Monday, August 26, 2013

Audiobook Production


I decided to try out the ACX-platform to see how my stories would fare as audiobooks. Sure enough, there are many hurdles to take.

The major issue I'm having is the fact that non-US citizens can NOT open an account with ACX (and I don't see anything that indicates this is going to change any time soon). As a German, I have to rely on the honesty of an American friend (waves, hi Will), who allows me to use his account (which is legit as ACX'S guidelines say).

Another bug to swallow is the duration of the contract. I'm signing away the distribution rights for my audiobook for SEVEN years (initial period with automatic renewal for one year). The only good thing is that I don't have to go exclusive (although that cuts royalties nearly by half). I'm thinking of going exclusive since ACX delivers the bigges players out there anyway (Amazon, Audible, and iTunes)who currently cover 90% of the online market.

Plus, ACX doesn't allow you to set your own price. They determine for how much money they sell my audiobooks (I'm sure that's different for bigger publishers), and I get 50% of net. price (for the first 500books, increasing from there to 90% if I manage to sell more than 22,500 copies). The audiobook will probably ten times as expensive as the eBook, but it also cost much, much more to produce (I used a professional since I don't want my listeners to listen to inferior material). I calculated that I'd break even if I manage to sell 160 audiobooks. That doesn't sound too daunting especially since it doesn't come with a deadline.

One more practical problem is that I'm on a very, very slow Internet connection. Although it's DSL, it's barely faster than ISDN used to be, plus it's not reliable. It keeps breaking down. Unfortunately, audio files are huge even if I split them up into chapters. Every time my Internet connection collapses, I can start anew. Argh.

Last but not least, I didn't know that I have to have the eBook published first. So I struggled yesterday to upload "Heroes Wanted" ("Helden Gesucht" in German) to Amazon. Luckily, the two short stories I had selected for the audiobook were already proofread and edited. Just in case you're interested, here's the cover and the blurb:

Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends
or How to order a dragon
Mondays are hard in any office. When Siegfried of Xanthen is calling before opening hours the day in Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends can only go downhill for Rose.

A Different Perspective
When Romans attack, Freyja flees with the women of her clan while the men, including her beloved Thordal, fight. Can Allfather Odin help Freyja to save Thordal’s life?

You can buy "Helden Gesucht" or "Heroes Wanted" on Amazon for $0.99 (0.92€). Other retailers will follow. Hopefully, I will overcome all obstacles and announce the audiobook soon.

Have you ever thought about trying to do an audiobook? Any last minute tips or tricks for me?
Thanks in advance,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Haters on Goodreads Kill Debut of Hopeful Author

I had scheduled a totally different post for today but can't help it. This is far more important than my minor problems. Please READ THIS CAREFULLY AND SPREAD THE WORD (I know I'm shouting, but this needs to be heard).

This takes my breath away – in a very negative way. My (so far) favorite review site, Goodreads, allows haters and Cyber-bullys to attack authors like Lauren. In this special case, the hate attack was triggered by a question about the rating system and it went on until the young authoress decided to NOT release her debut novel. She weighed the need to protect her health and sanity against the anger and hate she got from cyber-bullies and decided that SHE was more important than the book.

Only a truly strong woman can make this kind of decision. I applaud her – although I do not like that the bullies managed to push her than way.

The hardest bits about the whole story are:

  • she is not the only one who is bullied on Goodreads, there are others – reviewers and authors alike
  • Goodreads is NOT stepping in. They excuse bullying by claiming “Freedom of Speech” – which is a ridiculously easy way to say, “We don’t give a shit.”

This has to stop, and the ones who can enforce their own policies (see quotes from their website above) are the managers of Goodreads. If you want to support a cyper-outcryagainst bullying on Goodreads, head over to sign the petition. The more, the better. Goodreads needs to see that it will be loosing customers (authors, reviewers AND advertisers) if it doesn’t stop bullying on their site.

Hurry up, do the Good Deed of the Day,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Struggling with the cover


I'm loathe to say it, but the picture I chose as the background for Swordplay (see last post) is crap. I'm not talking about the composition. It's exactly what I envisioned when I started looking for a picture like that. I'm talking about the quality of the vector-file I downloaded.

The background and some of the swirls are well rendered and clear at any size. Others appear pixelated when I scale the picture to the size I will need. I'm extremely annoyed. It would have been such a great fit. Sigh...

But all bad things have a good side. When I searched for another picture that might fit, I found THE perfect match for "Urchin King", a novel I will re-release on August 31st. (Why re-release? The book has been doing well and received some nice reviews, but it didn't have chapter marks or a table of content that you can navigate with the new Kindles. Also, I finished translating and polishing the German version which I will publish End of August too. So I decided to roll both into one release.)

I know I'm annoyed about the picture but I'm also delighted by the one I found (I'll do a cover reveal soon). Has something similar happened to you too? Have you been able to see the good in the bad?

Have a great day,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

help needed on another cover


I'm currently working on the cover for my next release "Swordplay" (a YA fantasy mystery). I decided to make a series out of it (because my wattpad readers encouraged me), so the old cover doesn't fit any more. Aside from the fonts, I liked the first cover well enough, but it would be hard to create a similar look for a series.

For the new cover, I had planned to put several dark silouettes on a white background and combine it with a major plot element (like the sword). Then, I stumbled over this picture (background)which catches the essence of my novels. I like the new cover much better since it shows the chaotic magic that's whirling though my world. Unfortunately, it makes the background rather noisy. I tried to work around this restriction and think this will look nice.

I could use the same cover but with a different color-scheme for the individual volumes of the series (the titles for vol 2 and 3 are still made up. I only finalize the titles AFTER I write the book). What do you think. Does it look dynamic enough or is it too chaotic?

Thank you for your help,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back with a Bang


I'm back from my holiday, as brown as I used to be as a kid, and with the beginnings of a fantasy murder mystery series in my pocket. Despite the glaring sun, I also managed to proof-read the German version of "Urchin King" which I will publish soon(ish). I'm still sweating... ;-)

When I worked through the 350odd eMails waiting for me upon my return, I got a big surprise -- one I'm still celebrating (even if nothing comes of it). An agent who's usually closed to submissions except by referral saw my first page on a competition (I entered it for the feedback) and requested some material. I sincerely hope the agent likes the story well enough to ask for more.

Still, even if the agent doesn't request more, I'm happy. Somehow the fact alone feels like a validation of my writing. I will keep on writing and publishing as best I can. AND I hope I will get better with every novel I finish. Now, if only I had more hands and maybe two brains for simultaneously translating what I'm revising. ;-)

I hope you'll all have a great summer,