Tag Archive: author



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.


Okay, so getting ready to record in the privacy of your own home. Sadly, this will not always be easy. Finding a quiet spot to set up is always tricky at best. But here are a few do’s and don’t’s:

1 – DON’T use your bathroom! It may have great acoustics for singing, but for recording an audio book, not a great choice. Too much echo, unless of course you want that effect for a particular scene where the character is in a cave/tunnel.  But not ideal for an entire book. You’ll drive your listeners crazy.

2 – Do not have any laundry, dishwasher, or loud fans going anywhere nearby. If you’ve got a really good microphone, guess what it will be picked up in the background. Not acceptable to ACX requirements.

3 – Make sure the windows are closed so you don’t pick up outside noises, like traffic or kids playing.

4 – Be prepared to start over… repeatedly! Things happen. You accidentally step on something, or your clothing is crinkly, etc. Where something comfortable and quiet.

5 – Have some water/drink on hand to take a swig between takes (or even sentences). Remember, with Audacity you’ll have the capability to delete sections where something happened you didn’t realize got picked up by the mic.

Some of you are probably wondering, “How do I delete a section in Audacity?” It’s very simple. When you record Audacity not only records but gives you a visual on your computer screen as depicted in the shot below.

You’ll notice how one section of the narration is already hi-lighted. For this discussion let’s say that’s the are you want to delete. Well once you have the area you want to go, simply select it and hit your delete button. It’s that simple. Just be careful you’re selecting just the section you want gone. If you delete too much, you do have the option of “Undoing” the delete by simply moving your cursor over to the Edit on the toolbar line and selecting Undo. Then you can go back and select just the area you had intended to delete. Audacity can be very forgiving. But this only works if you haven’t done another delete already. The Undo is only good for undoing what you just got rid of, not something you removed several deletes back.

The same holds true while you’re recording. If you make a major goof one trick I’ve learned is to snap my fingers near the microphone. This will create a big spike on your Audacity recording so you have a visual which makes it easy to go back and figure out where the error occurred and delete it later on. I will also snap my fingers again when I’m restarting so I can find the dead area between the snaps to delete.

As a rule I DO NOT stop the recording when I make a mistake. I use those snaps and keep recording. I’ll even do this when I’ve recorded a section but wasn’t happy with how it sounded to me. *Remember how I said in the last post that the headphones plug into the Blue Yeti microphone so I hear exactly what the mic is picking up*. Well if I feel I didn’t do a good job on that last section, I’ll snap and redo it. Believe me, those snapping fingers will become your best friend when it comes to editing your recording on Audacity. It makes it so easy to find those sections and delete them and it will save you a lot of time.

Okay, let’s say you’ve finished your recording and have gone through the process of deleting the sections you wanted removed. What comes next?  You’ll probably wind up with a raw version that sounds like this:

You can hear me taking breaths as well as a few noises that the mic still picked up in the background in spite of all my efforts to make things quiet in the room. Furthermore, the decibel levels in some areas will not meet ACX’s requirements. What do we do about those? Well, for sake of length I’m going to cover all of that in our next installment. Sorry if this leaves some of you hanging, but to cover the material properly it will probably be a lengthy entry complete with examples and YouTube links to videos where I learned a lot of what I will be covering.

So stay tuned and keep writing and practice reading aloud my friends.


Sundance

Having read the first of this series “Soul Taker” I knew we were being introduced to new worlds and adventures and looked forward to the next installment. And I can safely say this second book in the series did not let me down. If anything I felt it really helped things take off even more.

Where in “Soul Taker” we were introduced to an existing angel who gets promoted from Soul Taker to Guardian, this time we see the beginnings of a angel’s rise. Born to parents who made a deal with God for a child, if even for only a short seven years, we watch young Cara grow not only in the mortal world, but in the next one as well. In Heaven she is given the name Sundance, and begins to learn her strengths and grow in skills to the point of being welcomed into another rank of Angels a “Warrior”, one of the first in a very long time.

But for all her skills and abilities, which have impressed even the Archangels, she still has much to learn. Her first assignment will take her back to Earth where she will experience not only pain, but love with a mortal. Is such a thing allowed?

You’ll have to read to find out the answers to that. But there is much more awaiting both the reader and Sundance. For her powers and skills have been noticed not only by higher authorities, but ones below as well. And soon she finds herself the focal point in a dastardly plot from the netherworld.

The author has done a brilliant job with this book in many respects, including uniting both her first and second books with a brief, but satisfying meeting between our former Soul Taker, and this new Warrior Angel. I very much look forward to more of this series which is just beginning.

Available now at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VT2GFQ7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/953202

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sundance-8

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sundance-aurora-jean-alexander/1132911746?ean=2940163306251

 


As many of you have learned from my last post, my great adventure in audio recordings has begun. So far I have recorded only the one short story “Wolves and the Northern Lights”, which comes from our first anthology book “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. But simply recording one story is a far cry from turning a full-length novel into an audiobook. However, that is indeed my long term goal. At this point, I’m keeping things simple for myself as I still get used to the equipment both for recording as well as editing to get the best sound quality for listeners.

To keep things manageable for myself, I’m planning on recording the rest of the 25+ stories from the anthology, as well as slowly begin recording it’s predecessor “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  Like the anthology, that novel is mainly comprised of blog, e-journal, and e-diary entries from various characters in the book.  And I plan on doing different voices for the authors of each entry, in an effort to bring the entire story and cast more to life for you all.

I have already started compiling what I call my “Voice Library”, which currently contains over 140 different voices (most based on actors and characters from movies, television, and even cartoons). I’ve always been a vocal mimic since childhood, and am taking great joy in finding a constructive outlet for all those years of trying to amuse myself and friends. I may share some brief recordings here, featuring some of the voices so you can get a better idea of just how versatile I can be.

But with all that said, the main topic I’d like to share with you all how I’ve been able to make all this happen. I know many of you might be wondering if I rent time at a local recording studio, or did I set up my own inside my home? If I’m doing it at home (which I am), how much special equipment did I have to buy? Did I have to soundproof an entire room? Who is doing the editing of my recordings? Will they be available through Amazon’s Audible program? If they will be available through Audible, how did I submit my work to them? What are their requirements, etc.?

Okay, let’s begin with how I got started down this particular path. As I’ve mentioned in a post last August when I first began thinking about this, I had been asked many times if any of our books were available in audio. Whenever I said I’d been thinking about it, but couldn’t decide on a reader I would be told “You should do it yourself! You’ve got a great voice…” So that of course got me thinking.

I did wind up trying a few samples back then, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the recordings and kind of went off the idea a bit.

Then Helen not only began but finished her first solo novel. Besides listening and helping beta-read for her, I wound up doing the cover art for her. Then we had to focus on marketing the book to build up interest. So besides promoting the book on blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. but I wound up creating my very 1st book trailer. Anyone wanting to see the results can click on this YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc.

While not 100% perfect, I was quite happy with the results, especially the voice-over you hear in the trailer. Shortly afterwards we held a book launch party for her novel “Forever’s Too Long”. During the party I did something I’ve been thinking about for some time but never tried, namely loud readings using the voices of character’s appear in the scene for those who attended. Their responses were much more positive than I’d expected.

As a result, I finally decided to go ahead and begin doing audio readings. But first I had to start gathering the right equipment for such an undertaking.

TO BE CONTINUED….


Well, maybe you don’t ask. But now you want to know, because once you fall in love with a book, you want more like it.

Review it! Many online stores and book sites allow readers to post reviews. A person is more likely to take a chance on a book that 50 people say they loved than 5 people say they do.

Recommend it! Readers have friends who read, and you likely have an idea of their tastes. A recommendation makes a person more likely to find out more about an unknown book. Some authors, such as J.K. Rowling, got further by word of mouth recommendations and kids buying it for their friends, than by traditional marketing methods.

Gift it! I’ve been running a special– the book retails at $12 each, but I’ve been running a 2 for $20 special via direct sales. It encourages people to either buy an extra as a present for a friend or talk them into buying one too and splitting the savings. And I’d never ask this, but two of my buyers spontaneously paid extra, so that someone who wanted it but couldn’t afford it could have a copy.

Speaking of buying direct– when I purchase a crate of books and sell them directly to people at list price, I get more of a share than the royalties if you buy from retailers. I imagine it works the same way for other authors. So don’t think you’re shorting us if you want a signed copy.

You’re also not wasting our time if you contact us with questions or wanting to share your thoughts. Art is about communication, and as FUN as it is for me to write Rafael Jones, I’m not just doing it for myself. Hearing from readers is very motivational. There’s a button to send me an email, or just use the comment area. I love you so much just for being interested enough in my work to come here.


What a tense time. Will it sell? Will people review it? I know the book is good,  but making a splash when there are so many forms of entertainment out there isn’t easy.

This is the part where the audience keeps the writer in suspense. But don’t worry, I’m good at waiting: in fact, I’ll start right now.

On sale now at:

Nook:

     

Amazon: 

      AmazonUK:

      AmazonCA:

      AmazonAU:

     Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/938589

Signed trade paperback copies are available upon request. Simply leave a comment in the section below, or e-mail me at: 

helenkrummenacker@gmail.com


woman-41201_960_720

So, one of the first things I often hear from people when they hear I have a book coming out is, “Who’s your publisher?”

There’s long been a stigma to self-publishing, and until recently, it was deserved. A writer had to buy a few thousand copies to get it printed at reasonable rates and generally did so as a pet project. Anyone who wanted to reach a wide audience and to possibly make money had to find a publisher who thought their work was high enough quality to invest in. It would go through rounds of editing before ever going to the shops. A real publisher meant the writer had talent. Self-publishing just meant they had money.

But.

That was then. This is now. Everyone knows there have been radical changes in how books are sold.There are many formats besides paper. Bookstore chains have collapsed or moved to online only. Publishing houses rise and fall, to the point where there are few one has heard of. But more has happened behind the scenes. Publishers tend not to invest in writers who aren’t celebrities. Instead, even authors who have turned a modest profit on multiple books are asked to shoulder the burden of “typesetting fees”. The manuscript is rarely put through an editing process. What most publishers look for is one thing: marketability. They are looking for a trendy subject, a sexy concept, and work that fits neatly into a hot genre or niche market.

Allan and I worked together on his first project to create something ended up combining thriller, paranormal investigation, police procedural,science fiction, horror, and strongly featured a lesbian couple. It didn’t fit neatly into a genre and as Allan researched the market and the experience of other writers, he realized how much things had changed.

With print on demand technology, works can be published with little more investment than the blood, sweat, and tears of the writer. Not relying on a publisher who doesn’t want to pay an editor to proofread the material, error checking is done by volunteers, and by several read-throughs by the author who is deeply committed to putting out a quality product. A publisher wants to sell a book and if the reader is dissatisfied, it means little. You’ll buy another author next time. The writer, on the other hand, has to deliver great work if they want readers to love their book and look for more by them.

In short, I don’t believe publishers care as much about quality as marketing at this point. And while anyone can self-publish a book these days, it’s not a warning sign that it was unpublishable by other means, because print-on-demand is great for giving an author more control, a greater profit share, and a way to reach a large audience, hence it is the first choice rather than last resort. Allan and I have chosen this route and advise others to do the same.

Interestingly, the publishing houses track print-on-demand sales. If an author makes themselves into hot property, then they may be offered a favorable contract that will help them get into more brick-and-mortar stores. Ultimately– the fate of writers is in the hands of the readers. Thank you for thinking of me!

-by Helen Krummenacker


Welcome to the first solo novel of Helen Krummenacker, co-author of the Para-Earth Series.

Adventure, humor, film noir, and dark urban fantasy blend in a unique vision that will appeal to fans of Harry Dresden or Marvel’s horror comics.

Enter the world of The Forever Detective Series…

Ultimate Final Cover Forevers Too Long GIMP

Raphael Jones’ love of adventure took him into police work, military service, and finally a career as a private eye. But when his first couple of cases combine to drop him into deep trouble, can his sense of adventures survive? For that matter, can he? A practical man with a kind heart, he never expected to encounter supernatural evil threatening the people he cares about.

“I was reading along enjoying the Raymond Chandler vibe and suddenly WHAM! Night Stalker!” – author Danarra Ban

Available June 1st, 2019 for e-books (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, PDF, etc.) and trade paperback!

Reserve your e-book now at:

Nook:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forevers-too-long-helen-krummenacker/1131555250?ean=2940163217083

Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF

AmazonUK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RSGKTDF

AmazonCA:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07RSGKTDF

AmazonAU:

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07RSGKTDF

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/938589


Today I’m following up on a topic I brought up in a previous entry where I talked about having started all over on “The Door”. Originally this story was meant to be the 3rd novel in our Para-Earth Series, only I kept hitting one wall after another with “The Door” and not getting much farther with the story. It got so bad I realized way too much time was passing without a new book being released, so Helen and I went to work on “The Vampyre Blogs” books because we had a clearer vision of those stories.

But even during that interim, I’d go back to “The Door” and new progress would be made, but then another wall or distraction would come along. That is until recently when I’ve gone back to it with a vengeance and have been making some serious progress. The story is moving along nicely but there have been a few bumps in the road. Most of those difficulties I’ve been encountering lately have come from new shapes and directions the story is heading in. But there were a number of scenes I had already written or planned that I couldn’t seem to let go of. I thought the story couldn’t work without them and kept trying to make them fit. Only to wind up finding myself hitting another of those damn walls.

So what was the problem?

I was trying to stuff those ‘precious’ scenes into the story, even though they weren’t needed anymore. It’s not that the scenes weren’t any good. Some of them were quite tense, exciting, and even funny. But there were problems with a number of them. For instance, one of my bugaboos when it comes to writing is that events or actions by the characters have to make sense. If one of them starts acting really stupid without a good reason, it drives me crazy. And as things were going, I was having a number of them behave in ways that made no sense. Oh I did try to rework the scene again and again to try and make it fit, but in the end the idea/scene really didn’t belong anymore. And in the end, all I’d wound up doing was wasting a lot of time and energy without making any really progress with the story. So it was time to do the unthinkable…

I cut them out. As soon as I did, real progress started happening once more. Admittedly some those scenes that got cut had some good drama to them, but I already had a slew of good scenes that not only come together well but flow so perfectly.  Furthermore, those scenes I removed will not really be missed. Especially, since I’m planning on building short stories around them instead.

Remember my golden rule, just because you remove it doesn’t mean you trash it. Always save those scenes, you never know when they might be perfect for another project..

However I will tell you right now, it’s not always easy to let an idea go. As I said earlier, I’ve been working on this book for over 4 years. I know the characters and I know where I want things to lead to, but in between there is so much that needs to happen. Unfortunately, I was trying to throw in too much.

So I’ve been taking several steps back with “The Door”. I’ve been really thinking about behaviors, actions and making sure everything makes sense. For instance, Alex has been out of action in the hospital for a month after the battle in “The Bridge” (the first book in our series). But what has been happening with Veronica and her fellow police officers in that time period?

Originally I had an idea involving many of the officers who’d been involved at the battle at the bridge suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of fighting something that was right out of a nightmare. Plus they lost several of their own people during the course of the fight. But who could they turn to for counseling? I had planned for Alex to come to everyone’s the rescue after he got released from the hospital. But upon giving it some serious thought I asked myself “Does this really make sense? A whole month passing and no one tried to help the officers? Why didn’t Veronica do something about it, these are her coworkers and she’s smart? Plus she recently met people in the first book who’d helped Alex with his PTSD as a result of a horrifying paranormal experience he’d had as a teenager. Wouldn’t she reach out to those same folks to help her coworkers?” The answer of course was HELL YES! So that’s exactly what I’m doing.

And guess what? It’s working.

Plus, there’s still plenty of action and mysteries that Alex is still badly needed to help with. For one thing the police need to be sure that the creature and its protector, Cyrus Graham, didn’t leave any other nasty surprises behind. And Alex is the only one the spirits of past victims are willing to reach out to.

But delving into those mysteries will lead to new questions regarding to Cassandra’s family history and another threat that has stalked her throughout the second book “The Ship”.  There are also revelations that will be uncovered that will link all these people to our vampyre Nathan (from “The Vampyre Blogs” portion of our series) creating new questions slowly bringing all the characters together for future tales.

However, most of this could not have happened had I not been willing to let go of scenes/ideas I didn’t think the story could live without. Sometimes you have to make those tough choices for the good of not only the story that you’re working on, but future ones as well. It’s a tough balancing act deciding what to keep and what to let go. However, if you find yourself hitting wall after wall it may be time to make those tough calls.

Have any of you had similar experiences? How did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Until next time, take care and keep writing!


     Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters.

     Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. Linda has two grown sons and lives with her husband and rescue dog in Michigan. You can follow her at her WebsiteFacebookand Twitter

Linda

When did you write your first book?

     I wrote and illustrated my first book in grade school. My elementary school had this contest called “Calbery”. The term “Calbery” was derived from the names of the Caldecott and Newberry Awards. Students wrote and illustrated their books each year. The winners received awards and the winning books were sent on to compete with other students from surrounding elementary schools. It was a big deal and I looked forward to making my book each year. I still have the ribbons and certificates in my writing box that’s followed me from place-to-place. That deep-seeded passion for writing shadowed me through life, got pushed to back burner, but surfaced later on when my boys were young. I wrote my first women’s fiction manuscript about ten years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun.

How long did it take to write your first book?

     To be honest, I’m not sure how long it took to write that “first” full length manuscript. It’s still sitting in a binder on my shelf. Probably a year or so. Maggie’s Way is a different story, though. Maggie’s Way was my debut novel and I completed that manuscript in about three months.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

     Cancer was my catalyst. Being published was on my life’s list of things to do, so I buckled down upon being diagnosed. I put all my other projects to the side and let new characters drive my stories. When I began writing Maggie Abernathy and Chloe McIntyre, I found my voice. Within a year’s time, I’d written first drafts for the three books in my Montana Bound Series. (I’m happy to report, it’s been five years since radiation and I’m cancer free. Grateful!)

What is the best thing about being a writer?

     Connecting with readers, most definitely!

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

     The characters that won’t leave my head until I entertain their story. It’s very difficult for me to turn off my brain, even if I’m exhausted.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

     All. The. Time.

What are some of your favorite books on writing?

  • On Writing by Steven King
  • the 90-day novel by Alan Watt
  • Storytelling Made Easy by Michael Hauge

What are you working on now?

     I’m finishing a Women’s Fiction short story with paranormal elements. It’s in the final stages of editing and it’ll be out mid-June 2018. Here’s the blurb:

     Burdened by heartache, can a whisper from beyond give middle-aged Paula Murphy the courage to just pedal?

     Coming back to her Bay View summer home in northern Michigan means more than planning beach picnics and working in her daughter-in-law’s bicycle shop. Her avoidance to embrace her grown son’s death isn’t the only tribulation weighing on this self-reliant social worker’s mind. Reluctant to believe the unfathomable, Paula Murphy’s world is turned upside down when she’s reunited with the only man she’s ever loved.

bike

Linda is a multi-published author. In 2016, her debut novel, Maggie’s Way was a finalist in The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award and the Greater Detroit Booksellers Best Award.

Maggie's Way Fork montana xmas

Linda’s books can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2bakz7T

Barnes and Noble:

Maggie’s Way: https://bit.ly/2rJwNhs

Maggie’s Fork in the Road: https://bit.ly/2Inq0R3

Maggie’s Montana: https://bit.ly/2L4kzIy

A Montana Bound Christmas: https://amzn.to/2iprs9w

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