So… I’m not actually sure how this is going to go, but I figured I’d try it. I just put up a listing for a request for a narrator for the full-length version of Hunted: An Erotic Retelling of Beauty and the Beast yesterday, and I’m hoping to maybe get that done by Christmas.
The thing with that is that uh… well, I never planned on doing an audiobook version of this one, per se. I mean, the idea was always in my mind and of course I was open to it. If a random narrator approached me about doing it, then I definitely would have said yes. That doesn’t really happen too often, from what I know, but I’d honestly probably be open to a lot of things like that.
For random reference, I like to do royalty shares with my audiobook narrators, since I think it’s more fair to everyone. The problem there is that a royalty share can be a good or a bad thing, you know? If the story doesn’t sell very well, then they’re kind of out some time and effort, which is sad. If the story sells well, they can make a good amount of money, though. On the flip side to that, if I paid them per finished hour (this is also relatively standard), then they could technically make more money if the story sells well, or a lot less of the story sells poorly.
As of now, most of my audiobooks have at least broken even, just about. I don’t know if anyone really cares about the business side of that, but the narrators and I have a 7 year agreement, too, so basically like… they’re all pretty much going to get paid more than the industry average, but it might take awhile for them to get it? So far they’ve broken even, or are very close to breaking even, and my first audiobooks ever were released this year, so it should work out for them in the long run. That’s kind of how this business is on all fronts, though. Not always, and sometimes a story sells really well right from the get-go, but not always.
Anyways! The point of all of that? I like doing audiobooks because it helps the narrators, gives them legitimate credits for their voice-over work, and kind of sets them up for more, you know? They can use the audiobook as a stepping stone to a better foot in the narration industry, or for acting, or whatever. I honestly think all of the narrators that have worked for me could do really well with this, either strictly voices or acting, or whatever. They have talent and drive to succeed.
So… saying that, I wasn’t going to do an audiobook version of Hunted at first, because I didn’t actually think it would sell amazingly well. I didn’t think it’d sell poorly or anything, and I thought it’d be a good book. Honestly, I like it a lot, myself, and I think it’s pretty sexy. It’s different and fun, with a bit of darkness to it, and more than its fair share of eroticism. That’s uh… well, that’s kind of the thing, I guess. I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward narrating it? Haha.
I don’t know why I think anyone would feel awkward with it, though. I’m pretty upfront about what it is and what to expect, so if they’re interested, then I think they should be given the chance to give it a try. And if I think it’ll be a decent seller and good for their career, then I don’t mind offering the opportunity to them, either, you know? I’ve been given some chances in life when I thought I could do something that others might think was too difficult or too strange, and I think those are the best types of chances sometimes. Just to get things out there and try something different, but also something good and useful, right?
So… well, Hunted is doing well. The e-book version is doing very well, and the paperback is doing pretty good, too. Paperbacks are honestly a harder sell, since, as an indie author, I can’t really get them into physical bookstores at the moment. That’s just an industry thing, and the big traditional publishers mostly have a stranglehold on that. E-books are a lot different, though, and I think I have a good understanding of that side of things.
For reference, Hunted is currently #16 in the entire All Romance eBooks store. They even sent me a neat little image thing for this site, which I’ll throw up on the sidebar soon! It might be there by the time you read this.
It’s also doing exceptional on Amazon, with a max ranking so far in the low ~1200s. This has translated into being on these best sellers lists there:
#4 Paranormal Romance > Angels
#6 Paranormal Romance > Ghosts
#6 Fantasy > Fairy Tales
#6 Paranormal Romance > Demons & Devils
#10 Paranormal Romance > Witches & Wizards
#11 World Literature > Mythology
#28 Paranormal Romance > Werewolves & Shifters
That’s just in the US. It’s ranking pretty well in Fantasy > Fairy Tales and Fiction > Fairy Tales, plus Myths & Fairy Tales in the UK, as well.
So… anyways, it’s doing well! Which is fun and great, and I really appreciate everyone’s support in this one and I’m glad to hear that a lot of people have liked it so far. I’m always kind of nervous about these things, you know? Like… I want things to do well, and I try my best to make them good and something that people will like and want to read, but I guess I’m sort of a pessimistically optimistic person. Like… it would be really nice if everyone loved everything I wrote, but I know that’s not how things work, and different things work for different people, so I just hope that at least some people will like some of the things I write?
I don’t know if that makes sense. Don’t take any of this as being especially pessimistic, because I’m not. I get really excited about things, to the point of being maybe too excited, but I try to have realistic expectations, too. The two things sort of clash sometimes.
I’m rambling a bit now, but the point of this whole thing is that I’m hopefully going to make an audiobook of Hunted, and I think this will be a great opportunity for the narrator. I like helping people out and in a creative entertainment sort of place, like with fiction books and everything, it can be really hard to get a foot in the door, you know? It takes a lot of time and effort sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of my own time and effort on all of this, so I’m hoping to share it a little by providing someone the opportunity to use some of my time and effort to help themselves out and to further their creative endeavors.
I will let you know if I find anyone! I’m still kind of picky when it comes to narrators, and I have a certain sort of voice in mind for this one, but I like to leave my options open, too. Sometimes people can surprise you, you know? I like when that happens, since it’s a lot of fun.
(This is a weird sort of post, but these are just some of the things I think about sometimes, so I thought I’d share for those who were interested in that kind of thing. I hope you liked it! What are your thoughts on audiobooks? They’re a lot different and they take a little getting used to, but I really like them)
One Year Personal Review
I’ve been deliberating over actually writing this or not. I decided to go for it, because I don’t think it can hurt, and I think some of you would be interested in reading it.
Before embarking on my journey of self-publishing, I used to work in some not so fun places. Lots of customer service and all of that. Just plain, basic things, and nothing very entertaining, but I didn’t mind it. I didn’t really like it, though, and I’ve always wanted to write, so on July 10th, 2012, I published my first e-book. I think I did it on Smashwords first, then I put it up on the other places after, so those places didn’t have it until July 11th, but I like to think of my “official” indie author anniversary as July 10th. It’s a pretty nice day, generally speaking.
So, anyways! I’m sure everyone’s done them, but a lot of places I’ve worked at like to do those yearly reviews, you know? I never liked those, and I’m sort of argumentative about them. I once marked down that I thought I went above and beyond in regards to dress code, because I try to look nice, right? Except, no, I was told that it’s impossible to go above and beyond on dress code. If you come to work appropriately dressed, then that’s it. Why did they have little check marks for anything besides “acceptable” then? I have no idea, and I asked that, but no one gave me a good answer. Just because. That’s just kind of silly, but I digress…
Now, as an indie author, I’m going to evaluate myself. If you’ve been following me for awhile, feel free to chime in, too. Let me know if you agree or disagree. I’d be happy to hear it!
First off, I initially planned to just write erotica shorts. My very first stories were Princess Miri, Moonlight Secret, Burning Need, Princess Miri’s Wet Sticky Mess, all written within the span of a couple weeks. I kind of cheated there, because I’d written the Princess Miri and Moonlight Secret stories a long long time ago, but I fixed them up and changed some things, and *POOF*, published!
Out of all those, I honestly didn’t know what exactly I was doing besides with the Princess Miri stories. I love all my stories, don’t get me wrong, but Moonlight Secret and Burning Need were kind of difficult for me. I think they’re good stories, and lots of people have enjoyed them, but I probably won’t be writing much more in the same vein as those.
Mostly, what I noticed within a few weeks was that I liked to write longer things. Hunted by the Beast and Dominant Dreams came up soon after those first ones, and both of those are noticeably longer. They aren’t long by any means, but I got to delve into more of what I liked.
And, basically, what I really like is plot. I think plot is kind of sexy, you know? I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense. Some people like to just read stories with an idea, but I can’t do that very well. A decent, popular example is something like… let’s say, the barely legal babysitter and the single father (or maybe not single? Scandalous!). It’s just the idea that arouses people, which is perfectly fine, but I can’t really get into reading or writing that too much. Something like that is more writing towards kinks or fetishes.
I won’t lie, I do it sometimes. Generally I add some plot in there, too, though. To a lot of people, that’s weird, but it’s just how I like to write. I think I provide something different and entertaining for anyone who wants a little more with their story.
That’s basically when it began. After feeling things out and getting more accustomed to what I preferred and how I preferred to write it, I went on to continue the Princess Miri series, Hunted by the Beast, and I started The Billionaire’s Ultimatum. These were all great choices for me. I did write some standalones in there, and to be honest you can read most all of my stories as a standalone if you like, but the plot was what drove me onwards, and I think people like that, too. The characters can build upon themselves and their world and explore it more, you know?
Miri started out as a bratty princess who was targeted by the daughter of one of her father’s vassels, but she became something else entirely. I mean, sure, she’s still kind of bratty, but I like Miri. I think Miri’s a really fun character. Thump grew, too. Then Allysin came into the picture, and we got to learn a little more about the castle from her perspective. Fleur evolved into… well, we won’t talk about Fleur (she’s kind of a bitch). The King, the citizens, Roy, all of it.
I do that with all of my stories now, and I’m trending towards longer, which I think a lot of people prefer. I want you to know the characters and feel more intimately about them. When Miri clears out the dungeons and takes them over for her and Thump to use, and then she treats it like a very private place where they can hide together, be alone, talk and learn and explore their sexuality safely, I want you to kind of realize how Miri feels, you know? She’s a princess, and sort of a brat or a bitch, but she’s a human, too, and she’s not immune to weakness. She just doesn’t have anyone and she’s not sure how to relate to anyone, and so Thump being hers and exploring with her and letting her have her moments of being a spoiled princess while also being the dominant monster troll that he is, well…
I find that a lot sexier. Miri’s emotions and need and desires, and her shortcomings and fears and worries; it makes the entire scene more intense to me. It’s sexy and erotic, but it’s also something more, too. That’s how I feel about that, at least. You can’t get that in a quick barely legal babysitter story, you know? You can get the sexy and erotic part, but you can’t get the “more” that I personally want to go along with it.
I could give examples of this sort of thing throughout all of my stories, but if you’ve read them it’s probably easy to see, too.
In addition to all of that, I’ve started working more towards adding paperbacks, novelizing my serials, and working on audiobooks. The paperbacks and serials-to-novels are somewhat obvious, but one thing I’ve noticed is that I need to have a good schedule of this. I have a “Publishing Schedule” tab on my website, but I need to fix it up a bit. My general plan when I started, and what I want to do now, is to have a new novel for you all every ~2 months or so. The paperback first, then the e-book after. I have a lot of reasons for why I do it in that order, but they’re kind of boring marketing stuff, so I won’t go into that. What this generally will mean is that ~6 months after the start of a series, the novel version should come out soon after. That won’t always be exactly the case, but I should be able to stick pretty closely to that schedule for the foreseeable future.
Audiobooks are interesting and difficult, but in a good way. The thing with those is that I really want to find narrators that bring the characters to life, you know? Sometimes I go searching for the perfect narrator, and other times I’ll put a story up and let people send in their auditions. The audiobooks I have so far are good, but some of the auditions really miss the point. They aren’t bad by any means, and these are professional narrators, but I can tell when someone’s not really into the story and only wants to make money.
I want to provide you with an amazing experience, and so I will only produce audiobooks with narrators who can put the necessary emotion into the scenes. You’ll find a lot of audiobooks that lack this, and some of those audiobooks are alright. If you just want to “hear” the story, they’re perfectly great and I’ve got nothing against that. For what I do, because I want to provide you “more” in the e-book and paperback versions, I want to find narrators that will help you experience the story, too. Overall, I just want to give you more, because that’s what I would want.
And so! That’s about it. That’s where we’re at so far. I appreciate everyone coming on this journey with me, too. As an indie author, I think that the reader/writer relationship is a bit closer than with a big publishing house’s authors. I try to be a little closer, and like my stories I want to give a little “more” than what you’d get otherwise. I just want to let you know about what’s up and I like to provide you with as much as I can. I’m writing more, working on more, and will continue to try and discover ways where I can improve this in the future.
Also, my business attire is impeccable lately. Far above and beyond! (I like to write at night a lot while wearing pajamas. Shh, don’t tell anyone!)
What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions. Whether as a new reader or someone who’s just started checking out my stuff, I think all opinions, feedback, questions, or comments are useful and valid, and I like to hear them!