Moonburner is Officially an Audiobook + Narrator Interview + Giveaway!

Moonburner is Officially an Audiobook + Narrator Interview + Giveaway!

At long last, Moonburner is officially an audiobook! You can buy it through Audible, Amazon, or iTunes.  If you aren’t an Audible member, you should think about it, it’s amazing. Every month you get a free audiobook, plus you get 30% off all audiobooks, all for $14.95 a month. As an Amazon prime member, you can get a three-month free trial membership, or as a regular old human, you can try it for free for a month. (Plus, if you start a new membership and Moonburner is your first purchase, I get $50 bucks from Amazon! So, that would be awesome.)


GIVEAWAY ALERT!

To celebrate the launch of Moonburner in audiobook form, I am hosting a giveaway! Enter to win one of five free copies of Moonburner, or a three month subscription to Audible!!! If you are already an Audible member, you would be entitled to three book credits. The Giveaway ends October 1!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


INTERVIEW WITH MY NARRATOR, EMMA LYSY

Emma Lysy audiobook narrator

I detailed the process of turning a book into an audiobook in this blog post here. But everyone I talk to about audiobooks are also super curious about audiobook narrators! How do you become one, what’s the technology like, etc. So to celebrate Moonburner’s audio launch, I’ve interviewed Moonburner’s narrator, Emma Lysy, to answer your burning questions!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself!

A: I live in Lansing, Mi – before that Orlando, FL; before that – Southwest Michigan. My black cat Bende is very interested in narration work, as he must be locked in a separate part of the house while I’m recording because he’ll do anything it takes to try to get into the booth with me.

Q: How did you get into working as an audiobook producer?

A: I’d always been interested in narration, and the larger world of voice over in general. I remember going to an acting workshop with a guy who was one of the few actors who made their entire living from acting alone, and 98% of that came from commercial work. He told me I was good at the acting part of it and had an interesting voice. I don’t have the hearty baritone necessary to land the Toyota commercials he was doing, but I did love reading and listening to books. When the opportunity presented itself, I took it! Even though I had no idea what I was doing and definitely had a lot of learning to do.

Q: Tell us about your process. How long does it take? What is your equipment like?
A: I know some narrators’ ratio of time worked to finished product is something like 6:1 on a good day. That is, there are 6 hours of work (prep, outtakes, retakes, mastering, editing, etc) to every 1 finished hour of audio. This also depends on how much you outsource and how much you do yourself, but it’s a lot – I’ve met people who believe a 5 hour book can be easily produced in a day because it’ll only take 5 hours. If only this were true. Equipment wise, it can be as fancy or spendthrift as you need. The basics of a good setup are a good, dead room (noise wise, that is), a computer, and a mike. That said, while you can technically produce an audiobook these three things, investing in better equipment, tailoring your space to reduce noise, and hiring professionals is the real baseline of a quality production.
Q: How do you decide what the characters should sound like?
A: Sometimes the book tells you – so and so is a 90-year-old woman. So and so has an accent, etc. But beyond that it’s largely intuitive. It’s an extension of the acting you’re already putting into that character based on their words.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of producing an audiobook?
A: It’s a lot of work. But, it’s the kind of work that streamlines itself as you do it longer. When I first started I could hardly record a 15-minute chapter at a time, I would just get bored and want to stop. But now, it’s easy to sit down and do a three-hour session in the morning and again at night. Being challenged isn’t a bad thing, in fact if your work isn’t challenging you, than I can’t imagine it’s very fun.
Q: How do you pick which projects to work on?
A: A combination of numbers, what I think my voice will suit, and whether I like it. Any one of those can be top priority for different projects. Sometimes you’ll sacrifice good numbers for a project you like, or vice versa. Mostly though, it’s going to come down to numbers. How I’m paid (sometimes in royalties, sometimes up front – sometimes a combo of both), how the book is selling, etc. While narration is art and I love it, it’s not something I’d do for free. But I’ve had the privilege to get to work on some books that were a pleasant combination of well written and best selling.
Q: Tell us about a few of your favorite authors/books.
A: My favorite books are the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. They’re so strange and surprising and they stay in my head for days. Also Beauty, by Robin McKinley – a fantastic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It cuts down on drama but doesn’t in any way sacrifice storytelling and character. A Series of Unfortunate Events – particularly as read by Tim Curry – shaped my youth. Shannon Hale, David Sedaris, Michael De Larrabeiti are other favorites. I’m also a fan of memoirs by funny women, and those are always my favorite audiobooks. Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch have written my favorites.
Q: Are you involved in other aspects of the publishing world?
A: I’m also a graphic designer (emmalysydesign.com! I know, it’s a shameless plug) and specialize in book and audiobook covers!
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you!
A: I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose. I know this is over the internet, but I swear it’s true

Seven Ways to Snag Free Books

Seven Ways to Snag Free Books

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are a ton of free books out there! So if you love a deal or just can’t wait to get until your library holds come in, this list is for you.

  1. Bookbub and Book-bub wannabes

Bookbub Free Books

There are a ton of websites out there that specialize in delivering free or reduced priced e-books right to your inbox. Readers love it, because they can pick up great books for cheap or free, and authors love it because they get new readers for their discount books or later books in their series (if they are giving away a first book for free). Bookbub is the biggest player in the market, but there are a ton of other options, too!

2. Netgalley

Netgalley ARC copies

Netgalley is a website that allows you to sign up for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of upcoming releases, in exchange for providing a review of the book. Pretty much every major and minor publisher uses this site to distribute their ARCs. You ask publishers to provide you an ARC, and the publisher can accept or reject your request. This website is tailored for professional reviewers down to hobby bloggers, but publishers will be more likely to send you an ARC if you have some sort of website. But, saying you’ll post your review on Goodreads and Amazon is likely good enough for some publishers!

3. Library Thing

Library thing

If Goodreads and Netgalley had a baby, it would be this website. This site allows you to post reviews and share book recommendations, but also has two features that give away books: the Early Reviewers option and Member Giveaways. The Early Reviewers option is like Netgalley in that authors and publishers give away ARCs in exchange for a review, while the Member Giveaway feature is just authors giving away copies. Both are pretty easy to get books through, even if you don’t have a blog or website.

4. Shelf Awareness & Publisher’s Weekly

Shelf Awareness ARC copies

Shelf Awareness & Publisher’s Weekly are both publishing industry publications that have email newsletters. If you sign up for both (select the pro version of Shelf Awareness), you end up with a fair amount of information about the industry in your inbox (which I happen to find interesting), but also opportunities to request or enter to win ARC copies of new books. These are the real deal, paperbacks delivered right to your mailbox! I enjoy getting free physical books more than ebooks, so when one of these arrives, it is extra exciting.

5. Goodreads

Goodreads Giveaways

Goodreads provides authors with an easy way to give away print or e-copies of their books. When you give away a copy, people add your book to their “To Be Read” stack, so these giveaways help authors gain visibility. If you have a book in your To Be Read stack, you will get email updates about a new giveaway for that book. Or, you can peruse the giveaway section of the website to find books that look interesting to you!

Goodreads also has groups where you can sign up to beta read, or get free copies of books in exchange for reviews. Authors post blurbs of their stories and you can offer to read the ones that seem interesting to you! You can ever get audiobooks for free in these group sometimes!

6. Author Email Lists

Author newsletter

Sign-up page for one of my fav authors, Leigh Bardugo!

Authors these days, especially self-published authors, are connecting with readers through their e-mail lists. Email lists are a great way for authors to give you up to date info about new releases, but they are constantly wanting to share fresh and relevant content with readers to keep them engaged. By signing up for the email list of your favorite authors, you will gain the inside scoop for new releases, which often includes an opportunity to beta read for the author or read ARC copies. Authors will also share when their books go on sale, when they have a giveaway, or when their authors friends are having discounts or giveaways.

7. Wattpad

Wattpad

Wattpad is a social networking site that allows people to post and read stories and books for free. There are a lot of amateur writers getting their feet wet on Wattpad (which is great!) but there are also a lot of professional writers who share their stories on the site to connect with new readers. Wattpad allows you to read chapter by chapter in your browser or on your phone, and then like or comment on each chapter. You can interact directly with the author, which is pretty cool. With 45 million members, there are more stories and books on this site than you will EVER have time for.


So there you have it. More free books than you will ever have time to read! Two caveats. If you get a book for free in exchange for a review…write the review. It should absolutely be an honest review, and if you hated the book and quit 20 pages in, write that review too. We call those Do Not Finish (DNF) reviews, and that’s ok. Try to be objective (and not cruel) in explaining why the book wasn’t for you…if it might be in someone else’s wheelhouse though, say that!

Lastly, free books are great. Everyone loves a deal, and it gets people introduced to new authors all the time. But authors work really, really hard to write those books. And the average e-book costs $2-5. That’s less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and I know you don’t think twice about indulging in one of those every once and a while (or every day). So if you loved that first book in the series, buy the next one!

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Moonburner in this Huge YA Giveaway!

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Moonburner in this Huge YA Giveaway!

This month, Moonburner is a part of an amazing giveaway sponsored by Ripley’s Booklist, an awesome source for free and discount young adult books! There are twenty-seven YA books up for grabs, as well as an Amazon gift card!

Click HERE to enter!

Details:

How long does it run?  From August 3-31.

How many winners will there be? There will be 1 Gift Card Winner, 15 Paperback Winners, and 1 ebook winner (who will get 12 ebooks), so a total of 17 winners.
How will the winners be chosen? We will use https://www.random.org/to pick the winners.
When will the Winners be chosen?Thursday, September 1st.
How will the winners be informed? Once winners are chosen, I’ll send each of you information on how to contact your winner and award their prize.
Is the giveaway international? Yes it is!
Get a closer look at the books below!
Ya giveaway august

 

Host your own Book Giveaway in Five Easy Steps

Host your own Book Giveaway in Five Easy Steps

Congratulations to Lily Cooper of Tempe, Arizona, who is the winner of my first YA book giveaway! She’ll have some awesome summer reading to do!


This was my first attempt at a giveaway, and overall I’m pleased with the results. Doing something the first time always takes way longer than you think it will, so I’m doing this wrap-up post to compile my own lessons learned for next time, and to help you authors or internet entrepreneurs who might be thinking about doing your own giveaway.

So, without further ado, here’s my quick and dirty list of five steps to giveaway success!

1. Identify your objective

The first step is figuring out what you are trying to accomplish with your giveaway. Is it to drive traffic to your website? Is it to gain exposure to a certain audience? To grow your mailing list? Increase your following on Twitter or some other social media? You can’t be all things to all people, so identify your top priority for this giveaway and tailor your approach to that outcome.

My primary objective for my giveaway was to build my email list, and any additional traffic to my site or social media platforms would be a nice bonus.

2. Procure your giveaway item

Select your giveaway item based on what type of audience you want to attract. Giveaways do attract some folks who are in it just for the free stuff, so you want your prize to be tailored enough to weed out some of those people. If you give away a generic item like an Amazon gift card, you’ll get more of entries from people who aren’t even remotely interested in the industry you’re in or what you’re selling down the line.

I chose five trending YA books for my giveaway item. I write YA fantasy, and I wanted the people entering and signing up to my email list to be potential readers of my book. When I was putting together the plan for this giveaway, I read through Derek Murphy’s great post on how he used giveaways to build his mailing list to 8500+. In that post, he also recommends contacting author’s reps to buy signed copies of their books to give away. I wasn’t sure I would have time for that, because I wanted to conduct this giveaway before my book launches next month, but I will probably try that next time and see if it garners more interest.

3. Find your platform and select your rules

Now that you have your giveaway item procured, you have to choose which company to run your giveaway through. The main ones are Rafflecopter, King Sumo, and Gleam. Rafflecopter has a free version and the least functionality, and King Sumo seemed like the most expensive, but with more than I needed, and so this Goldilocks picked Gleam. Since I wanted to focus on growing my email list, I liked that the Pro version of Gleam allowed me to have people sign up for my email list as one of their entry actions. The Pro version is $39/month, but you sign up month to month, and since my competition has ended I downgraded my account to the free version. I found Gleam very easy to use, and the code was easy to install on my wordpress site.

Gleam allows for all sorts of entry types. To enter, I selected “sign up for my email list” as a required action. Then, people could share, follow me on twitter or facebook, visit my website, etc. for more entries. (You cannot require people to like your Facebook page for an entry though, as this is no longer permitted by Facebook). Allowing people to gain more entries by sharing is great because it gets the word out beyond your own social media reach, and drives further traffic to your giveaway and website.

A note on how long to run your contest. I ran mine for 12 days. I definitely would not do longer than this, and I might do shorter next time. I probably could have run it for a week with about the same results. Most of the activity happened right in the beginning, and then in the last few days, when I was tweeting and posting that people only had one day left to enter. The middle seemed to lag, and I was worried about oversaturating my social media following with posts about my giveaway, so I wasn’t advertising it much. You will have to figure out what is best for you, but 1-2 weeks seems right.

4. Advertise your giveaway

The most important part! If you’re going to the time and expense of hosting a giveaway, you want it to get the results you hope for! So advertising is key. Here is what I did to advertise my giveaway:

First day I did a blog post which went out to my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google + pages. I went into the Google + communities, Goodreads groups, and Facebook author groups that I am a member of and posted the info for the giveaway (where it was allowed by the rules).

I then posted my giveaway on the following sites: Contest Girl, Just Sweep, Online Sweepstakes, as well as a subreddit on Reddit about Gleam giveaways. I also paid $4.95 to post on Free Book Friday, and $14.95 for one week of premium advertising on Giveaway Promote. I could tell from my site statistics on wordpress that I was getting daily traffic from all of these sites, so I think these were worthwhile to list on.

I also Tweeted daily about my giveaway, using the giveaway hashtag. Once each time in the giveaway, I added the handle for each one of the authors whose book I was giving away, in the hopes that they would retweet to their followers. This would probably work even better if you had arranged with their reps to buy a signed book, so you were already on their radar.

The second to last day of my giveaway, I sent an email to my email list encouraging them to enter or share for more entries. I also republished my post indicating there were only two days left, which refreshed it to all my social media. The last day, I tweeted about the giveaway ending, and used the handles of all five of the authors whose books I was giving away. Two of them retweeted and I got a ton of new entries that last day!

5. Pick a winner and evaluate results

Picking a winner with Gleam is easy, you just press a button and it selects someone. Make sure to contact the winner and send out the prize in a timely manner!

Overall, I was pleased with the giveaway process. I had never done this before so it was a bit of an experiment for me. I spent about $110 on the whole thing ($50 for the prizes, $39 for  one month of Gleam Pro, $20 for advertising), and I got about 250 new email subscribers. Sure, it’s no 8,500 like Derek Murphy, but I am basically starting from scratch, so it’s better than nothing! I got the most page visits I have ever gotten on my blog, and a lot of new followers on all of my social media platforms.

Next time, I think I would partner with other bloggers and authors ahead of time so I could gain more exposure and reach. Partnering with five to ten other authors and each promoting each other’s giveaways would allow for a lot more engagement and entries. (Anyone interested in partnering with me next time?)

As a last thought, giveaways are great to drive traffic, but they don’t convert this traffic into fans. You have to take the next step to convert that name on your email list into someone who is engaged and excited about your work. That can be through providing great content to your subscribers, or giving them a piece of your work like a sample chapter or novella for free to get them exposed. I am just finishing up a novella, and I will be offering a free e-book copy to everyone on my email list in a few weeks in the hopes of getting some of those people to start reading my work and becoming fans. The giveaway is just the beginning!

ENDED: My YA Book Giveaway: 5 of 2016’s hottest titles!

ENDED: My YA Book Giveaway: 5 of 2016’s hottest titles!

This giveaway has ended.


 

Everyone loves free books!

To celebrate the upcoming launch of my young adult novel and to thank you guys for all your support in this process, I’m hosting a giveaway of five of 2016’s hottest YA books! Two of these I’ve read (check out my reviews here and here), and three are high on my two-read list.

So how do you enter to win? Sign up for my email list, or check out the other ways below.

 

Young Adult Novel Giveaway

Here’s more on what you could win!

SIX OF CROWS, by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.


Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.


Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard


Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her–but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


The lucky winner of the contest will get all five of these great reads in hardback! How do you enter to win? All you have to do is sign up for my email list, and share it with friends to get more entries!

 

Good luck and happy reading!

Young Adult Novel Giveaway

Don't forget to grab your FREE copy of Burning Fate, my young adult fantasy romance!

You have Successfully Subscribed!