The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT’S GO TIME)

This has been the most exciting week yet! In short: IT IS DONE. The full version is below, but first…

New here? You can start following my audiobook experience from the beginning.

Want to catch up or remind yourself what happened last? Here’s last week’s entry.

Now, onto the excitement…

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT'S GO TIME)

Proofing the Audio Files

My priority this week was to continue proofing the uploaded audio files. I made a good start last week, but I really wanted to wrap it up this week.

On Monday, I received this email from Findaway:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT'S GO TIME) |  the email from Findaway Voices telling me my audiobook is ready for review.

Since I had already been listening to the chapters as my narrator uploaded them, I was pretty much caught up.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to listen and provide feedback on your entire audiobook within ten days, I strongly recommend you do the same thing. Let’s be honest, chances are you won’t be able to wait anyway.

On Wednesday, I listened to the last chapter and provided the last two bits of feedback (one sentence read twice and one word misread, if you’re curious).

That same evening, my narrator uploaded the new file and told me that we were good to go.

So I did this:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT'S GO TIME) | I submitted my audiobook for review!

Which resulted in this:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT'S GO TIME) | Audiobook submission confirmation

Wednesday evening was exciting, I tell you!

(I’m also super relieved to once again know for sure how much money I have in my account)

My audiobook is now being processed and checked to make sure everything is good to go and we didn’t miss any mistakes. Once it’s passed quality control, it’ll be uploaded to every online store known to listeners.

Which means the marketing can begin for real! *throws confetti*

Pricing Your Audiobook

Every author I know has struggled at least once with pricing their book. Fret not – FindawayVoices suggests three prices, and you simply pick the one you want:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 14 (IT'S GO TIME) | how to set your audiobook's price

This makes it really easy and hassle-free!

You can also set your own price, but let’s not forget that FindawayVoices knows what it’s doing. I went with the recommended price and thanked the gods of fiction that this option exists.

Once you’ve set your retail price, they also make suggestions for the library price/the price libraries pay to stock your audiobook. I went with the lower price here, because many libraries are struggling (I know mine is!) and I want my book to be easily accessible to people supporting libraries.

Your Complementary Social Marketing Toolkit

FindawayVoices emailed me a bunch of handy resources that explain how to market my audiobook, how royalties work, etc.

One of those resources is a social marketing toolkit I can use to, well, market my book on social media!

To be honest with you, this is the first time I’ve seen one *blushes*

I had no idea it was so simple o.o

I will use this as a template for all my books now, that’s for sure! I might also write a post on how to create your own *imagine that cute little thinking emoji here*

Summary:

This was THE week, friends and Sparrows! It’s go time! I’ve submitted my book, and the quality team at FindawayVoices is making sure it’s good to go as you’re reading this post.

What’s Next?

Once the quality checkers give the green light, Findaway will upload RISE OF THE SPARROWS to all online stores (I believe there are around 40 they work with), including Audible and wherever else you might prefer.

I’ll also get 100 download codes to hand out, so if you want to listen to this book for free… Let me know 😉


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The Audiobook Diaries | Week 13

Happy too-hot Friday, friends and bookworms!

Thank kittens for fans and ice cream in this heatwave *melts*

It’s been a busy week of listening to my audiobook’s chapters. I’m nearly there, and am hoping to finish early next week. (having said that, I won’t have time on Tuesday, so I’ll either double down on Monday or finish on Wednesday)

You might think that this means I don’t have anything to share, but I have a few insights today about how to provide your narrator feedback and what should go into your audiobook’s outro.

If you want to remind yourself what happened last time, check out Week 11. If you’re new here and would prefer to start at the beginning, start here with Week 1.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 13

Quality Control

Since Monday, I’ve spend one or two hours every day listening to the chapters while reading along with my paperback copy. This does get a bit same-y, but it’s important to ensure everything is as it should be.

Most chapters have been fine, but I’ve found a few smaller problems like a sentence read twice or a word missing or changed. I’m not actually too worried about the latter unless the missing or changed word changes the meaning, so I only point out the ones where it makes a difference.

It’s important to remember here that unlike me, my readers (listeners?) won’t read along with the paperback. They’re highly unlikely to know if my narrator reads ‘as’ instead of ‘since’. (bad example because this specific substitute didn’t happen, but I can’t think of one that did :|) The meaning is the same, so I’m happy.

How to Give Feedback

On your FindawayVoices Production page, you have the option to add a comment to every uploaded chapter. When you find something that’s not right, the best way to present it is like this:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 13 - An example of feedback for my narrator on an audiobook chapter

This tells your narrator when the error occurred, the exact sentence you found the error with, and what the problem is.

You get this comment box for every chapter, so any feedback you provide will already be in the right place provided you clicked the right chapter number.

It can be tempting to highlight everything, but the best thing to do is to not be nitpick-y.

As authors, we naturally read the book a certain way–we wrote the things, after all! Of course we read everything our way. Your narrator, however, will not read your book your way but their way. That doesn’t make their interpretation wrong, so don’t get hung up on it.

I know I’ve said that before, but I think it’s important to say it again and again. The last thing you want is a negative relationship with your narrator! They are professionals, remember? They know their stuff–and in this case, they probably know it better than you do; having written the book doesn’t also make you the expert narrator.

Your Book’s Outro

I got an email from FindawayVoices this week. My narrator reached out to them about the outro–what did I want her to read for it? What about the production copyright–what should she say?

Now, in case you’ve forgotten, this is my first time, so my reaction was something like:

‘… like, the acknowledgments? Production Copyright? If you don’t know…’

I replied and asked for clarification. It’s probably something super easy and I’m just not coping well with this heatwave, but in the first instance, I was clueless.

As usual, they got back to me within a day. This is the common structure FindawayVoices recommends:

‘This has been [Title], Written by [Author Name], Narrated by [Narrator Name], Copyright [Year of Manuscript and Name of Rights Holder], Production Copyright [Year of Audiobook Production] by [Rights Holder]’

To use my book as an example, it will be:

This has been Rise of the Sparrows, Written by Sarina Langer, Narrated by Leanne Yau, Copyright 2016 by Sarina Langer, Production Copyright 2020 by FindawayVoices.

If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook before, you’ve likely heard this structure right at the end of the book and will be familiar with it.

Summary

This week, I’ve listened to most of my chapters and have left feedback where necessary. Most ‘errors’ I’ve found were either a sentence read twice or a missing/changed word that alters the meaning of the sentence.

What’s Next?

Next week should be exciting, because I’ll finish my part in the quality control stage. I’m assuming my narrator will add the words she’s missed, and the twice-read sentences will be cut in editing – she might even already be on it!

If all goes as extremely well as it does in my head, I’ll approve the audiobook by the end of next week, which makes the next stage payment and uploading, I think *mild freak-out*

FindawayVoices might also do their own quality control, and of course they chapters will need to be fused together to form one book – right now, they’re uploaded individually.

Either way, I imagine next week’s post will be exciting!

If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I’ll reply asap.


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

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The Audiobook Diaries | Week 8

No, you haven’t missed Weeks 6 and 7. It’s just been quiet, so there’s been nothing to report! I do have a small update today, but first…

If you’re new to my audiobook journey and would like to follow along from the beginning, you can find all updates here. If you’d like to remind yourself what happened last time (it was three weeks ago), you can read Week 5’s entry here.

Because this is such a short update, there won’t be a summary at the end. There’s no need, as you will see. *shrugs*

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 8

Clarification

Earlier this week, I received an email from Findaway Voices. My narrator is pretty much done taking notes and ready to start recording from what I gathered, but she asked me to clarify a few things, such as whether a character at the end will be important in the sequels (this matters because if he is important, she’ll create a voice for him) or how to pronounce the many words I made up, like country names.

Today, I will put together that guide and send it over.

I’ll also include a note to say that the release date I set is very flexible since I didn’t know what I was doing. The last thing I want is for my narrator to stress over a deadline that doesn’t really exist!

And that’s it for this week. See? No summary necessary 🙂

If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I’ll reply asap.


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

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The Audiobook Diaries | Week 5

Not much to report this week! The waiting for uploads has officially begun *throws confetti*

If you’re not up to date on my audiobook’s progress and would like to catch up first, you can find the whole process here.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 5

Production Notes

As mentioned last week, I got the production notes form late last Thursday. This might sound daunting if it’s your first time, but it’s actually very straightforward. You get instructions and examples with the form, so if you’re not sure what to do, you can just follow those!

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 5 | Production Notes Instructions

In the production notes, you specify things like individual character accents, tones, the pace of the story, the overall feeling you want to achieve, and there’s even room for other notes at the end, so you can make sure your narrator has all the necessary details before they record the extended sample.

Once you’ve filled everything in, you upload the notes to the Audio page for your project. It looks something like this:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 5 | FindawayVoices Dashboard

I’ve received emails for every bit of progress, but you’ll also be able to see all changes on this dashboard.

One important thing to note is that you need to upload your production notes as a PDF. I tried to upload a .doc and got an error message I didn’t understand (#notechskills) and that disappeared again before I could show my IT SO, so I just tried a PDF and that worked in seconds. It doesn’t mention this when you go to upload it, so I wanted to mention it.

Two Things I Was Confused About

I’m fortunate enough to be enrolled in the Voices Share program, meaning I only pay half and then share my royalties when the audiobook is out instead. It’s not a given that you’ll be accepted – anyone can choose it, but if you don’t have the social proof and haven’t sold enough copies (I don’t know what that magic number is), you might not be accepted.

For some reason, I got it into my head that I had to pay half up front – as in, before my narrator starts recording.

I’ve emailed them – possibly twice, bless their patient souls – and they have confirmed that I won’t pay anything until we’re ready to publish the audiobook.

So, if you also want to apply for the Voices Share program:

You pay half once the audiobook is ready to be published, not before the recording starts.

Not sure where I got that idea from, but I wanted to clarify it in case other people get confused as easily as I do *nervous laugh*

The other thing I emailed them about was the fee in the contract. As I’ve said above, Voices Share means I pay half plus I’ll share my royalties, but the fee included in the contract was the full fee.

FindawayVoices, as always, responded very quickly to my call for help and explained that everything is fine, this is normal, and as long as it states in the contract that I’m enrolled in the Voices Share program, I won’t pay the full amount.

All good, kittens.

I firmly believe that narrators should absolutely be paid what they’re worth. But as someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spare right now, having to pay twice as much as I expected could have been disastrous for me. So, I’m grateful they replied so quickly and put my worries to rest.

Summary:

  • I’ve uploaded my production notes (this needs to be a PDF!) and am awaiting the extended sample.
  • In the Voices Share program, you pay half once the audiobook is ready to be published, not before the recording begins.
  • If you got into the Voices Share program, the contract will still state the narrator’s full hourly fee. This is normal. As long as the contract also states that you’re enrolled in Voices Share, you will pay half.

What’s Next?

I don’t know how long I’ll need to wait for the extended sample, so for now, I’ll… well, I’ll wait. It’s not very exciting, but that’s all I’ve got this week! Once I have that – and again, I don’t know how long it’ll be, so I might not have news next week! – I’ll listen to it, get any feedback I might have back to my narrator, and then the recording will begin.

We’ll see where we’re at next week, hm?

If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I’ll reply asap!


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

Sign up to BOOKISH WITH SARINA for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

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The Audiobook Diaries | Week 4

Friends, a lot has happened since last week’s update! Make a tea and settle in, because there’s a great deal of excitement ahead.

To remind you of where things were at this time last week:

Findaway Voices had sent me eight narrator recommendations. I listened to everyone’s samples, made a short list, and requested an audition from five.

Then, I waited.

Later that same day – after I’d posted the update – I had two auditions, and it may have been the most exciting moment of my life.

If you want to catch up before moving on, you can find every entry here.

As always, there’s a summary of this week’s progress at the end of this post.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 4 | Choosing and Booking My Narrator with FindawayVoices

The Auditions

Out of five requests, I got two auditions, so I was pretty chuffed with that!

I listened to both several times, trying not to flail too hard as two wonderful ladies gave my characters a voice.

It was such a surreal moment for me. I kinda just smiled at my screen with blank eyes as I listened to every word.

Both narrators did amazing jobs, but they were also quite different to each other. I loved both and struggled to choose.

Fortunately, I have critique partners who were happy to help, and by Saturday, I’d pretty much chosen.

I still waited until Monday just in case I changed my mind, but I didn’t and pressed the exciting/daunting BOOK NARRATOR button.

I got these two screens next:

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 4 | Narrator Booking Confirmation Pop Up
The Audiobook Diaries | Week 4 | Narrator Booking Confirmation

I’ve blacked out her name for now since nothing is official or signed yet. To be honest, this is probably overkill, but since both of us can still pull out at this point, I don’t want to make anything look official.

Production Notes and the Contract

Last night, I got an email.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 4 | An Email from FindawayVoices requesting production notes and the contract signature

IT’S HAPPENING

*throws confetti*

(I mean, it’s probably happening. As I said above, we haven’t signed anything yet, and I never like celebrating too soon.)

So, things are suddenly moving very quickly. This time last week, I didn’t have the auditions yet and was hoping that at least one of my five would be interested. Fast-forward a week and I’m about to sign the contract and my narrator is getting ready.

A Shout-Out to FindawayVoices

The fourth week of my journey into audiobook production is about to end, and so far, I’ve had nothing but a good experience with FindawayVoices.

On the few occasions when I’ve emailed them with questions, their team got back to me quickly with helpful answers and a friendly tone.

Everything has been easy, clear, and professional, even to a complete newbie like me.

So far, I’m very pleased that I chose them to produce my audiobook, and can only recommend them if you’re considering doing the same.

Summary:

  • I got two auditions late last Friday and listened to both.
  • Since I struggled to decide – they were both incredible! – I asked my critique partners and my editor for their feedback.
  • On Monday, I booked my chosen narrator, and FindawayVoices got in touch with her.
  • Last night, I got the production notes form to fill in and the contract to sign. My narrator is currently reading the book and making notes as she goes, so it’s possible that she won’t like what she reads and cancels, but I’d like to think that’s a small chance.

What’s Next?

I’ll be filling in the production notes over the next few working days (unless there’s a tighter deadline than that – I’ve emailed them to check) and signing the contract as soon as they’ve confirmed one more thing for me.

And then we’re off! :O

All being well, I’ll be able to tell you next Friday that the production is officially underway *high five*

If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I’ll reply asap!


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

Sign up to BOOKISH WITH SARINA for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

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The Audiobook Diaries | Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of my Audiobook Diaries! This week has been an important milestone, because I’ve requested auditions from specific narrators *flails*

More on that in a moment. If you want to remind yourself what’s happened so far or if you want to start at the beginning, you can find the rest of my audiobook experience here.

As always, there’s a summary at the end if you don’t have time to read right now and a look at what’s next.

The Audiobook Diaries | Week 3 | Requesting auditions from specific narrators with Findaway Voices

Narration Samples

Findaway Voices sent me a list of eight recommended narrators last Friday afternoon.

I’m really impressed with the variety, especially the experience some of them have! Based on my own lack of awards and tiny social media proof, I figured I’d only have a chance with new narrators who are just starting out – and I got one or two of those, too – but some of my recommendations have won multiple awards.

Findaway Voices provided me with the list, which includes headshots of every narrator, their name, their estimated fee, and a description of what they’ve done, awards they’ve won, what accents they can do, what they’d rather not do, etc.

Along with all that also come narration samples in different genres and styles for every narrator, which really helped narrow it down and get a feel for the type of work they’ve previously done.

You can listen to as many samples as you want and request auditions from your book from your favourite narrators. If none of them are a good fit, you can request another set of samples.

At this point, there’s still zero commitment.

I focussed on two things: narrators who had samples in my genre, and narrator’s whose tone of voice fit my protagonist Rachael best.

I made my own little list of every narrator and my first impressions, and then I left it over the weekend.

The Auditions

As I mentioned above, I got the list of narrator recommendations late on Friday. Monday was a bank holiday here, so I had lots of time to think about my preferences and consider what excerpt to choose for their auditions.

Above the narrator details and their samples, I could fill in specific guidelines for the audition – including the text I’d like them to read.

Now, you don’t have to choose anything, in which case it will default to the first 700 words of your book…

Or you could choose whatever excerpt from your book you want, maybe something with dialogue, to make sure your chosen narrator handles those parts well. If you decide to go this route, find the sections you want them to read in your book and copy & paste them into the provided box.

I chose two important scenes – one a plot milestone, one an emotional character development milestone – because I wanted to see how the narrators read those big moments.

You can give them a few details besides the script, like the main character’s accent, but you can’t give them too many details beyond that – for example, one of my chosen excerpts had Cephy in it, and there was no room to mention that she’s twelve years old – so consider that the narrators don’t have all the info at this point. If your narrator doesn’t voice the Elderly man with a strong Scottish accent differently to the 20-something girl with a British accent, don’t worry about it. There’ll be time to pass these things on later.

I could then tick the narrators I wanted to send the request to, but don’t worry – if you later change your mind and would like to request an audition from someone you didn’t tick, you can still easily add them with the click of a button.

If you change your mind and don’t want to request an audition from one or more narrators from anymore, don’t worry about it. There’s no guarantee they’ll be interested in return, so they might not audition anyway, and if they do, you don’t have to pick them to narrate your whole book. Remember that there’s still zero commitment at this point! You might as well see if they audition and, if they do, if they are a good fit after all.

Once I’d filled in this little questionnaire and copied and pasted my audition script, I clicked Submit and got another Thank You pop-up, informing me that my chosen narrators will read the excerpts within seven working days. I’ll also get an email once all interested narrators have submitted the script.

Naturally, I forgot to take a picture of this. *ahem*

It’s important to note that my interest in the narrators doesn’t mean they’ll be interested in my book. It’s entirely possible that all of my chosen narrators decline my audition request, in which case we’ll try again with a new set of recommendations.

Summary

It’s been a big week with few steps!

  • Findaway Voices sent me a list of 8 recommended narrators.
  • I listened to the narrators’ samples and decided which ones I’d like to audition.
  • I filled in a brief questionnaire (the audition request) and added two vital-moment excerpts from my book. As long as it’s between 500-700 words, you can choose any scenes from your book you’d like.
  • I submitted the audition request! *throws dark confetti*

What’s next?

Now I wait. I submitted the requests on Tuesday, plus seven working days… *counts on fingers* All being well, I’ll have an audition or two (or maybe even all five! I dare dream) in my inbox by Thursday afternoon!


For all entries in The Audiobook Diaries, look here.

Sign up to BOOKISH WITH SARINA for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.