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I am delighted to report that I have finished checking the “AudioSam” files – i.e. the first run-through of the audio recording of “Fatal Forgery”.  Narrator Guy Hanson is doing a sterling job, and with his technical capabilities can seemingly change just a single word in a whole chapter without me spotting the join.  I thank my lucky stars every day that I did not make the mistake of trying to read my own book – wrong gender, for a start, but more importantly it is obviously such a skill.  For instance, in my final set of comments, I asked Guy to re-record Commissioner Mayne of the Met as “educated, slight Irish”, and he didn’t turn a hair.

As Guy slaves away at a hot microphone, I am researching how to market this audiobook.  I have tracked down some audiobook reviewers and will be tempting them with free downloads.  Part of the ACX process is the creation of a five-minute audio sample, and I will be adding that to my websites, Twitter feeds, blogs and Facebook pages.  I will also – once he has had time to recover – be interviewing Guy about his thoughts while recording Sam.  He doesn’t seem too alarmed at the thought of six more books, so that’s a good sign!  It turns out that, quite fortuitously, Sam lends himself well to audification (that really should be a word), as the books are quite dialogue-heavy rather than narrative- or description-heavy, and apparently most listeners prefer that.

I have also – perhaps rather late in the day – been familiarising myself with the ACX offering.  As I opted for the profit-share arrangement, I am required to offer exclusive distribution to ACX.  This means that “AudioSam” will be available only for digital download (no CDs) and only for sale via Amazon, ACX and iTunes.  But I figured that, for a first toe in the audio water, it made sense to share the risk, and anyway those are the three largest marketplaces for audiobooks.  The most unfamiliar thing about the process is that I have no say about the price of the audiobook.  As a self-published author, I have grown used to setting my own price for all of my paperbacks and e-books – it’s a bit scary, and there are reams written about the psychology of pricing, but I’ve done it.  But not for the audio ones: the price is set (and, I assume, adjusted as needed) independently by Amazon, ACX and iTunes.

An idea for marketing that did occur to me is that audiobooks might be good for learning English – particularly if the written English is good, standard English (that’s Sam for you) and the narration is clear (there’s Guy).  So someone trying to learn pronunciation could have the written book in front of them and read along with the narration.  I’ll have to put my mind to how to find those people.