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Messages - TobiasRoote

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 19, 2017, 10:43:09 AM »
I listen to audiobooks a lot and I think your audio is nice!
Once, I tried to listen to one that had “ambient medieval music”.. It was too loud, too distracting, and repeated over and over for (presumably) 10 hours. Needless to say, I didn’t listen long enough to find out.

Valuable review, thank you. :D

Writers' Cafe / Re: When are you going to publish your first book in 2018?
« on: December 19, 2017, 03:25:39 AM »
I'm late and my 8th book Rigelian Gambit is now going into pre-order this weekend for delivery 17th January 2018 (four years almost to the day after my first book was published).

If I delivered it now it would probably get completely lost and swallowed up in the Christmas rush....

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 19, 2017, 02:03:55 AM »
A similar subject came up a couple years ago. We discussed the use of sound effects, background music, and ambient sounds.

The reaction from those here who are also professional narrators was highly negative. Their primary objection was that it had never been done with audio books, and so, as a deviance from the norm, it would not be acceptable. They even objected to brief music clips at the beginnings of chapters.

I suspected that their objections were because they themselves did not have the equipment or skills to add such sounds when they recorded for clients, and the introduction of a feature they couldn't support represented a threat to their competitive standing in the marketplace.

I'm glad someone is giving it a try.

I've listened to quite a few SF audible clips now and I'm finding the delivery often stilted and monotonous. There has to be some degree of animation with the narrator's voice to even keep me from falling asleep. I've read lots of anecdotes about people listening to audio books when they go to bed and having to repeat night after night to try and stay awake long enough to get to the end. I also can't help thinking that good narration is much harder than it first appears and even those who do it for a living are struggling to make their voices sound interesting. To me, the addition of professionally acted voices is beneficial to the story and the background sound also, so long as it is tempered to the foreground narration, is well worth it for providing interest.

I would be very disappointed if the reviews didn't also reflect the hard work of the narrator. I do think it is the way forward even if it takes time to be accepted.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 18, 2017, 11:30:34 PM »

As far as a scripted radio-theater production, it would require a different skill set. You'd have to hire actors, get them into a rented studio and direct their performances. Then the whole thing would have to be edited and mixed. The result would be a different product than an audio-book and would have to be marketed differently.

Sounds more expensive all the time. I think the market would be totally new and would appeal to radio stations more than audio-book markets. That's not saying it wouldn't be successful, but the ROI could be massive.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 18, 2017, 10:27:10 AM »
Fantastic narrator.

If you turned the book into a radio script, how would that affect your whispersync sales?

I have no idea. i'm not even sure I 'like' whispersync

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audiobook trends for 2018 report
« on: December 18, 2017, 10:15:17 AM »
Interesting figures.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 18, 2017, 08:21:23 AM »
But I also think it could go full on "radio drama" with a scripted version of the presented with multiple actors, sound effects, and so forth. I'm thinking of trying this with my "Andy McBean" book, but it's an adventure story that lends itself to lots of aural effects.

I love this idea, but I would have to write it as a script and I'm not certain I'm up to that, or that it could be cost-justified. The narration fees would be enormous, I would think. :/

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 18, 2017, 08:19:39 AM »
Yes, here's the sample first 5 chapters I gave to Reddit listeners.

Writers' Cafe / Audio book with ambient sound
« on: December 18, 2017, 07:53:27 AM »

I recently asked on here what people thought of having ambient sound as a background to audio book narration of my latest book, Mutant Hunter. I didn't get a great response here so decided to put it to the harsh critics of Reddit. There were a number of people who said 'no way, Jose' but 87% of the Reddit audio books group gave it the thumbs up. As that was over 340 people I think that was a significant response.

As the book's gone live now WITH the ambient background noise and actor voices, it's a moot point, but if you WERE thinking of doing something similar, don't be put off by convention and make sure your narrator knows what he/she is doing. I'm lucky, my narrator has a great voice with a wide and versatile range. His added use of ambient sound is, to my thinking, contributory to the atmosphere of the story.

and lastly, don't be afraid to go to Reddit for feedback. They're worse than here, but still human (just).   :D

The Book Bazaar / Re: FREE Audio Book of the Mutant Hunter on Audible
« on: December 18, 2017, 07:25:06 AM »
I've amended the header and content to update the news on Mutant Hunter. I'm repeating it here.

As promised the AUDIO version of Mutant Hunter is out in time for Christmas.

In addition, I have FREE Audible codes to give away so, if you're interested in ten hours and thirty five minutes of action-packed Sci-Fi with a British accent, then send me an email, with your name, location (State and country) and whether you want a US code or a UK one. The audio book is also available on Amazon and iTunes as well as a variety of other platforms including OVERDRIVE. You can email me at

All I want in return is for you to enjoy the book and put up a review if you feel it's justified.


Here is the link to the eBook.

Grady searches out mutant humans to protect them from eradication by the corporations. While investigating a new colony on an outlying planet he discovers they might not be mutant at all. Grady believes he knows what they are, but announcing the discovery will force him to disclose his own hidden past. Can he still get the truth out there without getting himself killed by the Corporation's assassins.

Any questions slip them in below and i'll answer them if I can.   Thanks

Writers' Cafe / Re: TOC question
« on: December 17, 2017, 03:51:55 AM »
You should do what you want. There are no conditions. No rules. You can use roman numerals, Chinese characters, whatever.  Don't let us convince you otherwise.

Writers' Cafe / Re: When a rewrite works.
« on: December 16, 2017, 11:41:58 PM »

But yeah, I resisted that gut feeling for a long time that there were serious problems with the book and I should take another look at it, but I'm glad I finally did. Don't fiddle with old books just out of insecurity or perfectionism or whatever, but if that inner voice is telling you there's something wrong and it doesn't go away, it's probably worth a look.

Yes, This!

Writers' Cafe / Re: its crazy how much they want to record Audio books
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:29:37 PM »
Some perspective from a writer who has also narrated quite a few audiobooks:

A narrator takes the story you, the author, created and runs it through his or her body at a word-by-word, second-by-second, level. That's an intimate thing. Literal. Physical. Tactile. It has to be that way because an audiobook is an intimate experience for a listener, as well. When a listener hits 'play,' he or she will have the experience of a soft voice in his or her ear for hours on end. How many actual humans would you allow to stand about six inches from your body and whisper into your ear for hours? Not many, I'm guessing.

Narrators who do a great job are living your story and bringing it alive for readers. That's no small thing.

That's exactly right. It felt like I was hearing the book for the first time (and every time I hear it is the same). It's a marvelous thing when a voice/drama actor reads your book out loud.

Writers' Cafe / Re: When a rewrite works.
« on: December 16, 2017, 06:44:59 AM »
Despite the advice to the contrary, I ended up doing this, too. Writing a series all at once before releasing it meant that by the time I had the first book back from the proofreaders, I'd written most of the series. I thought I'd do a quick final check, read it out loud, and then have it ready to release. That didn't really work out. I'd learned a lot about the characters and world and become a better writer. A few small things added here or there would pay dividends in the next two books. I was reluctant because making changes was likely to introduce new spelling/grammar mistakes, but I finally talked to my editor and he made me a deal. I'm going to be a little more careful and do more editing on the second book before it goes to the editor.

I think I was caught up in "Writing in the Dark" and preserving voice. I don't know that I made the right choice, but I feel much better now.

That's good. I didn't listen to my 'inner voice' when I should have which is why it took four years (nearly five) before I made the corrections to the manuscript. I'm glad I did because I now look at all my books and think they represent me well enough. One should never leave a book untended if they think it needs more work even if it means creating a 'new' edition. I offered it out to my mailing list and had two hundred immediate downloads of the new version. Since then the sell-thru from the first to second book has improved. so, imo it was a good decision.

Writers' Cafe / When a rewrite works.
« on: December 16, 2017, 01:35:55 AM »
There's been a lot said on here about 'never going back' and not 'rewriting your first book' because, heck! There's more to be gained from writing another 'new' book. However, I ignored all that very sage advice and went back and re-wrote/edited Pattern Ship after four years of it being out there and over 40,000 copies sold. I did it because I know so much more now than I did then and I felt that I could now do it better. I decided not to change the story because that didn't need work. I did change some of the scenes, adding some, removing a little. I added more background where it needed and improved the dialogue so that it wasn't so clunky. I didn't change things like 'pavement' and 'sidewalk' because even when I'm writing American heroes, I'm still a 'Brit' and I knew I would still get stuff wrong which would be more glaring the more I tried to compensate. I felt it better to let things stand, especially as I'm going to have the book/series narrated by a British narrator.

The end result is that I no longer feel as if my 'first in series' is letting me down. It's definitely improving the sell-thru to the rest of the series and I now think that it was the right move - for me and for the reader. So, my point is this. Just because others tell you to do/not do something because that's the way it's done, shouldn't stop you from doing those things because that's what you want to do.

Writers' Cafe / Re: its crazy how much they want to record Audio books
« on: December 15, 2017, 10:24:03 PM »
I think the narrators get paid well for what they do and rightly so. If you can get a cheaper narrator its because he/she hasn't yet got their experience to a level where they can charge more. In a sense you're paying for that [lack of] experience. That doesn't mean a cheap narrator isn't really good, just that they are not well-known, or comfortable enough with their work to charge more. They charge what the market can bear, and have to maximise the income pfh that they can.

I recommend that if you are charging too little for your books, or getting too little in return for sales and page reads - up your prices. Increase your book price by $1 and you will soon be able to afford a $200 pfh narrator.

Writers' Cafe / Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« on: December 14, 2017, 09:25:21 AM »
I don't think you're grasping the point I'm trying to make. If you are going to establish a distributor for authors and put a gateway for entry, you have to put someone on the other side of that gateway, and that person has to decide what is and isn't worthy of inclusion.

It's really not that difficult to understand. You think that putting someone on the other side to 'curate' is going to solve the issue. I read science fiction, yet there are a ton of books out there I wouldn't touch with yours let alone mine. The issue is hours in a day, if you want someone to curate your books then you're going to quickly get into a vanity press type situation where you're going to be charged $500 upfront. Otherwise who has the time?

Curation is carried out by the reader. If your first four books don't sell your fifth isn't going to get on board my site. That's curation.

What you need to consider is that vertical markets exist within the book sector. You can then breakdown those vertical markets into smaller, more personal choices. Science Fiction can be broken down into multiple sub genres, so can others. I tend to read specific sub genres (in the main) I like military, space opera, first contact, alien invasion etc., etc.,  and I will follow authors and groupings on amazon that will give me a higher percentage of (SoS) success on search. If I built a website for authors tomorrow then I would appeal to a specific section of the market and not try to be an 'all things to all people' solution.

The only two requirements would be -- your books fit into the genres I sell, and your books fit into the genres I sell. (and yes, I did repeat myself).

Did you know that there are 2.5 million subscribers to AOL's dial-up service? even under Net Neutrality?

Honestly? The net neutrality issue is going to court and won't be decided anytime soon no matter what the FCC guy says or does. How will it end in court? We shall see. It might drag out so long it becomes a moot point. Even if it changed tomorrow, though, that doesn't mean anything for us would change. Most companies are not stupid enough to do what everyone panicking is suggesting. It's certainly a situation to watch but I doubt very much it's going to turn into doom and gloom.

This, and because everyone is pre-defining what these companies are going to do. Nobody knows in advance what they WILL do, only what is purported to be their intent. Sure, you have companies out there who misbehave, but the consumer makes their choice based on the $ in their pocket. Last count there were 4,500 ISP's in the USA alone (and that's no different to the figure pre-2015 when NN came into effect).


It's very easy to slip into a kneejerk response when a slower, more methodical approach might give a different picture. 2015, taught the ISP's that legislation might hurt them, if they don't want it back (legislation can be re-introduced) then they might take a different tack in the future.

I used to own an ISP and I can tell you there are two types of users out there. The ones who want it ALL, and those who just want a LITTLE. We used to throttle the one's who wanted it ALL so the ones who wanted a little got a chance to logon. Netflix is a demon for bandwidth and people will binge watch 24/7, Youtube, is a bandwidth sucker, I know people who are addicted to the services. There are countless others out there. If the ISP's decide to control the bandwidth of film and torrent sites, then the demand for bandwidth across the globe will drop. That will mean surplus bandwidth available which will reduce the costs to subscribers who just want normal internet access. It's all about supply and demand. At the moment demand is vastly outstripping supply and they can't lay cables fast enough. That's expensive - so who pays?

Net neutrality cannot work and give everyone everything all of the time. Let's just hope that somebody works out how to put a quart into a pint pot (they'll make a fortune).


Those are the actors you're trusting to compete toward a freer and less expensive internet ? :-X

Go boycott Verizon and AT&T and leave the net free of government interference.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Findaway Voices as an audio alternative
« on: December 14, 2017, 05:40:57 AM »
Well, my first audio book with Findaway has gone live on ACX/Audible and Amazon. With iTunes tomorrow, I think.

Has the experience been a good one?

Yes, I would say so, although the time it takes for the books to get published is amazingly slow. Maybe they use dial-up speed.

You're supposing, there's no proof of any such intent. I read tons of rhetoric (mostly panicked) about what's going to happen when net neutrality is repealed. It hasn't been in place for long. What was going on before, I don't remember paying for searches, I don't remember paying to access Amazon in 2015. Much Many of all the 'facts' aren't supported by anything. I don't even notice any difference from 2015 when it was implemented until today. So, excuse me if I don't understand your rationale for thinking the sky is suddenly going to fall in.

It will may hurt me as an individual (maybe), but as an author? how does that work? Specifically?

There's nothing in that article that would frighten anyone. It's playing the argument that governments should keep their noses out of the internet (a bit like saying there should be no religion in politics). The OP suggests that there is something to be lost if you're an Indy author, but nowhere is it stated the reasons for such conjecture. Like 'panic, the sky is falling in' if you want to discuss or debate it put some rationale behind the OP and give us some facts to bite on.

Writers' Cafe / Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« on: December 13, 2017, 09:47:06 AM »
It would be awesome if there was a forum somewhere where lots of Kindle-owning readers hung out so that authors could ask them what it would take for them to buy eBooks other than direct from Amazon.  Hmm . . .  Where to look, where to look . . .

I think when 'we' are ready, that place to look would be the first place to look. We're not ready yet. Not by a longshot.

Writers' Cafe / Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« on: December 13, 2017, 09:04:17 AM »
I'm reminded of Betsy's comment whenever she locks a thread: "Lots of other threads."  Same for books.  Lots of other books out there.  Maybe if you're a big name author, people might jump through a couple hoops to buy your book.  For everyone not a big name author, not so much.  We all may have dedicated fans that might jump through a couple hoops to buy our books, but the casual reader--the one who might one day become a dedicated fan--isn't going to do that.  They are not going to jump through hoops for an unknown.  Customers can't value an author's work until after they've read something by that author.  And if you make them go through hoops to buy something from an unknown author, they are just going to buy a book from a different author whose book is easier to buy.

I mean, it would be great if you could get hundreds or thousands of authors to leave Amazon and put their efforts into selling from their own storefront where people have to "sideload" books or whatever else to get books onto their devices.  That would mean less competition and more sales for the authors that stay on Amazon.

Amazon doesn't force exclusivity either.  No one forces authors to check that little box to keep their books in Select.  Plenty of authors don't.

They don't want to follow trends: they want to sell books.  Plenty of authors have books that are "outside the box".  Their books don't fit into easy genres.  Their books don't follow specific trends.  Their books aren't written to market.  And their books largely do not sell.

I think what you say is right, but it isn't the only 'right' out there.

What we have is a tendency, and tendencies change, habits change, fashions change, moods change, platforms change, people change, views change and most importantly, buying habits - change!

What we're talking about here (on this thread) is creating an environment for change to take place. The individual website isn't everyone's idea of shopping. Yet thousands of people love to window-shop on the high street, so there are that many (the majority, probably) who will look in the window. Companies like Bookbub can put that window in front of the reader. That's when the author must make sure they have what it takes to attract the shopper into their store.

All it takes is a single action to cause a movement that can sweep the old guard aside. The 'app' I mentioned above is the kind of change that 'could' be the catalyst that makes the change viable. Nobody is anticipating anything at this point, but if one single person says. "Hang on! that's doable! and goes and does it. Then surely, at that singular point the exodus from mass selling could begin.

There will ALWAYS be supermarkets. ALWAYS! but there are lots (and I mean millions) of small shops that do a great trade every day. I ran three computer shops over several decades. My best asset was the massive computermarts that would open up and stack high, sell cheap. People came from them to me in droves. There are all kinds of buyers out there. If I got a tiny percentage of them visiting my site I could make a living on that alone.

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