While you Wait – What Authors Can Do While Their Audiobook is Being Recorded

November 18, 2013 2 By Brian
While you Wait – What Authors Can Do While Their Audiobook is Being Recorded

ACX_LogoYour narrator has the manuscript, you’ve approved the first fifteen minutes, and now you have to sit and wait, right?

Ah, but this is no time to sit around and do nothing. There are things you can do to ensure a quality product that will sell once it’s finished. I have covered what to do after the audiobook is done, but here’s what you can do while it’s being recorded.


Listen to the Work-in-Progress

This should be a no-brainer, but this is item number one. Listen to what chapters are up as your narrator goes along. Be sure to send him or her comments and suggestions. Remember, not everything is clear in the text. There may be nuances or accents that you have in your head that never made it onto the page. You’ll need to alert your narrator if they make that mistake. There are also pronunciation gaffs that can happen, especially for Science Fiction or Fantasy books.

Case in point: I had a book where a secondary character has a few lines. I read them in a Standard American accent without a second thought. At no point in the book does it say anything else about him. It turns out, in Book 2 of the series, he’s identified as British. Not having read Book 2, I didn’t know. Thankfully, the author was listening, alerted me to the omission and I fixed it (and saved me from future gaffs with that character).

“If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” 

[Update 2013-11-20]

DJ Holte dropped me an excellent note for narrators on this front:

…I’d add that narrators need to *tell* the author when a chapter is up. They don’t get notifications.

If anyone at ACX is listening, please add this functionality!

Retail Demo

While you’re listening to chapters, keep in mind what you think will make the best retail demo. For the uninitiated, the Retail Demo is a five minute excerpt from the audio that will appear on the book’s Audible page. This is your chance to snag a listener. Two things you need to consider here:

  1. What is the best part of the story to hook a potential listener?
  2. What is the best part of the audio to hook a listener?

Find a place in your book where these two criteria overlap. Tease some of the plot, but it’s often best to do this with the most interesting characters.

As a narrator, I have a few ideas after I’ve gone through the book what can work best, but as the author, you should know your audience best.

Cover Art

This has happened a couple of times. I don’t mean to rag on those authors, so I won’t name names (it was a honest oversight and I didn’t catch it either). But make sure you’ve got the cover are ready to go. If you assume the image file you used for the Kindle version will work, you’re wrong. It’s a different aspect ration (square vs. rectangular). Some cropping and resizing of your cover image will be required before you can upload it.

Remember, it is still two weeks (or more) from the time you click “Approve” to when the book is available for sale. Any delays in getting that done delays the book’s debut.


Prep Your Marketing

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Self-Publishing means Self-Marketing.

If you haven’t done so already, check out my post on what to do after your audiobook is out. I cover lots of ways to market your book. But you can prep that marketing now so you’re ready to the ground running. Here is a brief list of things you can start looking into prior to the audiobook’s release.

  • Facebook page (for your book, series, and yourself as an author)
  • Twitter feed
  • Website
    • Free: WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr
    • Pay: 1and1.com, GoDaddy.com
  • Local media
    • Newspaper
    • TV
    • Blogs
  • Libraries/Bookstores (Local author nights/displays)