What They Say
“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.
HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013 GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008* MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008 * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012
Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.
Voodoo Summer (LeGarde Mysteries Book 11)
Available now at Amazon.com
Every family has its secrets…
Summer, 1966: For thirteen-year-old Gus LeGarde, summertime always means Loon Harbor, his grandparents’ idyllic fishing resort on Great Pond. The season is a grand tradition of swimming, boating, and new adventures with his best friends, twins Siegfried and Elsbeth. But this summer, everything changes when a new lodge down the shore threatens the resort—and triggers a chain of events that will transform Gus and his friends forever.
Pre-order The Seacroft.
The Seacroft: a love story (Paines Creek Beach Book 2)
1, Aaron Paul Lazar - Amazon.com
Falling for the wrong guy can be hazardous to your heart. Vivian Wood is desperate. After her beloved brother dies of a sudden aneurism and her mother develops Alzheimer’s, she needs a good job and a place to stay. She finds it at The Seacroft, a Cape Cod seaside mansion ruled by ...
Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:
DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES (print, eBook, audio book)
HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)
TALL PINES MYSTERIES
FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)
THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (coming soon)
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.
Illustration © 2006 GinELF
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind Volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar.
"Audiobooks — how to get your novels into ACX, part I." Copyright © 2016 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author.
Audiobooks — how to get your novels into ACX, part I
Have you ever wondered how to get your published book produced as an audiobook?
I highly recommend doing so, and actually have already produced twenty-four audiobooks using ACX. ACX stands for Audiobook Creation Exchange. Simply put, they are a fantastic organization. The website is designed for narrators, producers, and authors alike, and it helps them find each other and then collaborate to produce audiobooks that are ultimately sold on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.
I’m going to document the process for you in a few articles so you can give it a try yourself. You’ll need to know how to get started, how to get through the editing process, and what to do once your book is available for sale. This is Part I.
A little Bit of History
I’ve tried to record my own books. Lord knows, I’ve tried. I spent a week downloading various audio programs, playing with the settings, recording the same few chapters over and over again. Every time I messed up a word, or a loud truck went by, or the dogs barked, I’d have to start over. Because, naturally, I know NOTHING about editing audio files.
Of course, it was insane to try such a monumental task sitting in a bedroom with unprofessional equipment.
I drove myself nuts. Finally, after hours of labor, I created some audio files of me reading the first few chapters in Tremolo: cry of the loon, and posted them up on my website.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the process of reading my words, even if I was totally clueless and had no production skills in this arena. But guess what? While I was trying to record my books, I wasn’t writing. And if I hoped to get my complete set of books recorded as audiobooks, it would have taken months. I’d never get my current manuscript finished at that rate.
So, I sent off a few of the mp3 samples to my publisher. She had her “audio guy” listen to them, and he said they had too much “hiss,” that I’d need a different mic. Of course, I had used the simple microphone that comes with my MacBook Pro, and that naturally isn’t geared for serious recording.
Disappointed, and a little bit jaded from the experience, I set it aside for a while. After all, I had books to edit that were scheduled for upcoming releases, and I was supposed to be working on yet another book in my Tall Pines Mystery series. With the full time day job, there wasn’t time left for anything extra.
The dream of getting my books into audiobooks didn’t die, it just simmered at the back of the stove for a little while until a good friend gave me a tip. Her Simon & Schuster book was going to audiobook format through a company called ACX.
Excited, I started to investigate. As I mentioned earlier, ACX is a wonderful site where authors, producers, and actors can network and pair up. The nicest part of this is one available option called “Royalty Share” where the narrators, actors, producers and authors do the recording work up front, put no money down, and then split the royalties when the audiobooks are sold.
Of course you can also simply hire a narrator and his studio to do the recordings, and keep your share of the royalties for yourself, if you want. But that is costly ($200-400 per hour) and unless you are a really famous author, it’s probably not a good investment.
Alternatively, you can still use ACX if you narrate your own books. Remember, you’ll probably have to invest in a good mic, some decent software, become well-versed in manipulating audio files, and maybe have an audio-techie colleague help you. There are plenty of options.
Important Stuff (Please read carefully)
You need to find out who owns the audio rights for your book(s).
Check your book contract, and if you’re not sure, call your publisher.
I hadn’t really paid attention to that part of the contract with my publisher, Twilight Times Books, but soon discovered that my publisher had not listed “audio rights” in our contract, so the rights were mine.
For those whose publishers have retained the audio rights, don’t panic. Your publisher or agent can submit your books to ACX if he or she is so inclined; you’ll just have to share the royalties with her and your actor/narrator/producer until you renegotiate your contract when the time is up.
If you establish that you own the audio rights, the next step is to register at ACX.
You can use your Amazon userid and password if you already have such, so it’s easy. Then just follow the steps to link to your eBook and upload all the details about the work—number of pages, genre, synopsis, and a short excerpt for the actors to use in their audition. You can also target the “type” of narrator you want, including gender, age, type of voice, etc.
(Please note: You must already have your eBook in the Amazon bookstore before you can load it up on ACX to get your audiobook started.)
The First Audition
I was thrilled to receive an audition almost immediately for Tremolo: cry of the loon.
The voice actor/narrator, Erik S, did a great job, creating a very young-sounding voice for my eleven-year-old Gus LeGarde. I was pleased with his accents for Gus’s grandparents who live in Maine, Oscar and Millie Stone (British transplants), Elsbeth and Siegfried (German twins, Gus’s friends,) etc. Each voice was consistent and unique, and wonderfully rendered.
You can listen to a sample chapter here.
The First Fifteen-Minute Sample
After we connected and discussed Tremolo and my expectations, Erik prepared the first fifteen-minutes sample. I listened, made a few minor suggestions, and then approved the posted files. This is important for many reasons. For one thing, you need to confirm that the voices for each character are suitable and hopefully match the “voices in your head.”
I know, that sounds a little weird, but if you’re like me and consider your stories like parallel universes, then you know exactly how your characters sound, and you often picture them in movies with actors you’ve already chosen for them.
Am I right?
The whole idea of checking out the first fifteen minutes is so that your British character doesn’t sound like he’s from the Bronx, or your plucky heroine doesn’t sound too frail. Also, it gives you a good chance to check the quality level of the recording facilities that your producer is using.
We didn’t have to do much adjusting, frankly, because Erik really nailed the accents without any coaching. He recorded the entire book over a period of a month, sending me batches of audio files to listen to, and when we were done catching any errors that might have crept into the files, he worked on the technical items that needed fixing.
Erik went back to working on the files, and it was at that point that I tried to upload my book cover art into the required field on my Tremolo ACX page. Horrified, I discovered that the cover art needed to be a square image of 2400 x 2400 pixels.
All of my covers to date were rectangular, formatted for eBooks.
I tried to cut the book cover down by cropping it, but there was no way it was going to work and look proper in a square format.
Eventually, like most guys, I finally looked at the directions. I studied the examples on the webpage of what was “acceptable” and what wasn’t. Right there in front of me was the botched up cover just like the one I’d attempted, with top and bottom cropped. Next to it was another stuck in a square with white borders.
Nope. I quickly realized that the cropping or squeezing-it-all-into-a-little-box approach was not going to cut it.
The “acceptable” cover was designed from scratch to fit in a square template.
It was at this point that I started to worry about my rights again. I would need the layered version of my covers so I could play with the original art and design it to fit in a square box.
Then I started to think about it in earnest…who owns those cover art files?
I wondered if my publisher would object to my using the eBook files, since she wasn’t involved in this venture. I helped with the designs, and yes, many of my own photos and concepts were used, but I soon discovered I didn’t own the designs. My publisher was very sweet about it, but she pointed out that she’d paid an artist to do the designs, and that they were legally hers. I love my publisher and would never try to cross the line. So, off I went to create new, original, square audiobook covers.
Fortunately I have used Photoshop and knew how to go about it. I’ve been designing “place holder” covers for years, even before I submitted my manuscripts to my publisher, so I had lots of images to play with. Note: Since those early days, I’ve also come upon a superb cover designer who has helped me update some of those older covers. We’re still working on it as I write this. (Kellie Dennis, bookcoverbydesign.co.uk)
I set about creating new, square covers using my Photoshop Elements application.
Erik uploaded the final files to ACX, and I automatically approved them, since I’d already listened to each one so many times and felt comfortable that they’d be fine.
That was a HUGE mistake.
I always say, “double check, triple check,” and am usually quite obsessed with being absolutely sure all is good. Even though the original files sounded wonderful, and I’d re-listened after the edits were performed, I should have confirmed one last time when they were officially loaded up to the system.
I subsequently received notification from ACX that some of the chapters were missing or repeated. Both Erik and I had missed the uploading errors. But thankfully, the Quality group at ACX does a screening up front, and the mistakes were quickly corrected.
If you’ve ever wanted to have your books recorded and available for folks to listen to, give it a try. Here is the home page for ACX, where you can get started on your next adventure.
P.S. You can listen to some samples of my audiobooks here.
Aaron Paul Lazar
WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (audio books)
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!