By A.C. James

I feel amiss because I didn’t blog about my favorite tweet last week and other than author spotlights and interviews, I’ve been too bogged down to write anything for my lovely readers.

Several of whom also happen to be writers. And I try to balance my blog with something to satisfy both.

Bad.

Bad me.

So sorry.

Although, I’m going to out my geeky side again, I just had to share a WSJ article I read a few days ago about the audiobook explosion. Since I just put out my first audiobook—Ruler—and someone asked a question on the self-publishing yahoo groups loop that I’m on regarding production via ACX, I thought I would share my opinion.

Part of me wants to scream “No” at the top of my lungs to the current generation that’s plugged in and tuned out. I know. I’m old like that. My seventeen year old niece got to experience exactly how old I am when she came to live with us last summer. It was only for the summer because decidedly she could get away with more at home than she could with me 😉

I’m such a hardass.

But Audiobooks have gained popularity in the digital age of downloads versus the old school cassette tapes and dare I say it… CDs.

Audible created an added cool factor when last year they unveiled a syncing feature that allows book lovers to switch between an e-book and a digital audio book, picking up the story on the exact same sentence.

I know. Cool, right?

I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. And I’ve upgraded to an e-reader and happily devour e-books. I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

But having my niece come stay with us broadened my horizons. I got to watch YouTube videos that I would have otherwise not known existed. I discovered new songs from the pop music and country vibrating my walls.

I did try to instill some good taste while she was here but music with her was a lost cause.

Younger generations and even my own are connecting with audiobooks because they fit into our hectic lifestyles. And apparently the visual and auditory experience of books is highly interchangeable—especially with its syncing feature.

Being a reader and a writer, I also peruse several blogs on a regular basis. Dean Wesley Smith being among them, claims that you need to have your writing available in as many formats as possible.

Makes sense.

So I decided to experiment with my short story, Ruler. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and check out ACX.

If you have an Amazon account because ACX is owned by Amazon, you simply log in and find your book. Then you post your book along with a brief script. You can listen to audio auditions and producers can audition for your project.

Note: If you make an offer you can only do so one at a time and until your offer is rejected you cannot make an offer to anyone else. So be sure you want to work with that person. I suggest messaging them first.

Initially, I had a rather strange woman proposition me. She claimed to be a phone sex operator by day and an erotica writer by night. However, she was not willing to learn the skills to self-publish her own e-book and lacked confidence in doing it herself. And she told me a rather weird story about an audio producer she worked with who took advantage of the situation.

Something about mailing her panties he bought on e-bay.

Essentially she was looking for someone to do the work for her but the time/math equation that she proposed didn’t make any sense to me.

You have to love the Internet. It takes all kinds 😉

Two other audio producers sent me auditions. In the end I went with Mike Paine and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. He was extremely professional to deal with and timely.

Writing after all is a business.

The one thing I envy those traditional pub folks is having a small press or big house outsourcing all the elements that I have to hire for individually.

While I love the control it is frustrating until you build relationships with people you can work with.

Anyone who makes my job easier by being dependable, where I don’t have to worry about them doing what they say they’re going to do within the timeframe they’re supposed to do it is someone who I will work with time and time again.

Do that with a fair price and quality product, you’ve got yourself a return client.

When it frees me up to deal with things like… oh… I don’t know… fucking fleas because my husband who never wanted a cat proposed I train ours to use the toilet. I haven’t even been able to accomplish that with my husband. When toilet training failed (as I predicted) the cat became a cat-dog, scratching at the door when he wanted to go out. Despite drops because we live in the country and unlike a dog that stays in the yard, he hunts the tall grass to bring me half-dead trophies.

And apparently fleas.

Whoopee.

Thus I had to be out of my home office for two days last week for professional extermination since two attempts at DIY bombing and cat flea dipping in three weeks of hell failed miserably.

Thankfully when you have an audio guy who’s amazing to deal with, you can deal with headaches like that without getting too far behind.

Except with beta reading. Reviews. The shit-fucking-pile of laundry.

Ok, so yes I’m still behind.

But I was tickled pink with Ruler so I asked Mike if he would do Cursed Ever After for me as well. Although, given that the third story in the collection contained some French I had my concerns.

He nailed it. Spot on. Far better than my pronunciations that sound like hacking phlegm despite four years of French.

However, Cursed Ever After won’t hit Amazon, Audible, and iTunes for about 20 days.

I’d highly recommend Mike to anyone. Just don’t all pounce on him at once because I want him free for future projects 🙂

The only downfalls of ACX and Amazon if you read this do fix it:

You cannot produce an audiobook to put out at roughly the same time as your print and e-book edition because you must find your already published book on Amazon.

(Thankfully, Mike let me e-mail him an ARC for Cursed Ever After since we already worked together on Ruler.)

It takes up to twenty days to hit the shelves.

Setting a price is not under my control.

All in all, ACX is easy to use and I’m glad I now have an audio guy!

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