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.

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.

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.

Take me to the Welcome page.

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.

Take me to the Welcome page.

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.

December Goals | Release Day 2/3 & Two Potential WIPs

Happy December, friends! <3

This half of the year is my favourite. First, autumn arrives with its beautiful leaves, foggy mornings, and warming flavours. Then comes Halloween, when the veil between worlds is thinnest, and then NaNoWriMo comes right after that!

But then, after so much excitement, comes Christmas–and for me, that holiday lasts all month. Everything just looks so magical with lights everywhere, and there’s an undeniable buzz when I go into town. At home, everything gets a little more comfy. The house smells of cinnamon and vanilla a lot, because I love baking.

It’s also a time for me to slow down and reflect. I look at what I wanted to achieve this year back in January, and what I have achieved. I remind myself not to be hard on myself when one thing or another didn’t go to plan–I know it’s not because I was lazy this year, but because other things outside my control came up or because some things simply took longer than I expected. All that’s fine.

But there’ll be time for that at the end of the month. Right now, I still have a whole month left to get stuff done!

Relics of Ar’Zac

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond will be out in one week, so I’ll be booking a few promotions this week. If you want it on your kindle as soon as it’s out, you can pre-order it before the price goes up!

Soon after that’s live, pre-orders for the box set will follow. It’s pretty much done, so this shouldn’t be too stressful–just a few clicks here and there.

I also have a surprise later this week, so watch this space!

Dreamer

I’m half-way through the first draft, and since it’s only a short book (or I planned it that way, anyway) I should be able to finish the first draft this month.

Once that’s proofing…

Well, I’m torn. I could jump into plotting the sequels and start writing Book 2–I’m here now, after all–or…

Blood Wisp

I haven’t forgotten about this trilogy. I want to read over Blood Wisp again before I write Blood Song, but if I do it halfway through December and then take my Christmas break, will I need to read over it again in January? Should I just wait for the new year and do it then?

Or should I finish the Dreamer series first?

I wanted to stick to writing one series at a time, but things have worked out in a strange way and now I have two first drafts from two very different series, and I’m not sure which one to continue first. The one I’m currently invested in, or the one I started and promised first?

I’m hoping December will bring some clarity.

Beyond the above, there are Christmas catch-ups, boring but necessary tax stuff, and some last-minute presents to buy. I won’t bore you with the details.

What are your plans for December? Do you wind down, too, or is this your busiest month?


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

Take me to the Welcome page.

November Recap | … or How to Destroy NaNo Between Release Dates

November has been a super busy month for me (hello, NaNo!), but it’s also been super productive. In fact, I’m doing so well for time for once that I’m scheduling this post one day ahead! :O AND I’ll schedule my December goals right after! :O :O

Must be all the tea I’ve had this month.

Relics of Ar’Zac

I published Blood of the Dragon without a hitch, and now Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is ready for its big day too. It’s currently up for pre-order at only 99p/99c, so go get it while it’s cheap!

I haven’t looked at the box set again, but that file came back ready from my formatter and I’m not doing a paperback for it, so that’s pretty much there too.

NaNoWriMo

Friends, I destroyed NaNo this year.

I hit 50k words in just 15 days (and then I slept for a year) on Day 21–take off the weekends I didn’t write, and that’s 15 days of NaNo dedication!

I reached 40k on Day 20 (a Wednesday) and realised I could technically finish NaNo that week if I wrote 5k on Thursday and Friday. Finishing NaNo a week early and in time for the weekend sounded nice, so I decided to give it my best shot.

I then wrote 10k on the Thursday.

Friends.

I’ve never written this much in one day in my life! NaNo truly brings out the best in me.

I’m beyond chuffed that I unlocked all my rewards this year. My shirt is on its way <3

Despite that, it didn’t quite go to plan. I finished the first draft of Brightened Shadows and that’s now proofing, but I didn’t move on to Blood Song as I had planned to. I tried, but it’s been roughly half a year since I last looked at Blood Wisp. I just wasn’t in the WIP anymore. The characters felt forced when I wrote the first chapter.

I realised that, to write Blood Song, I’ll first need to read over Blood Wisp again and take notes, but there’s no time for that during NaNo, so I decided to put it aside for now rather than force it and be unhappy with everything.

Instead, I started Dreamer, which doesn’t even have a name yet. I did have some notes since I originally planned on starting it during Camp NaNo in July, but that didn’t work out for work reasons and I hadn’t looked at it again since. I figured I’d start it some time next year maybe, so this was the closest to pantsing a novel I’ll ever come XD

I did have a whole notebook full of ideas and character profiles and I knew where the plot needed to go and how it would develop, but to go in without Scrivener index cards was surprisingly jarring.

Because I wanted it to be a novella, I set the target word count to 20k. It’s currently at 25k and I’m only just at the midpoint, so we’ll see how long this will actually be.

BUT the words are flowing and Esta is so easy to write, which is all I really wanted for NaNo.

How was your November? Make a tea and tell me all about it <3


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

Take me to the Welcome page.