Tag: DC Gilbert

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!

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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.

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Twitter Marketing for Aspiring Authors

Self-published indie authors are always looking for new ways to market themselves and their books. There are several social media tools available for this purpose. Instagram is one such tool that I covered in an earlier post. Twitter is another.

Can you use Twitter to market your book(s)?

Like with Instagram, the short answer is … yes. You certainly can. However, again like Instagram, you do have to understand a few key things going in to it.

Unlike Instagram, with Twitter, your post can link directly to your book’s page on Amazon.com or any other web page you choose. You will probably still not generate a lot of sales tweeting away on Twitter, but you will generate some. However, like Instagram, Twitter is a valuable tool for establishing yourself as an author and networking with other indie authors, publishers, or editors … sharing ideas, experiences, and writing tips as well as promoting your book in those same circles.

While Instagram is more visual, Twitter is about crafting a clever message in 280 characters. You can include images (and I usually do) but the real trick here is to try to get the reader to click the link in the tweet. Below are a few sample Tweets I created and sent out into the Twit-O-Sphere!

Note the hashtags …

twitter

Again, it is about putting your name and your work in front of a growing audience in a way that builds your brand recognition and establishes you as an author to be remembered. And, like I stated earlier, you may actually even sell a few books.

twitter

Other aspects to consider on Twitter

  • Hashtags – Use hashtags before relevant keywords in your tweet to categorize tweets and help them show up in Twitter searches. Clicking or tapping on a hash-tagged word in any tweet displays other Tweets that include that hashtagHashtags can be included anywhere in a Tweet. Examples: #SerpentsUnderfoot #AdirondackBearTales #writingcommunity #amwriting
  • Tags – You can also tag a specific Twitter handle to ensure that user gets the Tweet in their feed. Examples: @darrencgilbert @AdirondackAlmanac.

    This is very basic. There are some other, trickier aspects to using the @ sign in a Tweet. For more information on using the @ symbol in Tweets, just click this link here!

Twitter also has some strong and welcoming communities for writers and readers. These folks are always willing to share ideas, critiques, etc. There are groups that run little writing contests based on “prompt words” that can help you improve your writing skills … especially since you only have 280 characters!

So, jump in and get started! Join the writing community, try your hand at a few word prompts, and mostly … have fun.

One last thought …

Don’t get caught up in the race for followers. You will have offers to grow your following by the thousands … for a fee of course. Let your following grow naturally. It is far better to have 300 followers that are really interested in you and your work, than to have 3000 followers you paid for and who don’t give a rat’s ass about what you are doing.

For other interesting posts on a variety of topics, click here!

Race to Amazing, by Krista S. Moore

Get in the Race to Amazing

race to successI received an advance copy of Krista S. Moore’s new book, Race to Amazing. I found her ideas on coaching and professional and personal success refreshing and interesting, And, perhaps even more importantly, actionable!

Sales is an adapt or fail kind of business. To be successful as a leader in sales, you must consistently bring your “A Game.” You are in a race! There is a finish line. Waiting at that finish line is professional and personal success. Krista S. Moore has successfully run that race, and now wants to share her knowledge and experience with you  as a professional and personal success coach..

Success can have its pitfalls. One of the adages Krista S. Moore learned early on is that when you feel like you have your business all figured out and you think you have all the answers, you’re probably at the beginning of  a downward slide. She writes that at this point you, if you are not careful, you will lose focus, stagnate, become complacent and unproductive. And sadly, too often for many of us, our personal success is tied to our professional success. It is indeed a dangerous place to be in both business and personal life.

Get in the race!

There is good news! You can begin a process of self-discovery that reignites your drive to professional greatness. And, with a well-planned course of action, you may find that you achieve success in both your professional and personal goals together. I was especially intrigued by one particular technique Krista uses to help her clients rediscover their passion and get them back in the race.

What was your dream when you were 10-years-old?

Krista explored this concept in her earlier book, Your 10-Year-Old Self. In this first book, Krista explores the powerful process of going backwards to help you move yourself forward. The idea is to rediscover your authentic self, who you are at your core; before peer pressure and social influences caused you to lose sight of who you are. The idea is to rediscover your passion, dreams, and desires, so you can “play forward” with real purpose and meaning in your life. According to Krista Moore, you need to let you 10-year old self shine through!

Race to Amazing

In her soon-to-be-released book, Race to Amazing, Krista S. Moore goes still further in her efforts to help you win your personal race to amazing. This second book will guide you as you work to develop that well-planned course of action mentioned earlier. Whatever your goals are, this book can help you achieve them. To reach your successful sales leader goals, you must first get in the race; whether this race is against a competitor, to a title, a new position, or even against the fears and doubts that hold you back. And, you must be in the race to win. Krista S. Moore will be there to guide you as you work your way through her unique, successful, and proven approach to individual development.

Race to Amazing will help you to:

• Gain clarity on what exactly your vision of success is, and what obstacles lay in your path.
• Develop an open and honest relationship with yourself through personal reflection and self-discovery.
• Discover who you are and who you really from life.
• Learn to “own it” and look squarely are where you are today, how you got there, and what you need to do to move forward.
• “Go deeper” in your self-discovery process to find your real purpose, meaning, and passion, and how you can improve your own life by serving others.
• “Play big” from your positions of strength and to take calculated risks that achieve results.

Race to Amazing contains all the tools you need succeed in your exciting new journey of self-discovery and your race to the top. Best of all, you will not be alone while running this race. Included within the pages of this soon-to-be-released book are links to additional tools and resources, and links to develop new friends and fans. You will develop a support network spurring you on to continued growth, inspiration, and motivation.

Race to Amazing is a book that can help you achieve a life of personal greatness.

Success in Life Rules: Post by Cristian Mihai

Rules for Success in Life

success in lifeThere is a lot of “success in life” or self-improvement information floating around out there; some of it great, some of it good, and some of it not so good. Many people are trying to succeed at their dreams. If you can make your hobby your occupation, that is indeed one form of success.

Rules for Success by Earl Nightingale

Cristian Mihai’s post on Earl Nightingale’s 12 rules made me think. You might want to check it out.

via How Earl Nightingale’s 12 Rules Can Help You Succeed In Life

Reflect On Where You Are… And Want To Be!

Reading this post made me take a good look at the things I am doing to succeed in my goal to be a successful author. While it would be hard to put all 12 rules into play at one time, we can certainly begin working on one and then expand from there over time. I know I am going to be re-evaluating some of the things I have been doing in the light of Earl Nightingale’s 12 Rules.

So, I would just like to thank Cristian Mihai for sharing this post with his readers. It is one of the more helpful blog posts I have read in a long time, at least as far as reaching my goals are concerned.

Vietnam Veteran’s Day in Raleigh, NC

Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend!

Vietnam Veteran'sI went to the Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend held in  Raleigh. It was sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History & The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc. This turned out to be a very moving day. First, I will say it was a real honor to talk to several of these veterans. I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1979, so the Vietnam War had been over for 4 years. However, several of the drill instructors I had in Basic and AIT were Vietnam Veterans home from the war. As a young trainee, I was in awe of these veteran warriors.

Talking to Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veteran'sFrank Lazarro was there with a display. Frank is a Marine Corps veteran who wrote a poem about PTSD that I posted on this blog some time ago. I also talked to a veteran who was talking to visitors about the Huey chopper. Kids and adults were having a great time climbing on the chopper and sitting in the pilot’s seat. It brought back memories of my experiences flying over the jungles in Panama when I was with the 1/501st Air Assault. I also talked to a veteran who had published a book and we exchanged some writer’s “tips.”

One Vietnam Veteran’s Dioramas

Vietnam veteran'sI found myself admiring several dioramas depicting scenes from the Vietnam War. A man came up and said if I had any questions about them, he would be happy to answer them. His name was Ron Harris. He had built the dioramas. They were all good, but the one depicting the tunnel complex at Chu Chi really intrigued me. The  tunnel system built and utilized by the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies is simply amazing. Ron stated he had been back to Vietnam since the war, and the tunnels at Chu Chi have been converted to a major tourist attraction, albeit enlarged a bit to fit the frames of western tourists.

Etchings in Stone

We started talking about his dioramas and other topics and I mentioned my novel, Serpents Underfoot. I guess because its narrative begins in the jungles of Vietnam. Ron was interested in my writing and said he would have to get the Kindle version of my novel. I hope he enjoys it.

Ron then told me that the play, Etchings in Stone, they were showing a filmed presentation of in the auditorium was written by him. I decided I needed to see it. So, after viewing a few more displays, I went into the auditorium to watch the film. It was, simply put, amazing.

It opened with the playing of Taps. Then the audience finds themselves having the unique perspective of somehow being inside the black wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and listening to the thoughts and words of visitors to the memorial. An officer who lost men, a buddy, a girl friend, a Gold Star Mother, a Gold Star Father, the wife of an MIA, an Amerasian girl, an Antiwar Protester, and others. You participate in their emotional healing, their asking for forgiveness, their searching for answers, and longing for lost family members. Several of the scenes brought tears to my eyes.  The heart-touching scenes are interspersed with photos from the Vietnam War and very moving music, mostly by Country-style artists … and very well done.

My Father

Vietnam veteran'sThe scene that really got to me the most involved an Amerasian orphan. She approaches to the wall and talks of her birth parents. Her mother is a Vietnamese woman she has never met and who gave her up for adoption. Her father was an American soldier in Vietnam who was killed in action before he could marry her mother and take her back to America. The girl came to American, adopted by loving American family who has taken her into their hearts and home, and given her everything they could. She loves them dearly, but still sometimes wonders about her birth parents.

Now older, she goes back to Vietnam to try to locate her mother and perhaps find out who her father was. She manages to find an aunt, only to learn that her mother died in the 1980s.  Her aunt tells her that her mother would never talk about the American GI who was her father. The young woman returns to America and next seeks the help of other Vietnam veterans to try to determine who her birth father was. But, there is simply not enough information.

So finally, the young woman comes to the Wall to choose a name to be “the name” of her birth father. However, she is overwhelmed. There are over 50,000 names on the Wall. How can she choose one? She decides to choose them all! She will come back to visit them often and when she does, if anyone asks her if she knows someone whose name is on the wall, she will simply answer yes, “My father.” It was all I could do to keep from crying.

On the way out, I stopped to tell Ron Harris how much that play had affected me and how much I enjoyed it. It was really quite an amazing day.

 

 

Writer’s Block … What do you do about it?

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

writer's blockWriter’s block is experienced by every writer at some point. If you are a writer, it is fairly inevitable. You stare at the your display, fingers poised over the keyboard, but nothing comes. It is like you have lost the ability to produce any new work, or at the very least, you are experiencing a massive creative slowdown. You are not alone in this. Some great writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), and Joseph Mitchell (The New Yorker),  have suffered from this affliction. So have cartoonist Charles M.Schultz, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, and songwriter Adele.

Common Causes of Writer’s Block

Conflicted feelings are often what causes writer’s block. You know how it goes … the writing needs to be perfect … there is a deadline looming … we want the project completed on time. We know what we know about our subject matter but we don’t know what our readers will know about it. We know how the story should unfold, but we don’t have all the research or facts we need. Our creative mind is stuck in neutral. And, no matter what we try, it will not get back in gear.

Some Common Suggestions to Overcome Writer’s Block

There are several several popular tips for overcoming writer’s block. I included a few below. But, to be honest, I have not had much luck with any of these.

  • Step away:  Do something else creative like maybe working on your website, painting, playing an instrument. Exercise the creative side of your brain and you should soon be back into the groove of writing.
  • Move:  Dance, ride a bike, do yoga, practice Tai Chi, or swim. Activities such as these will relax your mind and let the creative process flow again,
  • Eliminate Distractions:  Turn off your phone, unplug from the internet. Straighten up your work area. Ask you friends to honor your time devoted to writing. Writing takes solitude.

What I Have Found to Work Best

Sometime ago I was at a North Carolina Writer’s Network writer’s conference at UNC Greensboro,  In one of the sessions I attended, the presenter discussed this very problem.  He explained that often, writer’s block is caused when your brain is unhappy with the direction your narrative has taken. He suggested looking carefully at where your narrative started down its current path … and deleting everything from that point forward.  Yes … it certainly seems a bit drastic, but I  used this technique twice while writing Serpents Underfoot. And, it worked very well. In addition, you can also tailor this technique to be chapter specific. This technique does not necessarily need to be applied to the entire project. If you write like I do, you may do some jumping around.

Let me know if you try it and it works for you!