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Today I am pleased to welcome Frankie Bow. She has just released an audio book with narrator Nicole Gose, and Frankie has joined us to tell us what she has learned from the experience.

Over to you Frankie:

I’ve just released my audiobook, The Musubi Murder. It’s the first campus murder mystery set in Hawaii. The experience was great, and as of this writing I’m happy to report a 4.5 star rating on ten reviews on Audible.

There were some surprises along the way. Here are are four things that I didn’t expect:

  1. My narrator managed to impersonate me, without ever having heard my voice.Several friends, to whom I’ve gifted copies of the audiobook, have told me that they thought I was the narrator. I am not the narrator. That role was filled by Nicole Gose, a talented voice artist from Hawaii. The thing is, Nicole recorded the chapters without having ever heard my voice. And I know she doesn’t naturally sound like me, because I listened to her audition tapes. The only explanation I can think of is that she captured the “voice” of the author so well that it seemed that she was telling her own story, rather than reading someone else’s.
  1. A versatile narrator requires fewer dialog tags.In the written manuscript, you need dialog tags like “Pat said” in order to keep track of who’s talking, especially in three-way conversations. When your narrator can clearly voice three different characters, though, many of the tags become unnecessary–and annoying. After listening to the first pass, I actually went back and edited many of the dialog tags out of the manuscript. Nicole was very patient with me, and did the necessary edits and re-recording. Removing those few words made a big difference.
  1. It’s not going to turn out the way it sounded in your head. I thought I had written a low-key meditation on academic life, and I found myself listening to a boisterous comedy. Part of this was Nicole’s delivery (her comic timing is fantastic) and part of it is simply the medium. Producing an audiobook was a little like writing a play. I wasn’t calling all the shots anymore; I was a co-creator with the performer. And I knew not to micromanage.
  1. Audiobooks don’t have the discoverability of ebooks–yet.Audible doesn’t have the narrow categories that Amazon has, so there’s no “cozy mystery” category, just “modern detective.” That means that “The Cherry Cheesecake Murder” is in the same category as “The Burning Room.”

Audible doesn’t currently allow authors to put in keywords. So “The Musubi Murder” won’t come up under searches for “cozy mysteries,” “Hawaii,” “university,” or “campus.” (Also: I don’t recommend searching for “campus.”) Searching for “murder” does bring up “The Musubi Murder,” fortunately, because “murder” in the title.

The next book in the series is tentatively titled The Cursed Canoe. But if Audible still isn’t allowing keywords by the time it comes out, I may have to change the title to “The Cursed Canoe: A Funny Cozy Murder Mystery Set In Hawaii Also Sue Grafton Janet Evanovich Joanne Dobson Amanda Cross.”

Thanks Frankie, it certainly is a learning curve!

Here are the audiobook links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Musubi-Murder-Unabridged/dp/B00S7LPC8Y/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Musubi-Murder/dp/B00S8J6W34/

And the hardback: http://www.amazon.com/The-Musubi-Murder-Frankie-Bow/dp/1432830740/

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