Author Interview with Nix Wittaker Author of Model Serenity

Author Interview:

Hey, join me in welcoming Nix Wittaker today. Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Tell me a little about your background.

I was born in South Africa on the east coast. Mosquitos and green mamba rather than lions and giraffe Africa. I left when I was a young girl and moved to New Zealand with my family. And traded snakes and sharks with earthquakes and volcanoes.

 

What do you do for fun?

Reading and looking after kittens. I’m a foster mom for the RSPCA and hand rear week old kittens or help tame feral kittens.

 

Who or what inspires you the most?

My grandfather believed in collecting useless information. I do the same and that is where I get most of my ideas.

 

 

About your writing:

What got you into writing?

I’m dyslexic but when I was growing up no at school figured that out because I’m also a smart cookie so they suggested I read books. I read a lot. Talking about 3 digits and so I ran out of books to read and started writing my own.

 

What is your writing process?

I am not a pantser I always plan out the book. Not in detail. I plan it out start writing and then pause when I get a feel for my characters and go back to put more detail into the plan. Then I write the exiting bits and figure out why the rest isn’t interesting. Once I figure those out I start having others start reading chapters and giving me feedback while I tweak and polish.

 

When do you consider a work complete?

Never. I like to go back over and over. I usually publish though after I spend the cash on an editor. My mother is an artist and she is the same. She usually sells her work or paints over it as it never seems perfect. At least with writing you can forever tweak it.

 

About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

My book is set on another planet where some crazy scientists have played eugenics. The same stuff the Nazi were trying during WWII, I wanted to show that our racism in this day and age is insidious and everywhere.

me: That’s a great theme. I’ve got a series with crazy scientists too. (I’m a chem teacher too…so I get the appeal of going nuts with science.)

 

What gave you the idea for this book?

I’ve had this idea for a long time. But the original was a fantasy but I find I write Sci-Fi better and when I changed it to science fiction the story became something new. There are a few things that came over from the fantasy version like the names of the caste systems.

 

How long did the book take to write?

Longer than usual. My first novel took 3 months, to write this one it is already at a year but I have managed to knock out the next book in the series in that time as well. I thought I would write the whole series before I published.

 

Who designed the cover?

I design my own covers but don’t take that as permission to make your own. I am also a digital designer and sell covers professionally. If you are an author let the designer do their job, it is what you pay them for in the first place. I cringe when an author wants you to change everything or add in too much on the cover.

Me: Ha, yes, I can understand that. Wow, if I were a digital designer that would save me a whole heap of money :-). I’ve only ever made my nonfiction covers b/c they’re mainly text. (It is a very cool cover.)

Do you write in other genres?

I have another series in Steampunk with dragons so in my mind it is alternative history slash fantasy. Though technically it still falls under Science Fiction.

 

Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

I’ve another series and this one is set a little in the future after the world has survived global warming. Usually when you have dystopias it is awful but my world isn’t. Humans are amazing and can adapt and that is exactly what they do in this book.

Random:

What animal do you most relate to?

Cats. Who wouldn’t want to lie in the sun and sleep all day.

 

What’s one thing very few people know about you?

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Triple chocolate. I have a distinct soft spot for anything chocolate. Add anything with nuts to the chocolate and I am in heaven.

 

What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

Art. I’m a decent artist but I realised at a young age that I couldn’t be a great artist. So I thought I would become great at something else.

Conclusion:

If you’d like to learn more about Nix, please visit her website.

Website: www.nixwhittaker.com

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Narrator Interview: Reuben Corbett

Introduction:

Hey all, I’d like to introduce you to a very special guest today. A few weeks ago, I had a fit of insanity and posted 5 casting calls for narrators for a variety of projects. I’d pretty much settled on a narrator for The Golden City Captives, when at the very last second, I got one more unsolicited audition. Upon hearing that short audition, I absolutely fell in love with this guy’s rich voice. Please welcome Reuben Corbett. He’s a relative newcomer to the audiobook scene, but I’ve no doubt you’ll be hearing more from him in the near future.

Let’s start off easy. Tell me a little about your background:

I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. I always liked performing, so I started playing the cello when I was 9 years old. I played all the way through college, where I was a cello performance major. A couple years into college, I realized there wasn’t a lot of money in music, so I became a welder of all things. 5 years and like 12 different jobs later, I still hadn’t found anything I really enjoyed. I had always been told by people that I had a great voice. I also loved reading and listening to audiobooks. I decided that I would be really good at narrating books! I did some research, found acx, and the rest is history!

What do you do for fun?

I narrate audio books!

(Me: I shoulda seen that one coming.)

About this Work:

What brought you to working on this project?

I found it on acx, auditioned for it, and Julie picked me for the part.

(Like I said, squeaked in under the wire. I was sending out proposals as his audition came in.)

What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?

It really wasn’t too difficult. Julie’s writing does most of the work. The most difficult part is becoming the characters.

Do you have a favorite character voice from the project? Why/ why not?

My favorite voice to do was Lord Ewald. Coming up with his voice was just fun, and it just seemed to really fit the character.

(Me: That it did.)

Do you have a favorite chapter from the project? Why/ why not?

My Favorite chapter is chapter 5. A lot happens in the chapter, lots of action. A very dramatic chapter.

About your other works:

How many other works have you narrated?

I have only narrated one other book, so far.

Can you recommend any of your other titles for us? What about the work is appealing?

My only other title is called Simplify: How to Declutter, Get Organized, and Stay that Way. It is a short self-development book about being organized.

(Sounds like a useful title…less fun than a fantasy one though :-))

Which work are you most proud to have been a part of? Why?

The Golden City Captives, because it is my first fantasy genre book!

What drew you to voice acting?

Well, I have been told all my life that I had a great voice. One day the idea occurred to me, and I decided to try and make it a reality.

Is this the only acting you do? If you do other forms of acting, which is your favorite and why?

I also do YouTube videos. I prefer to do audiobooks, but I still enjoy doing videos.

Do you have a process when you approach a work? Please describe it for us.

First I read the book to try and dive into the story, get to know the characters and so forth. Then I practice voices for the characters, and try to figure out the tone for the overall book. Feedback from the author is definitely a necessity.

If you could only leave 1 lasting impression on the world, what would it be?

I would want people to remember me as an example of being loving and kind.

Do you get to read for fun? Do you have a favorite genre to read for fun?

My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

I love movies that are clean and uplifting.

Where can we find out more about you?

Website: https://frcorbett1011.wixsite.com/reubencorbett

Social Media Links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIayBxVOF0JuBVam1NDTQlw

https://www.facebook.com/reuben.corbett

Conclusion:

The Golden City Captives will release soon. It’s in the approval stage from ACX. I can’t wait to share this lovely project with everybody. Leave a comment and I might pick somebody at random to win a free copy of the audiobook.

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Audiobook Company Comparison: ACX vs Findaway Voices

Publishing through Findaway Voices
Publishing through ACX.

Part 1: Production

Introduction:

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to test the audiobook creation process of two different companies for creating audiobooks: ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) and Findaway Voices. It’s not a true experiment because there are too many variables, but I happened to have two short stories to produce simultaneously.

 

The Contenders:

ACX – Audiobook Creation Exchange

Besides being around a while, it has become the behemoth to beat simply because it’s an Amazon company. By default, that means it’s got major moving power when it wants to. On the flip side, it’s a massive company, therefore some things can fall by the wayside.

Major advantages: They have access to a lot of narrators. You as an author have way more control over the narrator selection process. Pacing’s ultimately up to you and the narrator you choose.

Hint: Try to find somebody who’s reliable and great with communication. It will make a world of difference in the long run.

Major flaw: They’re business practices kind of stink. In short, they’re out for the bottom line, not really you as an artist. To be fair, part of this problem stems from them being so big. Must be difficult to be so popular.

 

Findaway Voices – Draft to Digital Associate

This company’s a relative newcomer to the audiobook creation scene (at least to me).

Note: You can’t use them with Kindle Select titles because those have to be exclusive to Amazon.

Major advantage: They publish to far more platforms than ACX. Their customer service is top-notch, and they walk you through the audiobook process. Your share of the royalties will be much greater than with ACX (80%, I think).

Major flaw: By default, they’re a “middleman.” Everything takes longer when you involve more people.

 

Note: These will cover the Author side because that’s where my experience lies.

 

The ACX Process:

Step 1: Authors decide they want to publish an audiobook. Yay.

Step 2: Authors create an ACX account (basically, sign in with your Amazon.com account) and assert their rights to a title.

Step 3: Choose an excerpt and decide whether you want to do Royalty Share or PFH (pay per finished hour).

Step 4: Wait for auditions. Guess this one can vary a bit, but I’d recommend browsing narrators and sending the top 10 an invite to audition.

Step 5: Choose a narrator and offer them a contract. They accept!

Step 6: Review the audiobook files with the manuscript as the narrator uploads them to ACX. Send the narrator time-stamped corrections and any other directions within reason. Review the revisions!

Step 7: Review the whole audiobook, hit approve, and wait for it to pass quality assurance. Note: this is sound quality assurance not editing for mistakes. This typically takes 2 weeks.

Note: PFH offers attract a LOT more auditions.

Second Note:

Royalty Share is a double-edged sword and rarely outright profitable for the narrator. Essentially, the narrator accepts the responsibility for creating the audiobook and splits the royalties with the author. On the other hand, with ACX’s push for Bounties over royalties, getting a bunch of small RS projects might be profitable.

 

Findaway Voices Production Process:

Step 1: Author decides they want to publish an audiobook. Sweet.

Step 2: The book has to be published through Draft to Digital, as far as I can tell. Easiest in anyway. I’m sure you could go to the company directly, but they’ll probably want it available through D2D because the platforms they intend to publish on are those available through that company.

Step 3: Click on the “Create an Audiobook” button. You may have to search for it by clicking on the “Other Formats” button.

Step 4: Fill out the paperwork for your tax information, cover, book manuscript, and such while you wait. In a few days, they say 1-7, they’ll get back to you with a selection of 7-ish narrators.

Step 5: Browse the narrators by listening to their samples. Choose a few to invite to submit an audition.

Step 6: Wait some more. The rep from Findaway Voices will let you know when they have some auditions for you to compare.

Step 7: Choose a narrator and wait for the first 15 minutes. This is where I’m at right now. It should take another 3-7 days to get this.

Step 8: Review the files and give feedback through their commenting system. Review the updated files. Approve.

 

Which Company is Better for You?

The answer depends entirely on your personality and financial situation.

Some things to consider …

Findaway Voices is only available for PFH. That means, if you have no budget for this process and must go RS, they’re out of the race and ACX is your winner.

If you hire a narrator through ACX, you have to be exclusive to Amazon companies and ones they negotiate special deals with, like iTunes. In terms of choice and freedom, Findaway Voices wins hands-down.

If you’re a control freak, ACX probably edges out the competition here. You have direct access to your narrator every step of the way.

If you’re somebody who likes to be guided and helped along the way, Findaway Voices can fulfill that mentoring role. They’ve got a lot of experience at this.

If you’re really good at selling people Audible subscriptions, ACX will be more profitable.

If you’d like a bigger piece of the pie you made, Findaway Voices is your answer.

ACX provides you with codes to help promote your book. Findaway Voices offers your book in WAY more places.

 

Conclusion:

I’m probably going to continue using both companies. They fulfill different niches. The PFH model means that you have to shell out more money at once, but you can probably find a “cheaper” narrator through Findaway Voices because they will help you keep to people in your price range. I’ll have to see how sales do on multiple platforms vs. Amazon exclusive. Shorter projects will likely end up with Findaway Voices. Jury’s still out on whether longer projects will work that way.

 

New to Draft2Digital? Check it out. (Note: this is a referral link. It will basically tell them I sent you.)

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Author Interview: Tony Gavin – Author of The Kill Shot

 

Introduction:

Guess I’m sort of on an interview kick. Got a ton of other articles to write, but it’s nice to talk to real people sometimes too. Today, we get to meet Tony Gavin, author of The Kill Shot. I’ve not yet experienced this book but I’m looking forward to reviewing the audio. Welcome, Tony.

 

What do you do for fun?

Until a recent spinal injury robbed me of the pleasure, I enjoyed competition shooting, horse riding and archaeology. Since then, writing has become the prime pleasure in my life. I still accompany my wife (A professional archaeologist) on archaeological digs and adventures and have travelled extensively around the world with her over our 35 years together.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Without a doubt I would not be writing today if it were not for the inspiration received during a chance encounter with Jenna Miller of ‘Ravenna old and new west vestures’ fame. She was my riding partner and wrangler on a dood ranching vacation and she just oozed western spirit and enthusiasm.

About your writing:

What other writers/people do you consider inspirational? If they’re authors, what about their work captures your interest?

I enjoy books by Ken Farmer as well the late Max Brand and Louis L’Amour. They bring the wild west to life in a way that I can only aspire to achieve.

What got you into writing?

My writing began only five years ago with a script for an independent movie production company. Born out of necessity (Keeping down the cost of the short) I wrote the script myself after studying and learning the required skills online. The experience was successful and more importantly enjoyable. Therefore almost immediately I re-wrote that story as a full length book. From there I have progressed to producing number of books, e-books, audiobooks, digital braille books, stage plays and screen plays. All with varying degrees of success.

What is your writing process?

For me the hardest decision is which project to complete next. I still work full time so my time for writing is limited, which is not the case with my ideas. There must be 15 to 20 outlines for various scripts and books just waiting in line. I tend to rotate between the different writing disciplines unless a deadline is looming near.

When do you consider a work complete?

I tend to finish a project and then set it aside for a month or two and come back to it. It’s surprising how many faults that are found when you do this.

About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

In “The Kill Shot” in particular, what is little known and appreciated is the amount of research that has gone into the book. The characters in the book are mostly real people. Camillus Fly the famous photographer of the time for example. Even the lesser throw away characters such as Louis Souc the check in clerc, Gus Westcamp the porter and Mary Tack a housekeeper were all real people working in the Occidental Hotel in 1883. I use them in a fictitious manner of course but I like to imagine that their lives were as exciting as I make them.

What gave you the idea for this book?

I noticed the vast number of photographs of dead people taken back in the 1800’s and researched the reason for this macabre subject. A photographic record was a less stinky means of proving a bounty hunters kills to the authorities to collect a reward than delivering a rotting corpse in person. Hence the title “The Kill Shot.”

How long did the book take to write?

Off and on, just over a year.

Who designed the cover?

I went for a different design for the audiobook cover from that on the paperback just to set them apart. It was created by a good friend of mine, Gavin Rymill.

 

About Other Books:

Do you write in other genres?

Yes. I use the pseudonym Pastor Pat Lalor for the “Godly Law” series of Christian based books for younger people.

 

Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

The Dictionary of the American West by Win Blevins has been invaluable to me for finding words and phrases used in the 1880’s.

 

Random:

What’s one thing very few people know about you?

I was born in England, UK.

What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

In addition to the hobbies listed above I am a follower of Cowboy Mounted Shooting. The fastest growing equine sport in the USA right now.

(Me: Sounds like fun.)

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining us today, Tony. Please tell the readers how to get in touch with you.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/MicroMovieStudios/

https://www.facebook.com/PastorPatLalor/

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

Audiobook Edge Interviews: Rachel Jamieson – Music Composer

 

Introduction:

Let’s try something a little different and chat with a lady who love music. Rachel Jamieson isn’t the author or illustrator for Mandy and Mitch and the Big Brave Boots. She’s the musician.

First, let’s meet the lady.

About this Work:

What brought you to working on this project?

I was approached by a friend of mine who is a director and with whom I have worked on a number of short films in the past. She had a new project on the go which turned out to be a children’s audiobook written by a friend of hers. The intention of the audiobook was to use a fun story with relatable characters to help children begin to talk about things like anxiety. I loved the whole idea of the project and knew it was something I wanted to be involved with.

 

What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?

As the composer for the project, my role was to bring the story to life through music. The story is all about emotions, so the fundamental purpose of the music was to help convey the emotions that Mitch experiences. This was probably the hardest part, trying to really conjure up how it feels to be scared or feel brave through the music. That said, it was also the most enjoyable aspect of the project because it was very rewarding listening to the music transform alongside Mitch.

What would you say to someone who thinks music gets in the way in audiobooks?

I do understand that some people feel music can be a distraction in audiobooks and so it is the composer’s responsibility to handle the music sensitively and know when music is needed and when it isn’t. If done well, music can add so much to an audiobook because it provides instant atmosphere. Also, a strong score can be a unique selling point for an audiobook that really makes it stand out.

 

About you:

What drew you to writing music for audiobooks?

I grew up listening to audiobooks, everything from the BBC Narnia series to Malory Towers. In the Narnia audiobooks, in particular, I experienced how powerful music could be in audiobooks and how it could really add an extra dimension. So, I loved working on an audiobook because I knew how effective music could be and wanted to write music which would help create the world of the story.

Do you have a process when you approach a work? Please describe it for us.

I listen to the audiobook and talk to the director about their vision for the audiobook and what they want from the music. With ‘Mandy and Mitch’ I knew, right from the start, I needed to produce a strong melody that would capture Mandy and Mitch’s personalities. In addition, I wanted music that could be easily adapted to convey the emotions that Mitch experiences. So, I guess the first step is getting to know the characters and deciding what the overall sound of the music should be.

From there, it’s also very important, especially with music for audiobooks, to work out how much music is needed. Deciding where music is needed and where more space should be left for the narration can be key. With ‘Mandy and Mitch’ the director wanted music throughout, which meant I had free reign to really have fun with the music.

Random Questions:

What’s one random thing people don’t really know about you?

That’s a tricky one, maybe that I can juggle and one of my favourite things to do is go to a park and play catch!

If you could only leave 1 lasting impression on the world, what would it be?

Maybe that we should all just be nicer to each other. We could make so much difference if we all just took the time to be kind and go out of our way to help others.

Do you have other hobbies? What do you do to relax?

I used to play a lot of table tennis when I was younger, but I love pretty much all racket sports. Playing a sport helps me unwind and take my mind off things.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

I love dramas. When I watch a film, I want to be moved by it and feel something for the characters. My current favourite film is ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ because of the acting and incredible true story basis. Plus, I love the soundtrack, which is a bonus!

Is this the only composing you do? If you do other forms of composing which is your favorite and why?

I have been a composer for a couple of years now. It awesome and varied work. I have worked on lots of short films, three feature films and a number of commercial projects. I love writing for feature films in particular because one of my favourite aspects of composing is creating melodic themes. The length of a feature film gives me space to develop that and use that development to tell a story.

Do you get to read for fun? Do you have a favorite genre to read for fun?

I studied English Literature at university so have always enjoyed reading. I like reading lots of different genres but one of my current favourite books is ‘On the Road’. When I read a book I want it to really take me somewhere, so any book that does that in whatever genre is good for me.

How do we get in contact with you?

Come visit my website: www.racheljamieson.com/

Or find me on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/racheljamieson.music/

https://soundcloud.com/racheljamiesonfilmmusic

Conclusion:

Very cool. It was nice to meet you, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your passion for music with us.

 

Associate links to follow…

Music only:

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Author Reach for your Email Server

Tired of seeing a flat line on your sales page?

Introduction:

Several people on a few different Facebook groups have asked about Author Reach. So, I figured I’d tell ya a but about my experiences with them. I’ve been on Author Reach through beta, but only really started using it regularly within the last month or so.

What is Author Reach?

It’s an email marketing system that sort of combines ideas of Bookfunnel with Mailchimp/mailerlite. You can upload books you want to use as a reader magnet and create a lead generation page that automatically puts the subscriber onto whichever list you wish that subscriber to go to.

Top 5 Reasons to Join Author Reach:

  • 1 several different styles of lead generation pages
  • 2 connect with other authors in a similar genre
  • 3 top-notch customer service
  • 4 risk-free first month – First month is $1 and subsequent months are$19 for lists under 1K
  • 5 connect with new subscribers
  • Bonus – I can almost guarantee you’ll pick up some subscribers just by having AR run one of your books by their list of subscribers. (I can’t guarantee they’ll do this for you, but I got about 800 subscribers from them that way.)

Pretty Lead Generation Pages:

You can create pretty nice lead generation pages with one of their easy-to-use templates. I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of lead generation pages you can make, but ideally, you’d probably want one for each of the type of list you create.

Connect with other authors:

Facebook groups are awesome, but having a system in place that will let you connect with authors who write in the same genre or a similar genre should be amazing too. Why? Because not everybody sees every post that goes live to a particular Facebook group. It gets buried under 25 other threads if you’re not on at the right time.

These are additional connections you wouldn’t make otherwise.

Excellent Customer Service:

Part of the company model must be to connect with each author personally. I don’t think your signup’s even complete until you have a conversation with one of the people from Author Reach. I had a problem with one of my lead generation pages, emailed customer service, and got it sorted within a few hours. As the company grows, I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep the standards quite that high, but I’ve been very impressed with the personal touch.

Risk-free $1 month-long trial:

If you’re looking to grow, this is a great starting place. Check it out for a month and see if it’s for you.

Other Pricing Comments:

If you have a very large list, Mailerlite’s got the best prices, hands-down. There’s no way most companies out there could compete with that. However, there’s nothing saying you can’t use both. Set up an Author Reach account and use it and the many beneficial features to funnel people through a filter then make Mailerlite your massive list.

Connect with new subscribers:

Success is going to vary. That’s an unwritten rule in this business. Newsletter swaps, giveaways, and paid promos work for a while, but you need to mix it up from time to time anyway. We’ve all heard that email lists are where it’s at, but this is a company trying to help you do that right.

Comparison to Mailchimp/Mailerlite:

First of all, I love Mailerlite. Mailchimp has its uses too, but they’re on the pricey side once you go above 2K subscribers. (Mailchimp’s customer service is hit or miss on efficiency. The company’s just too big to really care about the little guys/gals.) Haven’t tried Mailerlite’s customer service – guess that says something too – that I haven’t needed it.

Email Creation: Probably easiest and prettiest on Mailerlite, but you can upload a template you like working with into Author Reach. Or if you’re really in a bind, you can ask and they might be able to do it for you. I’ve made nice emails on Mailchimp too, but they’re not quite as easy or intuitive as Mailerlite.

Price: Mailerlite – cheap, Author Reach – medium, Mailchimp – free or super expensive

For any of these, it comes down to how many subscribers you have, so you should be highly motivated to keep only people who are actually engaged with you.

Learning Curve:

Author reach has probably one of the higher learning curves because it’s not just about the email side. It’s about the growth side. Mailerlite and Mailchimp aren’t going to be much help in terms of grow your mailing list. If used properly, AR has that potential. That said, the system is a little intimidating and takes a lot of getting used to. It’s not as flashy or polished as Mailerlite or the mail monkeys. They’re getting better all the time, but you’ve got to be willing to really poke around and play with things.

What they’re working on at Author Reach …

Author Connect – the more official and automated way of getting in touch with authors who write in similar/compatible genres. As far as I know, this is still coming soon. Although it’s hard to pin down a time with anything, I’d say they’ll have this functional in a few month’s time. Meanwhile, they are connecting authors informally because they actually take the time to get to know the people who sign up with them.

Soap box moment: This matters a lot. We’re in a business where you need to get to know the people on your mailing list, so working with a company that does the same is vital.

More templates for lead generation pages – I believe there are about 4 right now, but there should be more soon.

Drag and drop email creator – Pretty sure they’re still a few months out from this, but it’s in the works.

Conclusion:

If you have a relatively small list or are looking to move it beyond the 1K mark, you’re at a stellar place to join Author Reach. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes. (devyaschildren@gmail.com)

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie C. Gilbert

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited – Keep that Kindle Happy. 30 FREE trial

Since most authors are book addicts …

Introducing Indie Authors Monthly

What is Indie Authors Monthly?

Here’s the answer according to one of the editors:
Indie Authors Monthly is a new magazine geared with a focus on exceptional Indie Authors and readers. We aim to connect readers with new authors, while being the go-to source for indie author news, events and processes. Readers get a unique perspective into authors and have opportunities to sound off on their likes and recommendations. Readers can find author events for the ultimate fan experiences and lively ads to showcase new books that may interest them.
What do they offer readers?
Get inside the minds of some of your favorite authors or find some new writers to love. The indie author community in general is highly active. If people don’t hear about our works, they languish in obscurity. Networking and interacting with the fan base is one of the most exciting parts of being indie.

What do they offer authors?
Check out their site for a few great opportunities to advertise. But there’s much more than just ad space.

If you’re in indie, find your time to shine.

The editor I talked to, RL Jackson, was very open and responsive. Their Facebook page has the “very responsive” tag. That’s not easy to earn! So, somebody must be at the controls.

Find out what they’re looking for in terms of an article or column. I wrote an article about audiobooks that should be out later in the year.

Conclusion:

Whether you want to talk about the triumphs or the struggles of being an indie author, this magazine looks to have an opportunity for you to join the community.

Links:
Main Website
P
lace to Download the May Edition
Facebook Page

My Audiobook Obsession and AE Code Shortage Remedy

Introduction:

In the last couple of months, I’ve spent much time setting up Audiobook Edge to bring authors/narrators and readers together. (If you’re not a member yet, no problem. Go here to fix that.) I want everybody to get something good out of the experience, but I realize that some weeks there might be a shortage of codes. To help remedy that, I will be offering up to 5 copies of my books each week as necessary to fill in some of the gaps.

*Please note, that I’m not purposefully shorting the list, but I am keeping the number of books low so people get the maximum exposure possible.

This post will introduce you to the works I have available.

My Audiobooks:

Over the past few years, I’ve embraced the opportunity to work with several talented narrators to give my books that added layer. I have 8 titles with one in the works and another under contract. I’m waiting to see what happens with The Davidson Case before leaping to find somebody for The Keres Case. First, I’ll break down which books are credited to which narrator. Then, I’ll give you details on which are available to you.

Who Did What:

Ashlynn’s Dreams became my first book to morph into an audiobook. I knew zip about the process, but luckily, Kristin Condon submitted an audition. Eager to begin, I closed auditions very soon after hearing how close Kristin came to how I pictured the characters of Jillian and Danielle.

These things, meaning audiobooks, don’t happen overnight. They take weeks and months, depending on how much time the narrator has to devote to a project. The sad reality is that very few people can make a living off of this sort of work. Over the course of several years, Kristin worked on Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Nadia’s Tears, The Collins Case, and The Kiverson Case. Then, life interfered and we parted ways.

Julie Hinton stepped in to take over the creation of Malia’s Miracles. She did a lovely job taking my scattered notes on the characters and bringing her talent bear here. I’m grateful for her willingness to tackle the center of a series. She’s currently working through Varick’s Quest. My guess is that should be ready Summer 2017.

Brian Troxell performed the prequel to the Devya’s Children series, The Dark Side of Science. I absolutely love this guy’s voice and range of characters. He did a superb job. It’s best to be familiar with the Devya’s Children characters before jumping into this book, but it can stand alone. Some might disagree with my choice, but I wanted a male voice for this story. The rest of the Devya’s Children series is set very much in the head of Jillian and Danielle, but Dark Side is third person. I wanted more of a storyteller of old feel to its presentation.

Caitlin Jacques became the voice of Victoria Saveron and many more characters from Awakening. I would have hired Julie Hinton again as I enjoy working with her, but I wanted a new voice for the Redeemer Chronicles series. The auditions for this one were very tight. It was a very tough decision because I got some great auditions, but I’m happy with how the project turned out.

Lightning Quick Summaries:

      Devya’s Children (YA, Science Fiction)

  • The Dark Side of Science (prequel) – a scientist struggles to regain her memories so she can help her children survive a brutal competition.
  • Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts (short stories, prequel) – Jillian’s pre-kidnapping journal entries.
  • Ashlynn’s Dreams – Jillian and her babysitter get kidnapped so she can learn to be a Dream Shaper.
  • Nadia’s Tears – Jillian struggles to wake her sister from a coma while Danielle tries to save a friend from stupid decisions.
  • Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings fight cancer and try to stay free.
  • Varick’s Quest (coming soon…) – an admirer of Dr. Devya snatches Jillian and Danielle for his own purposes.

    Heartfelt Cases (Christian Mystery)

  • The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents race against time to save a kidnapped family.
  • The Kiverson Case – Ann and Patrick play a deadly game with a man bent on revenge.

    Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

  • Awakening – a girl and her two friends try to survive zombies and her uncle’s schemes.

What You Can Request:

Although technically anything I have available in audio form is up for the asking, you will likely get the most out of the first in each series. If you’d like Malia’s Miracles but you want to catch up first, head over to my website and join the Spec Fic list. You’ll get Ashlynn’s Dreams for free. That should help a little. If you like the book and review it on amazon, you can then email me the review link with a request for a copy of Nadia’s Tears. (These are very limited, so act fast.)

As with all audiobooks, you should listen to the retail sample to see if you enjoy the narrator’s voice. I personally love each of the narrators I’ve worked with. That said, having listened to 15+ audiobooks in the last few weeks, I understand that not everybody’s going to fall in love with every voice. That’s just the way life goes.

For Kristin Condon, I’d recommend going with Ashlynn’s Dreams.

 

The others currently only have one title each.

Sorry, I couldn’t find the audiobook version of The Dark Side of Science. Click through and you should still get to an audiobook sample though.

Caitlin Jacques’ audiobook debut:

Julie Hinton’s first work for me.

 

Audiobook Buying Ninja Tips:

Any book you own the official kindle version for, you should be able to buy on audio for around $1.99. I have mixed feelings on this. From a reader perspective, it’s awesome, but it does tend to short the authors/narrators. (Royalties are based on sale price.) For example, the Dark Side of Science was free on amazon for a few years. If you download it, you should be able to add the audiobook for the steeply discounted price.

If you find that you love audible and want to move to a paid plan, an easy way to help your favorite author/narrator is to buy their book first. ACX offers bounties, which is an ingenious way on their part to get some free advertising out of people. I’ve got 8 title, so if you’re moving that way, I’d love for you to choose one of them as your first book. Oh, and before you move to a paid plan anyway, do the free trial, so you get the first book or two free.

Meet the Narrators:

Kristin Condon

Brian Troxell

Julie Hinton

Caitlin Jacques – Sorry, she’s a bit of a mystery. I couldn’t find an official website.

Conclusion:

Audiobooks allow one to do other things while still experiencing stories. They’re great for long car rides, quiet afternoons, and something to do while ironing. Let me show you a whole new world.

As Always …

If you haven’t done so yet, join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author/narrator with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Awesome Audiobook Reviews: 4.5/5 stars Cora and the Nurse Dragon

Introduction:

Prior to listening to this book, my experience with dragons was very limited. That said, I enjoyed the new twist the author gave to dragons in general. The story contains some violence at the end, but overall, I would still consider it kid-friendly. If you’re a dragon fan, you will want to get to know HL Burke’s works better.

Summary:

A 12-yr-old girl named Cora accidentally ends up with a nurse dragon. She names him Cricket.

Random Comments:
– Overall (4.5/5) – This is a cute story that you can read as much or as little into if you want. It could be about animal rights. Or it could be a lesson about the morals of greed. Just as easily, it could be a kiddie story about a girl, her friend, the town bully, and a baby nurse dragon. I love that there are layers.
– Narration (3.45/5) – The narrator did a nice job of distinguishing between different characters, but her “normal narrator” voice sort of struck me as monotone.
– Main Characters (3.5/5) – In a book this size, you’re not going to get giant character development from beginning to end, but there are some changes.
– Side Characters (4/5) – The side characters are decently well-developed.
– Plot (3/5) – Nothing surprising happens, but it’s a fitting story.
– Dialogue (5/5) – The dialogue sounds realistic.
– World-building (4/5) – It’s mainly an early 1900’s type setting like the beginning of the industrial revolution. (first lady lawyer in town, automobiles – but not everybody has them, rich tycoons, etc) Yet, there are elements that are unique and sometimes smack of way more modern. There are dragon breeding facilities, sedatives, etc.

Conclusion:

It’s a nice, short fantasy story made for dragon lovers. Check it out. If it’s in paperback, it would make a nice gift for young dragon lovers in your life. It’s full of imagination, yet there are good topic openers to have a great conversation with your kid too. Did I mention it’s adorable?

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the book on audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

A Note from Spencer Hawke on Audiobooks

The following is straight from the horse’s mouth as it were …

My editor and writing “confidant” has just asked me to record an audiobook of my recently released novel, The Arrows of Islam by Spencer Hawke. We can make a lot of money on Audible.com, ACX and Amazon.com I am assured. “What am I going to do?” I ask myself.

(Not always the truth, but audiobooks are one heck of a fun journey.)

“ME?” “I am not an actor, my voice is strange, I’m not a Voice Over Artist. At most parties I don’t talk very much, unless I stiffen my resolve with a martini!”

“So what’s the problem?” you ask.
You’ve obviously never met my editor, say I.
“So?” you say.
She is not very tall, but she packs the punch of a Texan Longhorn.
“She can’t be that bad,” you assure me.
Let me put it this way, a Texas Rainbow Cactus has the prettiest flower in Springtime, but ya still don’t want to sit on one!

(So true. Words of wisdom)
My editor pairs me up with a tech-guru … Fearing my first Voice Over Audition, we email back and forth. He suggests I come to his recording studio, way the heck out of town, “Shouldn’t take more than a couple of days” says he confidently. All I can see is the face of a Las Vegas slot machine, “CaShing, CaShing, CaShing!” I can’t possibly afford that, not at least not with my voice,
“ABSURD idea…” I tell him.
My first attempt is a disaster. Techy Dude listens to my audio, “What’s all that WHITE NOISE? “White Noise?” I ask ignorantly.
“It sounds like you have a bulldozer in the recording studio.”
I didn’t want to tell him I was doing this on my iPad in my home office and the bulldozer he hears is my air conditioning unit; it’s bloody 105 degrees here!
Around and around we go. “WHITE NOISE!” his emails bellow. I furiously type back “WHAT BLOODY NOISE?!”
After many, many false trials, I wait for all the family to leave, I switch OFF my A/C (YES IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER!) I even switch off every fan in the house. I’m ready to go to my new recording studio. Then a great big pick-up hauling a trailer pulls up outside my neighbor’s yard. Her lawn mowing people have just arrived. DO you KNOW how BLOODY LOUD those things are?
(Anything is loud when you’re recording.)
The sweat is dripping down my brow, but the mowing is finished. I sneak off to my studio. It is in fact my CLOSET, a mouse hole of a room where the clothes insulate me from WHITE NOISE. I am ready with a jug of water, a rag to mop my brow, my trusty iPhone and microphone.
Two days later, I get an email back from my tech-guru, the subject line, GREAT JOB. I think to myself ‘Yeah right…” With much trepidation I read his email. “Well at least he’s not yelling at me, I think.” Across the bottom of the email is a link to his professionally engineered work of my recording.

I am BLOODY AMAZED. I love it; it’s really good. Over my years perusing headlines, I have read of all different types of “CLOSET” people. Now I have to admit I am one; I’m a Closet Voice Artist. If you ever fly over Oklahoma, the pilot might warn you of turbulence ahead, don’t worry, tis only I, practicing my lines in my sweatbox of a recording studio. But you know what? I’m having more fun than any human being has a right to.

About the Author

A love for adventure as a young boy, travel across the African continent as a young man and a brief stint in Sao Paulo fed into the over-active imagination of Spencer Hawke to produce a plethora of interesting projects. His first work, The Eyes of Athena — the first in the Ari Cohen series — is now being produced as an audiobook. From his home base in Oklahoma City, Spencer spends his days with wife, Jenny, and grandson Devon, already an avid adventurer, and is always working on his next four of five projects …
Moral of the Story:
Anybody can become a VO artist!
Spencer Hawke is one of the brave authors trying out Audiobook Edge. If you want your clean mystery, scifi, fantasy, or thriller reviewed then placed on a monthly list to readers who love audiobooks, join us on Audiobook Edge for Authors/Narrators! If you’d prefer to see loads of free audiobooks every month, check out the Reader version.