Independent Author’s Toolbag: Publishing an Audiobook pt 2

This post is about the review processes and the work required to get it to the ‘finished’ stage.  Read the previous post here for information about getting the process started.

Any self-published author can tell you: self-publishing is hard.  It’s not just getting the novel ready, it is also doing the edits, getting the cover set, and even typesetting.  Then there’s the requirements for epubs, which makes it a severe pain for any images you have (such as maps or diagrams), inserting bookmarks and smartlinks… it is an additional quantity of time which most traditional authors don’t need to worry about.

Self publishing an audiobook is like that, only worse in a way.  First off, you have to do all the same stuff as above.  You need a cover, you need to prepare, edit and arrange the text.  After you select a narrator, you then have to discuss pronounciations, listen to the first fifteen minutes, and then, after they finish, you have to review the entire thing.  This is not as much fun as you might first imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a sense of wonder when you hear the voices of your characters take life.  I can only imagine the feeling of excitement to have a book made into a movie (done well, at least).  Still, when you have to listen to twelve hours or so of narration, focused to hear errors, mistakes, and areas to make corrections… it’s work.  That’s twelve hours where I can’t write.  I have to be focused enough to listen for any issues.  I personally suck at multitasking, so during that time, I really can’t do much else besides listen.

Twelve hours doesn’t seem like much, until you factor in working a full time job.  I barely have time to write… finding time to review an audiobook is tough.  Then on top of that, I’ve got to find time to review the second version.  That said, the audiobook still won’t be perfect.  I’ll almost certainly miss a few things, in twelve hours of audio.  Also, some of the limitations are just that my novel has a huge cast of characters, set in a far future with aliens, people raised speaking strange dialects, and lots of odd names.  It won’t be perfect, not to what I pictured it, anyway.  But it will, hopefully, be good enough.

My whining about the hard work aside, producing an audiobook is a serious investment of time and money.  You can save money by narrating it yourself, but then you simply increase the time investment. My advice, be sure you have a market before you invest all this into it.  As far as hard data on earnings, I’ll give my analysis of that when I get enough data on that.  Of course, I have to finish the second review and have it go live first.

Captain America Winter Soldier Movie Review

Disclaimer ahead: I’m reviewing a comic book movie and I’m not a fan of comic books.  That aside, let’s get to the movie!

Short answer: I loved it.  Lots of action, interesting plot, and the good guy heroics that you would expect from Captain America.

Let’s dive a little deeper though.  The movie had excellent pacing and plot, at no point was there a point where the audience was left to get bored.  Action was often built with tension, we are meant to care what happens to the people in this movie.  Chris Evans brought the patriotism, freedom-loving, and honest Captain America to life, in a fashion that was both inspiring and heart-rending at times.  Yes, I say heart-rending because of the burdens he shoulders.  There was at least one tear-jerker of a scene in the movie.  You are able to guess the direction of the plot, but the full extent has enough twists and turns to satisfy, but not overly complex like a bad Bond movie.

The movie brought with it the trappings of a political thriller, but don’t be mistaken, it’s not a movie about murky politics and finding the lesser of two evils.  It’s a movie about Captain America doing the right thing… no matter the cost to himself along the way.  It was a movie about a good man setting the example and causing all of us mere mortals to step up and stand with him.  I think it’s a movie that reminds us of the importance of freedom… and that there are always those who are willing to use fear to take power.

I particularly liked the development of Scarlet Johanson’s character, Black Widow.  The interplay between her, a character who is fundamentally a creature of shadow and lies, and Captain America who is a beacon of truth… it was fascinating.  The tension between the two was well played and believable and at the same time, we saw that his inherent goodness acted as a draw to her own character, who fights for good, but doesn’t believe she has any within herself.  In addition, Falcon was an excellent character, something of an every-day-man who fights in the realm of gods and superheroes… and who fights because it is the right thing to do, rather than from some calling or granted power.  There are others, some of whom get only a few words to say, but they’re all called forward, forced to choose between what is easy and what is right.

I’m interested to see the effects of the movie upon the Agents of Shield TV show, as well as to find out more about Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The movie has some very serious repercussions in the Marvel Movie Universe and I want to see that transformation play out.  There were two post movie scenes, one mid-credit that hinted at a lot of activity for Avengers Age of Ultron, and the other which makes me interested to see where the character of the Winter Soldier is headed.

All in all, it was an awesome movie.  Frankly, the only disappointment I’m feeling about it is that I’ve got a long wait until we see these characters again.

 

 

Renegades: Origins and Free Sample

I’ve decided to title Renegades: Compendium I as Renegades: Origins.  It will include the first five Renegades Novellas as well as four or more short stories.  Renegades: Origins comes out 19 April.   Among the short stories included is Runner, which I already have up for free, as well as a story from Anubus titled Fool’s Gold, a story from Mike titled Shadow Space Blues, another story from Run titled “Lab Notes” and lastly, a story from Rastar.  Here’s a sample from Shadow Space Blues:

“I’m bringing us thirty degrees down, prepare to fire on my mark,” Mike said. He matched action to words as he adjusted the controls at the pilot station. On his sensor repeater he saw the enemy ship exposed to the fire of the five turrets. “Mark!”

A moment later, the five turrets opened up. The light particle pulse guns sent a wave of energy at the enemy ship. The lower angle allowed the ship to fire all five of the turrets at the same target and dropped them below the middle band of the enemy ship’s defense screen. If their main gun were operational, Mike would have swung the bow upwards and fired that instead

“Multiple hits,” Simon said. The somewhat dour former cop seemed bound to keep his voice steady, despite the hour of maneuvers that had required the well-positioned shot. “I’m reading power levels dropping on their defense screen and their reactor signature dropped.” The enemy corvette looked to be a Barracuda class, from its maneuvers and reactor signature. It mounted an external missile rack and two light laser turrets. Mike’s earlier maneuvers had already coaxed the missile launch, which had allowed Eric to pick them off at long range. The two laser turrets were heavier than their own, but also fired slower and took longer to recharge.

Mike nodded, even as he spun their ship around to put the thicker waist band of their defense screen in between their ship and any return fire. The charged plasma would deflect energy weapons and projectiles while the magnetic field shielded them from radiation.

“Any transmission from the enemy ship?” Mike asked.

“Nope,” Crowe said. The communications officer had a bored look on his face. “I’ll tell you if they start talking.”

Mike grimaced, but let Crowe’s insolence slide, for the moment, “Navigation, good work with the maneuvers, get us a course that uses our acceleration, I want to get in behind them and-“

“Missile launch!” Simon’s level tone disappeared. “I have sixteen missiles on the way. Intercept time thirty seconds!”

“What!?” Mike asked. “They already volleyed their external racks!”

“Looks like they kept something in reserve,” Eric said. “Switching fire, Simon, get me a target solution, I’m firing blind!”

Mike shifted the ship into an evasive maneuver and tried to gain some distance even as he watched Eric shift fire.  It didn’t look good. The missiles were fast, not Nova Roma quality, but certainly military grade from the Colonial Republic. They were fast and agile, and at such close range, the missiles had every advantage.

***

Hope you enjoy and it’s only a couple weeks before you can buy Renegades: Origins.