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While waiting for Audible to approve/reject our submission, we have heard back from a number of people who say they don’t do Audible. Some prefer CD’s because they cannot afford Audible’s monthly charges.

So this got me and Helen thinking about offering CD’s, even if Audible accepts our books. We are also considering the fact that some people do not have a convenient CD Player these days, or may prefer audio files for storage. For them, we are thinking about selling MP3 audio files that people can order from this site so they can download the entire book into their own device of choice.

So please take a moment and let us know which of the following options that would be of interest to you. We are simply seeking feedback which would be a huge help to us in deciding what path(s) to take as far as making our audios available to people, so your responses are VERY important to us.

NOTE: you CAN vote for more than one option from the list below:

 
A – Audible?
 
B – Audiobook on CD’s?
 
C – MP3 audio files that you can download to the device(s) of your choice?
 

Please leave your votes in the comment section so we can see your responses, and as always we thank you all for your continued support for this blog and our works.

Keep writing everyone!

 

Audio Options

CAN YOUR HEAR ME NOW?

Everyone knows that typing in all caps means the person is yelling/screaming at you over the internet. Naturally, most folks will tell the user to please lower their volume/tone as no one likes being screamed at. This is even more true when it comes to a person listening to an audiobook. If the narrator telling the tale is too loud or too soft it can really take the listener out of the story and annoy them to no end. And don’t expect good reviews on Audible either. I’ve seen reviews that praise the story but tear into the performance with a vengeance. This in turn can ruin your chances to be hired to do audios of other peoples’ books. 

So today we’re going to get into volume and consistency in our recordings. Now if you’re renting studio space and have someone else doing your editing, you’re probably going to be okay. But if you’re like me and doing your recording in the comfort of your own home/studio, as well as taking care of the editing afterwards, you have your work cut out for you.

Recently I was burning some CD’s (using CD-R discs and Windows Media Player) for my mom who is not a computer user, thus she cannot go the Audible route. But she does love her CD’s, so being the dutiful son I went to work burning her a copy of Helen’s solo novel “Forever’s Too Long” (Available at Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF). Now this audio is not yet available in Audible because it is still going through Audible’s “Review Process” (a topic for another entry in the “Adventures in Audio Recording Series”).

After making sure all the files were in MP3 format (an Audible Submission Requirement), I burnt (copied) them onto CDs and then began running the discs through my CD player to make sure they were working. To my delight they worked beautifully, to my horror the volume levels between chapters was…

Yeah, the volume levels from one chapter to the next was shall we say NOT exactly even. Mind you I’m not saying they were off the scales or anything. Mind you I wasn’t blowing anyone’s hair back or anything like that.

But the volume was varying enough that at times a listener would need to adjust the volume up or down to hear properly. And let me tell you, if I were the listener I’d be getting damned annoyed if I kept getting caught up in the story and then pulled out to adjust the volume every so often.

So here was a new problem I hadn’t counted on. While technically each chapter met Audible’s technical requirements, this varying volume level from one chapter to the next was definitely going to be a problem. A problem that could easily get the book rejected by Audible. So there was only one thing to do, I had to fix this problem. But how? I’m still quite the newbie when it comes to recording audiobooks. The answer was simple, it was time to hit YouTube once again for advice on how to adjust the volume on each individual chapter so they lined up just right.

TO BE CONTINUED….


New Year’s is a time for reflection and looking ahead… or so I’ve been told. My first thought was “I didn’t really get that much done this year. I don’t have much to say or show for it.” Then at the urging of Helen I pulled out a pen and paper and started making a list. The results surprised me.

                   

I created not one but three book covers. This is the most art I’ve done in one year in I don’t know how long. Two of them were of course for Helen’s new The Forever Detective Series. The other was a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which we re-released as the first Young Adult (YA) installment of our Para-Earth Series.

Speaking of Helen’s new series, we created not one but two book trailers, one for each book.

 

 

This was the first time I’d ever made a book trailer and it was a blast. Helen wrote a short script for each and also found a bunch of images she wanted used in them. I not only supplied the expertise in turning it all into a video, but also the voice-over.

Now all this voice-over work, as brief as it was, led to yet another new project. At the urging of many others, I started looking into creating audiobooks. I spent a couple of months researching equipment and software and how to use it all. Eventually, I finally started recording a couple of our short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” and got some seriously positive feedback, as well as some solid tips.

Here’s one of them:

I’ve recorded several more in the meantime, with the hopes of eventually having the entire anthology recorded in the coming months.

This leads me back to my efforts to get into creating full-scale audiobooks. In spite of all my research and blogging about all the technical aspects of creating an audiobook (there are seven entries in this blog already with a few more to come) I still wasn’t sure I was ready to fully go for it. Then in early November I went to a class about voice-over work and got the reassurance I needed from a pro. As she told me in an e-mail “You’ve got the chords for this…”

With this in mind I’ve been fully throwing myself into completing the audio recordings of Helen’s first solo book “Forever’s Too Long”. To date 20 of the 22 chapters are recorded and edited. I have re-record two more and get them edited. Once their done and meet with her approval (I had recorded them earlier but neither of us were happy with the results hence the do-over) we will be submitting the entire set to Audible. We’re hoping this will happen no later than the end of this month (January 2020). From there I intend to continue recording more stories from the anthology as well as begin turning her second book “Forever Haunted” into an audio, as well as “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” in which Helen will be lending her vocal talents to bringing those characters more to life.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t started turning “The Bridge” or “The Ship” into audiobooks, instead of jumping to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “TVB – One Day At a Time”. The answer is simple, length. Both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” are much longer than any of the other books I’m tackling and will take a great deal more time to record. Plus, I still have to come up with voices for all the various characters in those two books. So until I’ve nailed down voices for everyone, those are on the slow track for now, but they will be happening.

But getting back to 2019, with all this artwork and recording, did I get ANY writing done? The answer is of course I did. Some of it was on the long-awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.

“The Door” is fully under way, and will hopefully finally see the light of day by the end of this year if not sooner. As this book is a major turning point in the Para-Earth Series, I really want to get this book completed as much as people want to read it. However, some of it’s progress will depend on another writing project with my other collaborator Rich Caminiti.

“The Pass” has been one of the most ambitious projects I’ve worked on to date. It is also the only book I’ve worked on as a long-distance collaboration, which has involved trading off chapters and as well many, MANY Skype sessions. But Rich and I are closing in on a finished 1st draft and then the process of creating a 2nd cleaner draft will begin in another month or so. So I will have much to do on that front. After the 2nd draft, it will be sent to beta-readers and an editor for further clean-up. Our hopes is to have the book out by the end of the year, but we will see what happens. We refuse to rush the book without getting it as clean and exciting as possible. And on a side note, the 2nd installment of that tale is also under way as I write. So more on that will be coming in future blog posts.

Also on the writing front I completed 3 brand new short stories for our other site “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”. Two of those tales were rather lengthy and took several months apiece to complete. Yet in spite of their length, they are still considered short stories and not novelettes or novellas.

So that covers most of 2019.

What’s in store for 2020?

Well, I’ve already covered the fact that I’m close to releasing a complete audiobook, which I hope to follow with at least 2 more before year’s end. As I mentioned earlier, one will be “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” anthology, the other will be Helen’s 2nd book “Forever Haunted”. I’ve got voices prepared for both titles and depending on how things go I may get “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” under way as well.

When it comes to my own writing getting “The Pass” into a finished 2nd draft and sent to beta-readers and an editor are the top demands. Rich and I would like to see it reach readers by the end of the year, but I know from experience that there’s still so much to do before that can happen. But we will see.

I’m already planning several new short stories for “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” as well as beginning preparations to put together and 2nd anthology with several never before seen stories included.

“The Door” of course is another priority for me. I’d really like to see that finished and prepped for release this year. With luck, and patience, I hope to make that actually happen.

And of course, I’ll be making new book trailers as well as helping format Helen’s next two books in her Forever Detective series.

So that’s what’s been and what is coming. There’s a lot on our plates, but we’ll keep bringing you new posts regarding all these projects and more so stay tuned. Please accept this late wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and as always keep writing.

Gifting E-books…


This entry may seem to be a repeat but every year I get asked about how to gift e-books to someone. So here you all are and I hope everyone takes advantage since giving someone a tale they will love can be priceless sometimes…

Okay gang, the big day is drawing near and you still want to get a few more gifts but don’t know what to buy, or don’t want to go out into the stores which have already pulled down half of their displays and are lining up Spring stuff. What to do, what to do… how about giving someone a good book to read on their Kindle? It’s fast, easy, and you can have it delivered on Christmas Day and know it will arrive on time…


Didn’t know you could do this? Neither did I for the longest time. I only found out a couple of years ago when we released “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”. I found myself rewarding some of our beta-readers with a free copy of the finished product in whatever form they wished (trade paperback, Kindle, PDF).  Most requested a signed trade paperback, but a couple asked for the Kindle version.

So I headed over to Amazon, got into my account, and pulled up “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  Once there I quickly found the “Give As A Gift” button and clicked it.  From there I was taken to another screen which asked me to sign into my Amazon account, which I did.  From there I was taken to a final screen

This screen asked only for the e-mail address of the recipient I was sending this book to AND what day I wanted it delivered.  It was the option of a delivery date that really caught my eye.  Now some of you might be thinking, “Duh, you never noticed this before?”  And the answer is “Obviously, I didn’t.  I rarely gave e-books as gifts to anyone before, even though I’m one of the authors.  Most of my readers buy the books for themselves and hardly anyone in my family owns a Nook or Kindle.”  So yes, this was  new to me and very exciting.

So now I have this huge new avenue for last minute holiday shopping before me, which I thought it important to share these options with all of you. Some of you may have known about all this, but for those (like me) who didn’t you now have more options when it comes to shopping for gifts.  I personally love the idea of having a book to place in someone’s ‘Cyber Stocking’.

So for anyone who didn’t know about this option, now you do.  And the best part is you can do that kind of shopping right now.  The e-book will not arrive before the date you set.

Of course, being an author I’m going to shamelessly promote our books by providing links below so you can visit our author pages on Amazon, where all our books are listed and you can choose whichever one(s) you’d like to gift to the readers in your life.

Here are the links for our Para-Earth Series:

US KINDLE USERS:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KT9C559?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

UK KINDLE USERS:

CANADA KINDLE USERS:

And for fans of Helen’s new “Forever Detective Series” which blends noir mystery and the supernatural here are the links to those books:

Thanks for tuning in and don’t be afraid to leave suggestions or ideas about gifting books that I overlooked in this post, in the comments section below.  Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Helen’s latest book is out and here’s your chance to grab your own copy of this growing 5 star series…

Forever Detective

Just in time for the Christmas season, a good old fashion ghost story is the theme of the second installment of the Forever Detective Series.

The year is 1947 and private investigator Rafael Jones has already learned the hard way that the supernatural is all too real. Having been turned into a vampire, he’s trying to continue his work as a detective, while attempting to adapt to and understand his condition. 

Now he has a new case to deal with. A friend has asked him to prove a mansion he’s inherited is NOT haunted. Unfortunately, it is… and the ghost needs Rafael for help and justice.

Can our hero find answers and evidence a 20 year old cold case no one knew about? Can he find the Prohibition gangster who murdered the young flapper? These things are harder than you’d expect them to be with a view of the murder…

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Just in time for the Christmas season, a good old fashion ghost story is the theme of the Helen’s second solo book…

The year is 1947 and private investigator Rafael Jones has already learned the hard way that the supernatural is all too real. Having been turned into a vampire, albeit one who has no problems with holy objects, he’s trying to continue working as a detective. While back on the continent his Interpol love, Clara Thomas, is using her considerable “occult” contacts to find a way to help him.

In the meantime he has a new case to deal with. A friend has asked him to prove a mansion he’s inherited is NOT haunted. Unfortunately, it is and the ghost has reached out to Rafael for help and justice.

Can our hero find answers to a 20 year old cold case no one knew about? Can he find the Prohibition gangster who murdered the young flapper? And can our boy survive the fact that he’s not the only one who knows about supernatural beings and how to deal with them?

Find out in “Forever Haunted” available December 1st in Trade Paperback and Kindle:

 

 

*LINKS for Trade Paperback, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords coming soon*

Adventures In Audio Recording VII


Okay now that we’ve covered as much of the technical that I’m aware of, let’s move on to a new topic, namely doing the actual reading aloud. Now the first thing I’m going to say is please do not make yourself sound like Ben Stein. Unless of course your book is about curing insomnia, in which case then you might make a bundle on the open market.

People do not want to hear a lifeless dull monotone performance. You put a lot into your work to make it come to life on the written page. Now you have to bring that same life into your reading. Mind you I’m not saying you have to put together a full-fledged performance complete with sound effects, mood music, and an entire cast. But you do need to give your listeners an interesting and gripping experience. Try to get them caught up int he moment with your voice and delivery. But equally as important you have to make sure your speaking clearly, not too fast, nor too slowly. You need to enunciate properly so they don’t get hung up on a badly pronounced word and are now falling behind as the rest of the story continues, while they’re trying to figure out what you meant to say.

Now if you’ve already done loud readings and have entertained people with them, you’re off to a great start. In my case I took a theater class back in the day and have been part of Toastmasters, so I have a lot to fall back on to help me. Plus I’ve read aloud to many people and have been complimented on my ability to make the characters come alive for the audience.

Now if this sounds like more than you can handle, you might want to look into some training or hiring someone as a narrator. Even with my experience, I’ve been having a hard time with my recordings and making sure they come across as professional as possible. I’ve been able to give a lot of technical information here, but actually delivering a good reading is a whole other ballgame for me. I’m very demanding of myself and want to produce a really top-notch product. So far, those who’ve been listening to the chapters I’ve already recorded and edited are very pleased with the results. Some, who listen to a lot of Audible books, have told me I’m as good if not better than a number of narrators they’ve listened to.

I think that may be partly because I not only read but give each character a different voice and wind up with a narration/performance recording. But while I do so I am trying to pay attention to a number of factors like:

– Pacing: I have to struggle not to get too caught up in the performance that I don’t rush through a scene no matter how exciting I find it.

 

 

– Pausing: Remembering to actually leave a pause at periods and commas. This is a bit of an issue for me, so keeping pacing in mind helps a lot. So in my case the two go hand in hand.

 

SIDENOTE: Why yes I am a big fan of the muppets, how did you know?

– Emoting: Okay this goes back to my earlier comment about Ben Stein. Remember the listeners cannot see you, so you have to let your voice carry the day when it comes to emotions or giving the audience a sense of urgency, anxiety, worry, passion. You don’t have to go overboard like this guy…

But just let some feeling into your voice to give the audience a feel for the moment.

 

– Emphasis: This area can be tricky. Luckily if you’re the author or the author is someone close who can help coach you on this part, you’ll be in good shape. Deciding where to put emphasis (making a certain word/part of a sentence) can be simple or not. In my case I recently had an occasion where I was doing a voice-over on a book trailer for my wife Helen’s latest solo novel. She had created a sentence that was a bit long, but technically correct from a writing standpoint. However, I was having trouble finding where to put the emphasis on certain sections within the one sentence. I’m putting the trailer just below so you can see and hear it. The area in particular is about halfway through it where  I start talking about “The shadows of Prohibition…” It took me a couple of takes to get this line just the way she wanted, but the result was spot on.

I feel we’ve covered a lot today so I’m going to leave our discussion here for the moment, partly because I’m going to a class on Voice-Over work on Monday.  Hopefully I’ll have more things to share with you all in my next entry in two weeks. I do hope this and the previous entries regarding Audio Recording has been helpful to you. There’s still probably a couple of more entries to do before I finish this topic… and even then I might do more down the road as I finally prepare myself to actually submit an audiobook to ACX/Audible. That will probably be an adventure in and of itself, so stay tuned.

 

Until next time, keep writing and recording my friends.


 

New book means new book trailer! Allan does the narration. Enjoy.


Okay, so now that we’ve got all the technical parts of recording covered and how to meet ACX’s requirements, we’re ready to record and submit, right?

Yeah, what the 10th Doctor is saying. There are a number of other non-technical requirements that we have to pay attention to, in order to submit our audio successfully. First off, you need to include opening credits. These are as follows:

-The title of the audiobook

-The subtitle, if there is one

-Written by (Name of the Author)

-Narrated by (Insert your name here)

All of these need to be included in the very first file. Now you can submit this as a separate file, or as part of the first chapter.

Speaking of chapters, each chapter should have its own sound file. When you submit to ACX you’ll be submitting an entire folder of files to them. And each file can only include one chapter, no matter how short. UNLESS… the chapter is so long that the sound file is going to be longer than 120 minutes. In that case, you’ll be breaking that chapter up into more than one file. Remember, no single file can be longer than 120 minutes. ACX is very strict about this.

And since we’re discussing credits, there should also be closing credits at the end of the final chapter or at least the spoken words THE END.  I myself prefer something like this. “The End. You have been listening to “Title of the Book”, written by “Author Name” and narrated by “Your name here”.

You’ll also want to have a separate file to submit that will be a sample of your work so the audience can get a taste of what awaits them inside your audiobook. Do not include anything that contains the opening/closing credits, music, or anything explicit. The sample can be anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes in length. So choose wisely, remember this is part of your ‘hook’ to get listeners to want to hear the entire story from start to finish.

Another requirement ACX asks of submissions is 2-3 seconds of silence or “Room Tone”. Remember where I mentioned having several seconds of silence where we used the “Noise Reduction” function, this is where that section comes into play again. Originally we used it to clean up the entire file. But now we need it as a lead in before any speaking takes place in a file, and they also want another 3-5 seconds at the end of each file. This is a requirement that can and will get you rejected, so make sure each of your files has this 2-3 seconds at the beginning and 3-5 seconds of “Room Tone” at the end.

Be careful of making sure each file is consistent in pacing, vocalization, sound levels, clear speaking, etc. Try to avoid loud mic pops, mouth noises, breathing, etc. (most of which we covered in the previous entries where we covered the technical requirements). Still, try to make sure there is a definite consistency throughout all the files so as not to irritate the listener. People love being drawn into a story and then jarred out of it because of a mistake someone made in the recording. This WILL lead to bad reviews and poor ratings of all your hard work. So take the time to make sure every file is clean and consistent for your own sake.

Next up, Mono or Stereo channel formats. Whichever format you choose ALL the files associated with the audiobook in question must be in the same format. I myself stick to Mono which makes my life so much easier. I personally don’t really know the difference between the two, but Mono is what I use and I keep things consistent that way.

Finally, ACX has one final rule… the narration must be done by an actual human being. Text-to-speech is not allowed. Audible listeners are expecting a performance by a person, so ACX will only accept that and nothing else.

So, we’ve covered technical issues, and the submission requirements for ACX, which means we’re done right…

 

Sorry about that, but there are other things we need to discuss and take into consideration. And all of it falls under “Performance”. How good a narrator are you? Can you bring life to the words and characters or not? How fast should you be reading? What about pauses for the end of a sentence, etc., etc. Are you putting emphasis in the right place for the story?

We’ll go into all that in our next installment. But if you feel you’ve learned all you need, perhaps you’re already an actor or someone who’s just a natural at loud readings. If you are, then best of luck to you and go get ’em!

As for everyone else, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. Until then keep writing and reading my friends.


Guess who got featured as the spotlight author over on Writer’s Treasure Chest…

Writer's Treasure Chest

Welcome!

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Allan Krummenacker, and for the record “I am not a number, I am a FREE MAN!” Anyone who gets that reference please give yourself a Gold Star. Also the first 5 people who post where that quote comes from down in the comments section can get a free copy of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is being released October 1st.

Okay now that I got that out of my system, let’s get down to business. As you already suspect I’m rather silly and full of nonsense, which are great qualities in writing. I was born and raised on Long Island, NY and moved to California in 1985. Here I met my wife, a great set of friends, got into sci-fi and fantasy fandom (including costuming and fanfic writing). I currently reside along the west coast and am working for the county…

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