• Diane Marina

An Independent Author’s Partner in Crime

As an independently-published author, all decisions fall on me – what to write, when to write it, what genre to focus on, how to promote it, and in which formats to publish.

Some decisions are no-brainers – we authors write what comes to us, when it comes to us (I wrote my latest while working full-time and attending grad school part-time, so we don’t always have the freedom of when to write.) I think it’s safe to say that everyone who self-publishes these days releases an electronic version. Many also release an accompanying paperback. More recently though, we authors are faced with the question of whether or not to produce audio books.

Producing an audio version of my 2014 release, How Still My Love was a big, scary step for me. I don’t like change. Not. One. Bit. I asked myself, “How much will it cost?” “How do I do this?” “How do I find a narrator?” “Will the book sell?” But I took a big step and put the book into production, clicking that “submit” button before I could change my mind. And I haven’t regretted the decision once. Here’s why:

1. If you choose the right narrator for your project, you’ll have someone who is experienced and can walk you through the process, and answer the many questions you’ll have. At the very least, she’ll let you know what to expect and what you need to do next – so you’re not in this completely alone.

2. During production, your narrator is someone you can bounce ideas off of (while How Still My Love was being produced, I was writing my current release, After the Glitter Fades. My narrator helped me flesh out one of the characters by sending me samples of one character in particular that I was on the fence about.

3. Your narrator is a third (or fourth, fifth, sixth…) set of eyes proofing your work. No matter how many times you read your work yourself, or how skilled your editor is, there will always be errors you didn’t catch. Your narrator will be reading your book out loud and will likely catch these errors. If she's nice, she'll even tell you what these are.

4. You’ll increase your audience because your narrator has followers too, and she can also give away free copies of your work. She has different contacts than you, and probably belongs to a whole different set of Facebook groups than you do. Even if she is a member of the same group, having her promote the book by giving away copies sometimes makes the crowd more receptive.

5. The final product could trigger some ideas in that always-churning brain of yours. Hearing what my narrator did with the character mentioned above, I thought it would be a great idea to write a sequel, focusing on said character.

Overall, this new venture has been a terrific experience. I was fortunate enough to find someone I consider THE best partner in crime (Daniela Acitelli – authors, check her out if you’re shopping for a professional narrator), and I fully plan on working with her again – if I can find the time to start working on the next “work in progress”. Read more about my experience with adding audio books to my portfolio in my guest blog on the Women and Words site on May 6th.

I'm interested in hearing about other authors' experiences - feel free to comment.

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