Tag Archives: audiobook

The Prodigal Emperor Audiobook

The Prodigal Emperor - Kindle 01c
The Prodigal Emperor, Book III of the Shadow Space Chronicles

The Prodigal Emperor, Book III of The Shadow Space Chronicles, is now available as an audiobook!

You can find it on Amazon or on Audible.

Baron Lucius Giovanni has done the impossible: not only has he held the alien Chxor at bay, he has taken the fight to them and liberated human worlds. Yet humanity’s implacable foe has drawn a line in the sand. They will hold Nova Roma at all costs…or see it a scorched ruin.

Lucius must aid Nova Roma’s Emperor and liberate his homeworld, but along the way he must also deal with old and new adversaries and with a conspiracy that seeks to usurp control of his fleet.

Like The Shattered Empire, the third book of the series is narrated by the talented Eric Dove.  Check out his other stuff, he does a fantastic job.

The Shattered Empire Audiobook Available Now

shattered-empire-audio-cover-sq-v2The Shattered Empire is now available on Amazon and Audible.com and coming soon to iTunes.

This is the second book of the Shadow Space Chronicles, which follows Baron Lucius Giovanni as he sets out to save humanity from the threat of the Chxor Empire

Baron Lucius Giovanni has managed to buy the human race a brief reprieve from the two alien races which seek humanity’s extinction. In the process he has become the leader of a new nation and the commander of a powerful fleet. However, victory comes with consequences. Without an imminent threat, old feuds have sparked back to life and tenuous alliances falter. There are also old enemies who cannot forget that Lucius has what they wanted. He must find a way to hold off scheming rivals, sociopathic psychics, and even former friends. If he can’t do all that and take the fight to humanity’s true enemies, billions may die under alien servitude.

Get your copy from Audible.com or Amazon today!

Kal’s September 2016 Forecast

September is here!  With it, I’m happy to announce that The Sacred Stars, the fourth book of the Shadow Space Chronicles series is also here!  It’ll be available in just two more days.  That’s right, exploding space ships in only two more days.

I’m also happy to announce that the audiobook narration for The Shattered Empire is done.  I’m doing the review now and I hope to have it approved and available for general purchase through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve begun outlining the third Renegades book and as soon as I finish my current work in progress, I’ll dig into it and hopefully that’ll be ready to publish at the end of October.

My current work in progress is an urban fantasy novel which, once I’ve finished it, I’ll be sending to a publisher.  It may be a while before anyone sees it, but it’ll be worth the wait, trust me, it’s tons of fun to write and the responses I’ve had back so far suggest it is even more fun to read.

Lastly, I’m doing a giveaway with this month’s newsletter.  Run’s Coffee Mug and a signed copy of The Sacred Stars.  Sign up by this weekend and you’ll be eligible.

That’s all for now.   Thanks for reading!

Wrath of the Usurper Audiobook Live

Wrath of the Usurper, Book II of the Eoriel Saga
Wrath of the Usurper, Book II of the Eoriel Saga

The audio book for Wrath of the Usurper is now live!  It is available on Itunes, Amazon, and Audible.com.  Links are below.  As with Echo of the High Kings, Eric G. Dove is the narrator.  He did a fantastic job once again and if audio books are your thing, then you should check it out!

Civilization is dying. The lands of the Five Duchies are in chaos. They are leaderless and each land stands alone. Besieged by barbarians, savages, fell beasts, and infighting, few doubt that the end times are upon them. Yet all is not lost. In the East, Lady Katarina Emberhill has begun an uprising against the Usurper and those who follow her carry relics from the time of the High Kings. In Boir, Lord Admiral Christoffer Tarken forges alliances and defends his lands. And in the Eastwood, powers that have been silent for eons are stirring and turning their eyes to the outside world. But the key is the Usurper Duke, a man drawn to savagery and battle. His victories in his personal war against the Armen have swelled the ranks of his army. Who will draw the wrath of the Usurper: will he turn it against his own rebellious people or levy his forces against the threats to all civilized men?

Wrath of the Usurper on Audible.com

Wrath of the Usurper on Amazon

July 2015 Update

Just a quick update on what’s new with Kal.

In case you missed watching American Ninja Warrior last week, they didn’t show my run.  Apparently they don’t show everyone and I didn’t make the cut.  I’m a little disappointed, but I still had a ton of fun and want to do it again next year, finances permitting.  Hopefully, if that’s the case, I’ll make it on the actual show.  Even so, if you watched closely you can spot me in the background of a couple of the runs and my wife as well.

Wrath of the Usurper’s audiobook is in production with the very talented Eric Dove doing the narration.  He’s the same narrator from Echo of the High Kings.  Having already heard the first section I can’t wait to hear the final product.  He should be done with it by the end of the month, and then I just have to review it and hopefully it will be live by mid August.

The Prodigal Emperor is almost done.  I’ve had a couple things slow me down in my writing (life is like that), but I feel that the third and final book of the trilogy will close this story arc out well… and leave me with plenty of other stories to explore in that universe.  I’m tremendously excited to get it done and out and even more excited to hear what my readers have to say after they read it over.

That’s all for now, take care and thanks for reading!

 

Renegades: Origins Audiobook Is Now Live!

Renegades: Origins is now live as an audiobook on Amazon, Itunes, and Audible.

In times of chaos, there are those who fight for money, for power, or just to survive. In feudal Japan they were ronin. In the US post-Civil War, they were desperadoes or hired guns. In the chaotic times of the collapse of human civilization, they are men, women, and aliens without shelter or succor. When no one else will take a stand, they stand for themselves. They are deserters, murderers, pirates, and worse; they are the Renegades.

Renegades: Origins contains the novellas Deserter’s Redemption, The Gentle One, Declaration, Ghost Story, and A Murder of Crowes. It also contains six short stories: “Research Notes”, “Runner”, “Fool’s Gold”, “System Failure”, “Dishonored”, and “Crossed Stars”.

Available at Audible.com here.

Available at Amazon here.

 

Independent Author’s Toolbag: Publishing an Audiobook pt 3

This is the final post I’ll have as far as building an audiobook with Amazon’s ACX system.   In the first two installments, I talked about the process, first enrolling/selecting your book, then choosing a narrator and finally proofing the narrated sections.  You can see those two sections here and here.

It was a time-consuming process.  It was also fairly exhausting for someone who works full time, writes, is married, and has something of a social life.  I would estimate that it was at least forty hours of work even after selecting a narrator.  There were multiple edits that had to take place to meet ACX’s guidelines on things like the pauses between chapters (too long, who knew?) and the silence during a pause (apparently it has to be very quiet).  All that aside, this post is going to look at the end results: the royalty process and profits.

Now, going into this, I had the option to split royalties or pay the narrator in a lump sum.  I’m not a split royalties type of person.  For one thing, I put tens of thousands of hours in writing.  Why do I want to share that much effort with someone else if I don’t have to?  For another, long term, I figured it would pay better to do a lump sum.  This meant instead of 25% of the profits as royalties I’d receive 50%.  Roughly twice as much.

Now the ACX program has a couple issues that I’ll comment on.  For one, they’re not like Kindle Direct Publishing with hourly updates on sales and a running estimate of royalties earned.  With ACX, you get a tracker updated around midnight PST with total sales by type.  These types roughly tell you how much you’ll earn, but only roughly, because, remember, you don’t set the price, Audible, Amazon, and iTunes set the price of your audiobook.  That price also varies by method of purchase.  From initial reading through my royalty statement, it looks like subscribers using their Audible credits paid roughly $12 a copy, subscribers purchasing paid around $15, and everyone else paid around $25 for my book The Fallen Race.  That daily update shows the breakdown between the three types of purchasers.  It doesn’t show the royalty rate or the price paid or any of that, just the number of sales in each category.  Where this becomes an issue, is, if you’re like me and you paid out of your own pocket to fund the narration.  You’re biting your nails hoping that this thing will pay for itself.  There’s a mortgage to pay and food to put on the table, and it’s very hard to estimate earnings when you don’t have all the information.

When you get the information is very similar to KDP.  Thirty days after the last calendar day of the month, they send you a royalty statement.  Unlike KDP, ACX mails it to you (at least for those in the US, for elsewhere, I understand it is every quarter rather than every month).  That’s right, you have to check your mail.  On the other hand, checking the mail is rather exciting when you’re expecting your royalty check in it.  This is where ACX really shines, though.  They break down royalty percentage, sales of each type and all the information you could really want in a readable format.  Plus, they give you the matching check with whole package, which really gives you a nice feeling of completeness.

The other issue that I’m on the fence about is transparency with iTunes.  Amazon and Audible are owned by the same company, so the sales are pretty similar.  The iTunes sales of my book, however, I have no earthly idea how to monitor or even really how I’ll receive royalties.  They could be rolled up in my other sales or it could be a separate royalty statement entirely.  That leads me to my last complaint about  the process.  The FAQ’s and information provided by ACX without going directly to their customer support is either inaccurate or very thin, particularly on the things that really matter once the audiobook is completed.  The royalties are listed as 40% there on their information, but I receive 50%, according to my statement (I’ll gladly accept more, but it was something of a surprise, is all).  They say they’ll mail royalty statements every month.  They don’t mention it will be 30 days after each month.  That’s what I expected, but still, they need to get in there and clarify.  Those are the ones that mattered to me, but there’s a lot of other inaccuracies in there or just places where you can’t find the information you want without sending an email.

On the positive side, I’m very pleased with how the system as a whole works.  Publishing my books in audio format allows me to reach a much broader audience.  That in turn means more money and reaching a larger reader/listener base.  For that matter, from a moderately risky endeavor it has proven itself as a method which I’ll definitely use in the future.  I’m already planning on doing two more audiobooks: Renegades: Origins and the upcoming epic fantasy Echo of the High Kings.  I also plan to do an audiobook of The Shattered Empire when it’s finished.  In the first month of sales I already earned back my initial investment and it looks to be a solid method of sales for independent authors… just a large up front investment of time and money.

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.

Independent Author Toolbag: Publishing an Audiobook Pt 1

This is mostly aimed at other authors, but for those who are interested in what goes into it, perhaps this will be entertaining.  This first part is about the process I went through to market my books, The Fallen Race and Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption to a producer all the way through to the selection of a narrator/producer I wanted.

It all started, for me, when I got an email from amazon about ACX.  The email informed me that it made it fast and easy for authors and publishers to find narrators and producers for their books.  It seemed relatively straightforward, so I dove in. One thing ACX does well is that it sets everything up in a simple order to follow. I claimed two of my books, but the next part stumped me… I had to post what pay bracket I wanted to pay in.  Part of my confusion, at the time, was that I didn’t realize that it is pay per finished hour.  Luckily, after reading through the help section, I figured that out.  Still, what’s a ‘fair’ price for this?  I’m doing SF, so there’s lots of weird names.  Also accents and strange dialog.  So I finally just selected one of the brackets in the middle $50-100.  ACX calculates the rough novel length for your stuff, so that put the production cost at between 600 and 1200 dollars for the work.  Still, it seemed a good price to pay if I could get someone good to narrate.  Out of curiosity, I looked at audiobook pricing.  I was somewhat annoyed to learn that ACX establishes a price that they think is fair.  Thus, I’d have no control over the sale price.  The last part of the process is where you upload a sample section for a narrator to read, it suggests the first few pages, and I went with that. That was my first mistake.

I got my first reading the next day.  The narrator read it well, though not quite what I was looking for.  That’s where I made my first mistake.  I figured that since this guy was pretty good, I should go with him first.  I made an offer right away, and got a response right away, they wanted more money, or a share of the royalties.  I balked at the latter.  Then came several other readings from other narrators.  The thing is, I couldn’t give them offers because I had the outstanding one.  Until it was rejected, accepted, or expired, I couldn’t make an offer to one of the others.  In the meantime, the first narrator was willing to work down their price somewhat, but I just didn’t know if they’d work for the project as well as some of the others.  I talked with them, and suggested they read for my other project.  This is where my first mistake came in, the narrator read that part well, but the first pages didn’t have much dialog with other characters.  I picked that narrator for that project, then selected a different one for the first project.

If that sounds confusing… well, it was for me as well.  I had around a half dozen narrators read for the part.  Apparently I picked a good bracket.  Still, most weren’t near what I wanted.  The lession I learned there was that I should have waited a few days, listened to the various ones, and then selected after some time to think.  I should have also have either written a section of text that includes a variety of characters in discussion or selected that from the novels.  That part came back to bite me later.

The next part, after selecting a narrator, is the first 15 minutes is generated.  This is to make sure the narrator/producer and the author are all seeing the same vision for the project.  Project one, The Fallen Race, was going well.  Project two, Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption went well… right up until the author tried to do Anubus’s voice.  It wasn’t what I wanted, but there were options for that.  In this step, the author can ask for corrections, sometimes multiple times.  If it works out, then everything proceeds to production.  This one didn’t work out.  I tried to discribe what I wanted, but it didn’t work out.  It was mostly my fault, I’d admit, I should have had dialogue from other characters in the sample, but I hadn’t.  The narrator tried, I tried to adjust my expectations, but it just didn’t work.  Thankfully, since it’s a relatively small amount of time spent between one another, both parties can cancel the contract at this point.  I did that, and I’m started over in the process to get Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption as an audiobook.  The Fallen Race has continued to production, and my goal is to get that one out near the end of March.

So, this is what I’ve learned thus far: think carefully, very carefully, before you make an offer.  Do some research on pricing and don’t be afraid to haggle a bit.  Overall, I’m happy with how things went, preproduction.  I do caution other authors to read the contract terms carefully and to only enter into it with the best of intentions and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish.

Part 2 here, part 3 here.