Edited November 1: I decided to put off creating audiobooks. I explain it here.
Remember a year ago when I said I was going to work on my own audiobooks because it was so much fun? I didn’t give up on the idea, though I did take a break. To be honest, I got discouraged after listening to the recording of Meant To Be, which was my first attempt at it. I don’t know if it was the microphone or my voice or my editing, but at the time, I wasn’t happy with the results. Because of that, I walked away from the whole idea.
Fast forward to last month when I realized my oldest son (who is now 19) was interested in voice acting for audiobooks. I decided to give a short story a try, and it turns out he really brings out the emotions and does a good job with different voices. He’s better than I am. His voice seems to have more range to it than mine does. But I love reading my books, and it doesn’t cost me anything to create my own audiobooks, so I figured why not give this thing another go? I can’t guarantee a professional quality experience. All I can promise is that I’ll do my best with the voice God’s given me.
What this all means for today:
Before Craig and I started a full-length book, I thought it would be best to start with short stories. Since October is the month for spooky stories and I happen to have some on hand, those are the first stories we’ll be posting. I created a Rumble and Bitchute channel to upload the audiobooks to, and I dusted off my old You Tube channel to post them there. I don’t believe in only having stuff in one place with my ebooks, and I feel the same way with audiobooks.
This is a labor of love. I’m doing it for the enjoyment factor. To protect myself from pirates, however, I will be uploading them to Findaway Voices to distribute to retailers. I wasn’t originally planning to do that, but then I thought of how easy it would be for someone to download the audio files, slap on a crappy cover, and pretend they have the rights to publish my audiobooks. It’s a sad world when you have to take the extra step to protect your work, but after going through takedown notices to different retailers over the years, I learned it’s best to get the book up before the thief does.
The romances I narrate with my son are going to be PG-PG13. Long story short, going over a sex scene with mom is just “gross”. You can’t blame the kid. He wants to believe the stork delivered him. 😛 Anyway, I do have romances where I can remove the spicier content. For example, in Regency, Breaking the Rules, Nobody’s Fool, and A Deceptive Wager can be easily made into PG-PG 13 books. In historical western romance, Nelly’s Mail Order Husband, Perfectly Matched, and Suitable for Marriage are other books I can do at that rating.
There are some books, however, that I just can’t do that with. I’ll have to narrate the romances that require those scenes. Books that come to mind as I type this are His Reluctant Lady, The Earl’s Scandalous Wife, and A Perilous Marriage in the Regencies. For historical westerns, they include The Fugitive’s Bride, The Bargain Mail Order Bride, Boaz’s Wager, and Wagon Trail Bride. Just so everyone knows, if I’m the only narrator of the audiobook, I will remove the sex scenes when I upload the books to Rumble, Bitchute, and You Tube. I don’t want to run the risk of a kid stumbling upon it. I know those sites have settings to protect the kids, but what if a kid gets on their parent’s computer? I don’t want to take that kind of risk. The R rated version will only show up at the retailers Findaway Voices distributes to. If my son narrates the book with me, I’ll use the PG version because I don’t have time to redo a book all on my own. Maybe someday I will, but I won’t any time soon.
I already taught my son how to edit the audio files in GarageBand. His hearing is better than mine, so he picks up on things I miss. Editing audio files is easy, but it’s time consuming. I figure he can take that load off of my shoulders so I can be freed up keep writing.
How often and when?
The short stories are easy to do as one file on Rumble, Bitchute, and You Tube. Romances, however, are going to be a bit more challenging, so I decided I’ll post those one chapter at a time. I haven’t decided yet how often to make a new post. My aim is to get one romance uploaded a month once we hit November. At the moment, I’m narrating The Outlaw’s Bride myself. Craig and I will start on Nobody’s Fool within a couple of weeks. For November, I’ll upload Meant To Be since that is already done.
I will not be putting any audiobooks on Amazon/Audible.
Sorry but I can’t tolerate ACX’s policies of letting people treat Audible like a library. I’m not sure how many people who use ACX are aware of it or not, but every time someone returns an audiobook (even if they finished the whole thing), ACX turns around and deducts that money from the author’s future royalties. So let’s say someone purchased Loving Eliza in June, listened to it, and returned it in July. I would get paid for the sale of Loving Eliza for June. But then in July, I would pay that money back to ACX. So ACX never loses any money, and the person got to read my audiobook for free. Meanwhile, I paid the narrator per hour for that book, so I’m out the money. This is basically robbing the author, and I blame ACX for it since they make it sound like the author still gets paid when they send their emails encouraging people to return audiobooks.
There are legitimate libraries and subscription services for people on a budget. Plus, I am uploading these to Rumble, Bitchute, and You Tube where people can listen to these for free. At least with these avenues, I don’t get a payment only to have my future royalties deducted. I feel that what ACX does to authors (and narrators who aren’t paid upfront) is underhanded. It just rubs me the wrong way. And for any pirates who might be reading this, I already claimed my books over there to avoid theft.
I already signed a contract with a narrator to have Eye of the Beholder and the books in the Virginia Series on ACX. But I’m not putting any other book up there.
Findaway Voice treats authors well, which is why I’ll go with them to distribute audiobooks across the other retailers and libraries out there.
I really enjoyed listening to you and Craig in the last short story. I look forward to hearing more!
Thanks, Catherine! I appreciate that a lot. 😀