I’m so pleased to announce that the audiobook Wild Oats by Pamela Morsi has launched! It went live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes (search by title) around June 1 and almost 30 copies have sold to date. It’s off to a good start!

This project was such a fun one for me. I appreciate Pamela’s writing and story weaving. Plus I get to use my own dialect for a change! The characters are down to earth yet interesting. This story drew me in quickly. I’m not usually a historic romance fan necessarily but this one caught my attention because the setting is my old stomping grounds, Oklahoma, just before statehood.

The background story Pam talked about in her launch day newsletter added a whole other layer of interest too. I always love to hear about an author’s story inspiration. Turns out that for Wild Oats she was trying to break the romance genre by creating a story with the anti-romance-book-hero as the hero. LOL! That plan makes for some not-so-suave moments that are endearing and funny.

Listen in and be sure to pick it up soon if you like it. Enjoy!

June is audiobook month! This is a great time to try out an audiobook if you haven’t already. Of course many of you have as Audio Publisher’s Association annual report highlighted another year of amazing growth in audiobook sales for 2016, up another 33%.

You may find audiobooks featured in your local library this month and there are lots of activities online, of course. There is an audiobook blog tour going on throughout June. By visiting the links to the blogs featured in the blog tour, you’re sure to find some great listens!

Audiobook narrators are being featured a lot this month too. Warren Adler is doing a narrator feature for audiobook month and I was lucky enough to get interviewed there as narrator of two books in his Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. As luck would have it, this is also the month I was featured in Pamela Morsi’s newsletter for the release of her new audiobook, Wild Oats.

As for myself, boy do I love audiobooks! I have almost 300 audiobooks in my collection and I’ve been listening for years before I started narrating. I savor the times of the day when I get to listen, like when I’m doing laundry or cleaning or exercising or driving.

The number of awesome audiobooks out there to enjoy can be overwhelming for sure. Especially when you may be learning to listen from your phone at the same time. Let me tell you an easy way to get started. The good news is you can try Audible and get two free audiobooks. Then download the Audible App to easily listen on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Maybe you will like one my top five recommendations below and maybe one that I narrated?

#1 Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

#2 The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

#3 The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

#4 Karma by JC Andrijeski

#5 How to Bake Pi

I am just back from an event I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I went to Charlottesville, Virginia for the Men of Romance Audiobook Narrator Panel moderated by Andi Arndt. It was a presentation in the very well organized Virginia Festival of the Book. The men on the panel were: Aidan Snow, Will Damron, Luke Daniels, Derek Perkins, and David Brenin.

The room was packed and I spoke with many women in the audience who were only attending this session at the Festival of the Book event. Some were very excited to meet the narrators of audiobooks they love but most weren’t big audiobook listeners yet.

Many self-published authors were there too. They had questions about how to hire one of these guys. And several people expressed interest in learning to narrate themselves.

I loved the comment on the romance genre in general to begin the panel.

Why on earth would you be critical of such a successful genre. ~Derek Perkins, Audie Winner, on the romance genre, a billion dollar industry

The most ear-catching info I heard is that Aidan Snow told me he logs 15 hours of finished audio a week! Sure wish I could go that fast. Course he doesn’t do his own editing and or proofing. He learned quickly to hire that out so he could move on to more books. Will Damron also stated he hires out for the editing. They might have 3 editors at a time working up their material for submission. Of course, all these guys are freelancers mainly seeking per project deals rather than royalty share deals.

Andi Arndt did a fabulous job moderating the discussion. My only complaint is that it ended too soon and I would have loved to hear more of her insights.

Narration Bloopers and Miscues

I’ve started gathering some of my bloopers on Soundcloud and thought I’d share them here for your listening pleasure. Sometimes when narrating words get all confused up and I just can’t get it all to work together smoothly. I got the idea from RC Bray’s outtakes reel. I should really learn to ham it up like him…but no, these are funny too and they don’t take too much time from what I really want to be doing which is producing those audiobooks!

There is some bad language here, if that is a problem for you do not press play. 😉

My New Microphone

I have now completed one entire project and have started two more using my new microphone. I purchased it in celebration after getting a deal for my first fiction audiobook production. I promised an update about it in a previous post so here we go. The microphone along with a new editing technique that I learned have resulted in increased audio quality and more efficient editing, a win-win!

Previously, I had a USB condenser mic. The Samson C01U. It has been an excellent microphone with a very nice sound quality. It was inexpensive so it was perfect when I first started out in audio with tutorials and screencasts. Then it moved along with me nicely to podcasting. But I needed something different for long form audio projects because it picked up everything. It captured breathing and mouth clicks as well as noise from the rest of the house, even outside. Things like the tv downstairs and the neighbors car starting. So I needed to wait for quiet times in the house (really rare) to record and still spent excessive time editing.

In fact, I only used that Samson mic for the first audiobook I released: Freelance Writing Business, which you can hear a sample from below, just click the red “play” circle.

For the next couple audiobooks that I narrated, I used my Roland R-05 Recorder’s onboard microphone. I love that little recorder but rookie move, I now know. They didn’t come out bad though. I even recorded my own audiobook with that setup. Below is a sample from another project I did with it.

At that point, I started studying narration specifically and learned how lame it was to use a portable digital recorder. I thought I wanted to go further with narrating but I needed to be sure before throwing a lot of cash into it. I really wanted to make due with what I had if possible.

No sooner did I start thinking that way and begin settling in to work with what I had, did I get the invitation to addition for my first fiction read. Once I got that deal signed, I knew I needed to level up on the microphone. I also needed voice acting lessons stat! Well, this post is about the mic so more on what else I did in to prepare in a later post.

So regarding the mic situation, enter one of my long-time mentors. Like so many of my mentors, he doesn’t necessarily know he is my mentor specifically. Rather, I study whatever information (blog, podcasts, books, articles, courses) he has created. In this case, I have been following Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answerman for quite a while. He is an expert on podcast development, especially equipment and start-up. I have taken a couple of his courses and can highly recommend him. Anyway, I have heard him mention the benefits of a dynamic microphone many times and decided after much research to take his suggestion and get the Heil PR-40 microphone for myself. I actually ordered mine through Cliff because I wanted the whole microphone package he recommended.

Below is a sample (warning: adult themes) of the first audiobook that I used the new microphone on. So much better, I think.

So there’s some juicy details about my new microphone. I also wanted to share a real good noise reduction technique for Audacity that is part of my regular routine now.

Of course, I have a lot of room for improvement in narrating and editing to go still yet. I’m just getting started! The foundation is good though. Now I have a pretty decent equipment setup and I’m ready to take on the next challenges of learning voice acting technique, microphone technique, and storytelling.

Audible does this really cool thing to help get the ball rolling once a new audiobook is released. In short, the author and narrator get some promo codes to give away as freebies. So, I have a few to give! Just drop a line and let me know which of my audiobooks you would like and I’ll get back to you with either a code or to let you know I’m out.

I’m now working on narrating and producing my sixth audiobook! I am shocked to also report that it is a fiction book.

I thought that I might eventually get into fiction narration but was planning on it being later…maybe much later. After listening to the great Robert Petkoff narrate my favorite paranormal romance book series, I was just a tad bit intimidated. I’ve never had acting classes and haven’t played much with making different voices or anything like that. Still, I thought it would be so fun to narrate fiction audiobooks too, maybe someday after more preparation.

Well, later was what I was thinking but a neat opportunity came my way. I was invited to audition to read a book in Warren Adler’s, Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. He is the one who wrote The War of the Roses and Random Hearts.

After doing a little research and reading the Amazon sample of the book they asked me to read for, I decided, “What the heck?!” The writing was so good and I loved the main character right away. I figured it would be fun to try it out anyway. It was fun, and a little scary.

As it turned out, I got the gig! I’ve already started the project. Today I am reading chapter four and producing chapter two. Only twenty more chapters to read and twenty-two more chapters to edit and produce. The deadline is June 1 so I have to hustle. It seems to be going very well so far, even with the addition of a new microphone which I’ll write about more in a later post.