Milestone

 

Ahem.

On July 13, 2002, after two years of sending around demos and auditions that produced zero response, my first audiobook narration hit the stands. It was an unremarkable vanity self-published title, but Amazon being Amazon, there is a market for such things. I was not turning down any offers.

My second title was also self-published but was a more serious and thoughtful treatment of racism in America, and garnered me my first notice from a real publisher. Said publisher was an offshoot of a Las Vegas newspaper, and they offered me a book about Howard Hughes’ years in Vegas, a thrilling project for me. It went so well that they offered me another book by the same author, but it turned out to be one of the last titles they published before shutting the company down. That may be one reason they were so anxious to get the books into audio, since Audible titles need never go out of print.

Somewhere in this process, I auditioned for a history of the War of 1812 and met the fine folks at University Press/Redwood Audiobooks. I am now happily in their stable of regular narrators. Because they work with academic publishers, there are usually plenty of the histories and biographies that interest me available. I am now doing the final edits on my 44th title, which will go off to Redwood for review in a couple of days. I don’t intend to stop here.

Audible has a publishing platform called ACX, Audible Creators’ Exchange, that makes much of the process easier. I can search through a database of titles looking for a narrator, and send auditions to those that look interesting. When I get a contract, the approval process on the work is handled through uploads to ACX. When the book is done the chapters go into ACX, which does some basic screening to assure compatibility with Audible. The publisher reviews and requests corrections where necessary. When they sign off, it goes to Audible, which does their own QC and converts the file to their format. Finally, the book goes up on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. ACX provides a sales dashboard where I can track sales patterns, request promo codes for freebies, and track how many of those are redeemed. Once a month I get a royalty check. In comparison to the way such things were done even 10 years ago, this is an excellent system.

A couple of months ago I noticed that the total sales odometer was inching up. I started checking sales daily, instead of just at the end of the month when the check was due. Yesterday it was 13 short of 10,000, so I warned the kids I would have to take them out to dinner some night this week to celebrate. This morning, we got the line of zeroes. I was surprised to see it hit exactly. Does anyone else have pictures in their phone of the car odometer hitting 100 or 200 K? There must be something enticing about round numbers. Anyway, I took the screenshot.

All this is by way of saying a sincere thank you to Ricochet, where friends have expressed an interest in my narrations, accepted promo copies, written some reviews, and even in the case of @Richardeaston, brought me a title to narrate. I am grateful for all of the encouragement I have gotten here. As many of you know, writing is hard work. Narrating is a lot easier than writing, but it’s still work, and it is a really big deal to the worker when it’s appreciated.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 10 comments.

  1. EB Thatcher
    EB

    Congratulations! 10,000!

    I have read some of your other posts about narrating. They spurred me on to doing research online about what is involved, etc. because this is something that has always attracted me.

    Once I get through some commitments this fall and knee surgery in January out of the way, I plan to do some more research. When I know more and would not be asking very elementary questions, I may ask you for some advice.

     

    • #1
    • September 16, 2019, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Douglas Pratt Member
    Douglas Pratt Post author

    EB (View Comment):

    Congratulations! 10,000!

    I have read some of your other posts about narrating. They spurred me on to doing research online about what is involved, etc. because this is something that has always attracted me.

    Once I get through some commitments this fall and knee surgery in January out of the way, I plan to do some more research. When I know more and would not be asking very elementary questions, I may ask you for some advice.

     

    I am at your service.

    • #2
    • September 16, 2019, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Fantastic, Douglas! Here’s to even more sales!

    • #3
    • September 16, 2019, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Jimmy Carter Member

    I was driving My Pop’s Lincoln and took this shot:

     

    • #4
    • September 16, 2019, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Old Buckeye Member

    Good for you, Douglas. I can’t imagine what it takes to narrate an entire book, especially one on a dry topic. I’m glad that it doesn’t have to be done all in one session. :)

    • #5
    • September 16, 2019, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Stad Thatcher

    Self-publishing rocks! Congratulations!

    • #6
    • September 16, 2019, at 2:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. drlorentz Member

    I’ve heard a couple of your narrations. You have the voice for it.

    • #7
    • September 16, 2019, at 2:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. The Reticulator Member

    Congratulations! I’ve been the greedy accepter (acceptor?) of several of your promotion codes for books that I’ve then listened to.

    One thing that annoys me about audible.com and its app these days is the way it’s always pushing “Audible Originals” at me instead of just leaving the app screen the way I left it, with all options ready and handy. Audible has a good thing going with books and narrators such as yourself. I wish it would nurture that business and give it their full attention instead of trying to produce their own stuff. Maybe it’s cheaper to do their “originals” than to pay out royalties to outside authors and payments to outside narrators (or their publishing houses)? If so, I want to know how to throw sand in their gears so they’ll get back to feeding and caring for authors and narrators in the most loving way possible.

    • #8
    • September 16, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Douglas Pratt Member
    Douglas Pratt Post author

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    Good for you, Douglas. I can’t imagine what it takes to narrate an entire book, especially one on a dry topic. I’m glad that it doesn’t have to be done all in one session. :)

    Me too, and while it is definitely work, it is nowhere near the kind of effort that I put in writing my own books. Thank goodness that season of my life is long past. It was pre-kids, for one thing. I truly admire people who can write for a living and not have to go into a monastery to do it.

    I’m still learning. The current project is an example of a learning experience. I jumped at a chance to do a history of the Texas Rangers, since I love to tell stories. My mistake became clear a couple of chapters in, when I realized that the book is written in Texan, not English. I did retakes of the first two chapters and made an effort to get into the rhythm, and it’s not terrible, but it suffers from the fact that I don’t have a southern accent. It sounds like a guy from Maine trying to communicate with the natives in Alabama. I’m not the right voice for the book.

     

    • #9
    • September 17, 2019, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. USAhafan Member

    Congratulations!

    • #10
    • September 17, 2019, at 9:56 PM PDT
    • 1 like