Tag Archives: performance reading

The rise of ‘Talking Books’ – do audio books fit your publishing project?

Recording your audiobook will give you another platform from which to offer your book.

If you’re a reader, do you listen to audio books? Or if you’ve published a book, have you converted it to an audio book? It’s worth exploring this as an option for your story so that you can access another platform that allow readers to be exposed to your work.

When I was a child I loved tuning into the radio to listen to serialised stories, especially if the reader had a compelling voice. There’s something special about being read to. I know that people love live readings because of the regular numbers who attend our open mic nights and from library events that I used to organise where a performer would tell stories to a live audience. It feels luxurious to be read to and for some it may remind them of being a child when a parent or grandparent read to them.

While I do like audio books, my preference is to read the printed version but there are many instances where having the audio is useful, like travelling. This is the same for podcasting, which is growing in popularity.

Audio books have been around since the 1930s, they were called ‘Talking Books’ back then and were primarily thought of as a good resource for people who were visually impaired. Mostly these ‘books’ were short nursery rhymes or poems. Whole books didn’t really make it to the mass market until the 80s when it became easier to produce them and they were more commercially viable, but they were still quite expensive for the consumer.

Thanks to digital technology, the cost to produce an audio book has reduced, therefore the cost to consumer has reduced dramatically, to the point where there are apps like audio.com where you can subscribe and get books at varying prices, sometimes free, much like eBooks.

If you’re publishing books, most likely you have created a print book and/or an eBook. While eBooks are not as popular as people think (remember the cries of ‘the book is dead!’ about eight years ago?) it still gives readers a choice. Adding an audio book to the mix spreads the readership further, as well as exposing your name and product to a wider audience.

Many people ask us about creating audio books and to date it has been an expensive option. Now it seems that technology is catching up, so we are looking at ways to produce them.

Enter Studio Four4ty. On a recommendation, I organised to record my own memoir into an audio book through this local studio. Last week was our first session of four hours. It was fun going into the little recording booth and donning the headphones, but I have to say it was also a little daunting. Speaking isn’t my forte and any new experience can be anxiety ridden but I did it anyway. I wanted to experience it for myself and I was curious to see how my stories would come out with my own voice.

The person reading the story should fit the written content. Many people hire professional actors who are used to voice work, but I often think that the actual writer is good if their voice suits the story. If the story has a protagonist (but written by a female) who was a 25-year-old man, it would suit to have a male voice.

I’m yet to hear the full book as a completed audio book but so far, the experience has been positive. I have another recording session to complete and then the sound engineer, Jarred, will edit it (there were plenty of fluffed sentences) and put it together into one file.

If you’re looking at ways to get your work into readers hands, it’s worth thinking of as many ways to do this. Don’t be narrow minded and just think ‘print’.  I’ll report back in a few months to see how my audiobook is received and I’d love to hear opinions about the different ways you like to consume stories.

Blaise the book chick

Love Your Library

Love Your Library: image by Kev Howlett (Eltham Library)

What is your relationship with the library? Do you have memories of the long ago dark days when you couldn’t talk and if you did you were scowled at by the librarian behind the desk, or worse, shushed?

How things have changed. Libraries are spectacular. At lease in Melbourne they are. Not only do they house thousands of yummy books but there are copious amounts of resources that you can use for free. Fabulous programs and offerings to whet your appetite for learning and entertainment.

Many libraries have done away with that giant desk that separated you and the librarian and have become wonderful modern spaces with computer areas and places for sitting in quiet contemplation.

Books are my passion, so it’s no surprise that libraries (and bookshops) fit with this obsession, but why am I writing about them?

Libraries should be part of your marketing mix when you publish your book. Have you even thought about them in this way? Library programs are full of author talks, writing festivals and programming around a huge variety of topics from mental health, digital technology, gardening and crafts.

If you go and visit, or go to your local library website, you’ll be able to see what their programs are like and if there is anything that might fit your book. Many of them follow standard public events like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Children’s Week, School Holiday programs.

The best thing that you can do is start forming relationships with libraries (and bookshops) in your local area. Make friends with the library staff. They are not obligated to promote your book or to buy it (library suppliers do that) but if they see that an event can be created around your book and that their patrons would enjoy it, they will be happy to help you. There’s no cost to you and quite often the event will be listed in their program.

This isn’t a ‘build it and they will come’ scenario but it’s a way of creating relationships within your community and building a reputation for yourself and your book. Once you have something set up in a program, you can then go and spruik in on social media, on your website and even the local paper. Any chance that you can get to be in front of people to tell them about your book, the better. There’s nothing better than word of mouth.

Here’s another reason to love your library. The staff know books! They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to people’s reading habits and what is new on the market. They will also be able to tell you what kind of events attract a bigger crowd. Use this resource to help you find ways to get your book into reader’s hands.

When was the last time you entered a library? I dare you to visit one today!

If you’re struggling with your book marketing, come along to our Publish for Profit group each month.

Blaise the book chick