Writing

Working with an Audio-book Publisher

Hello to all the Archer’s Aim fans, P. H. Solomon here today in the continuing series regarding the release of The Bow of Hart Saga: The Bow of Destiny audio-book. I thought I would discuss some elements of working with a traditional audio publisher like Podium Publishing since it’s different than working with ACX or other audio self-publishing services.

A few years ago, I investigated self-publishing an audio-book and soon discovered it was a completely different product altogether as opposed to a book in print. It’s far more expensive to create an audio-book because you have to hire a narrator and pay for studio time. It is possible to do all that on your own and purchase some equipment, but you run the risk of having a product that’s not good enough since it requires more specialization both with the narration and in audio quality. With a low budget mostly focused on e-book content production including editing and cover artwork, I gave up on the idea unless an opportunity presented itself.

As I’ve shared previously, the opportunity did present itself and I almost missed it, thinking Podium was a vanity publisher. After a conversation with another author about audio, I was reminded of the email I had received and re-checked it. To my utter surprise, it was a real contract offer from the publisher to fully create the audio project, publish it and then market it. From there it was a matter of working through the details over several months while I completed The White Arrow.

First of all, I have to say that audio narrators are now my heroes. After I started dictating this past year to complete several rough drafts at a faster pace, I soon realized that narrators are worth every penny they are paid. The reason I realized this is because when I transcribed my rough drafts into Scrivener, I could see all of my mistakes from my inexperienced efforts. Dictation and narration are quite a lot different, but they are similar enough that I realized a professional narrator is a big plus when it comes to audio. For that reason, I was thrilled when Podium Publishing contacted me after I signed the contract with them and they told me who the narrator would be. When I heard samples of Tim Bruce, I knew the narration would be top-notch and the end result did not disappoint me. Tim’s ability was evident from the first few words and I knew he fit my fantasy series well.

But even later on as production moved from initial file-sharing stages, Podium contacted me numerous times for additional information to help in pre-production. I provided them with pronunciation recordings and lists of names which were all custom to the The Bow of Hart Saga. These were important for Tim Bruce so he had exact information to help him do his job precisely and professionally. The more I provided, the more he knew how to perform the story with a variety of accents.

Podium presented me a choice to provide as little or as much information as I wanted for the audio production. But, since they were asking me all these questions I felt like my input as the author was very important and so I chose to be part of that pre-production process as much as possible. Obviously, given today’s digital world, the actual production can be done remotely and shared around between all of the various people involved at Podium.

This information dump was just the start of working with an audio-book publisher. In addition to pronunciation, the narrator needed even more information regarding some of the background details of the world of Denaria in which the The Bow of Hart Saga is set. Tim was already reading much of the work and wanted more information about accents he wanted to include. My interaction was optional but I figured the more information I provided, the better the end result would be. I very eagerly replied to all email queries about details and accents. Tim arrived at several suggestions for character accent from various locations in Denaria. This was a rather surprising development, but once again, I was more convinced than ever that being under contract with audio-book publisher was the best situation for my books.

As pre-production continued, there were a lot of exchanges of emails between myself and the Podium Publishing representatives. There were additional questions about back-stories for the characters to which I provided a number of different character sketches. Additionally, I had a good number of blog posts available about characters and other details of the world of the Denaria which I sent Podium. The publisher welcomed the wealth of information and input to better understand The Bow of Hart Saga.

There were other details which also required my attention. Normally, a print publisher would probably create their own cover-art, but Podium often works with sefl-published science fiction and fantasy authors, so they merely requested original files. We were able to work with my artist to obtain the necessary files and Podium converted the fantastic originals to suit their needs. Everyone who sees these covers are very impressed. I discussed more of how the process worked last week on Story Empire if you are interested in reading more about that topic.

Once production started, my input was not needed as much, so it just became more of a wait and find out what happens proposition. In the end, when I received samples of the work, I was blown away by results. It’s almost unbelievable how far this has all gotten for a first time author like me and one who had no audience three years ago. The books have already sold very well, in the thousands, and I’m looking forward to what comes with these audio-book editions. Working with Podium Publishing has been fun and exciting as I have learned more of how an audio-book is produced. I hope in the future that I will have a similar opportunity and, if so, I will certainly know what to expect from additional audio-books.

Thanks for reading today, I hope you will enjoy my work and I appreciate all the support from the fans of the The Bow of Hart Saga. If you like this fantasy series, please consider sharing about it on social media, following me especially on my Amazon Author Page, BookBub and Goodreads. If you really want to know more about my writing venture, let me know and I’ll add you to my private group on Goodreads where I will be posting exclusive material and news I can’t readily share in public.

Speaking of news, An Arrow Against the Wind is due out on 10/22/2018 and I hope to have pre-order links for the audio-book very soon. In the meantime, you can listen to the incredible performance by Tim Bruce on AudFans where The Bow of Hart Saga: Prequel Pack is free or going to the Audible page for The Bow of Destiny. If you already have The Bow of Destiny in e-book you can view the Amazon page and purchase audio for Whispersync on your Kindle for a fraction of the cost. If you are interested in the book, the e-book is on sale for 99 cents which makes the Whispersync purchase a great deal (Podium really handled this very well).

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Characters from The Bow of Destiny: Spark

This is the second of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. You can read about Athson here. If you like dogs, you’ll love today’s post!

SparkSpark was a rather interesting and late addition to The Bow of Destiny. You see, Spark is a dog but not just any dog. He’s a dog that only Athson sees while he’s not taking doses of his elven medicine, Soul-ease. You might wonder if Spark is real and so does Athson. However, Athson considers Spark an old friend who watches out for him.
The idea for this invisible dog came from my daughter who did some alpha reading on the book last year. She suggested adding a dog so Spark is what I came up with. In the book, Athson identifies this dog as a Mountain Hound but to you and me he’s a German Shepherd – or very much like one.
If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess the origin of this character. But there’s more to the characterization than just being like a common breed. Spark is actually based on both of my dogs, appearing more like our female, Chloe, while sometimes acting rather like our male, Sam.

GSDsChloe & Sam
While Chloe is all guard-dog and ready for action all the time, Sam is more of a friendly bloke with a nasty side when necessary. But the unique quality of Sam is his way of communicating with us – he wags his tail for “yes” and doesn’t for “no”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Sam (Spark)-talk which is through a series of yes and no questions (and of course you have to catch Sam at a good time since he’s usually easily distracted like most dogs by things like food):
Me: “Sam, is it cold outside?”
Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).
Me: “Sam, do you like the cold?”
Sam wags his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in what cold weather we have.
Me: “Sam, do you want to sleep outside?”
Sam doesn’t wag his tail because, while he likes cold weather, he prefers to stay near his people like most GSDs do. This question is one that’s meant to ensure he’s really answering rather than just wagging his tail in distraction.
Me: “Sam, do you like Chloe?”
No wag because Chloe can really pesters him and bites him often since she’s rather feisty.
Me: “Sam, did Chloe bite you today?”
Sam wags his tail. Funny thing about dogs is that, being like wolf puppies, the males often let females win. Sam is much larger but always lets Chloe win.
Me: “Sam, do you want Chloe to sleep outside in the cold?”
Sam wags his tail. Yep that’s right, Sam wants Chloe to sleep outside while he gets to sleep inside.
We often can ascertain if Sam feels sick (he gets colitis) or achy (he’s getting a little older now and is starting to get stiff joints). We even found out that Sam wants a pet cat though this is likely the fact that he actually misses the old cat, Becky, who was still alive when Sam came to live with us. The cat hated Sam but he loved her. But you get the idea – Sam talks in his own way. He’s rather intelligent that way and even plays tricks on Chloe to get her to do what he wants. Now don’t think that Chloe is dumb by any means. She recognizes aggression easily and can solve some puzzles that Sam just won’t bother with.
So guess who speaks Sam-talk? Spark! I have a number of instances where Spark reveals something to Athson about his surroundings that Athson just doesn’t get. But you, the reader, get to understand that Spark may just know more about what’s going on at times than Athson.

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

About the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords & Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

   Trading Knives 1   What Is Needed 4

 

Characters from The Bow of Destiny: Hastra

This is the third of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. The first in this series was about Athson and the second featured Spark, while the third covered Limbreth.

For those who have read my free short story, What Is Needed, you’ve met the Withling Hastra. What are Withlings? They were a mystic order devoted to the deity Eloch. If you’re interested in the Withlings, the e-book is still available on all major book retail sites. But here’s a little more about Hastra. She’s been alive for several centuries serving Eloch through many adventures while working against Magdronu’s efforts. Her mystic powers come from Eloch and can come in many forms and at timely moments.

The Withlings were fond of a saying among them, “What is needed, is given.” This simple sentence means that they rely on Eloch to provide what is needed at any time – or not. If nothing happens, Withlings are willing to let things play out no matter how dire things are at the moment or how bad circumstances turn out. This means sometimes a miracle of some sort will be done at the hands of a Withling while at others nothing they take no mystical action. As part of their faith, Withlings learn to be with Eloch spiritually so they are attuned to know what they are supposed to do. Withlings can also be prophets and counsellors. However, there are but a few still living at the time that The Bow of Destiny begins.

As you can imagine, Hastra is rather old, wise, insightful – and faithful. However, all her mystic practice does not make her perfect and certainly doesn’t make her all-knowing by any means. She’s just as apt to make mistakes as anyone. I liken Hastra’s appearance to that of Judi Dench. Though very old, Hastra is rather spry mostly because it’s Eloch’s will that she be nearly ageless but who knows for how long? Not even Hastra knows…

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon      BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

About the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords & Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

trading knives bow of destiny what-is-needed