Audio books – is it reading?

Editorial: In defense of audio books

I’ve come to the conclusion that reading books by listening to unabridged audio books has to have more applause from all of us readers. To be exact, it’s got to have fans who think it may be a pretty good replacement for the drudgery and wasted time of eye reading. Think about it. Eye reading requires a quiet spot, stopping all that you are otherwise doing, and owning a book or computer which will have print the right size to see well. These fans would see the value of ear reading or listening, similar to the phenomenon that has propelled music to the point of using an substantial amount of our daily waking attention.

Centuries ago there would not have been such a choice about stories. Stories were told and retold orally at all levels of society. Narrators or storytellers had their due, rated as highly as any other actor for their inflections, voices and humor. The change came with the printed book and the act of possession of a story. The reader now owned the story as property and could read and reread with a personal inflection, good or bad.

Today, we can return to the oral storytelling if we wish. It’s not such a bad choice. Many times the eyes do not read as well as the ears. The mind and ear partnership can provide so much more enjoyment with the voice of a gifted narrator than what the mind and eyes can do alone.

So, its not always a bad choice to go backward to a better way of storytelling.

Channels and Pricing on CreateSpace

In CreateSpace, choosing or changing the channels the book is available on has a marked impact on the base price of that book. You can do this selection either when you set up your book or after it’s live.

The pricing discussion gets a little tricky. I’ll try my best to simplify. The base price, here in CreateSpace, has to account for both Amazon’s cut and for the third party’s cut, just in case the book does sell at a third party location. Barnes & Noble wants to list the book at the same price that Amazon does. So even on Amazon, where that cut isn’t being shared, it’ll still have the higher price. That across-the-board price has to always account for Barnes & Noble having a share of the price. So what that means is for a $30 full-color book, on Barnes & Noble (expanded distribution) they get a share of $6, Amazon gets their share of $6 (as the distributor) and I make a share of under $1. In comparison, if the book sells directly on Amazon, since Barnes & Noble isn’t getting a share of that sale, I now get a cut of nearly $7. And if the book sells on CreateSpace, where neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble are getting a cut, I get a large cut of nearly $13. That one global price is being shown on all systems, even if there isn’t a “reason” for it to be that high on a given system beyond the price match desire.

Example with images:

Across the River – an 1800s Black / Native American Novella

Across the River is now LIVE! Grab your copy today!

Part black. Part Irish. Part Lumbee Indian.

Wholly determined to protect her family.

Naomi Jackson made a mistake. Born in the tumltuous years following the American Revolution, she embraced change, excitement, and adventure. So when the Devil Bill Williams swaggered into town, she launched into his arms, determined that her love for him could overcome all obstacles.

It couldn’t.

Now she has two young children, a life of misery, and a hopeless, desperate desire to escape.

Then David Oxendine arrives for a Christmas visit – and things will never be the same.

* * *

Across the River – an 1800s Black / Native American Novella is the first in a series of novellas about Naomi Jackson’s heartfelt, challenging life. These stories are based loosely on author Lisa Shea’s real-life ancestor, Naomi Jackson, who was born in 1784 in Guilford County, North Carolina. Her father had been taken from Northern Ireland as a child, while her mother was mixed-blood black, Lumbee, and Irish. Each novella has a cliff-hanger ending, much like Naomi’s life.

An important note for readers of my various series. Normally my content is quite “clean” with little to no swearing, violence, or physical intimacy. With this being based on the immense hardships my ancestor struggled through, I wanted to be authentic to the issues she rose above. This book therefore includes period-appropriate harsh language as well as several scenes of conflict. I gave a great deal of thought to including these and feel they are necessary to fully convey the trials she overcame.

Please feel free to contact me at my website if you have any questions or comments – I thrive on your feedback.


How the Writing World Has Changed by Tom Hollyday, Boston Writers

Let’s assume that we still write the way we were taught in the old days at our writing schools. The word was express yourselves, be true to yourselves, and whatever you do, don’t write for the money. To be absolutely sure you are true to yourself, you write only about what you honestly believe. You write without undue pressure to succeed. Yes, you might even get a real job and write only as a hobby.

Today if you follow that concept here’s what you have. Let’s assume you have come to writing later in your life after you have put away enough money to live on. You start by printing chapters of your book in a blog and gaining readers. Then you send your book to dozens of worthy agents using quick email. If you don’t succeed in these efforts to get a publisher, you publish yourself at a very low cost. Without a publisher footing the bill, you do your own editing. Added to that you hire a consultant to promote your book. Critical reviews can be found to improve your standing in the markets.

So what does this mean for the present day writer? The old saying is still good. Be true to yourself. Write what you feel. If you write well and your book is interesting, you should get attention. Note, I said interesting. Here’s the catch about being true to yourself. Many writers get a mental block that what they are saying is very important to the reading public. Then they spend a lot of time and money trying to convince that public that they are right. They may be wrong and that is why their books don’t sell. Just like in the old days, if it’s boring, better leave your book on your desk.

Let me know what you think from your own experiences.