Meredith’s story of how she co-founded the Because agency, one that specialises in brand experiences, is fascinating. It all started with a trip to London at the start of the 2000’s. During her time there she got a job working for a new company called because. Run by a very entrepreneurial woman, Meredith worked her way up through the ranks but wanted to go home to New Zealand (or certainly closer!) so she thought about getting back and setting up her own agency, when serendipity stepped in. Her ‘boss’ was keen to be the co-founder and seed fund the startup.
Meredith talks about what it was like to land in Sydney with her husband. She knew no one and had $150K and a laptop as her starting point. She talks about what it was like to win a massive project with CUB when she was starting out, and what it was like to lose it because they didn’t have an office in Melbourne. Something she now has, and CUB is a client again. It’s a great story!
I upload your audiobook files for distribution, ensuring we meet the publisher’s and online store’s audio specifications.
My preferred method at this stage is to use an ‘aggregator’. I currently use the Author’s Republic who enable distribution to Audible, iTunes and another 30 online stores and libraries.
I’ll need a high resolution image of your book’s cover, your PayPal email address for royalty payments and of course, your audiobook recommended retail price.
Author’s Republic track and report your sales and royalty payments from all of the outlets you have distributed to, into a single account, that only you have access to.
It usually takes around 2 weeks from the time we upload your audiobook files until publication. Audible and audiobooks.com are usually first with iTunes and the other international outlets within the following 2 to 4 weeks.
Once you have a live link to the outlet’s page for your audiobook, you can include it in your promotional materials, and of course on your website.
Please take a look at the Author’s Republic frequently asked questions here:
If you would rather sell your audiobook through the store on your website, there are two options. I can create a single MP3 or an M4A file. Both files will contain the book cover graphic. The advantage of M4A, is that you can display unique images for each part, chapter and section of your audiobook. This make navigation and bookmarking on your smartphone a lot easier. We can go even further by displaying important figures, tables, photos and infographics. I guess that makes M4A an audio visual book!
Here’s a quick description of the M4B/M4A format in (almost) non-tech terms:
I aim for high clarity, quality, consistency and completeness during editing and production. I can use your recording if you wish, but prefer to record you myself. The largest factor in the final audio quality is the standard of the original recording. You just can’t “unbake the cake” (or can you?)
Editing usually takes 5 to 6 times the recording duration (in our example 40k word count, about a week). During that time, I cover the recording from top to tail cleaning up re-records, pops, clicks, pacing and heavy breath intakes. I also label each section of audio according to your book’s table of contents and each headed section.
I use a series of audio production tools like: equalisation, RMS normalisation, noise reduction and auto ducking. These help to produce the best possible sound for your audiobook.
Within a week, I’ll send you a sample of the mastered recording. I can also break your recording down into ‘Sound bites’. Quotes and excerpts that can be used to help create sales lures or to promote your message on social media.
Once the editing is complete, I prepare each book section with its own MP3 audio file. Those files may then be used to distribute your audiobook to many online stores including Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Audible and Spotify.
If you decide to author narrate, I come to you in your home, office or book a studio. Your carpeted dining room or office with high ceilings and soft furnishings is ideal – it’s familiar, has good acoustics and is generally soundproof enough. I bring all the audio gear with me and join you for the entire recording.
It seems to help to have someone to tell your story to – kind of a one man private audience. It helps you perform and engage. Just being there to answer questions, stop for a chat, note down quotable quotes, time stamp mis-reads and desk check pronunciation.
Book prose that works well when written, can sometimes trip you up when spoken. It took 7 goes to nail: “No drill dentistry in the local shopping strip” and don’t get me started on pronouncing the names of Polish researchers!
I often suggest beginning with an author interview to help you warm up your voice. It becomes useful later as social media content for audiobook promotion. A 40k word count book will generally take around 7 hours to record.
An array of interesting articles on aspects of audiobook recording and production here:
Your voice is a valuable, recognisable addition to your brand. It is also of course a big part of who you are and how people perceive you. If you are an expert, coach or speaker in your field, then it’s almost a no brainer. A great example is Hillary Clinton’s audiobook ‘What happened’ where she muses on the results of the last US election/debarkle. Who else’s voice would you expect to hear? It’s her story to tell.
The avid reader’s ideal is curling up on the sofa with a good book. Does this sound familiar? The feeling of escape, the holding of the book, the smell of the pages and the immersion of your inner voice and imagination. We construct and voice our own version of the author’s intent.
But life gets in the way sometimes. The couch opportunities can be few and far between. We’re travelling, walking jogging, keeping house, mowing lawns or stuck in the peak commute – SWT – sheer weight of traffic. Even as a passenger, the spectre of being ‘car sick’ keeps our head out of a novel. We miss lectures, are verbal learners and speed readers and listeners.
And don’t forget the communication premium that comes with the storyteller’s voice – dramatic effect, intimacy, familiarity, intonation, pausing and expression. It’s the reason we suggest authors narrate their own writings – they are after all, your words, meanings and feelings.
On bringing authenticity and emphasis to your book reading:
In the 16th century, the development of the printing press was perhaps a key factor in the reformation of the Christian church – used to great effect by protestant’s like Martin Luther. Accessibility came in the form of free printed ‘flyers’, bible passages translated from Latin and of course public speeches and debates. Yet another chapter in our very human quest for freedom of thought, speech and access to knowledge.
In those times, literacy was a skill taught only to the elite and powerful. Despite this, communication through storytelling has carried knowledge across generations without the need for reading or writing. We first start understanding our world by hearing about it.
We now consider literacy a fundamental human right, but you really can’t master it in the early years of life. We learn to listen, then talk, then read, then write. Again, listening is our earliest – almost innate – learning tool on the path to literacy. We just have to start there first, then we can use all 4 skills in combination.
Read about the ‘Socratic method’ and storytelling perspectives in this article:
So I guess it’s about taking advantage of rapidly growing international demand and a changing publishing trend. Why not use ‘traditional’ storytelling to share your experiences, expertise and give voice to your brand.
Along with your book and eBook, an audiobook could be the third essential piece in your publication triangle.
But why stop there…? What’s old is new again. Audiobooks on vinyl: