article written by Faith Ombewa
According to thefreedictionary.com, a publisher is a person or business that produces and distributes something, such as a book or magazine, in printed or electronic form.
I like the definition because it points out certain keywords that I would like to comment on. A publisher can be: a person - meaning one single person can undertake this role or a business run by an individual or a group of people as partners or shareholders depending on the terms and agreements under which the business was formed. This person or business produces (in simple definition the act of making or creating) and distributes (doling out, spreading and available to the consumers).
An audio book can be defined in several ways. These definitions commonly revolve around the idea that a book is recorded and made available to readers in audio forms such as mp3 files, compact discs and many other digital formats available out there.
For the sake of this write up, I will define audio books as a digital recording of a printed paper book or an eBook for that matter...in other words; an audio recorded version of a novel.
Not to be confused by audio podcasts which are standard audio recordings usually done in episodes that average general commuting time, say 20 - 30 minutes, posted on social networks or platforms where the subscribers can easily download the episodes according to their preference for free.....However the time frame of podcasts are greatly determined by the podcaster.
Some podcasters choose to turn a book in podcasts and release only a chapter of the book per week or according to their own desired intervals....that is still fine, in this era of creativity and advance technology, there is a thin line between right and wrong. However, my focus here is on an audio book;- "the all at once kind of book recording that goes out to the market as one complete piece for sale."
Audio books can be a great way for authors to capture a wider readership by reaching out to the non - readers, those struggling with slow reading problem, the blind and the general busy population who have no time to sit and entirely focus on reading a book but can listen while running other errands.
HOW THEN CAN YOU CREATE AN OUTSTANDING AUDIO BOOK!?
There are several parameters to put into consideration in the process of preparing to create an audio book. My interest is in choosing a narrator. The voice behind the audio will greatly influence the response of the listeners. Goofy sounding cast voices automatically put off the listeners. Considering the length of an entire book, the voices should sound natural but still captivating to give the listeners a desire to listen more and more. Otherwise, the audio file will be put aside after a few minutes of listening which is sad because authors put in so much time and commitment to produce these audio book.
Based on different authors' experiences in creating an audio book, I will share some of the considerations to factor in while choosing a narrator for your next audio book.
For Hers to Command, Patricia and I decided that she would do the voice over because she had classic training in drama. One thing that I should point out is voice over narrators are ACTORS. Formal training may not be needed, but it sure helps to create a superior product.
Since Patricia has a lovely voice, and as she is the author, there is no second hand interpretation of the work. She knows the characters names and knows the subtle inflections she wanted to convey. So it was a natural thing for her to do her own audio. While she could only narrate for an hour before the quality of her voice became...compromised, it was well worth it.
Was it cheaper to have her do the narration? No. We had a professional sound editor work with her during the process and it was worth the cost. Here is a sample of the final outcome:
But for Lovely, we needed a narrator. We wanted a soothing voice, with sophistication and someone who at least got the names and phrases correct.
You might think this an easy thing, but there were narrators that did not get the main character's name correct. In that case, I didn't bother to correct them. I felt that if they could pronounce "Christiana" with the "a" at the end, then their attention to detail was not up to par with what we were willing to pay. And because we went with the paid option for ACX we got the best talent for our money.
There were so many to choose from, but we had an idea of what voice the book needed. We also considered a voice for the series as a whole. That's how we chose Samantha. She is amazing. Please be aware that the sample below is NSFW. Right off the bat, she and a coveted few other narrators, pronounced Christiana as it was meant to be - Chris-tie-ah-n-ah. Not Christine. Not Christian. Samantha has worked with other BDSM authors as well and is familiar with the genre. That also was a plus for Samantha. We felt confident she would give justice to the terminology and the characters.
One thing I should point out was her gratefulness as to our "get it done right, not fast" approach. So many rush into this thinking they are going to hit the gold mine for audiobooks and it's a race. I think serious authors are going into this medium. It might worth getting trained as a narrator.
The best advice I can give you is, don't go for a low budget. Put the money in for the best talent or equipment. Much like editing and covers. Go for broke. Because the more you try to save money, the more unhappy you'll be in the end.
Remember, this article is not comprehensive and is based on different authors previous personal experiences.
Do you have a previous experience in choosing a narrator for your audio book?
Share your journey in the comments below.
Who knows? You may just inspire an author to turn their next eBook into an audio book.
Hi there Readers!
Today I have an informative guide for writers on finding success by Matt Banner from OnBlastBlog.com as seen on Forbes, Entrepreneur & The Huffington Post.
Matt and I have been talking and he invited me to share this awesome infographic for my readers. It's a must read! I knew right away I had to share this with you after I read it. Matt has graciously written an introduction and starters on finding your audience. This article goes well with "The Beginner's Outline of How to Write Faster" and "Overcome Writer's Block Before It Becomes A Problem" if you need more in-depth knowledge of each topic.
Check out Matt's article below!
Writing a book isn’t easy, but it’s easy compared to the work you need to put in finding the right audience and marketing tools to promote it. Most writers don’t find success overnight, instead they need to find ways to support themselves while they build up their craft and eventually find that success they deserve with the help of a great publisher.
Today I’ll show you how to narrow down your audience while also honing and sharpening your skills. I’ll even give you tips on how to find work so you can work from home and focus on your burgeoning career.
Finding Your Audience
Let’s first look at some key steps that will help you and your publisher find the right audience of readers that will enjoy your book. Once you have this in place, you can create your blog and start building hype for your books in between each release!
#1 - Identify Your Readers
Start by looking at the elements of your book and connect those with certain types of readers. If you’re doing an alternate history book where aliens invaded and interrupted WWII, then you’ve got a story for history buffs, sci-fi enthusiasts, and possibly military buffs as well.
#2 - Look at Your Competition (And Who’s Reading Them)
Take a look at other books in your genre and look at the kind of people reading and loving those stories. What is it about those stories that they love in particular? Latch on to those elements and you’ll have a better understanding of your readers.
#3 - Establish Your Demographic
Who are the people reading your book? Are we looking at young adults or teenagers? Where do they live? These kinds of answers will help you tweak certain aspects of the book to better reach your readers.
Reaching Your Goals and Finding Success (Infographic)
Being a successful writer involves combining a lot of different characteristics into one. This guide will help you define what tools, habits, and goals are best for you. Share your own tips in the comments!
So this month's theme is LUCK and I asked a few authors and my assistant to write about their luckiest day. Well here is Faith's post...it's a response to my post on Monday February 29th, 2016. Take a look...
So this month's topic is Luck and Boom! Stephy asks me to write about the luckiest day, event or occurrence in my life.
Wait a minute! Did she read my mind? I have always wanted to tell her how lucky i am to be part of the team but am not so much of an "emotional expressing" kind of person though under the right circumstance, I really wanted to tell my story.
I have a way of following my gut, I have done that for 23 years, ideally since I was born. I'm not sure if I used to follow my gut during my first five years of living but mom says I was special; I believe her, because I am.
I'm not saying I'm a genius, neither that I have life figured out nor am I at the self actualization level as displayed on Maslows hierarchy of human needs but because I have learnt the art of following my gut and believing that fate, destiny and luck actually do exist.
So what is Luck?
According to Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of luck is the things that happen to a person because of chance or the accidental way things happen without being planned. Well, I couldn't agree more but I'd like to share my journey on how I found Stephy as my definition of luck.
Okay, let me rephrase this part "how i found Stephy"...
At first, I thought I found Stephy, slowly I had a mixed reaction and I thought she found me but now, few months down the line, seeing us make a perfect match - (don't get it twisted; I mean we make an awesome team.) I think we found each other.
Follow me on this:
Stephy comes from Granada Hills, USA - I come from Nairobi, Kenya. We literally have a (-8) time difference, so when I am sleeping; she is working, while I am working; she is sleeping (well her part of sleeping is subject to discussion because once in a while I have to remind her to sleep).
The difference in economic development between USA and Kenya is just overwhelming (I'm sure most audiences reading this will have to Google map to locate Kenya), well I like to be positive. Kenya is developed in it's own way but in this case the comparison with USA which is a First World Country clearly marks the difference.
How could two strangers with all these major differences find each other and just make an excellent fit? Well, that is what I call luck.
I did not know what Stephy thought about me until I read her blog post What to Ask a Social Media Manager for Hire (How I Found Faith). Right then, I knew it was the universe making it's confirmation we were both just lucky.
My story of how I joined upwork.com is long and for another time. Here is the important part; after I finished filling my profile, which took me some time because upwork is very thorough, I made my first job application. All I had was a complete profile at 100% that had passed the upwork review process but no previous job experiences on the platform or anything tangible to actually present to employers.
I know of a few people who have been there for years but have not landed on any clients, yet they have amazing resumes. How was I (with nothing much to present to possible employers) going to even make an application?
Truth be told, I had just completed my undergraduate studies awaiting my graduation and if I share the same feeling with most of us, a job was most definitely the priority. Even though I really needed a job, I was specific. I wanted a freelance job. My passion is in Social Media operations which is not so much of an opportunity yet where I come from, so I had to target other countries and this could only be possible through online freelance work at that specific time.
"VA for social media data entry, research and a variety of tasks - Troll River Publications" was my first job application on upwork.
I clearly read all the requirements. Stephy wanted someone who had certain specific achievements of which I did not meet per say. Not that I couldn't do what she was looking for but because she had a criteria which actually made sense - most, if not all employers have such which could be the reason why most employees get bored after time.
Most of the criteria are based on certain specifics that might cut off the right candidates and slot in the ones who are not exactly what an employer was looking for in the long run. I think it's just a societal way of doing things and I don't blame anyone.
Despite not meeting Stephy's set standards, I applied for the job and decided to use a different criteria in my application. I based the application on a real one on one conversation with a person. I will not publish my application proposal here, because it's irrelevant. The point is I decided not to be someone seeking a project but one willing to build a long lasting relationship, learn, stretch, fit in, thrive and not a "know - it all" whatsoever.
After making the application, I gave it a one month deadline upon which I expected a response. During the first one week of that waiting period, I kept reading my application and putting myself on Stephy's shoes. I was too honest and real. I kept convincing myself if she is human, she will feel the nudge to contact me, not necessarily to give me the job offer but just to have a conversation with me to analyze what I had to offer.
Three weeks down the line, Stephy contacted me. Long story short, I am now her Assistant. Where do I see myself in the near future working with Stephy? That I can't tell you, what I can say is we have had the best of working environment. We have an actual relationship where I can openly air out my opinions and she confidently directs me.
Remember, this was based on luck. So I will continue being the open-minded, Yes-we can do it, Why not, energetic and the fun person I am, give my best in my work, keep my communication real and see where fate leads us.
Who knows? I might just be the next bestselling author of Troll River Publications. NO, no, that was a joke....am more of a behind the scenes pushing to get things done kind of person but not necessarily writing. When our authors get awarded, I feel rewarded for the work we put in.
My secret is:
Show a client you are not only trying to get him or her to give you project and pocketing the checks but rather that you are way more than just that by being invested in their lives, I mean, what they do that you are part of....do not go intruding their private personal lives unless otherwise they choose to involve you in it.
I literally email Stephy everyday, when I don't, I feel something isn't right. At first she took time to respond, well, just a day or two. On that, I came to learn she had a lot of work in her hands and that's why am here.
I remember when I told her my goal is to take at least up to 40% of her workload, she said it was a "lofty goal". I didn't understand, I thought everyone would love that kind of load off their chest until I realized she does so much that giving me 40% of it would literally overwhelm me.
Slowly I am getting there. We started at five hours a week. Now we are at 15 hours a week. But where luck ends, skill begins, and I'm confident that both skill and luck will land me where I want to be. Best of luck to those trying to find their "Stephy" or their "Faith".
~ Faith (Assistant Troll)
I've been looking for an assistant for years.
I've hired many contractors through elance, odesk, (both now upwork) fiverr, and other places. But what I found is that I had to go through this process to find the right VA at the right time.
My attitude about what I wanted from an assistant had to undergo a transformation. I'd given up for a while. I thought I'd have to spend mega bucks to have a chance at finding someone that might be able to help me out.
I've had some great VA's, don't get me wrong. They were all unaffordable on a long term basis. I have a budget. Sometimes I struggle with that budget. There are times when I work, just to pay my team. But the work I did to earn their wage was worth every hour.
I've looked so long that I think that I found my VA, Faith, from trial and error. Somehow, the powers that be let me swim through a sea of tuna to find my dolphin. Or rather, wade through insincere, part-timers that just wanted to test this VA thing out.
Faith is phenomenal, not because she knows everything, but because she's part of the team. I mean really invested. She works an average of three hours a day Monday - Friday.
So how did I find her?
I'd like to think I found Faith by the questions I asked, but in the end it was just a feeling I had about her profile, the roll of the dice and a bit of luck.
It took a while to judge cover letters and see who could walk the talk and who just wanted to see if this was for them. When I put out the call for a VA on upwork, I got a ton of answers. It was overwhelming. I had to slog through eighty-something resumes. I worked through them for three weeks. I got the initial ones down to fifteen, then three.
This process of going back and forth with people really helped drop off the curious. I would go back and forth, seeing how soon the applicants replied if at all.
Then it was down to Faith or Tom. Tom had an awesome resume. Tom was from a country that had sexy accents. Yay Tom. But as I spoke with him he seemed less and less responsive.
Faith had an enthusiastic resume. What I mean by that is she was new to upwork, but her words radiated excitement and dedication. I've gone with excitement and dedication--and found excitement fades. When excitement fades dedication drops off. Then my expectations don't get met.
Now here's the funny thing. Expectations and communication together are vital when choosing a VA. When I asked if Faith is interested doing something for me she always says yes. This can-do attitude is wonderful, but also can make someone's expectations exceed what the VA can do.
I've given tasks to Faith and realized this is not something within her forte. That is not a bad thing. VA's are like spies. You can not have the James Bond of VA's. They don't exist.
You can have social media managers, an accountant and a designer--but not in one person. Let me rephrase that...not in one affordable person.
Pepper Potts makes what...ten million a year? Ten billion? I can't even count that many numbers let alone pay someone a salary like that. So I go with strengths. There are certain things I've learned not to give to a VA (aka their weaknesses). That's just as important as knowing what to give them.
I can't give you the exact questions I asked Faith when hiring her, but I can tell you instead of crossing off a list of "what to ask" I had a conversation with her. Faith was the ONLY one, who conversed. Everyone else just tried to get me to hire them.
Out of all the professionals, all the people telling me they have 30 years experience of being a VA, all the people that gave me one line answers, the only one that made the cut was the person I talked to, found out her goals, found out about her motivation, found out her experiences not from a resume but from asking her.
So if you're looking for a list I'd tell you to look up most common questions for dating and ask them. Because having a VA is a relationship between two people. They can't read your mind if they don't know you. They can't make suggestions if they don't know you. They can't help you unless you just want very simple things done--which is fine, I have recommendations for "order takers" that do great with yes/no procedures.
But if you want a thinking mind behind the screen on the other end of the internet, it's very hard to find. I now have Faith in two ways. I have the VA and the belief that my tasks are well in hand because of her. I couldn't ask for a better assistant. But I have to say that there was a bit of luck finding her.
I could have gone with Tom. But I have a feeling I would have been disappointed. My only expectation was that I could have someone that wanted to learn about what I did. What I found was my expectations might have been too much, but I wanted to try and find that person anyway. Luck would have it that I did. But it also showed me my expectations needed to be flexible too.
Communication is the #1 problem in marriages. They say lasting relationships are work. Why not try some advice for work relationships and apply them to your partner for better communication and a lasting marriage? Check out The Key Class series for all the you need for a happy, successful life!
"Soft skills" include behavior and manners. They are the ability to get along with others. Understanding how to behave in different situations is fundamental in social situations. How to communicate and having positive relationships with others and consideration of others will not only help you with work, but in life as well.
Even though people can have job skills, it's the Soft Skills and the way you behave that moves you toward real success. If you don't know how to interact with others with consideration, you won't be able to succeed.
John Daly's latest book explains it. Take a look at the excerpt:
John Daly is a multiple award-winning, internationally-renowned event designer and producer dubbed the “Guru of Event Design” by Special Events magazine some 28 years ago. He didn’t get the title just because of his creative talent, but because of the thousands of peers that he taught and with whom he shared all his secrets. His name alone at events conventions packs a ballroom.
According to Carol McKibben, founding publisher of Special Events magazine, "When he teaches, other professionals just want to sit at his feet and hang on his every word. He embodies innovation and creativity."
But today, John Daly is changing the lives of others. This second journey in his life began when he was a young adult and was fascinated with the protocol and etiquette of countries around the world and how they affected the events he was producing.
His hobby of learning about the proper rules of etiquette led to him advising his clients on both a domestic and international basis. It didn’t involve just which fork to use at an important dinner but how to dress, greet foreign dignitaries and carry on polite business conversations. And, the more he traveled, the more he honed his skills, evolving his hobby into an expertise. At the same time, he became a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and began mentoring teens. Realizing that these young people had never been taught manners or how to even go about getting a job, John decided to use his outstanding teaching abilities and began to put together a curriculum to instruct students on how to not just do the things that are expected in everyday life, but to teach them the necessary interviewing tools to successfully secure a job or college entrance.
John Daly’s Key Class program was launched by partnering with the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Teen Court in Santa Barbara. This amazing program allows youth who have committed a first-time misdemeanor offense to avoid a criminal record and a chance to re-evaluate where their life is headed while still being held accountable for their actions.
From there, it was just a matter of time before John expanded to high school students as well as working with at-risk teens. Collaborating with Santa Barbara Partners in Education, John has taken The Key Class into the Santa Barbara County School System.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate your skills at maintaining the interest and attention of these young people. Many people claim to have a way with teenagers but I seldom see someone as skilled as you are in your field." -Robert Foster, Juvenile Institutions Officer Senior
"I would like to start by saying that I hope your etiquette teaching rubs off onto my soul... In return for your passionate willingness for us to succeed in the job world, I will be successful." - Richard Palafox, Student
Ever since the How to Use a Vibrator: 10 ways to get a better buzz post from Elizabeth SaFleur... I've been thinking that truly, there is a How To for everything.
I think it's pretty awesome you can Google or YouTube or even go on social media and ask friends How do you...
So I thought I'd list some of TRP's How To's that are truly helpful.
Take a look:
Yep, John Daly has done his research on the job market place and is offering help on etiquette, business manners and how to have a happy, successful life in general. Check out these two books for more pointers your parents never taught you, and are the key for success in everything you do.
I'm not much on sticking to any one formula when it comes to promotion, marketing or even finding your audience. I believe you should stick to a strategy and try tools for that strategy. Some tools may include paid marketing. Some may include social marketing. But now matter which one you choose, you must dedicate time AND money. Oh here we go--the money issue. I don't have a thousand dollars for marketing. Stop Freaking Out.
If it's a case of having Netflix or maintaining a blog then go for the blog.
When you launch a book, make your money stretch by doing the things you know will work. But what if I'm new? Then, my dear, it's the k-boards for you. (Click the link if you want Indies Unlimited to explain the whole k-boards thing.) But you can spend $30 on marketing. Really there are things you can do. So let's look at what you can do. These things will take some money, but not a lot.
HOW TO FIND THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR BOOK
There is no “something for everyone”. The more specific the more success. Make that a mantra. It’s a simple formula that every writer needs to focus upon. Trickle down your idea to one particular point. Once you have the main point, find another two.
It would be disaster for a writer to say book is for everyone. The best of the books written are not read by everyone. For example, the Bible is considered to be one of the best books ever compiled, but still it is not read by everyone.
The thing that I want to point out here is that it is essential and crucially important for a writer to be specific about their target audience, content and genre. Once a writer knows his target audience, it would be very easy to convince most publishers to publish the book. But how do you find your target audience?
LAUNCH YOUR WEBSITE
It is an essential part for anyone who wants to publish a book to have a home base, a web home to attract an audience. What you need for a website is very simple:
You don't need more than that and even if you don't have a book, you should still have a website. Think of it this way...if you don't have a theater for people to go to and watch your play, how are they going to find you? You need a home where people can come and watch you work.
MAINTAIN A BLOG
Blogs are a powerful promotion tool used by the best professionals. A creative and unique blog can drive huge audiences for a writer and updating it frequently with different content/themes/posts is definitely bound to increase the traffic onto your site.
Many have difficulty finding things to write about. In which case look at our Resources for Authors page on blogging. You'll find guides to help you start a blog and give you ideas on what to blog.
UPDATE ONLINE PROFILES
Although it appears very simple yet it makes a huge impact if you don’t update your online profiles. Today almost every website has an option that allows you to post a bio with your public profile. Profile is like a mirror which depicts you in a glance, so it is equally important to showcase your expertise, experience in your subject matter, to mention your book(s)/articles and include a link to your site/blog.
Keeping in touch through e-mails always shows your close relationship with your audience and you can maintain a lifelong loyal audience by publishing an interesting newsletter with content related to your book(s) or by sharing announcements. It’s important to make audience feel that you care for them by sharing good events of your life.
This also means building a list. Mailchimp, constant contact Aweber, emma, etc. can help you with that!
KEEP BUILDING ONLINE PARTNERSHIPS
People who work with each other always find a way to reach the top, so it’s fruitful and healthy to find people who have same targets and ambitions to reach similar target audience by teaming up with each other. You can publish samples of your books, articles, links on each other’s websites/blogs or newsletters, promote each other’s work in events or cross promote with social media.
PROMOTE WITH ARTICLES
To increase your credentials, you can write articles for industry publications and related websites. Writing incredibly good articles can boost up your worth and publishers will weight your opinion. You may put your articles available for reprint in different websites like www.ezinearticles.com, www.goarticles.com and join different groups where people float their articles easily and which are also available for the masses to read.
CONTACT BOOK BLOGGERS
Following and maintaining good relationship with follower bloggers is always a great bonus for a book writer. It can help you a lot by maintaining close contact while checking new updates, hot topics, book reviews, guest posts, interviews, audience response and their genuine opinions.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY
Social media campaigning can get you close to your goals if utilized effectively. Today every organization, top business, NGOs and so many others use social media campaigning to reach out their audience.
Sites like Face-book, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google + are best social media tools to find and build audience. Create interesting, eye catchy and simple profiles and get connected to communities, groups and events. Look at the followings of authors that similar to yourself and you will be surprised to see how much information you can gather by looking at who is following these authors. You just need to invest a little time every day, be engaging, share interesting and great content and watch how your fan following grows.
BE ACTIVE BY APPEARING ON ELECTRONIC MEDIA
Engage and appear on live transmissions such as radio shows, podcasts, events, book seminars, and interviews. Always be precise and to the point and highlight your work with all your heart so that audience can feel the quality and passion.
Now, you can try to be everywhere, and do everything on this list but I don't recommend that. It's exhausting. There's only so much time in a day. Try doing 2 or 3 of these things and see how it goes. But give these options a chance. Remember, stick to a strategy. These are all tools for your strategy. Use them wisely.
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
Books on Kindle