A fan of The Ghost Between Us completely changed my thought process on audiobooks. In the very same conversation, she also opened my mind, and my heart to a larger purpose for audiobooks.
Up until last year, I had never worked with audiobooks. When I say 'never,' I mean it. I had never listened to an audiobook; ever. That was until I had a conversation with Kymmie, a fan of The Ghost Between Us and an in-home health care nurse. One of her clients is a huge fan of paranormal stories and of reading. She's now legally blind and really misses reading books. Can you imagine life without reading books? I sure can't.
Kymmie and I video chatted live through Facebook Messenger and she asked if the book was available as an audiobook. I told her I had considered it, but hadn't yet decided on a couple of things. First, did I want it to be an audiobook at all? Second, I wanted to wait until the book had more traction because I didn't want to share my royalties, so the only option was to pay an actor. The cost of that actor would range from $200.00 per finished hour (at 60,500 words, mine was estimated at six and a half finished hours) to $600.00 per finished hour.
She asked me what are some reasons I was considering the audiobook. I told her that the more research I do, the more I learn of the wide use of audiobooks. They're growing in popularity as this world seems to spin just a little faster every year. My concern was targeting the audience that fell into one of two categories:
1. People who are on the move a lot and don't feel they have time to sit down and read a good
2. People who just like to have a story read to them
She politely challenged me to think of the third category; those who can't read either because of education, blindness or they just can't hold up a book for very long. I was shocked at myself. How could I have been so shallow to not think of those with challenges that prevent them from reading a good book.
The very next day, I was online researching the production of an audiobook, wrote up an audition script and submitted it for auditions. In two days, I received over thirty actors audition to be the narrator of The Ghost Between Us, and ultimately, the voice of Toby Miller. After listening to every one of them, I narrowed it down to three and waited for Kris to get home so we could decide together. One audition stood out above the rest.
One of the characters in the book is a ghost that's haunting Toby's house. When he finally connects with her through a spirit box (a frequency transmitter with static that allows an investigator to communicate with an entity in real-time), she responds to him. John Pirhalla's audition included an echo effect in the ghost's voice. The hair stood up on the back of our necks and it was immediately decided. I included the echo effect in the sample of The Ghost Between Us.
To listen to a sample click here and choose "Sample" below the cover.
We communicated a lot throughout the process. I gave him tips about what was coming up in the book and only had him redo three parts of the production. His deadline for completion was September 20th, which he beat by more than a week. The day after the final chapter was uploaded, I sat in my living room and listened to all six hours and 7 minutes with two final, very minor, adjustments to be made.
I couldn't be more happy with the result. If you're a book lover and haven't yet discovered the magical world of audiobooks, now is the time. If you're day to day doesn't allot you any time for yourself, listen to an audiobook every time you're driving. If your job requires you to be on the road, find a good motivational, or self-development book or a memoir and a great fiction for the drive to and from work or conferences. If you know of someone who can't read for whatever reason, consider offering them a good audiobook. You'll warm their heart and yours.