Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bloggers Revolutionize Book Review Industry

    Next to the Internet itself, the second greatest thing that ever happened to writers was the advent of Bloggers. In the past, writers stood little chance of getting their work reviewed unless their book landed on the Bestsellers List. Now, thanks to the Blogosphere, it's possible for writers in every genre to connect with readers all over the world. The U.K.'s Sophie Gonzales of Life Between Pages is one example. http://www.lifebetweenpages.net/p/review-information.html
     Ms. Gonzales is a university student who has been blogging for less than two years and already has 384 followers. In fact, the Life Between Pages Blog has been such a hit that Gonzales is currently unable to accept review requests. How does she do it? Gonzales' technique is relatively simple: using social networking, Gonzales is able to spread the word about her blog to a huge range of readers. Freebies like Twitter, Facebook and Google + Goodreads are all tools Gonzales uses to advertise Life Between Pages. Gonzales also makes a point to interact with other bloggers.
     “One of the wonderful things about being a book blogger is that there's a networking site dedicated to us called Book Blogs,” says Gonzales. http://bookblogs.ning.com/
     Not only do websites like Life Between Pages help writers, but the people who write those blogs benefit as well. Thanks to her experience as a blogger, Gonzales says she has now expanded the genres of books she reads. As a university student studying literature in the U.K., this open-minded approach has proven to be a great educational tool as well.
     What advice does a veteran like Gonzales offer to those entering the Blogosphere? “Make sure your content is interesting and original,” says Gonzales. “And never underestimate the power of a great layout (avoid clutter)!”
     Those brave enough to tip their toes into the world of blogging will find it a very cost effective way to share an opinion or spread a message. Sites like Blogger http://www.blogger.com/home and WordPress.com http://www.blogger.com/home are free so users can experiment without any financial risk. Now that the roadblocks to connecting with people of similar interests have been removed, the only thing left is to dive in and get blogging!
Adele Park

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hanging with the Big Boys on Audible.com

     In the not-so distant past, only bestsellers stood any real chance of being turned into audiobooks. It was like an exclusive club limited to the most elite books. Then audio software programs like ProTools galloped in to drastically reduce the cost of producing audiobooks. Score one for the little guy, but producing cost effective audiobooks still put indie studios in the same pickle as self-publishers: where to market their work. Most bookstores owners have little interest in using precious shelf space on products from undiscovered writers. This is where Audible.com comes to the rescue (cue dramatic music).
     Audible.com offers a program called ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) which make it possible for studios living on a shoestring budget to compete in the global market. Essentially, the deal works like this: indie studios who have produced an audiobook in mp3 format can apply to sell it on Audible.com through ACX. Once the green light is given, ACX has easy to follow steps to correctly format the audiobook and upload it for sale on Audible.com.
     Here's the incredible thing: if you have a problem with your account, someone at ACX will actually answer the phone. More importantly, the people who take these calls offer genuine solutions.
     Once an audiobook is produced, it's easy to flounder around in a sea of social media. ACX has some very useful tips to help newbies get acquainted with how to best use internet technology to sell audiobooks. All this and topics covering everything from distribution to podcasting are listed on the ACX “How it Works” page http://www.acx.com/help/how-it-works/200484210
     Don't have access to a studio? No problem. ACX even offers a service for that. Writers can hire a publisher to handle everything for them, or they can audition narrators themselves. Here's the magic words for actors: ACX has a platform for you too! They not only offer a ton of opportunities to audition for actual audiobooks, but they allow the actors to chose the hourly rate they want to charge.
     Now that the roadblocks to recording audiobooks have been lifted, only one question remains: what are you waiting for?   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spooky Books and Audio Books for Halloween

     I'm not going to complain about the 300 days of sunshine we typically get each year in St. George, Utah, but the downside of living in Paradise is that there isn't much of a change of seasons. My favorite time of year is Autumn and I miss the beautiful fall colors I grew up with in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. To compensate, I have found new ways to celebrate the seasons. Novels and audiobooks are an excellent way to get me in the mood for whatever holiday is on tap.
October is an especially fun month for me, and there are a number of books and audio books to set the tone for a month of thrills and chills. I'd like to share some of my top picks for some spooky October fun:
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I read this book with the enthusiasm I normally reserve for Halloween candy. The setting, tone and delivery kept me turning pages long after I should have been turning out the lights for sleep. I also loved the movie version of Practical Magic which starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.
The Worst/Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson. The crazy Herdman Family is back, this time pulling Halloween pranks and creating chaos at the Woodrow Wilson School. Fans of The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever will love this young adult reader.
The Witching Hour by Ann Rice. I didn't want this lengthy novel to end. Rice hooks her readers with an extensive history of the Mayfair Witches. Set in New Orleans, The Witching Hour captivated my attention with rich details and an intriguing plot.
Right now, I'm listening to the audio book version of Shadow of Night, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Thanks to all the wonderful writers who are doing their best to delight me this Halloween season!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is now for sale on Amazon and Audible.com!

The latest installment in the Quirky Audio Book Series is now available for sale. WHEN MARIJUANA AND REALITY TV COLLIDE . . . Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is the story of Blue McKenna, a pot grower who gets involved in a reality TV show as a means of curing an apocalyptic case of writer's block. A conglomerate of kooky contestants invades the polygamist community of Navel, Utah, to compete in a reality show called Yikes! Participants include Steven Finch, a loveable stoner who develops a conspiracy theory involving a rock band called the Rectal Surgeons, and Randall Smoot, a member of the Gay Mafia.

Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book features a cast of 11 actors who portray the characters in funny, engaging chronologies. Steve Campbell, a delightful actor with a long list of singing and performance credits, serves as the narrator. The narration pieces give the listener a glimpse into the wacky community of Navel where every day is Christmas but it never snows!

Melissa Sandberg and Alexandra Harbold play the lead ladies in Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book. Sandberg does an outstanding job in the role of Blue McKenna, a pot grower with a bladder the size of a pea. As luck would have it, Blue McKenna has an uncanny knack for getting caught with her pants down! Sandberg's performance is wistfully funny, a perfect match for the character she plays. It's no small wonder that Sandberg is a busy New York actress, landing one job after another for film, stage, television and voice-over work.

Harbold's role as Moon McKenna provides a good contrast with Sandberg's character. Moon McKenna, a self important know-it-all, spends her time in Navel stirring up problems for the contestants on Yikes! Harbold expertly captures the haughtiness of Moon's personality, though in real life she is a very laid-back and sweet individual. Harbold lives in Salt Lake City where she keeps busy working as an actress, director and voice-over artist.

The cast of Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is rounded out with nine other professional actors, many of whom are working on productions all across the United States and even Europe. Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is 10.5 hours long and is being offered as an MP3 product on Amazon and Audible.com. To purchase a copy, please visit