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Tag: book reviews

My First Audiobook Experience – The Girl on the Train

AudibleMy husband recently took the plunge and decided to sign up for a free trial of Audible. As he had read an early review in The Times of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which had got us both intrigued, it was an easy choice for our first audiobook. We had decided that we would listen to it together to share our thoughts as we ‘read’ something at the same time. We started it on the plane journey to France in the middle of August, listening on and off during that week and then on the way back. We just finished it, a month and a half later, on a long car journey to Oxfordshire and back.

This was the first shock for me. I am a fast reader. My husband is not. If it had just been me, I would have finished it much more quickly and at first, the slower pace drove me a bit mad. Not only the pace of our ability to listen to it at the same time on any kind of a regular basis but also the pace of the actual narration. There are actually three female narrators in this story and I found at the beginning that I kept forgetting little details that I couldn’t easily go back and check. We did get used to the narrators and the pace though and in time, we came to enjoy the whole experience.

GOTTThis had a lot to do with the quality of the story as well, which was one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever ‘read.’ As a writer myself, I found I was constantly listening to the vocabulary and to certain turns of phrase in a way that maybe I don’t take the time to when I’m reading as quickly as I usually do. The constant twists and turns of the plot kept us guessing until we were almost at the end…when my husband guessed and told me what he thought. Hmmm. We enjoyed listening to the story together though and over the time we were doing so, we listened on a plane, in the car, while making dinner and even in bed…but we both fell asleep! I’m not sure if we did ever listen to it on the train but the options are endless 😉 It is an excellent story and one I wish I could have written 🙂

I have already considered whether to have an audiobook created for From Here to Nashville but not gone any further with it than that. First of all, after your free trial runs out, your subscription costs you £7.99 a month and for this, you have one credit, equal to one book. This is a fair amount of money – for a fair amount of work, I know – but compared to an ebook, it’s a lot more. As I don’t drive anywhere long distance on a regular basis, I don’t think I would prefer it over actually reading a paperback or an ebook. For those who do, I can see it certainly would have its benefits, especially when you’re stuck in traffic, although it could easily be a distraction at times. However, how many people would be prepared to pay that amount of money for an audiobook by an unknown (still!) author? Paula Hawkins was also unknown at the time but she’d already got her book deal and as I said, we read a review of her book in The Times. I’m still waiting for them to get back to me about the one they’re writing for my debut 😉

It was interesting to note that in The Girl on the Train, the male voices are all narrated by the female narrators. This made for an interesting take on the sound of different men’s voices from the different female characters’ perspectives. For me, this would be tricky. I have a British woman and an American man, from Tennessee so I would have to have at least two narrators which would undoubtedly be difficult to find and also would affect the cost dependent on which path I chose – a one-off payment to the narrators or a share of any subsequent profits. As a new author, the cost would be prohibitive to pay them upfront before any sales, so I would probably go with a share of the royalties option. There is a lot more information about this whole process on Joanna Penn’s helpful website, The Creative Penn if you would like to read about all the options in more detail.

So while I enjoyed the experience as a reader, I don’t think it would be my preference in the future. This makes me reluctant to do it for my own books, especially when I am still so new to all this self-publishing lark. This is another job to add to an already very long list of jobs to do as an indie and one that can perhaps wait a while.
How about you? Fan of audiobooks or not? Do leave me a message in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

Picture Credits: Amazon and Doubleday Publishing.

Some Things I’ve Learnt in my First Week as a Published Author

Image by stemberovi via flickr.com

As I sit here, one week after self-publishing my debut novel, From Here to Nashville, the one word I would use to describe how I feel is exhausted! But to qualify, it is a good kind of exhausted, if you know what I mean 🙂

Last Monday, my launch day, purposely timed to coincide with my half-term holiday from my day job as a teacher and also #MondayBlogs, of course, was a fantastic day. I had three times the normal number of shares and retweets of my blog post that day. Three times! I was overwhelmed by the support I received from the blogging community on Twitter, from my Facebook Author page and from friends, new and old. It was great to learn how supportive my online community is though and quite humbling, I have to say.

I had set up a blog tour, visiting a different blog each day last week and so I was busy promoting my interviews on those blogs as well throughout the week. I know I said thank you to all those people last week but I’d just like to say so again because every single one of them took time out of their busy schedule to support me, sharing their blog posts repeatedly to draw attention to my new book and for that, I am extremely grateful. Not only that but more people have offered to host me on their blogs as a result! It was amazing to learn how people I have never met have been prepared to step up and help me and I still find myself marvelling at the generosity of other writers, bloggers, readers and book reviewers.

Talking of readers and book reviewers, I had another wonderful moment when I received my first review. This was from Clare who reviews books she has read at her website, TheTBRPile.com. She wrote a lovely review for me, which you can read here and in doing so, she set the ball rolling. I now have a few reviews on Amazon and a fair number of people have added my book to their Goodreads shelf as a book they want to read. You can add it too using this Goodreads link 😉 This has made me realise how important reviews are to you as the author. I knew they would be important before I published but what I learned this week was that a positive review boosts your confidence in your own ability as a writer. They don’t need to be glowing in every word or phrase necessarily but if they show that the person has enjoyed reading your book and that they have understood what you were trying to achieve, then that is a fantastic boost. Another thing I learnt though is that Amazon doesn’t tell you when you get a review so you have to check every day.

I have to confess to becoming a bit obsessed with checking for reviews and various other stats, including sales of course, every day. Mind you, it hasn’t been a minute-by-minute obsession, mostly just a daily check because in Amazon’s case, that’s the only update you get. The pre-order sale did give me a spike in sales for that first day but that hasn’t been matched since. I could best describe sales as slow and steady in this first week, which I think is all you can hope for as a self-published author at this stage. I am celebrating all those sales and learning that visibility takes time to build.

My paperback is now almost finished too. My cover came back from the designer during the week, as did my ISBN numbers. I decided to get my own so that the book will be published by me, rather than by Create Space which is what happens if you use their free ISBN. This is only because I would like to try and contact bookstores in the future to see if they will stock From Here to Nashville and I have been told that bookstores are less likely to want to stock your book if it says ‘published by Create Space’ on it. I learnt that I should have agreed to having the paperback cover designed at the same time as the ebook cover, which the designer suggested but I decided against. I should have purchased my ISBNs then too. Still, there is only so much room in my brain for all the new things I’ve been learning and I know for next time. I won’t have to worry about ISBNs for a while now because I bought ten!

And so, what next? The paperback is being reviewed and I should have a proof copy soon and then it will be full steam ahead for adding that to my Amazon page. I am moving on now to the next phase of marketing for From Here to Nashville which will be contacting some of the book reviewers I have come to know to see if I can organise some more reviews. Reviews don’t affect sales rank directly but when readers land on your Amazon page, a higher number of reviews might just persuade them to buy. I am also continuing with my second novel, again slowly but surely, which seems to be my motto for the week 😉 Oh and I have to go back to the day job on Wednesday, back to reality for the time being 🙂

Thanks for reading everyone. As always, do leave me a comment below if you’d like to. It’s always great to hear from you.