Over the years, I've produced, recorded, and outsourced various audiobooks based on works I've written.
For my first book, I narrated it myself using a microphone at home. Later, I commissioned a narrator, also known as an ACX, and asked them to rework the entire audiobook.
They did a better job than I did.
For subsequent books, I outsourced production by hiring narrators, and I paid between $1,000 and $2,000 for a finished audiobook.
More recently, when I wrote my parenting memoir, I Can't Believe I'm a Dad!, I decided I wanted to narrate this book myself, so I rented a studio nearby.
Each chapter ranged between 1,500 and 2,000 words and took about half an hour to narrate. I'd have to stop and rerecord a sentence for pickups or get the right tone, speed, and pace. The radio producer often asked me to go back and rerecord certain sections.
After several hours of recording, my voice would crack and dry up, which would be it for the day.
The whole process took a lot longer than I thought. But you don't have to go and rent an audio studio for your audiobook; there are multiple services available to help you break down the process. One excellent service to consider is Findaway Voices.
I use Findaway Voices to distribute the audio files I recorded for I Can't Believe I'm a Dad!
It enables authors to go wide with their audiobooks. Even if you don't have an audiobook that you've narrated yourself, you can use their newly launched marketplace to source a narrator who can record your audiobook for you.
This week, I caught up with Scott Curry of Findaway Voices. He's also a self-published author.
In this episode, we discuss:
Scott also describes his writing process and how he thinks about audio production today. I think you'll love his tip about auditioning himself for his audiobook and why he didn't get the job!
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Scott: You’re gonna wanna make sure your characters are, you know, the names are correctly pronounced. One of the things we really recommend doing from the get-go to make sure this part of the process is easy is you give them a pronunciation guide, especially if you’re in the fantasy genre. You may even wanna record how you want things to be pronounced for the narrator so they can hear it from you. So pronunciation guide is critical.
Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.
Bryan: Is Findaway Voices the right service for producing and distributing your audiobook? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Show.
So, over the years, I’ve produced and recorded, and outsourced various audiobooks based on works that I’ve written. For my first book, I narrated it myself using a microphone at home and I was reasonably happy with the results. But later on, because I wanted to figure out how Amazon and Audible worked, I commissioned a narrator on that service, also known as an ACX, and asked them to rework the entire audiobook, and they did a better job than I did. For subsequent books, I outsourced production by hiring narrators and I paid somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 for a finished audiobook that I’ve since sold.
More recently, when I wrote my parenting memoir, which is called I Can’t Believe I’m a Dad!, I decided that I wanted to narrate this book myself so I rented out a studio about half an hour from where I live and I spent some of the summer last year and the autumn going to this studio and narrating chapters from the book. Basically, I wanted to invest a bit more time, energy, and resources into producing something that was higher quality and I worked directly with a producer to help me do just that. I was pretty happy with the results, but I was also surprised by how tiring it was. So, a chapter for this book would range between 1,500 and 2,000 words long, and it would take me about half an hour to narrate a chapter that long because I sometimes have to stop and rerecord a sentence for pickups and also to figure out the correct ways to pronounce what I was about to say next or to get the right tone, speed, and pace, and, often, the radio producer would ask me to go back and rerecord certain sections. So, after doing several hours of recording, my voice will begin to crack and dry up and that will be it for the day. It wasn’t necessarily something that I could power through.
However, when the audiobook was finished, I also had to go through a process whereby I’d listen to each chapter, identify issues and mistakes that I’ve made, and then go back and do what was known as pickups. During these pickups, I will go back into the audio studio and rerecord certain sections where I’d stumbled over my words, mispronounced sections, or delivered incorrectly. The whole process took a lot longer than I thought, I would say about six months. That said, we were interrupted by COVID twice and also by lockdowns. So, normally, I don’t think it would take six months to narrate your own audiobook.
Now that said, you don’t have to go and rent an audio studio for your audiobook. You can use a number of different services. One great service to consider using is Findaway Voices. I tend to use Findaway Voices to distribute the audio files that I recorded for I Can’t Believe I’m a Dad! Basically, it enables authors to go wide with their audiobooks. Even if you don’t have an audiobook that you’ve narrated yourself, you can use their newly launched marketplace to source a narrator who can record your audiobook for you, but you will of course have to go through some of the steps that I described previously where you listen back to the chapters, identify any potential issues, and then work with your narrator to fix them. So this week, I caught up with Scott Curry of Findaway Voices. He’s also a self-published author, and I asked him all about his tips and advice for using this platform if you’re bringing your own audio like me or if you want to use the marketplace to source a narrator. Scott also describes his writing process and how he thinks about audio production today. I think you’ll love his tip about auditioning himself for his audiobook and why he didn’t get the job.
So I hope you enjoy this week’s interview with Scott Curry of Findaway Voices. If you did, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or hit the Star button or share it with another writer, because your reviews and ratings will help more people find the Become a Writer Today Podcast.
Bryan: Welcome to the show, Scott.
Scott: Thank you so much, Bryan. Appreciate it.
Bryan: So I know you’ve some lots of interesting tips for authors who are interested in creating their first audiobook or perhaps creating a better one if they’ve done it before, but what has your writing journey looked like? Because I know you’re also an author too.
Scott: Yeah, I’ve was a ghostwriter in a previous life, worked for IMG in advertising and marketing, had a lot of focus on icon clients, Arnold Palmer, the Olympics, Nobel Foundation, Fashion Week, and I started working here at Findaway Voices about a year and a half ago, their marketing strategist, and I work with authors and publishers and help them produce audiobooks and I released my first book under my own pen name, E. S. Curry, here last year at Christmas time and it’s done really well. I write in the genre of fatherhood and family travel and, yeah, that’s about it.
Bryan: I published a book for new dads last year, but what was your book about? What was the angle?
Scott: You did, did you?
Bryan: I did. It was called I Can’t Believe I’m a Dad! with an excavation work. It was all the advice I wish I’d known before our first son was born, because I found a lot of books for dads were scientific or medical based where I wanted to write something that was more about the emotional arc of becoming a father.
Scott: That’s exactly what I did. I really felt there’s a hole in the market for fatherhood books on after you’ve had the baby. Everything is having a baby. It’s all focused on those first few years. And my book is a piece of narrative nonfiction where my son and I, he’s about five, turning six at the time, we went up to the Adirondack Mountains and it’s a little me you into our time there. So many parents say like, “I wanna write a book about these things that happen,” and, you know, I actually resigned myself to do that and I wrote it in one week while we were up there and it’s about screen-free living, connecting with nature, just spending quality time storytelling with your child and it’s been really well received. I’m very proud of it. It’s a great first book to put out there. You know, I’m also gonna have some more nonfiction about building author brands coming out and I’ve got a fiction series I’m writing as well and I’ve got another follow-up to this book that will be coming out later this year.
Bryan: It sounds inspired by Henry David Thoreau, like he went to Walden Pond.
Scott: You’re nailing it. Actually, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the second —
Bryan: Oh, sorry.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. Well, Henry David Thoreau was his pupil so he founded the philosophers’ camp up in the Adirondacks and that’s really a lot of the inspiration. And the second book that I’m coming out with is actually called that, The Philosopher’s Ghost: Camping with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his spirit comes to visit us and we type his notes on the typewriter. It’s a hoot.
Bryan: That’s a good concept for a book. Yeah, I wrote my parenting book during the lockdown.
Bryan: It’s kind of like a creative project. I didn’t really write a series often. No plans to write a sequel but it was definitely enjoyable to write.
Scott: Oh, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to read it. I love reading some father and…
Bryan: Yeah, yeah. No, I read a few of them over the years. You’re right, though, there’s not a huge amount of books for dads apart from what to expect when you’re expecting, which isn’t much help.
Scott: Yeah, exactly. What do you do when they get into kindergarten? All those formative years, you know?
Bryan: Yeah, they all tend to be aimed at mothers, which is why I wrote the book. Anyway, so you’re with Findaway Voices and I know you’re an expert in how authors can create audiobooks and I actually recorded an audiobook myself of the I Can’t Believe I’m a Dad! and I’ve, in the past, commissioned narrators to record audiobooks for previous books that I’ve written. Yeah. So there’s a lot to it. It can be quite difficult.
Scott: There is. So did you audition yourself for your book?
Bryan: So, what happened was, because the book was so personal and it was narrative nonfiction, like what you wrote, Scott, I thought it’d be weird to have someone narrate it when I had dialogue from me and my son and daughter in the book.
Bryan: So I rented out an audio studio about a half an hour from where I live. And I went there every day or every second day for a few weeks and spent a few hours recording the chapters. Probably the most time and money I spent on an audiobook. In the past, I’ve just commissioned narrators to do it and auditioned them so I’ve tried both approaches.
Scott: Yeah, so, I actually went the other route. I hired Craig Van Ness, he’s over in the UK, and I auditioned myself. This is what I recommend to authors that ask me the question, “Should I narrate my own audiobook?” And what I like to tell them is like you need to audition yourself. Read part of the book, record it, and then go on to Findaway Voices marketplace, find some narrators that you like, give them the same piece of copy, and then put that out to your family, friends, your fans and say, you know, “Blind test, which voice do you like for this book?” and the answer will be delivered to you. So, ironically enough, I did not get the job.
Bryan: Maybe next time, maybe next time.
Scott: Yeah, maybe next time, but, you know, I had the same kind of thinking, you know, do a lot of speaking stuff, like, “Oh, I can do this, no problem,” but there’s something to having a professional voice actor record your book.
Bryan: Yeah. When I was narrating the book, I was struck by how tiring it is.
Scott: It is.
Bryan: And I couldn’t power through more than three chapters in a single session. So, for context, a chapter was about 1,500 to 2,000 words and my voice would start to crack after —
Bryan: — narrating for that long.
Scott: Yeah. It is a thing. They are professionals, these narrators, and they’re phenomenal. The exposition in a really well read audiobook. It’s kind of like — I describe it as an aha moment for an author because hearing a story out loud, it’s so intrinsic to being human. You know, before written word even happened, we were telling stories. We were listening to each other tell stories. So, the audiobook format is really important to me as an author. It’s something that I encourage every author that has not heard their book read out loud by a professional to jump on to Findaway Voices marketplace and just hear it. It’s free to audition, you know, get auditions for your book. You don’t have to pay to get an audition done of your book. Do it, check it out, and you’re gonna have this wonderful, you know, light shine upon you when you hear your story read out loud by a professional. It’s fantastic.
Bryan: So if I was to audition my next book, which I’m not writing, but if I was, how long will the audition MP3 file be and how many auditions could I expect?
Scott: Sure. You can audition up to 10 narrators. You basically just jump on findawayvoices.com, create an account, take 850 words, something like that, 750 words, pop it in there and send it out to some narrators for audition, they’ll get it back to you within a day or two, and you can listen to that and hear what you like. If you like one, then you can move forward with them and negotiate your per finished hour rate. That’s something, you know, that new authors to audiobooks need to know, the way that billing works for creating an audio book. It’s by per finished hour, PFH, and that is — it may take a narrator, say, three hours to edit, record, you know, create one hour of audio content so the general kind of metric we like to use is about every 10,000 words is an hour of audio. The actual number is like 9,200 or whatever but 10,000 for a nice round number. And that’ll give you an idea of what it’ll cost you to produce an audio book and the average per finished hour rate we see to be anywhere from, you know, $150 to $350. Some of the higher end narrators are obviously gonna charge more, the ones that have a following. That’s a nice rule of thumb for when you’re trying to calculate, you know, what’s it gonna cost me to create an audiobook?
Bryan: So my audio book was seven hours, maybe six and a half hours so it sounds like I would have paid a little under $1,500, depending on the narrator, of course.
Scott: Yes, exactly. Yep, you got it.
Bryan: And do I own the rights when I get the finished audio?
Scott: You do. So that’s what’s fantastic about the Findaway Voices platform is you own your rights. We do not lock you into any exclusivity, like some of our competitors where they want 90 days’ exclusivity on their platform only, things like that. We don’t do that. And if you make your book on marketplace and use our free software tools and platform, you can just take the files and do what you want with them. You don’t even have to distribute with us. We encourage you to because we have over 40 partners that you can distribute to, everything from retail and library, different business models, ala carte to subscription based, and you choose where you want your book distributed, which is really a very powerful thing when you’re a wide author and there’s this concept of exclusivity versus wide and I’m very proud to be a wide author because I want my book available where people are. They’re in Indonesia, you know, they can go on Kobo and get my book and listen to it. That’s a really cool thing about Voices that were truly global. And ACX operates in four territories, we operate all over the world. So you can work with a narrator in, you know, Australia, no problem, easy enough. Sounds like it should be easy in the internet age, but not necessarily. So we enable you to do that.
Bryan: How many narrators are on the platform? Do you know?
Bryan: More than I can count. So when I’ve auditioned narrators in the past, the quality can be quite variable. I didn’t use Findaway Voices when I auditioned them but I could definitely tell some of the narrators did not have a great setup in their house whereas other narrators had a professional setup and I could tell from the audio quality. Is that a common experience?
Scott: So what’s really great about marketplace is the narrators have kind of akin to a LinkedIn profile. They’ve got, you know, their avatar, their image, all their samples are tagged, but they also have an area in there too for what equipment they use. So, you know, you can take a look at what that narrator is using to record your book and what kind of mic they’re using, what kind of software tools they’re using. You can listen to their samples and hear ahead of time what quality they have. So, it makes a really great search experience. We’ve got all kinds of tags that you can filter on and really take a deep dive in finding the right voice for your story.
Bryan: Does the negotiation process take long once I’ve auditioned a narrator and decided this is the right person for me?
Scott: It’s usually pretty straightforward. And one of the great things about marketplace is we provide a sample contract for the narrator and the author to have. We always recommend having a contract, just makes things much better. As you know, in business, you really wanna have things buttoned up. You don’t have to, though. It’s up to you. You know, we leave that up to the author and the narrator to do but the contract that we provide is very comprehensive. It really dots all the i’s, crosses all the T’s, and set you up for success.
Bryan: When I’ve signed a contract with my narrator and now I have my PDF file, am I gonna give them the PDF and let them work or is there something else I should do?
Scott: Yeah, so you’re gonna upload your manuscript to the platform and I like to recommend to all authors to read your manuscript out loud to yourself first. Before you get into this, you really wanna hear how your book sounds read, and read it to yourself, hit record on your computer or on your phone, and you’re gonna find areas of your manuscript that you’re going to want to edit for audio. A story read by your eyes is very different than a story heard by your ears. So you’re gonna wanna probably modify some things. And another thing I recommend too is doing an extended sample. So, there’s this concept of after you contract with a narrator, you wanna do an extended sample and what that does, that enables you to make sure you’re comfortable with how the narrator, how their exposition is conducted of all the different characters, you wanna put all the characters in that extended sample, some bits of dialogue, some bits of narration, third-person omniscient texts, like you wanna know how that sounds ahead of time and then give the narrator feedback on that. One of the cool things about marketplace is you have really great feedback tools. You can click right in the audio, add a comment where that is so there’s not this back and forth, the narrator can go to that spot, see, like, “Oh, this is what they want,” and then upload a new file and say, “Is this better?” And so you get that stuff buttoned up right from the beginning with that extended sample and then they’re off to the races. Another thing that I like to recommend too is think about what type of bonus content you might wanna consider adding to your audiobook. So this is a really cool thing to do and it’s a great lead magnet for your website and your email list. So you could provide a little character short story, or I’m a big fan of alternate endings, I so wish more authors did alternate endings because I love that personally. We could do some of that. We could do some cut chapters, perhaps. You know, maybe ask your narrator if they could do some bloopers, like a blooper reel of where they made mistakes recording. Bonus content is fantastic and it’s a great lead magnet, but you gotta do that, you gotta put that into the system when you’re starting so that that’s part of the calculation of, you know, your per finished hour, how much content they’re recording.
Bryan: In terms of getting to a finished per hour, how long should I expect the narrator to spend working on my book, and for context, let’s say the book is 50,000 words.
Scott: Yet, what we see on average is anywhere six to eight weeks, that’s pretty much across the board, you know, and it’s up to you to communicate with your narrator. I mean, some of them are lightning-fast. Others, you gotta get on their schedule. If they’re a really popular narrator, I mean, you might be booking your work a year out or more because they’re loaded up. The way to think about your narrator is that it’s your teammate in this. You have a partner in creating this work, so you wrote it and now they’re gonna create the audiobook version of it. So, narrators have their own followings as well as authors. So there are fans that just love this narrator’s voice and they follow that narrator and what they’re recording. So, you know, when you’re looking for a narrator, take a look at what’s their social media following. Do they have an email list? What are some of their reviews on the works that they’ve done so far? How’s it been received by the market? You know, very much look at it like you’re hiring a teammate to work with.
Bryan: When you get all the feedback from your narrator and you listen to it, what would you recommend listening out for and how should I give feedback to my narrator?
Scott: What are you listening for? You’re really — you’re taking a look at the whole exposition of the piece. You’re making sure it’s engaging. You’re looking at the pacing, you’re listening for pacing. You know, we have a number of Clubhouse recordings on this topic where we’ve had some of our audio works professionals talk about just that and it’s a whole thing. You’re gonna wanna make sure your characters are, you know, the names are correctly pronounced. One of the things we really recommend doing from the get-go too to make sure this part of the process is easy is you give them a pronunciation guide, especially if you’re in the fantasy genre. You may even wanna record how you want things to be pronounced for the narrator so they can hear it from you. So pronunciation guide is critical, especially if you’re in fantasy. So, you know, if you do that ahead of time, a lot of this is like the pregame, you get the pregame nailed down, that extended sample and pronunciation guide, your bonus content, you get that done at the beginning, it’s really easy to click Approve because you’ve gotten all the aspects of the exposition nailed down from the beginning and then, you know, that narrator can just run with it, you get the final files back, you might have a few little adjustments here and there, little roll and punching I do but it’s not too much. I went back and forth with my narrator about two or three times on the extended sample to get it correct on how I wanted it to sound and it was well worth it because when I got the files back, super easy to go through. I only had a handful of changes.
Bryan: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned about recording pronunciation samples. When I was working with a narrator on a previous book, there were some terms from Ireland that an American narrator had pronounced differently. Sure hard to explain over email how to pronounce somewhat some Irish terms so I recorded an audio file and he was able to narrate them correctly. So I wish I’d known that upfront, it would have saved us both a good bit of time.
Bryan: So those audio files, that was one way I gave feedback to the narrator. Are there any other ways that you can give feedback if you feel like a section, the pacing is off or perhaps they’ve…
Scott: Yeah, yeah. Like I said, right in marketplace, you know, you can click on the file and you can go right to the section, add comments. That’s one of the strongest aspects of our software tools compared to everything else in the market is it’s very easy to give feedback and get new files back. It makes that whole process really, really seamless. And one of the other topics I like to talk about with indie authors is the concept of simultaneous release, having all three formats come out at the same time. So, you know, you want your ebook, your print, and your audio to come out all at once because you’re gonna put a lot of emphasis on your launch, on your book launch, you don’t wanna leave the audio book behind. It has a different demographic and a different listener base. It’s a different audience. You’re expanding your audience when you go into audio, because there’s a whole constituency that that do not read, that they just listen. And, you know, I wanted to get my book out right away at Christmas for my son, I didn’t have time to do the audiobook with it, but it was funny, when I emailed, you know, my list, I had a number of people respond and say, “I’m just gonna wait for the audio version.” So you can presell your audio like on Google Play or Kobo. A lot of authors will do that too, do some presales with it. But you wanna have that come out at the same time so you want to, in your process of writing, so I generally say when you’re getting into editing, you wanna start auditioning so you wanna find out who that voice is going to be when you’re in editing. You’ve got some copy to audition with, right? And you wanna find that narrator, get them teed up, get on their schedule and ready to record that audiobook so when you are done formatting, editing, proofing, line editing, you’re gonna have the audio, the print, and the ebook ready to go out and you’re gonna be able to maximize your sales then. On average, we see a 30 percent uptick in total sales when you do three formats at one.
Bryan: When you do three formats at once, I taught Findaway Voices was taking care of the audio. Is it distributing the other formats too?
Scott: We do. Our partner, Draft2Digital handles ebook and print too now so we work very closely with D2D, great partner of ours, you know, can’t recommend them enough. I was just on a webinar with Kevin Tumlinson from them, we were talking to cozy mystery author, Sara Rosett so it’s…
Scott: Yeah, good stuff. Great partner. Great service too.
Bryan: What about setting royalties? How does that work with Findaway Voices?
Scott: So you determine your price. You set your retail price and you set your library price, which are two different things. And so what you wanna do is you wanna do some research, you’re gonna go into the market, take a look at your genre, what some authors you like, you know, that write similar books as you, what they’re selling at, what the length is, and you determine that price. That’s up to you, which is a really, really powerful tool. We love putting that in the hands of authors because you’re in control of your business, like indie authors wanna be, and some of our competitors, they don’t allow you to do that. They determine your price. So you as the author are determining your value and you’re gonna wanna do some research. We’ve got some guidelines too that help you inside the tools to figure out what that price should be. Library prices generally tend to be more because of their business model so the checkout model is different. So, take a look at that. And we make recommendations with inside the tool to help you with that as well.
Bryan: When — in terms of payments, do I just put my bank account details in to Findaway Voices and then I get the royalties? Or do I have to do it through the different stores separately?
Scott: No, what’s really great is we have a sales reporting dashboard and, of the other 40 retail library partners, they all provide data at different points in time. So whenever we get the data, we pipe it into there. You get one check. So that’s what’s the magic of what we do. We take in all the sales, do all the calculations, you get one check, one payment, and all we take is 20 percent of royalties, 80 percent are yours, and it’s a very straightforward model, very simple. We make the complex very simple, which is great for indies.
Bryan: Are you going to record an audiobook yourself the next time or do you think you’ll re-audition?
Scott: You know what’s funny, we’ll see how it’s received and I’ve debated doing it myself again but I think I’m gonna leave it to the pros, man. Yeah.
Bryan: Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot of work recording an audiobook.
Scott: It’s a lot of work, it is, and it’s very tiring. Your voice gets very tired from doing it. And the way a lot of authors look at it too is that is time you could be writing. So, you know, author Michael La Ronn that we work with over at the Alliance of Independent Authors, you know, he calculated it, we did a webinar with him, he calculated he could have written a half a book in the time he’s recording the one so it makes sense to him to hire a professional narrator because that’s time lost writing and marketing and doing all the other things you gotta do as an indie author.
Bryan: Yeah, I well believe he could have. I was surprised by how long it took me to narrate my book. One other thing that took me quite a while, again, perhaps I did it wrong, was listening back to the book and identifying the issues and then the narrator would make the fixes and then I’d listen to the already, in this case, the producer made the fixes and then I would go back and listen again. Is that the correct workflow?
Scott: Yeah, yep. Yeah.
Bryan: There’s no way around that?
Scott: No way around that. You got it —
Scott: Yep. Yep, exactly. Yeah.
Bryan: And I should have asked this previously, but in terms of the finished audio, are they mastering the audio so it’s in the right file size, format, and the levels are all correct for the different stores?
Scott: That’s the other benefit to hiring a professional narrator. They are accustomed to giving you mastered audio files. So when we say, you know, it takes them anywhere from one to three hours per finished hour of audio, that’s because they’re editing it and they are looking at RMS levels, they’re making sure it’s up to spec for you to be able to upload directly to, you know, the platforms so it’s ready to go when you wanna publish. Yep.
Bryan: On that platform, what types or genres of audiobooks are particularly popular these days? Personally, I listen to a lot of my nonfiction as audiobooks but I tend to read fiction on paperback. So I’m curious what other readers and authors are doing.
Scott: It’s all genres man. The audiobook industry has 20 percent year-over-year growth, and, you know, as an indie, what’s cool about audiobooks is it’s not as saturated right now as the ebook market so you’re gonna have a little less competition, you know, in audiobooks because there’s just not as many made as ebooks. Romance is a huge genre within audio. Can’t ignore romance. Mystery thrillers massive. And fantasy, of course. I mean, those are kind of the big three right there so you’re gonna see a lot of that in audio.
Bryan: Makes sense. Makes sense. And, finally, when I was reading your bio, you said that you like to write on a typewriter and not on computers. Is that still true?
Scott: It’s very true, man. I got right behind me —
Bryan: Oh, I can see them. Oh, yeah, great.
Scott: Two of 1956 Royal Quiet Deluxe. So, yeah, part of my process, man, is I write on a typewriter first. I do my sketches, outlines, character development —
Bryan: Is it that you like using the typewriter or you like the sound?
Scott: I do. It’s a visceral experience. You know, it’s funny there’s like this kind of cultural mind view of what a writer does like people just think of typewriters right away, right? I mean, most writers don’t use one anymore. However, there’s a lot of writers that still do. You know, Stephen King still use a typewriter. Tom Hanks. He’s like one of the world’s largest collectors of typewriters and he wrote his book on a typewriter. There’s something like really rewarding about it. And there’s a couple aspects to writing on a typewriter that are different than a computer that you can’t hit Delete, you can only go forward. So, like doing a first draft, you can only go forward, there’s no editing. There’s just get your thoughts onto a page. And there’s something really rewarding too about ripping out that sheet of paper, seeing your manuscript stack up next to you and you feel this sense of accomplishment. You can also write on it and it’s really easy to scan. I just scan it OCR, PDF, copy/paste the text out, I like to use Dabble Writer, then I throw it in the Dabble Writer and finish it off, Google Docs to go back and forth with the editors and then Vellum to format and send it off. Yeah.
Bryan: Your hand motion there where you ripped the paper off reminded me of I think it was Murder She Wrote where she’s typing on a typewriter —
Bryan: — she tears the paper away. Yeah. You’re probably familiar with — I use a mechanical keyboard —
Scott: I do too.
Bryan: Yeah, it’s very tactile, but the keys in the keyboard are based on a typewriter’s keys which in turn was structured in such a way that they would slow down typing to prevent the metal prongs jamming.
Scott: Yeah, and, you know, what’s funny, I type so much, I know which letters will catch each other if I hit them too quickly and it’s — and here’s the other thing. You know, I’m kind of a hopeless romantic, I’m a consummate renaissance man, I play classical piano, I fence, play the cello, you know?
Bryan: Wow, you’re very creative.
Scott: I like the analog, like I listen to vinyl still. There’s something really rewarding about doing things the analog way and it’s just a lot of fun too. You know, you got a nice little scotch next to you, some moody kind of lighting and candles and, man, you just feel like a writer when you’re punching out —
Bryan: Is there a storm?
Scott: Yeah, and you gotta form your thoughts first too. You gotta really think about what you wanna say before you start typing. So, you’re gonna get natural compression. You know, writers talk about compression, like that happens too. So, you know, I find I’m more succinct and you know there’s only 300 words on a page, like you have a good sense of how big things are, where you are in the book, you know, where you’re scrolling endlessly through a document, there’s not that spatial recognition to where you are in things too. So, it’s a — that’s just part of my process and I love it, I love talking about it.
Bryan: Yeah, I use analog tools to a point, not to the level that you do, Scott, but I use a whiteboard and —
Bryan: — I use index cards and I have an AlphaSmart which is like a — how do I describe it? It’s kind of a writing tool that’s not connected to the internet and it has no Wi-Fi access or anything.
Scott: Yes, I’ve seen those. In fact, I tried one of those out. One of my friends has those. It’s fantastic, yeah. And a good way to get a first draft down, you know?
Bryan: It is, ’cause the job of first draft is simply to exist, get it out of your head, don’t worry about the titles and mistakes.
Scott: Get it on the paper, don’t worry about it. You know, I tell writers that all the time. Just get it out of your head and on to paper.
Bryan: So, Scott, if writers or authors have their book ready, what’s the first step? Where should they go?
Scott: Findawayvoices.com. I mean, it’s super simple to set up an author account, upload your manuscript, audition some narrators. It’s a lot of fun making an audiobook. It’s really cool to hear your story read out loud in the end and, you know, like my son loves it. I mean, he can read, he’s seven now, but he loves listening to our book. Tons of fun, yeah.
Bryan: One last question. So, for my audio files for my book, can I upload those because I’ve already narrated it or do I need to audition?
Scott: Yes, you can, yeah. You can — we have, you know, three different types of production on Findaway Voices. You can bring your own audio, like you have, we can take your files, upload them, and distribute them to our 40-plus partners. Super simple. Add your metadata, really easy. We also have marketplace, which is a self-managed production. So you get in there and all on you. You go into Marketplace, find your narrators, go through the whole process yourself, payment is up to you and the narrator. And then we have a managed production. So if you’re a little nervous about making your first audiobook, no problem. We’ve got somebody here to help you. We have a team of professionals that will hold your hand the entire way. They will give you a casting list. They will find some voices for you, voices that we’ve worked with a whole lot in the past, voices we know are successful, that we know have fans and people like, and you can go in there and, you know, we’ll work with you the entire way and from the manuscript upload to the finished files and pushing it out there, we’ll make sure it gets done in a professional manner and you got a teammate, you know, another person on your team to make sure you do everything right.
Bryan: I’m off to set up my account to upload my book. Thank you, Scott.
Scott: Thank you, Bryan. Appreciate you having me today.
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