Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Announcing a New Giveaway + A Peek Behind the Scenes at How Audiobooks are Made

Last week on this blog, I made a special offer for a free autographed paperback to anyone who joins Audible and makes Whispers of the Bayou their first purchase. That “thank you” gift of a free paperback will be available till August 15th, so if you missed that post, you can read all about it and learn how to request your free book here

That offer left some folks out, however, including those who were already members of Audible, and those who live outside of the United States. That’s why I’ve decided to do a drawing for a free copy of the Whispers of the Bayou audiobook exclusively for those who meet the following criteria:

• You became a member of at some point prior to     
  July 16, 2018


• Your mailing address is outside of the United States

If either of the above apply to you, then click on the button, below, to sign up for your chance to win a free copy of the new Whispers of the Bayou audiobook. But don’t delay, because the deadline for entering is midnight on July 31st. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator and announced here next Wednesday, August 1st.

How Audiobooks Are Made

Now that Whispers of the Bayou is available in an audio version, I thought it might be fun to share a little insider info about the audiobook creation process. 

The various versions of Penny, including the original set
of audio cassette tapes.
In the past, audio editions were typically handled by the publisher and didn’t involve the author at all. For example, when my first novel, A Penny for Your Thoughts, was released in audio, I didn’t even know it was happening until a package showed up at my door containing the finished product! That usually happens with things like translations and book club versions as well. But whatever type of edition it is, the author is often the last one to find out—and the first to start jumping up and down with glee. It’s always a thrilling surprise!

The entire Million Dollar Mysteries series ended up being released in audio, as did two of my later books, Under the Cajun Moon and Amish Christmas at North Star, and all are still available as digital downloads through Amazon, Audible, iTunes, and more. Much to my disappointment, however, many of my other novels never made it into audio at all.

Until now. Times have changed, and so has the process by which audiobooks can be created and brought to market. These days, the author is often among the first to know and may even be involved in the process of choosing a narrator and helping to see the project through to fruition. That’s the case with my latest release, the audio version of Whispers of the Bayou, which is now available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

My participation in bringing the audiobook to fruition was great fun for me, especially because the Producer, Jill Smith, was so lovely to work with. She’s a gifted voice actor, and the moment I heard her audition, I thought she sounded just like Miranda Miller, the main character in the story. Little did I know, Jill would end up being able to invoke the voices of all the characters in the story in turn, from the old dying Cajun Willy Pedreaux to Miranda’s five-year-old daughter, Tess. Great audiobook narration always amazes me, and the narration for this one most of all. She did a superb job, which you can check out in this audio sample.

Behind the Scenes

Here is a somewhat simplified version of how the audiobook creation process works from the publisher's side of things…

Step one is to hold auditions to find a reader/producer for the book. Professional voice actors who are interested and who meet the general criteria (as in, the right gender, age, accent, etc.) can create a brief recording of their tryout and submit it for consideration. They all record from the same script, which is usually a 2-page excerpt from the novel of a scene that includes a variety of characters from the story.

Step two is choosing the perfect reader from among the many auditions. Personally, I was blown away by quite a few of the ones we received, and in the end it came down to choosing the reader who most sounded like Miranda while also best voicing all of the other characters as well.

Step three happens once the reader has been hired and given the full manuscript. At that point, they take charge of the process, doing a studio recording of the book on their end, working over the course of several weeks or even months depending on the project, and sometimes posting chapters as they’re finished for the publisher and author to review. Along the way, the reader may ask questions as they arise—for example, how to voice a certain minor character or how to handle a few of the more unusual pronunciations—and in 
return the author can give general feedback about the recording.

Step four happens once the book is finished and ready: Any needed tweaks are made, both sides do a full final listen, and then the recording enters into a quality review process before finally being made available for sale.

Jill Smith, Narrator for Whispers of the Bayou
And that’s basically how it works—at least from the publisher's point of view. Next week, we’ll learn more from the production side of things when I interview Jill Smith, the amazing narrator whose voice brings the Whispers of the Bayou audiobook to life.  Don’t miss it, and in the meantime, be sure to take advantage of my free offer for a paperback book on last week's blog or click on the ENTER TO WIN button, above, to enter the drawing for a free copy of the Whispers of the Bayou audiobook.

See you next time!

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