Thursday, 28 August 2014

REMIX the audiobook

Soon the audio version of Remix will be available to buy on Audible - an exciting moment for me.

I've always wanted to have audio versions of my novels, but for indie authors ACX offers the only simple way of achieving this, and until this year ACX only dealt with the US. As soon as they opened their doors to the UK, I dived in.

The author posts details of his book, and decides whether to offer payment between $50 and $400 per finished hour, or a royalty share. With a royalty share, the narrator (known as the producer since she also edits and produces the master file) takes half of the profits from books sold but does not charge an upfront fee.

I was lucky - ACX chose Remix for the soon-to-be-defunct stipend program, meaning they offered $100 per finished hour to the producer, and we share the 40% royalty. I believe the stipend was very popular with producers. Although I needed an English accent for my protagonist, Caz, and most of the narrators are American, I got many auditions emailed to me. I chose Anne Day-Jones, who has a lovely clear voice and is really good at dialogue. You can listen to the sample here.

Anne suggested doing Ric Kealey, my rock star hero, with a light Irish accent, and once I'd got my head round the idea, I liked it. That was the most difficult part for me - in fact the only difficult part, as Anne did all the work - adjusting to hearing another version from the one in my head. But it's good, and I hope listeners will like it.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Amazon emails authors re Hachette dispute

I woke up to a surprising email from Amazon, which you can read in full here. It's a long and interesting read, but in brief, Amazon asks readers and authors to show support by emailing Hachette's CEO, Michael Pietsch, and consider including these points:
  • We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
  • Lowering e-book prices will help — not hurt — the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
  • Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon's offers to take them out of the middle.
  • Especially if you're an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.
I've sent my email. If Amazon ask for my help, though I am but the tiniest cog in their vast machine, they will have it. Amazon enabled me to sell 68,000+ books when all trad pub did was waste my time. I owe them.

Also, Hachette has been whingeing in the media for months, pretending to be a poor little publisher who cares about authors' well-being and the future of literature, beset by a big bullying corporation only interested in money, when nothing could be further from the truth. Hachette is owned by Lagardere, a huge French media group. And there's nothing sentimental about the way it pays its authors.

But I'm torn between respecting Amazon for kicking the ball out into the open, and thinking that maybe this is an occasion where a dignified silence would be a better policy. Be the big dog who lets the little ones yap. 

Amazon kept quiet for months; perhaps with this latest sally it has finally reached the end of its patience with Hachette's lies, posturing and delaying tactics. I can understand that.