Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Road to Audio

This week I made an announcement: Finding Daylight is coming out in audiobook. Exciting! Currently I'm going through the sound files, which means a detailed listening of the story checked against the text. So far it's been a hilarious adventure in seeing my book through the eyes of someone else--that someone being a voice actor doing all the voices in that delightful way that makes the story vibrant and alive.

But today I'm also going to make a second announcement: Stay the Distance, my first novel, is also coming out in audiobook. It's just audio everywhere this month!

Mock up audio cover for Stay the Distance.
So how did I make this happen? I am just a little indie author, so it's not like my budget can handle the production costs of hiring voice actors. Additionally, I could have bought my own equipment or rented out a studio and sunk time into doing all the voice acting myself--but voice actor I seriously am not. Plus, who would write All Heart while I'm reciting my previous novels into a microphone?

No, I was going to leave that to the voice actors. But where to find them?

Amazon has this covered with ACX. I simply put the books on the platform, upload a couple of sample pages, and wait for auditions to come rolling in. If you don't want to wait, you can contact the voice actors directly in hopes they'll audition. Then you can either pay the producer for their time and expertise, or share royalties on the resulting audiobook sales.

As with everything, a lot of getting both of my audio projects off the ground had to do with luck and timing. Finding Daylight had just been published and its numbers were beautiful--almost pristine--on Amazon. Consequently it got auditions right away and found a talented producer within a matter of hours. But what of Stay the Distance? My little debut has been out nearly a full year now, and its numbers aren't exactly enjoying that immediate publication boom that Finding Daylight so happily experienced.

This time, it was luck. Publishing a new book gives a previous book a little kick in the pants, and it happened to Stay the Distance at just the right time. Amazon saw sales figures rise out of the blue, determined that an audiobook of Stay the Distance would be good business, and decided to slap a stipend on the title--which was a complete miracle. That meant that any actor who completed the audiobook within 60 days would get a bonus for each finished hour of audio. For an 8-hour audiobook, that's quite an incentive. Auditions rolled in. I was swimming in them. But who could voice July? For a book in the first person, voice is so important. All of the auditions were beautiful, but the voice that really grabbed me belonged to Sarah Mollo-Christensen. I heard only a couple of minutes and knew she was the one before the audition was even finished. Sarah is July, through and through, and I am super excited to have her.

So, obviously I'm kind of freaking out about this development, and I can't wait to get the audio out into the world later this month. Both the Finding Daylight and Stay the Distance audiobooks will be in iTunes, Audible and Amazon soon. So prepare your earbuds!

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Mara Dabrishus is an author and librarian at a small college in Northeast Ohio. Horse racing is her first great love, but for the past several years she's ridden dressage, learning how to spiral in, half halt, and perform the perfect figure eight. Her second novel (gasp!), Finding Daylight, was released in January 2016. For more information, please visit www.maradabrishus.com.


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