(Also, I’m not dead.)
If you don’t care about how I made this happen, go ahead and buy it. It’s only $3.95 – oh snap, it’s even discounted! C’mon, that’s less than you spent on coffee today. You’ll need to have an Amazon account.
As another incentive, you should know that the original text of Her Smile has been revised and expanded. If you already own Her Smile in ebook format, download it again and you’ll see the revised version. (Or if you’ve already got it downloaded, it should update automatically.) If you’ve never read it, give it a go. It’s half the price of the audiobook – a mere $1.99 – and I think you’ll have a good time.
So, you might be asking…
How did you get an audiobook done?
About six months ago (not coincidentally, about the last time you heard from me) I started looking into the possibilities of producing an audiobook based on something I’d written. I knew practically nothing, but I thought it’d be fun.
My first concern was about, well, sexual content – was it allowed? Unsurprisingly perhaps, that’s not an issue. Just as there is almost every flavor of kink in ebook form on Amazon, there’s a similar diversity when it comes to audiobooks. It’s basically right there, and all I had to do was go looking for it on Amazon and Audible. You can do the same.
Then the question was how? I don’t know any voiceover actors. I’m pretty sure no-one wants to hear me reading and trying to do the sexy woman’s voice. Turns out there’s already a solution in place: ACX.com. The site is part of Audible and Amazon, and basically acts as a marketplace where authors can find producers who’ll work on their audiobook. Essentially you create a profile, put up some audition material and wait for auditions to come in.
So, I had to pick something to let people audition for.
I chose Her Smile for the obvious reason that it was short. Paying a professional to read your work isn’t cheap, and I couldn’t really justify paying for a whole novel to be produced, unabridged, which at my length could easily run into thousands of bucks. Just like when I’d used it to test the ebook publishing process, Her Smile came to the rescue again.
I took some care with the audition material. I chose several sections of Her Smile, wanting to ensure I could get an idea of how a potential narrator would perform in a ‘normal’ scene, in a sex scene and when reading female or male parts. I wanted a female narrator, although in theory it could have worked just as well with a male narrator who could manage a good female voice. Female was my preference though, so once I’d prepared my audition materials, I put them live and crossed my fingers that someone – anyone – would audition for this thing.
I didn’t really need to worry. In less than a day I had a number of auditions to listen to. Turns out ACX has a lot of producers, and apparently no-one has a problem with my weird fetish fiction! Before too long I was nervously downloading samples of various producers, getting ready to squirm in my seat at the sound of people reading my words.
I didn’t squirm. Much. Every single audition I heard was professional, and several were really good. I actually had a decision to make; I’d half-expected to have no-one apply, so now I had to figure out who I wanted to give the ‘part’ to. Such responsibility!
(By the way, if you’re wondering how it feels to hear a total stranger read – no, not read, perform your writing… well, it feels pretty surreal. And good. Surreal and good. But mostly good!)
It didn’t take long to make my final choice. Despite a number of good auditions, Ruby Rivers stood out to me; not just because of her performance, which was great even at audition stage, but also because she was friendly, helpful and quick with her responses to my frequent questions. Fantastic for a first-timer like me. Needless to say her price was also right!
Ruby really was superb to work with, and if I’m honest, we could have wrapped the book in about a month if I hadn’t been so slow. Since when did I ever do anything fast, though? First I wanted to do a ‘polish’ of Her Smile that turned into more of a heavy revision, adding almost 1,500 words to the total, but still leaving it as a ‘short’ story. Then I needed to give Ruby some direction on her performance, to get it closer to what I wanted. Finally I made some new cover artwork which you can see above, paid Ruby, and that was that.
So now we have what I believe is a world first – a professional actress narrating a piece of female mask fiction. If nothing else, you’ve got to be intrigued, right?
I’d love to do this for future works, but basically it all depends on your reaction and on sales. So, you know what to do: buy Her Smile in audio form today, and let me know what you think, either below or via the usual contact page.