Audiobook News

Audiobook News

The audiobook of Dream Student has been officially approved.  It’s now in the hands of Amazon, as they do whatever it is that they do for the “validation” process.  According to the nice person at Customer Service, it should be available for sale in 15-20 business days.  Fingers crossed!

I had the book recorded through Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange.  Authors can put up their work and offer it to narrators; and narrators post samples of their work, and list what accents, age ranges, etc. they specialize in.  As an author, I can search for narrators who fit my books, and they can search for books that suit their taste and talents.

In my case, I sought out a narrator.  You can narrow your search in several ways: Genre, Gender, Age, Accent, Language and Style.  For Dream Student, most of the choices were straightforward.

For Gender, female was the obvious choice.  The book is told in first person, from the point of view of a 21 year old woman.  That also determined the Age (the choices are: Young Child, Tween, Teenager, Young Adult, Adult, Middle-Aged and Elderly).  I went with Young Adult.  Language was English, again obviously.

There are 30 choices for accent (American-New York, British-Cockney, Italian, etc.).  I opted for American-General American.  Sara is from Pennsylvania, about an hour from Philadelphia, and at this point in her story she’s lived in Cleveland, at college, for three years.  None of the other choices really fit.

For Style, there are over 60 choices.  They range all over the map, from Brooding, to Frightened, to Child-Like, to Sultry, etc.  I played around with this choice quite a bit, and I finally opted for “Engaging”.  Over the course of the book, Sara goes through a wide range of experiences, and we see her at her best and worst, and everywhere in between.  Engaging seemed like a good, general choice to capture the style of her narration.

And, finally, Genre.  I played around with this as well.  I finally opted for “Fiction” as a more general choice to give myself more options for potential narrators (I considered both Romance and Mystery/Thriller, but I didn’t get as many results to choose from).

In the end, I had 60 or so narrators result from my search.  They all had samples of their work, and I was very taken with the samples of one in particular.  So I sent her a message, told her about the books, and she responded that she had a “gut feeling” about them.

Once we came to an agreement (when you formally arrange for the production, you have to set up deadlines for when the book will be finished, etc), the next step was for Heather, my narrator (her website is here), to record the first 15 minutes and send it to me.

This step is to make sure we’re both on the same page as far as how the book should sound.  Did she get the character voices right?  Did she capture the tone I was looking for?  And so on.  Obviously, Heather did all that and then some; I was blown away.  So I approved those 15 minutes, and she then went on to record the whole book.

A month or so, and 11.5 hours of audio later, the book was finished.  Then my task became to listen to the whole thing for any changes, edits, etc.  There were 10 or so words that needed to be changed (out of a book that was 94,000 words!) and one name (only mentioned on three occasions in the book) that wasn’t pronounced the way I had it in my head.  Heather quickly made those edits, and, voila!  I approved the book!

Amazon/ACX made the process easy and straightforward.  Heather made it easy as well; she was responsive, professional and a pleasure to work with.  And now you know how an audiobook is made!

If you click below, you can listen to the first ten minutes of the book; that should whet your appetite for the whole thing, coming very soon…

Dream Student Audiobook Sample

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