I’m very please to bring readers and authors this interview with Randy L. Scott, author of Awakening – Will the Circle be… Randy talks in great length about creating audio books in his interview. It’s very informative stuff so check it out!
- What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)
- Randy L Scott, I live in northern California, in the rural foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sometimes it’s the state of confusion, other times it’s a state of pure bliss!
- What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
- My newest book is Awakening – Will the Circle be… It is the closing book in my three novel series, The Dream Messiah. The genre is Adventure Fiction with Magical Realism – think Jack London meets Carlos Castaneda
- What is the book about?
- This conclusion finds my main character with a new identity, and still not sure if he’s falling into psychosis or a world where he’s the chosen one. He needs to find the truth and finds more than he bargained for when he chooses to live with the Punan Dyaks of Borneo
- In the previous novels, Jake Barnes was introduced to lucid dreaming and told of a tribe of nomads in remote Borneo who are preparing for the end of the world, manifesting a messiah to take them to the next life. Jake escaped a 20 year prison sentence for murder in Alaska. He was given the opportunity for a new life, but wasn’t sure if he was dealing with a guardian angel, or the devil. After committing a heinous act, Jake was free to go anywhere but home under his new name. But trouble and the police, were never far behind. Jake runs to Indonesia and the island of Borneo in his quest to find the Punan Dyaks, understand their prophecy and his place in the world.
- Where did you come up with the idea?
- The idea came fast. I was hiking across the Superstitious Mountains in Arizona in the 100+ degree heat and stopped to rest under the shade of a cactus. While watching the clouds blow by, I thought about a recent PBS Adventure Series I’d recently seen where the Blair brothers were documenting their travels through Indonesia and went in search or the Punan Dyaks. I tied that into some of my own experiences building a homestead site in remote Alaska.
- How long did it take you to write it?
- Over thirty years since I first put pen to paper and began to outline the story. It started as one novel that kept growing. Finally I was convince to break into a series of three. I did lot’s of re-writing on advice of my developmental editor and had to make sure each installment had it’s own arc in addition to the overall story arc.
- Did you learn anything from the project?
- Oh so much! I learned I need to get a developmental editor early on to guide the story and make sure I’m on track with the genre and structure. I learned that even after line editors and a professional proof-reader, there a still LOTS of spelling and grammar mistakes. Now I print a half-dozen author’s proof copies (cheap) and give to friends who are great about finding those little mistakes, marking them in the print book and sending it back to me – before publication!
- I wish I’d have gone in Kindle Unlimited for the first ninety days or more to get more reviews and page reads, before going wide.
- Everything takes longer than you think. At some point you need to let go and get it out. There is a happy medium between putting out flawed work and never getting it out because you can’t stop editing. Don’t skimp on spelling, grammar and formatting. You’ll never reach perfection with the storyline so don’t nitpick over and over and over again.
- Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
- My website is https://randco.me I do have a blog on the website with information about the books, my life and writing, along with book reviews of novels I’ve read. I don’t have a book video yet. Once I’ve finished producing the audiobook version of this series, then I will have a trailer made.
- Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
- The biggest tips are about editing. Check out The Story Grid method, by Shawn Coyne. Get your genre figured out first, what the tropes are and how to keep your readers turning the pages. Print lots of cheap copies of your (completed) work to give away to a team who will root out all those little errors that made it past your proofreader. Reading your book out loud, or having your computer read it to you, will also find awkward phrases.
- Although I enjoyed my last team of editors, I’ll be going with one of the Story Grid editors for my work in progress.
- Don’t go cheap on your cover or book blurb. No one will open your book if they don’t past these first to exposures to your work. I used Maria Sinclair for my book covers. I think she did a great job and love the way they are link thematically. I recommend her, but she is no longer taking on new clients.
- What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
- My reading has always been all over the map. I love literature, adventure, thriller and humor and history. Lately I’ve been reading more thrillers because that’s the genre of my work in progress.
- I love finding new authors and discovering great stories with good writing. For the last two years I’ve been posting reviews of nearly every book I’ve read in that timeframe. The few I’ve read that were pure crap – I don’t leave a review.
- What is your favorite book of all time and why?
- My favorite book changes from day to day. One book that just came into my mind is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. I like a book because the story is great, or the writing is fantastic and witty. I’ve given away half a dozen copies (careful who I give it to) and everyone has remarked that at some point(s) they have doubled over or fallen on the floor laughing.
- Nobody can turn a phrase like Tom Robbins or Douglas Adams.
- The best audiobook I’ve listened to is Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, read by Kristoffer Tabori. It is the pinnacle of voice acting and narration.
- I read you are narrating the audiobook version of your series. Please let our readers know more about that process– from the start to the finished product!
- I consider myself one of the exceptions to the rule: Authors shouldn’t narrate their own work.
- I have a background in professional, on-stage storytelling. I know how to read well and voice act. I’m still getting vocal/acting coaching and wouldn’t recommend anyone to narrate either fiction or non-fiction without a coach.
- I am also an audio engineer. I’ve had my own home studio for a decade with the proper equipment, recording room acoustic treatment and the software to edit and master to a final, polished product.
- I consider myself one of the exceptions to the rule: Authors shouldn’t narrate their own work.
- My computer sits outside the vocal booth. Inside, along with the microphone, I have a remote monitor screen, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. On one third of the monitor is the manuscript. I highlight (in different colors) the dialogue so I know who is speaking. It’s easy to silently scroll through as I read. The other two-thirds of the screen is my recording software (DAW or Digital Audio Workstation).
- I record using the PNR (Punch and Roll) method. As soon as I make a mistake, I roll back the audio and re-record the last phrase.
- Although my room is well treated acoustically to deaden echoes or reverberations and drastically cuts down the outside noise – there is no way to keep it dead silent. While recording, I have to turn off the refrigerator and stand-up freezer (located in the garage directly below my booth) and the pool pump. During summer hours an attic fan comes on automatically from early/mid morning till well into the evening, so I can’t record during those times. That makes it early morning or late evening to record. We live in very quiet area so traffic noise is not a concern. No one around here has a lawn, but leaf blowers and chainsaws always halt the recording process.
- I can edit the recordings to quiet breathing, adjust space between words and phrases, etc. any time of the day. I also have the proper audio repair software so I can eliminate the outside noises that sneak through like inadvertent squeaks of a chair, rubbing clothes, knocks against the desk, a dark bark or my cat letting me know he needs attention.
- The biggest challenges are: keeping the pacing consistent, with a few exceptions where the action calls for ramping it up. Keeping the character voices consistent and being able to change when there is a scene with four characters all interacting.
- When I come across an awkward phrase or spelling/grammar mistake that still slipped through, I can change the manuscript right then. When I’ve finished with the first novel of the series, I can resubmit the manuscript to Amazon and Draft2digital. Anyone who gets the ebook or print version after that will have the new, improved, error-free edition and it will be Whispersynch ready!
- The last bit of quality check is to send the chapters to an audio proofreader who will read the manuscript while listening. They will note any missed words, contractions, mispronunciations and pauses that are too long or short.
- The standard formula is that one hour of ‘finished/mastered’ audio takes six to eight hours to produce, not included prepping the manuscript, eg color coding dialogue, marking places to speed up or slow down, etc. The actual narration is about two hours or more to record an hours worth, due to mistakes and taking breaks. Then that hour of narration will go through four to six hours of editing and mastering to get the audio to the specs required by any of the reputable audiobook distributors.
- My first novel in the series, Freedom – Just Another Word… is approximately 110,000 words. It will be about twelve hours of narration. If I’m slow, using the 8:1 ratio, I will put in ninety-six hours into this project. I already have the equipment so my only out-of-pocket expense will be for ‘proofing’. My cost is low, but time commitment is high.
- I was planning to release the first audiobook in November 1029. There was a two-week interruption when the power company turned off the electricity here in northern California during the wildfire threat. Today is the 17th of November and I can see that it will take me till the end of the year.
- Fun Question: Do you have any pets?
- Sam, the cat, may argue that he has us. We’ve been together for nine years and lived in three different houses.
- Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
- I have an older Kindle and an iPad. I enjoy both. The Kindle is easier to hold while reading in bed at night if I’m lying down. When sitting up, the iPad is a better experience. On the Kindle I’m not tempted to check email or social media while reading. Both of them suck in bright light outdoors.
- I still enjoy have a physical book in my hand too, and the look of our bookshelves full of books.
I’m happy to give a free e-copy of the first novel in the Dream Messiah series to your readers at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/lawml1popp
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1718157118
Draft2Digtal Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/47Zwlj
*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.