My guest, author Cindy Huff, is kind enough to share her experience turning her debut novel Secrets & Charades into an audiobook. And it is quite a production. Considering I have plans of doing the same in the very near future, I thought this post would benefit all of us.
Marketing to listeners is a good idea, and Cindy is excited about the prospect of a new audience for her novel.
Here’s what she has to say about it:
Who are these listeners?
There are commuters, those driving to work or taking the train. And sales persons who listen between calls. My husband’s cousin listened to a lot of books on her assembly line job. A friend of mine listens while she cleans house. Those who are blind or have brain injury also love audio books.
Some may ask why I didn’t record the book myself.
Three simple reasons:
- Publisher offered it at no cost to me.
- Although I love reading out loud—even doing voices—turn on a recorder and I stumble a lot.
- I lack the proper equipment.
Advantages of using a professional
- They have “the voice” for the job.
- They have the professional equipment, eliminating unnecessary background noises.
- They have a following of readers who love the actor’s voice.
- Together, we double our marketing stream.
After auditioning five readers, Meghan Kelly had the voice that best captured my story. The combination of a wonderful story read by a woman who understands my characters adds so much to the readers experience. In my mind it’s a win-win.
Things you need to know before you consider doing an audiobook
- The narrator may not read it exactly word for word. There are some sentences and words that don’t flow well when read out loud. A few errors are acceptable. The listener is not going to be reading along. ACX and other companies that hire these readers allow a small percentage of errors. As long as it doesn’t totally change the author’s intent it will be fine.
- The narrator spends 40 plus hours transforming 80,000 words onto an audio. That is not including the editing they do. Some may have an additional person who does the edits. Depends on the author’s budget.
- You will be required to read along as you listen to the proof copy and fill out a sheet telling at what point (minutes on the tape) there is an error that needs fixing. It could be a mispronounced name, a dropped sentence, a repetitive sentence. And it takes hours to do this. Even as clean as my copy was it still took hours to listen to the audio while following along in my novel.
- The narrator may be paid a flat fee or contract to receive royalties from the sale. That is put out there before a narrator will even audition.
Don’t settle for any ol’ narrator
Audition several narrators wait for the right one. My book is full of characters from different ethnic backgrounds. Accents were needed. I had several women and the men who auditioned didn’t convince me with their female voices. One man had a lovely deep baritone that sounded wonderful as man but weird as a woman. But Meghan had acting training and it showed in her audition. She brought the characters to life in a way that satisfied my hopes.
And that is the final word—it has to satisfy your hopes.
Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer and her debut novel Secret’s and Charades won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014 and placed third in the Maxwell Awards in 2017 and first place Serious Writer Medal 2018. Her contemporary romance New Duet released in May 2018. She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a member of ACFW and founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. Although she has been creating stories in her head since childhood it wasn’t until high school those imaginary characters began appearing on paper. After raising her family, she began her novel writing adventures. Cindy loves to encourage new writers on their journey. She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. They have five children and six grandchildren. Visit Cindy on Facebook, follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff, or check out her blog.
Here’s Cindy’s latest release . . .