How to Create an Audiobook

Sell your audio book on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.

One way to do this is through ACX, and this is the vehicle I am using to create an audio version of Serpents Underfoot, which will be released at the end of this month.

audiobooks

ACX makes this easy to do and puts you in charge.

audiobooks


Here is an outline of the first 6 steps of the 10 step process for authors on ACX

Step 1: Confirm

Confirm you own thee audio rights for your book by checking your print book contract. If you own the audio rights, then for purposes of ACX, you are the legal Rights Holder.

Step 2: Create your Profile

Create your Title Profile by describing your book and the type of narrator best suited for it. You’ll then post a 1-2 page excerpt from your book to serve as the Audition Script for any potential narrators.

Step 3: Find your ideal producer

Listen to the auditions you receive. You can also listen to sample narrations and invite a handful of producers to audition for your book.

I took three scenes from different sections of my book totaling about 2 1/2 pages and uploaded it. I received 10 or 12 auditions from narrators to read Serpents Underfoot.

A few did not even read my sample, instead sending me links to other books they had read. I discarded them immediately. I wanted to hear my work being read in their voice.

A couple of others sent lists of their accomplishments and highlighted their experience, but again, I wanted to hear my work being read, so I discarded them as well.

Step 4: Review Auditions

This left about 6 or 7 who actually read my sample, and I carefully listened to the auditions they provided. It was a tough decision because several were really darn good.

Step 5: Make a Deal

Finally, I settled on Doug Greene. I checked and Doug had done about a dozen previous projects in various genres.

Doug had the voice “authoritative or military” sounding voice I was looking and really seemed to enjoy reading the sample I had provided.

We came to an agreement on schedule, payment, etc.

Doug is doing a great job and I am very pleased with his work.

Step 6: Get Started

Doug recorded and upload the a 15 minute test read of the audiobook, which I listened to and approved, providing my feedback. Of course, when your sample is approved, the producer will record the full project.

How you complete the project is decided by you. Doug is uploading each chapter as he completes it. This was actually Doug’s suggestion. This way, I can listen to each completed chapter to see if any edits are needed.

So far, there has been very little editing that needed to be done. And, I must say it is pretty exciting to see (and hear) this project unfolding.

I like this method, especially since this was my first time doing doing an audiobook.

You could certainly also just have the producer complete the entire audiobook, and review it all at once.

The Remaining Steps Will Soon Follow!

The remaining 4 steps are

Step 7: Approve the Final Product

Step 8: Distribute

Step 9: Promote

Step 10: Earn Royalties

I will follow up with an additional post outlining these last 4 steps once I have completed them.

For now, I will just say that ACX makes this process easy and while there is certainly an investment in both time and money, it looks like the process should allow for a good ROI if you have a good product and stick to the program. We shall see shortly!

Serpents Underfoot is currently out in Kindle, paperback and hardcover. I am excited to announce that it will, very soon, be available as an audiobook through iTunes, Audible, and Amazon as well!

Click here for other interesting blog posts!

American Women Warriors: A Salute.

Women can certainly be mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. Each is a vitally important role in American society! But, while being all of these amazing things, women can also be fierce and capable warriors. Throughout history, and all around the world, women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men, facing their common enemies and fighting battles for survival. Though often outnumbered by their male brothers-in-arms, many brave female warriors have left their indelible mark on American history.

Historic Figures

Before changes in the modern U.S. Military, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. We still had great examples of strong women, who were warriors in their own way, women who effected positive change in America through their bravery, dedication, and hard work.

Here a just a few examples:

Harriet Tubman

A courageous American hero, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, proved to be one of the most effective conductors on the Underground Railroad. “Conducting” was a dangerous job for anyone, doubly so for a former female slave. However, Harriet Tubman lived by a simple creed, “I can’t die but once.”

Susan B Anthony

The words of Thomas Jefferson, “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God,” were often quoted by suffragist Susan B. Anthony at her trial in 1873 for voting. She was fined $100 for her act of civil disobedience. Though she didn’t literally take up arms, no one can deny that Susan B Anthony fought the good fight for woman’s suffrage and helped pave the way for the passage, 14 years after her death in 1906, of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, extending the right to vote to women.

Rosa Parks

A founding mother of the U.S. civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, stood her ground and stated, “No, I’m not moving to the back of the bus.” Her refusal to budge helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott and reshaped the American civil rights movement forever.

However today, the “no women in combat” rule has changed. I do believe in equal rights and status for all Americans. And, as long as any individual can pass the test and meet the required physical standards to perform a job at an efficient level, that individual should be allowed to perform that job

Today’s Female Warriors

Back in 2011, Congress mandated that the DOD conduct a review of its combat exclusion policy. Two years later, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, announced plans to rescind the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule.

In December 2015, his successor, Ashton B. Carter, declared that all military jobs would be opened to women as long as they could qualify. The first field artillery cannoneer positions became available to enlisted women in January of 2016.

Jordyn Wallace, one female warrior, enlisted at the Castle Hayne recruiting center one month later.

While there are too many to list, I have selected a few random samples I found online as representative examples of our American female warriors.

Specialist Jordyn Wallace

Jordyn Wallace served with the Second Battalion, 12th field artillery regiment (2-12 FA) … part of the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team. These soldiers support infantry troops from miles away with powerful M 777s, also known as howitzers.

Wallace is a professional soldier who giveS her mission her all. She has earned the respect and admiration of her team and her superiors.

female warriors

Spcs. Vanessa Bolognese and Aimee Collver

“Bolo’ and “Collver” are two combat medics with Personal Security Detachment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. They kept all their male counterparts healthy and operationally ready, and did so “outside the wire,” their team often operating as an independent element.

“Bolo” and “Collver” are respected by there combat team both for their skills as medics and their professionalism as soldiers. When outside the wire, they move with the team, however when the rest of the team gets to take a break, these two warriors are just beginning to do their jobs.

female warriors

Maj. General Dawn Dunlap

Maj. General Dunlop is among the most accomplished female fighter pilots in the Air Force’s history. A 1988 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Dunlop has logged more than 3,500 hours flying aircraft including F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 fighters.

female warriors

All I can say is “Hooah” … and we, as Americans, owe women such as these a great deal of respect and gratitude.

Wow! How the Times … they are a Changing!

When I heard about a recent local incident involving a black bear, what went through my mind was, “Wow, how the times are changing.” The “popular” way to think these days is … the poor bear.

But there are many people still thinking the “old” way … the poor man.

Here’s my rendition of how a bear mauling article might appear in the newspaper in 2019 vs 1980:

News article 2019

A bear mauled a zoo worker in Timbuktu Wildlife Park. After two hours of coaxing, the zoo officials were finally able to lure the bear away the badly injured man. The bear will go through a session of behavioral training before being released back into the park. The bear is understandably a little traumatized from being disallowed to kill the man, but is expected to make a full recovery from the psychological impact (No mention of the man’s prognosis).

News article 1980

A bear mauled a zoo worker in Timbuktu Wildlife Park. The zoo officials were able to get a good head shot on the bear with a 7 mm magnum, and quickly killed it. The badly injured man is expected to make a full recovery.

OK, I’m exaggerating a little on the 2019 story, but only a little.

But seriously, folks …

I don’t think I am exaggerating on the 1980 example. My point in posting this is not to start a “war” between “animal sensitive” and “non-animal sensitive” folks. My point is just to point out the huge difference in the “old way” and the “new way” of thinking regarding animals vs humans.

Us older folks have literally been able to watch these social changes occur because we have lived so many decades. It’s very interesting to watch the public’s thinking transform over the years. I know that people who go to parks and watch animals a lot are generally more “sensitive” to animal’s well-being than people who live on a farm, for example. The park visitors are enjoying watching the fascinating animals frolic in the woods. These folks are not inconvenienced by the wild animals.

On the other hand, the farmers and home owners are watching the wild animals frolic as well. But, they are also watching some of the animals destroy their crops, trash cans, and bird feeders. Allowing them to frolic in their gardens takes food out of their mouths, and can cause lots of costly repairs. And therefore, they don’t mind shooting them if necessary.

Sometime around 1980, my Uncle Max commented, “I have deer playing behind my barn all the time now.” Deer were making a comeback in Knox County.

“Can I come over and bow hunt ?”I asked.

“No!” he replied. ” I love watching them. They’re beautiful.” A few months later, Max had a slightly different take.

“Hey David, do you want to come over and shoot some deer at my place? They’re getting into my garden!”

I smiled, at how his thought process changed as he watched the deer destroy the garden he worked so hard to plant and care for.

Iguana Invasion?

A few weeks ago while in Belize, our family saw some iguanas. They are a big tourist attraction and are very fun to watch and photograph. Mainly because they are “new” to us tourists, they help draw tourist money into the area, and therefore, are illegal to kill there.

We all enjoyed seeing them. No downside. No inconvenience to us tourists. Only upsides.

However, our local cab driver said, “They cause a lot of crop damage.” He also said that the locals like to kill them and eat them, even though that’s illegal.

Then, on the national news a couple weeks ago, I saw news story with the headline, “Iguanas are taking over Florida!” It’s gotten so bad that Florida State Wildlife officials have requested and given all citizens permission to “kill on sight” all the iguanas they see.

One lady went to a golf course and said, “It looked like Jurassic Park!” Another lady said she got a pellet rifle and killed over 20 iguanas in her yard in two days, and is still seeing more iguanas every day.

So, there’s a downside, an inconvenience to humans with the iguanas in Florida. And, the local citizens now want rid of the iguanas.

Alaskan Adventures

I met two nice, pretty female college students in Alaska a few years ago. I wondered if their thinking was like the “popular new way” (meaning … extreme animal sensitivity), or if it was more like the “old way” (putting human welfare above that of animals).

So, I asked them, “Do you girls ever worry about bear attacks out here in the wilderness?” Then I asked, “Do you carry a gun for protection?”

One responded immediately and without flinching, “Oh, yes. We protect ourselves. We carry 30-06 rifles when were out in the woods. You especially gotta watch out for bear attacks during berry season.”

I was almost “apologetically” asking if they carried guns for protection, and their response almost sounded like, “Are you an idiot ? … Of course we carry guns! … We’d be fools not to!”

I thought, Wow, how very different than some of the young girl’s thinking around Knox County, Tennessee.

But, then I reminded myself, conditions dictate attitudes.”

Now, even though I have hunted and killed deer in the past, I myself have gone through some “animal rights sensitivity” increases in my decades of life. I’ve gone from my attitude of 20 years ago that, “Dogs are just farm animals and don’t belong in a house,” to loving my dog, Harley, just like he’s a family member. It’s ridiculous how much I love this dog. We’re super buddies.

And I never have any “mean thoughts” towards any wild animal. Unless, of course, they do something that causes me to. However, I would shoot a bear in a New York second if it charged my dog or family member. 

So, our personal situations greatly affect which way we think about wild animals: the “old way” or the “new way.” And in my case, perhaps somewhere in between the old and new way.

Maybe there is no completely right or wrong way. It’s just all very interesting. I try to stay open-minded about all this, and not badly judge “extreme” animal sensitiveness.

In return, I hope they don’t judge me too harshly when I carry a large caliber handgun with the decided intent of shooting any wild animal or human that tries to attack my family members.

Or even when I drool over seeing a 10″ rainbow trout and imagine it sizzling with butter, salt, and pepper in a skillet over my campfire, order a cow burger at Abridged Brewery, or even the buffalo ribs at Montana Grille.

~ David Smith

Navy SEALs Swim Hudson River to Honor Military Vets

Fox News host and Army veteran Pete Hegseth joined a group of Navy SEALS as they swam across the Hudson to show support for our military veterans and their families.

This is the kind of event that makes me so proud to be an American and to have such respect for those who serve. I think back to the day I raised my right hand and swore my oath, and seeing things like this makes me realize that, if I could, I would do it all again.

seal Swim hudson
Fox News Photo

The SEALs routed their swim with stops at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, before ending the swim at Battery Park. At each scheduled stop, the SEALs performed a number of pushups and pullups to honor America’s legacy of liberty and diversity, and those who have fought and even paid the ultimate price to preserve them. We owe them so much.

While Fox News host Pete Hegseth is an Army veteran, he bravely jumped into the Hudson River with the Navy SEALS and completed the swim. Hegseth did admit he had a bit of help in the first leg of the swim from one of the SEALS, Kaj Larson, when he got caught up in the strong currents, but he completed the other two legs of the swim just fine.

All I can say is “Hooah” to these amazing Navy SEALS and to Fox New’s Pete Hegseth for showing us all what it means to be a true American Patriot!

All photos courtesy of Fox News.

For more Navy SEAL action, check out my military action thriller titled Serpents Underfoot. It is currently available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats, and will soon be out in audio as well.

For interesting post by DC Gilbert, click here!

Buy This Book – you won’t be disappointed!

It takes work, but success will come!

Wow! Sales of Serpents Underfoot are growing. I knew enough to know that writing and publishing my own books would be hard work, and that any reward would be slow in coming. I mean … I am not exactly Tom Clancy!!

Also, there is a pretty long learning curve. How do I use Twitter or Instagram to market my books? How about Facebook, other book reviewers, book signings, etc.? And then, there is the mystery of Amazon Ads! It has taken time and work, but I am beginning to see the rewards.

I won’t lie. While the income certainly helps, for me the biggest reward and kick is simply knowing that someone read my work and got real enjoyment out of it. That makes being a writer really worth while for me!

More great new reviews for Serpents Underfoot

Newest Amazon Review

books by dc gilbert

Buy this book – you won’t be disappointed

A multi-generational story of perseverance, intelligence and craftiness, you will most likely find yourself rooting for Ajax and saying to yourself about the bad guys, “Uh oh – they shouldn’t have done that. Now I’m waiting for the sequel …”

Sharon Fowler

Thank you, Sharon Fowler, for the awesome 5 STAR REVIEW! Click here to read the entire review on Amazon!

The Prairies Book Review

I also recently received an excellent review from The Prairies Book Review. Tina S. at Prairies Review writes:

Full of Navy Seal action, the book will enthrall fans of action thrillers…

The book has it all—authentic detail, breathless action, vividly drawn settings, and an exhilarating plot. Action thrillers fans will be rewarded. Readers will wait eagerly for JD and Ajax to come together for another treacherous adventure.

Tina S.

Thank you, Tina, for the awesome review! Click here to read the entire review at The Prairies Book Review!

The sequel is coming!

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot, titled “Montagnard,” should be released at the end of this year or early next year. Serpents Underfoot was my first novel and it is doing amazingly well. But, I also learned a lot writing this first novel, so I promise that Montagnard will be even better!

However, you will want to read Serpents Underfoot before you read Montagnard, so I’d think about getting your copy pretty soon! It is available in Kindle format as well as paperback and hardcover.

Egad! Deer Flies in North Carolina?

Let me just say up front, I hate Deer Flies!

If you’ve read my collection of short stories called Adirondack Bear Tales, you probably know I grew spending my summers at Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. I made my first camping trip at all of 6-mos-old. I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, my mother made my first sleeping bag out of an old flannel blanket and a paper bag.

Summers at Raquette Lake were filled non-stop adventures that many boys only dream about. Fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, swimming, exploring, and even getting lost in those deep North Woods.

However, there are just one or two things that could be a bit of a pain when spending time in the Adirondacks. One of those is Deer Flies!

You can avoid the worst of the black flies and mosquitoes by waiting until mid-summer or early fall before venturing into the area. By then, the black flies are about gone and the mosquito population has been reduced to a tolerable level. However, deer flies are quite another story.

As you walked up and down the sandy dirt roads of Burketown, the deer flies would circle your head incessantly, looking for an opportunity to swoop in and nail you. The only positive was that, since they did continuously circle you, you could often snatch them out of the air and squish them … which always gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Of course, wearing a hat helped. But I have always really hated wearing hats and only do so now when there is really no choice.

deer flies

Meet the Deer Fly!

A deer fly looks like a cross between a horsefly and a yellow-jacket. While their bites do hurt, fortunately they are nothing like a yellow jacket sting. Note the swept back delta-type wing. I always thought with a wing like that, they should be able to fly so much faster. Of course, that would make them harder to snatch out of the air and squish.

So, what prompted this post on the deer fly you might ask (or you might not, but I will tell you anyway!). I thought I had left them behind (other than for the occasional trip back to Raquette Lake). I moved to Tennessee at the age of 19 and lived there 36 years, and never saw a deer fly.

I moved to Cary, North Caroline and lived there 3 years and never saw a deer fly either.

But recently I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and there (while exercising my GSD, Sophie) just the other day, I snatched two deer flies out of the air and squished them. And, while I did get an enormous sense of satisfaction out of squishing them, I am thinking seriously about moving back to Tennessee!

deer flies

Sophie has seconded that motion. She is not overly fond of the deer flies either.

If you are looking for a good quick read, check out Adirondack Bear Tales. I think you will get a real kick out of it. Sophie even stars in one of the stories. She likes to tell how she “saved me” from the mother black bear with her two cubs on our last trip to Raquette Lake.

For more great posts, click here!

How to be a “Fixer Upper”

I discovered the program, Fixer Upper, on HGTV and now I am hooked.

fixer upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines own and operate Magnolia Homes, a remodeling and design business based in Waco, Texas. The show “Fixer Upper” shows the process by which this amazing couple turn dilapidated but potential-rich houses into amazing showplaces. These two are helping revitalize whole neighborhoods throughout central Texas.

They show clients a series of houses based on the client’s total budget for purchase and renovation. Typically, the houses are the worse houses in otherwise good neighborhoods. However, sometimes they go off on a tangent and take a real chance, always it seems, with incredible success.

This show actually has me wondering if I should move to Texas on the off chance I’d be lucky enough to have this amazing team remodel a house for me. Maybe someday!

Chip manages the demolition, construction, and realty side of Magnolia and Joanna is the lead designer. I think she is brilliant as a designer. The tears and looks on their client’s faces during the big reveal says it all. And the couple play off each other in a manner that is very humorous, entertaining, and wholesome. I also like how they include their children in their remodeling business.

Chip and Joanna also act as part-time counselors to clients who can’t always initially see a homes true potential through the current damage or blemishes. This dynamic duo saves homes that look beyond redemption by renovating them, and revealing them as the forever-homes they were intended to be. Sometimes, they do get into the unexpected “oops,” but always find some way to make it work. I have been total amazed at the work they do and have also learned a great deal about renovations. The show is very educational.

I find very little worth watching on television these days, but this show is certainly an exception. I give it a 6 out of 5 Star Rating and highly recommend it to anyone. It is good on so many levels that anyone can find something to enjoy. You really need to check this program out. I don’t know what HGTV’s plans are, but this is one program I hope they continue for awhile.