The links on Amazon and B&N only work for US customers (by and large, though you might get lucky), but the links on Gumroad work internationally. All my ebooks are offered without DRM, for your convenience.
As some of you know, I moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania in May, just as I was finishing King of the May. We relocated to our vacation home in central Pennsylvania, an old log cabin (with improvements) nestled into a hollow of the Allegheny mountains.
No one had lived in the cabin for 10 years beyond a few relatives visiting during hunting season, so the place had to be emptied, cleaned, repaired, and painted. On the Virginia end, this included moving two different households to a single smaller location and a warehouse, so it was beyond complicated. I did my best to keep writing each day but the dust is still settling and will be for a while. (Half of my office is still in boxes.)
You may have noticed that King of the May is published by Perkunas Press, still in Hume, Virginia. It will take a little while for me to register the business in Pennsylvania, and after that new printings (and my bio) will show the update.
Meanwhile, I've started on Bound into the Blood, book 4 of The Hounds of Annwn. Since I include the first chapter of the next book at the end of the current one, I had to write the first chapter before I could publish King of the May. So I have a pretty good idea how this one is going to roll out.
It will be a more intimate book than King of the May, as The Ways of Winter was more intimate than To Carry the Horn. George will look for answers about his father's family, and the search will take him to strange places with unusual companions (Seething Magma will be coming along).
These four books of The Hounds of Annwn will cover most of a year, from mid-October to end of summer. Interestingly, they are coinciding with the same seasons in real life as I write them — helps me stay in the mood.
I'll produce some more short stories in The Hounds of Annwn world, and collect them into an anthology (sign up for my newsletter to hear about each new one as it comes out and read it for free on my blog), but after Bound into the Blood (sometime this fall/winter), I intend to begin a new fantasy series, The Affinities of Magic.
Depending on the wishes of my readers, there may be more adventures in store for George Talbot Traherne. Please let me know — I'm listening.
I'm happy to announce that To Carry the Horn is now available in paperback. See the link to order.
I'm still having difficulty with Google Play and may have to give up on that channel even if I finally get it working properly, because I understand that their propensity to discount ebooks arbitrarily may trigger the same behavior from Amazon to match the price, and I can't have a book seller making that decision for me; discounting needs to be my decision..