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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Posts Tagged ‘audio’

Audiobooks with ACX – Optimize Your Novel for Audio

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 28, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Optimize Your Novel for Audio

This is part 6 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. Once I started listening to how my words sounded, I realized what worked and what didn’t. It made me change the way I write. Going forward, I’ll alter my writing with audio production in mind. It’s made a difference in many ways. Here are my tips on optimizing your novel for audio.

Avoid authorial phrases like “assailed her nostrils” or “attacked her senses.” Be more concrete and direct: “The smell of chocolate wafted into her nose.” Descriptions like “his aura of command” could be better written, as can describing food as “sliding down her throat.”

Get Rid of Adverbs

Remove adverbs in phrases such as “I thought irreverently” or “She thought sardonically.” The dialogue should speak for itself.

Don’t begin sentences with any of these words as it sounds awkward: abruptly, quickly, startled, evidently, apparently, depressed, inwardly, ignoring, hoping, wanting.

Be wary of starting sentences with “ing” words or short phrases. These sound awkward when spoken out loud.

Change this: “Focusing on the road ahead, she pondered their conversation.”

To this: “She focused on the road ahead while pondering their conversation.”

Change this:

Smoothing down her jeans, Marla emerged from their car. She wore a corduroy jacket over a pullover sweater, glad for the extra cover when a cool breeze stirred her hair. Fortunately, the cold spells only lasted a few days at a time in South Florida.

To this:

Marla emerged from their car and smoothed down her jeans. She wore a corduroy jacket over a pullover sweater, glad for the extra cover when a cool breeze stirred her hair. At least the cold spells in South Florida only lasted for a few days.

Change this: Inside the lounge, she paused to study the contemporary motif.

To this: She paused inside the lounge to study the contemporary motif.

Avoid stilted dialogue. Make sure that conversations among your characters flow naturally and sound smooth.

Try not to break up passages of dialogue.

Change This:

“Oh no?” Tally heaved a deep sigh. “Maybe he asked them to cover for him. He didn’t invite me to come along this morning.”

To This:

Tally heaved a deep sigh. “Oh no? Maybe he asked them to cover for him. He didn’t invite me to come along this morning.”

Use Facial Expressions Sparingly

His eyes narrowed; her mouth curved in a smile; he pressed his lips together. These can sound unnecessary with dialogue spoken aloud, so evaluate if you really need them. Same for “he nodded” or “She grinned.” Try to qualify these, like “She grinned as though she had something to hide.”

Change this:

“The killer is covering his tracks, but we’ll get him. Or rather, Mallory’s team will have the honors.”

She heard the resentful note in his voice. “You wish this were your case, don’t you?”

His jaw clenched. “Of course I do. Tally and Ken are like family to us.”

To This:

“The killer is covering his tracks, but we’ll get him. Or rather, Mallory’s team will have the honors.”

She heard the resentful note in his voice. “You wish this were your case, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. Tally and Ken are like family to us.”

Identify Speakers

Make sure it’s clear who is speaking. It is okay to stick in a “he said/she said” or an action tag now and then, but don’t overuse them. And yes, your narrator will speak every word aloud in the audio version if you want your book to be Whispersync ready.

Note Character Voices

Mention the person’s voice quality in your character profiles or as you write dialogue. Is it low and throaty? Booming like a radio announcer? A pronounced Southern drawl? A clipped tone? A high-pitched voice? Or perhaps a condescending tone? You’ll need these notes for your narrator when you’re ready to do audio.

Write Shorter Chapters

Each chapter is uploaded separately by your producer to ACX. My fifteen-page average chapters come out to around twenty minutes each. You’ll have shorter listening times with fewer pages per chapter. Hereafter, I’ll aim for chapters that average around ten pages each.

By keeping these tips in mind when revising your next work, your audiobook will sound smoother and won’t jerk the listener out of the story. So add these suggestions to your arsenal of notes on manuscript revisions.

CLICK TO TWEET

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Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by Mary Ann Jacobs. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to Sample Clips.

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio (640x640)

BUY NOW

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

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Giveaways and Bargains

July 28 TODAY ONLY!
Killer Knots original edition ebook is on sale for $2.99 ONE DAY ONLY
Cohen_KillerKnots

Amazon
Nook
iBooks
Kobo

July 28
Let’s Talk post on “Early Role Playing” at
Booklover’s Bench

July 1- 31
BODY WAVEeBook (421x640)

Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11- Aug 8

Cozy Mystery - July 2016 - Cohen-Nancy
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Enter to win more 40+ cozy mysteries PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Fiction Writing, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 21, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

This is part 4 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. After you have hit the “Approve Audiobook” button, ACX will instruct you to pay your narrator, if you are paying per finished hour. The payment due is based on the finished length. Once you send the funds via the narrator’s preferred method, click on the button for “I sent xxx to my producer.”

When the producer confirms payment has been received, ACX and Audible will conduct a quality assurance review and prepare the title for retail sale. This can take up to two weeks.

Here’s an idea of how long this all takes from my timeline. My narrator was pretty fast and responded promptly to requests for changes. Hopefully, you’ll find someone just as responsive.

Posted Book Profile on April 12, 2016
First Audition Received on April 18, 2016
Received my narrator’s audition on May 2, 2016
She accepted my offer on May 3, 2016
Final Files Loaded on June 9, 2016
I approved Final Files on June 11, 2016
Production: 7 hours, 14 minutes, 24 seconds
Narrator confirmed payment
Six days later – Audiobook Release

There’s no warning when the audiobook will appear. I got an email from ACX that said: “Permed to Death (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Book 1) is now on sale at Audible, and it will be available on iTunes and Amazon within the next few days.”

Two days later, I also received my 25 free download codes that can be used for soliciting reviews.

If you have friends or relatives who have never received a book from Audible, you can send them a copy for free from your audiobook’s page on Audible. There’s a button for this purpose. This helps you save some of your codes for better use.

Now it’s time to start on your marketing plan.

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PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk

iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t

Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

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Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ACX and Audible

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 26, 2014

ACX and Audible
Novelists, Inc. Conference St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014

P1030932

What Sells in Audio? Teen and YA Fiction, Romance, Scifi/Fantasy, Mysteries/Thrillers, Business and History.

What do you need to get started? You need a published book on Amazon, audio rights, a manuscript, cover art and rights to the cover. There is no particular length requirement. Figure that 9300 words equals one finished hour of audio. In your profile when you apply to ACX, mention the main characters in your book, your awards and track record.

Options include paying the narrator upfront based on book length or sharing the earnings 50-50 and paying nothing up front. This latter term lasts seven years. Thereafter, you can renew each year or remove the audio book from distribution. A third option is to upload your own audio file.

Royalties are 40% for exclusive distribution and 25% if you go nonexclusive. For the former, you and the narrator split the royalty, meaning you’d each earn 20%. Distribution is to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Make sure you grant world rights for global reach.

You can earn a $50.00 bounty when someone joins Audible and purchases your book first. The person must stay in Audible for 30 days after the trial period.

The author gets 25 download codes for promotion but these don’t count toward your bounty. You can request more. How can you use these? Use them to generate reviews. Check out these sites: Audiofile, AudioGals, Books for Ears. Offer giveaways to your newsletter subscribers and social media fans. You can use Audible’s gift center to send a book to a fan.

If you already have an audio file, make sure it meets the requirements. It takes about three weeks after uploading to become active. Royalties are paid monthly via check or direct deposit.

Selecting your Narrator

Is she too fast? Too slow? Too cartoonish? Just right? Keep in mind that the listener can speed the audio with a tool in the app. You’ll want to give your narrator about three pages to read. These can be different paragraphs along with the context. In a series, continuity of narrator is important. A single voice is more popular than a multi-cast. Any additional material should come after the credits at the end.

One tip: use fewer dialogue tags. Various checkpoints occur in the process: the initial audition, and then a 15 minute sample which does not have to be the first pages of your work. You can request two rounds of revisions. Listen for the quality of sound during the longer samples. You can terminate the contract if you do not like the results. If approved, you can request three chapters at a time from your narrator.

Check the performance rating with each narrator, visit their website and note how many books they’ve done. You can click Like or Dislike to organize your selections. Narrators do not see this. You can send sample clips to friends for their opinions. Ask the narrator about her editing. Will she allow you to review the audio chapter by chapter, or at least three chapters at a time? You want somebody who’s easy to work with. If you are not happy with the narrator and reviews reflect your views, you can ask the narrator to re-record and upload. Do the first book slowly and thoughtfully. Do not rush the process.

The speaker from ACX at Ninc who nominates audio books for promotion said she looks at the book cover first. Next she’ll check out the number of reviews and what they say. She will check out your social media sites to see if you are promoting your audios. If you have a series, getting a promo boost for book one is important. Branding and packaging should carry over from other series titles.

How to Stand Out

Consider adding teasers for sequels after the credits. Coordinate promo efforts with your narrator. Leverage SoundCloud for audio clips. Make a dedicated space on your website for audio books. You can distribute up to 10% of your audio on a clip. This can be embedded on your website.

 

Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

 
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