Born to Be

Author – Narrator Interview

TRACY TRAYNOR – STEVE WHITE

Hi Steve

I need to start by saying thank you for narrating my books.  I think you do a wonderful job of portraying my characters and bringing the stories to life.  I never could have afforded to pay up front the recommended thousands of dollars for the narration of my books.  Without royalty share, I can honestly say I would have no audiobooks.  It really was a good day when you popped a comment onto Facebook saying you would narrate my books for me.

I have been looking into how you promote audiobooks and during that process I came across some facts about narrating which I didn’t know.  This instantly made me appreciate you, and Stevie Zimmerman (who narrated Grace in Mombasa) so much more.  I say more, because in all honesty I did already appreciate both of you already, today just increased it.

This got me to thinking about why you might choose profit share and so I decided to invite you to this short interview, so that I and others, can learn what motivates narrators.  So here we go…

What first drew you into narrating as a possible way of making a living?

Narrating was an idea initially for my good friend Harriet, more of a hobby than a living really.

What do you most enjoy about narrating?

The challenge of different accents, the chance to read great stories and have the characters come to life,

I understand that it can take a narrator up to 5 or 6 hours to produce 1 hour of audio, so for example, Idi & the Oracle’s Quest is 7.15 hours long, meaning this could have taken you 40 hours – a full weeks work, to narrate and produce.  With this in mind why were you happy to accept royalty share when there is no guarantee of making your weeks pay up?

I enjoy narrating – it’s a good hobby. I make a penny or two here and there but in the end it’s a good hobby. I also get to practice voices – which I can then use if in a stage production.

How do you select the books you want to narrate?

Reading the blurb can do it, reading the author’s bio can do it. There are some stories that I always wanted to have a go at such as Sherlock Holmes – one audiobook would have been good – so far it’s about 90!

What attracted you to the ‘Born to Be’ series?

The story sounded full of life and didn’t disappoint.

How did you decided on what kind of accents my characters would have?

They seemed to come to mind as soon as I started reading. I tried to group the witch clans with a certain region and as new characters are introduced, pick what seemed to be appropriate based on their speech.

With book 1 & 2 narrated on Audible, what has inspired you to carry on and narrate the last in the series, Idi & the Sirocco Witch, when we really haven’t had many sales for the other two books yet?

Can’t do book 1 and 2 and leave 3 out. The sales will come to this series once people start to get the word.

Are you enjoying book 3, and if so, what is it that you like?

Very much – all the characters are great, even the naughty.  As the build from book 1 and 2 has gone, Idi is indeed becoming what we expect. The story continues as though you had never stopped writing, sometimes sequels can have you wondering what is going on.

What acting choices do you make when you’re going to narrate a book?  When you narrate are you expressive with your hands and face, do you feel like you become the characters or are you simply reading?

I do fling the arms and thankfully don’t have a mirror to hand so see the faces I pull.

What advice would you offer to people who want to become narrators?

Pick a few small (30-60min) projects first. This will allow you to gauge the time required to produce a 7+ hour book. I use a spreadsheet with each chapter listed – the start, end and total pages and current progress, a 1 for record, edit, listen and upload. This allows you to gauge the time required a chapter – so perhaps 5 pages will take you 15 minutes or so – 15 pages 45 etc. this could allow you to record out of sequence based on time spare on a given session. Depending on the pagination, 5 pages can seem like a lifetime to record.

Also, if producing older material, it will be good to have a lookup for words that have fallen out of use.

Do you think the ACX royalty share scheme is good?

(NO)

It allows for authors to get an audiobook published without an upfront payment.

It allows the narrator to want to do a good a job as possible to ensure that the book sells

What other books have you narrated?

Many – up to 150 now. Lots of Sherlock Holmes stories – published by MX Publishing and Belanger Books. Quite a number of Horror titles, and so far 13 Hotdog Man books which are fun to do.

Where can authors find you if they would like to approach you to consider their books?

Via email or my Facebook profile, look for “Steevin White” – this spelling is also due to my friend Harriet – it’s how she spells my name.

Or my audio page “Steve White audio work” (https://www.facebook.com/SteveWaudio/).

Thanks Steve!  It was really interesting to get the POV of the narrator and to learn a little more about the hard work they put into producing an audio.  I think I have been very lucky to get my books out there via royalty-share, so thank you very much for picking up my books.

Born to Be

AutoCrit ~ what a marvelous tool

AutoCrit

When you’re someone like me, who struggles so much with grammar and the rules of good writing, then this tool is a lifesaver!

The above is my score for Faith in Abertillery before sending it to the professional editor. This is amazing for me.

If you score over 85 and apply for a Quality Mark from BooksGoSocial you could get a gold badge! This is a good thing to have to show people that the quality of your book is to a certain standard.

My score used to be appalling, however, using AutoCrit is teaching me what to look out for and how to improve my writing. It is like having a teacher as far as I am concerned.

Just the Grammar section alone, is worth every penny, but there is so much more to this tool that I just can’t recommend it more highly. The very first time I ran my first book through summary I discovered I had used the word ‘lovely’ 138 times!

The pacing tool is also fab, showing you where your chapters run slow or too fast. There is also a comparrison tool to compare your books to well known authors. I have been using it for a year now and don’t know how I managed without it. I am learning more and more every day.

You can get a 10-day trial for $1 and for anyone thinking about it I think this is a fab service, if you play around for 10 days and decide it’s not for you all it’s cost you is $1!

Anyway, I’m just that happy with it I wanted to share it with you. 🙂

Whatever tool you use to help your writing I hope it works for you, good luck everyone, knock some cracking stories out!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Faith in Abertillery ~ The Blurb

Not only do I hate writing blurbs, but I’m awful at it. I don’t think I’d even want to buy a book after reading a blurb I’d written.

So what do you do when you can’t stand doing something? Well you get someone else to do it for you of course! And that’s exactly what I did for Faith in Abertillery. I can’t afford to get all my books done professionally, in fact out of six releases I’ve only paid for 3 blurbs. Time will tell whether it’s is beneficial and actually does help sales.

The below blurb was created for me by Best Page Forward

Hoping to launch the book in the beginning of August 2019, watch this space for updates.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Epic Fantasy, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

Ok, I admit it, I’m a fantasy fan through and through. What I’m an even bigger fan of is, fantasy books that are both gripping and easy to read. This means that, Darkspire Reaches has to go onto my list of really enjoyable fantasy books.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, a witch, who from the first page, brings the story to life and makes you want to know what happens to her. The author carries Raven’s story from start to end in a smooth, page-turning way. Poor Raven has it tough, her life seems to take her from the frying pan to the fire, over and over. Someone weaker might have been destroyed, but Raven uses it to mature her character. Diamonds are formed by heat and pressure, right? She isn’t the only main character though, and one of my favorites is Kryling, the endearing Firedrake who just simply has a great personality!

Oh how I enjoyed this well-written book! I can’t wait to read more books by CN Lesley.

I loved how the author took her time in explaining everything, while at the same time never once writing anything not necessary or boring.

The story line is unique – something quite hard to do when just about every story line possible to write has already been done in some way or another. Darkspire Reaches is filled with a rich tapestry of characters that just make this a really great fantasy read.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Epic Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews, World Building

Book Review – The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

Do you think the Akakies will visit us soon? I do love a good joke.

Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.

If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? 
I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Free tools for creating media posts

I just found a new tool – absolutely free, for creating 3D images of your book covers. Love it, love it, love it. So easy to use, unlimited use and great PNG transparent images for using on ads. Want to try it out? Here it is 🙂 https://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups

The other tool I use, to upload my pics and create ads, is Canva. Also free to use, although they have reduced the amount of stuff you can do for free it is still an amazing free tool. https://www.canva.com

This little ad just took me five minutes to create using the above two links. Why not give it a go?

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Coming soon…

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Promotion Values, Reviews, World War 2

Sale alert – Grace in Mombasa

Hi everyone From today until 21st May ’19, Grace in Mombasa ebook is discounted from $4.99 to $0.99! Why not watch the 2 min video clip below to see if this is a book you might be interested in?

Born to Be

Revival Novels ~ Two Book Reviews

During my research on the Welsh revival of 1904/1905 I came across two novels.

  1. Queen of the Rushes by Allen Raine &
  2. The Withered Root by Rhys Davies

How I enjoyed reading these books and if I wasn’t a Christian I would quite happily have read them and put them down and thought no more of it.  However, as a Christian it was with heavy heart that I read stories about revival that were both written from a non-Christian POV.  Davies openly declared himself an atheist whilst Raine states that although not against the chapel itself she was very suspicious of the revival.

So here are my reviews…

The Withered Root by Rhys Davies

This book caused mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I think it deserves five stars and on the other hand only one star, so I went for three.
The beginning of the book had me chuckling out loud quite a few times, especially over the conversations between Reuben’s parents. I loved how the writing reflected the way the Welsh talk and I loved the detail in which you can practically ‘see’ the old valleys in and around 1904/1905.  It is also superbly written with beautiful flowing, almost poetical language.
The downside for me was twofold. One was the author’s obvious dislike of women made blatantly obvious by his lack of even a single woman having any virtue or a good character, every woman doing nothing but flaunting her femininity in a derogative way. The other was in his portrayal of fanatical and shallow Christians. I found the second half of the book dark and depressing and was quite frankly glad to turn the last page.
For research into the Welsh revival this is worth a read. For the beauty of the writing this is definitely worth a read. For its portrayal of women or Christians if you’re easily offended I would give this a miss.

Queen of the Rushes

I loved this book by this not so well remembered lady Anne Evans, pseudonym Allen Raine.  Her characterisation is vivid and authentic, her settings skilful and poetic and her portrayal of women so much more realistic than Davies.  Writing about a time in which she lived she is able to capture the rift in status between men and women beautifully without labouring it or making it obvious.

She does, however, portray the people caught up in revival as fanatics and one of her main characters is ‘touched’ as in loses her mind because of it.  Not a good light on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Still this book has many hidden lessons in it if you care to look and I really do recommend it.

Anne didn’t start writing until she was 60 and received crushing reviews when first published… by men.  Born in 1836 Anne was a Victorian through-and-through and I love that this emerges in her story.  I wish I could have met Anne and sat down and discussed this book with her, arr well hopefully when I get to heaven!

Faith in Abertillery

In contrast to the two books above I will be writing about the Welsh revival from a Christian POV, I didn’t live in those times so I have done a massive amount of research to ensure my story is as authentic as possible.  I wonder if anyone will read my book in a hundred years and look me up to see who I was and why I wrote the book!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Amazon Advertising – How to set one up

Do they really work?

Well for me they do.  If you are thinking of following the steps below to set up an ad I would suggest you do something first.  Go to Amazon, put in books and then write your category in the search bar.  This will bring up 400 pages of books in your category.  Search for your book, if you find it then congrats you’re already doing something right.  Didn’t find it?  Good, now when you run the advert you will see how fab it is!  Before I ran my advert for my book Grace in Mombasa I went through the 400 pages and didn’t find it.  After I put my advert on the book has always appeared within the first 5 pages as a sponsored ad.

advertising 2

Don’t be put off by technical jargon.  Just follow the steps below and if you have any difficulty please don’t hesitate to ask me a question below.  Good luck!

Before you run the ad you need to do something very important.  Go to Amazon.com select kindle books, then type your genre in.  Look at the first five pages that come up.  Make a note of the books that have lots of reviews and I mean way over 100 reviews, the more the better.  Write down the author names and the book titles.  Keep the list next to you when you start your ad.

  1. Go to your kdp Amazon Direct Publishing book page
  2. Click on promote & advertise to the right of your book
  3. This brings up a new page, click on ‘create an ad campaign’ (you’ll probably be asked to sign in again)
  4. Choose your campaign type is your next option. Select Sponsored Products
  5. Give the campaign a name.  It can’t include any signs such as an exclamation mark, do not include numbers.  The name should be all letters, no spelling mistakes. Don’t leave two spaces after a word.  Make it as tight and clean as possible.  Such a fuss just for your campaign name but trust me my campaigns got rejected over and over just because I couldn’t get the name right.  I now keep mine simple so something like… book title and campaign one. eg Grace in Mombasa campaign one.
  6. Dates: leave this as it is, it will start as soon as it is authorized and you don’t want to put a close date in, if it is successful you want to run it for ever, and if it isn’t after a month or so you can go in and cancel it.
  7. Put in a daily budget.  Don’t be frightened to put in here more than you would like to spend, for two reasons, 1) I’ve never yet spent my daily allowance and 2) you will hopefully be making this money back!  It really is up to you how you wish to proceed, if you are a bit hesitant then just put in $15 per day.  I have set all my campaigns (yes all because I am adding a campaign once a week now) at $25 per day, I have never, ever spent this amount of money.
  8. Underneath Daily Budget is Targeting.  Select Manual targeting.
  9. Next is Ad Format.  Select Custom text ad.
  10. Products, if you only have one book this will appear here, if you have more than one book make sure the book displayed on the right hand side is the book you want to advertise.
  11. Next is Targeting.  Select keyword targeting.
  12. The next box is keywords and bids.  It will automatically default to $0.75 – change this to $0.45. Then tick the little tiny box under it that says bid+ (this means for you to win the bid Amazon might have to increase your bid slightly, I suggest you tick this.)
  13. You can now see ‘Suggested’ ‘Enter Keywords’ & ‘Upload file’ depending on confident you are you could upload a file.  I always choose ‘Enter Keywords’.
  14. Click in the box that is now saying, enter keywords separate by a new line.  Now type your list you wrote down earlier of authors and book titles that are in your genre.  Put one name or book title in, press enter and start the next one on a new line.
  15. The next section is ‘Creative’ here you must put in your catch line to attract people to come and have a look at your book.  Must be interesting and catchy.  Your ad is now displayed below and you can check the catch phrase really is eye-catching.  Remember we can go through all the logical steps of setting up an advert but if you don’t write something interesting here people are not going to want to look any further.
  16. Press launch Campaign.

hurray 2

Hurray you did it!  Good for you, so pleased you have taken a step of faith and launched yourself into the world of advertising.

It takes a while for Amazon to authorize your ad, then it takes at least 24 hours after its been authorized before your book starts having ‘impressions’ on Amazon.  An impression is when your book is presented on a page in front of a prospective buyer.  Reading your results and changing your ads is a whole new lesson, so maybe if anyone wants that lesson please let me know and I will do a new post in a few weeks time.

Lastly, give it a day or so and then repeat the first instruction… go to Amazon.com, select kindle books, put in your genre… now where is your book?