Discussion as to why he created an audiobook for his novel, The Oz files
Book Name and Description: The Oz Files
Picture an Oz straight out of pulp detective fiction, one featuring a trio of hilariously overcompensating heroes: the No Longer Cowardly Lion, the Too Much Heart Tin Man and the Brainy If Still Not Wise Scarecrow. Put them on the trail of a mystery so twisted and deep that they’re in way over their heads before they’ve even set foot outside the Wizard’s palace. Do this because that’s what the Great and Powerful Oz, in his gloriously inscrutable wisdom, has done. He’s sent gruff, foulmouthed Rory Mayne and his pals Stan Plumb and Haywood Fields out into the woods, wilds and cities of Oz in hopes his team of bored post-Dorothy sidekicks can unravel the truth behind hordes of giant carnivorous birds, secret factories building fake humans, hybridization experiments and much, much more. Oz as conceived by L. Frank Baum was probably always a strange place that wasn’t as it seemed, but things have gotten much, much stranger in the wake of the demise of the villainous Wicked Witch of the West. Scary, funny, filled with surprises, this mystery will keep you fascinated…that is, if you’re not too busy laughing. With affectionate nods to both Baum’s immortal works and the timeless Steve Martin detective parody “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”, this rollicking adventure is way, WAY over the rainbow.
Why did you decide to create an audiobook?
A number of reasons. My friend and fellow writer Don Noble recommends high
visibility in multiple media formats—that was the first. He’s just turned a book into both a board game AND a video game, for example, so as to get his book/story out there to audiences that don’t necessarily read books but enjoy fictional entertainment. He’s going for gamers, which I will likely do as well. Audiobooks reach a whole different audience too: commuters, over-the-road drivers, people in visual monitoring occupations and others who have free, idle and eager ears if in fact nothing else (as in their jobs allow them time to listen to a story). PLUS I must admit that I wanted to hear one of my novels narrated, though I had no idea how absolutely cool and amazing that would turn out.
How did you get started? Did you talk to a friend? What company did you use? How did you find a narrator?
My friend and fellow writer as well, Roma Gray suggested I check out ACX. She had to give me the link several times by PM because she’d mention it and—as usual—we’d go off chatting about other stuff for so long that I’d lose it in the message thread. Of course it turned out to be an Amazon service, as are Kindle and Createspace, the media I use for my Kindle and paperback books respectively. And I was incredibly lucky: I suppose my narrator, Stuart Gauffi, was looking for something interesting to narrate and happened to pick up on my book and like what he read. Roma had just mentioned that I could send my book page/sample to various narrators on there after listening to their voices, and while I will likely do that in the future with my other (currently eight, soon to be ten) books I will surely try to work with Stuart again and whenever possible.
What did you think of the experience? Was it difficult? Was it time consuming?
Most of the time involved was at Stuart’s end. I’d written the book. He’s a true go-getter in the same gonzo sense that I apply to writing, so (being a novice) I gave him a short recording span of but about three weeks and he had no problem with it. In fact he beat the deadline by quite a bit, and I got to listen to some as we went to make sure it was all going right. In the end you will have to spend about nine to ten hours listening to your narrative (I did this as a proofreading tool as well and found about a dozen errors in the book, which I fixed—and which Stuart corrected in the narrative as well, which meant a LOT to me), but is that really WORK or difficult? No, it was a killer experience. There’s a neat email worksheet-feedback-checklist thing that you go through to make observations, comments, etc. as you go: instant feedback, basically. Stuart sent me one, anyway, and it turned out to be really helpful. Chapter by chapter you listen/read and make notes, then put them on the worksheet. So how much time did I spend on it in total? I’d say no more than twenty-four hours. WELL worth the time.
What are the sales like?
I do not have a website or much of a real profile yet. I’ve been focusing on delivering full length novels and “advertising” via dozens of short stories appearing in various anthologies. I had a very large backlog of story ideas when I started my indie publishing in 2014, and I’m still working through it. Therefore my advertising is still minimal and sales proportionately small. That said, I’ve sold six audiobooks, which is a lot more than the virtually non-existent sales of my most important single novel, Dragon’s Game.
Would you do it again? Was it worth it?
I’m doing it again right now. All my books will go up for audiobook option as soon as I have time to go through them properly and find the right passages to offer for auditions. Once I have them all on there, if I am not getting bites, I will do as Roma suggested and start approaching the narrators whose voices are appropriate rather than waiting for them to read and become interested in my ads.
How do you promote an audiobook?
I’m open to suggestions. For promoting ANYTHING. Has to be basically free and not too much hassle. My creative side doesn’t let my practical side have free reign too often.