Marketing Your Books with the Help of an Audio Partner (with Rachel Fulginiti) (SPP #134)

We haven’t talked about audiobooks near enough yet! This week, the guys sat down with audiobook narrator Rachel Fulginiti about storytelling through audio and using popular narrators to magnify your marketing reach.
Any long-time listener of the show will know that the guys haven’t been big fans of audio in the past. They didn’t have anything against it; they just didn’t really consume books in audio so they saw narration as very 20 percent. More recently, Sean has been binging on audio content, and his appreciation for fine narration is only growing week to week.
Add to that the fact that many narrators have their own tribes, true fans of their voice and storytelling style that follow them from book to book, no matter the author or genre, and the guys are certainly thinking that the right author-narrator team can go a lot of good.
Rachel was a charming guest, and her thoughts on audiobooks and the relationship between author and narrator were refreshing and insightful. This is worth listening to more than once, for sure!
Here’s the video version:

Show Episode Transcript

Johnny: Self Publishing Podcast, episode number 134.Dave: This episode of the self publishing podcast is brought to you by 99 designs. The online market place that helps you get outstanding book cover designs at an affordable price. Start your custom designs today at, enjoy a free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks.
Welcome to the self publishing podcast, where if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. And now here are your hosts, three guys who sometime use their powers for good instead of evil, Johnny, Sean and Dave.
Johnny: Hey everyone– turn that down. Hey everyone and welcome to the self publishing podcast, the podcast that follows three full time authors as we attempt to change the face of indie publishing. Join us in our trailblazing guest as we shove aside boundaries, freely experiment and occasionally screw up. I’m Johnny B. Truant; my co hosts are Sean Platt and David Wright. You know I trimmed that a little bit and it still seems too long. I still feel like I’m rambling, but what else is new, right? Like what else is new?
Sean: You know I’ve been thinking that Dave really needs a theme song. I don’t mean like the what’s up Dave butt, But just like a general theme song and it should be like a calipee.
Johnny: Like a jingle?
Sean: No like– just music, like circus music that’s like…
Johnny: Tu tuturutu.
Sean: Like a caliper slowly breaking down.
Johnny: Oh I see it.
Sean: Like all the happiness just out of it– because like okay so rewind 10 minutes and Johnny and I were talking and we were waiting for Dave to get on, and we were like super excited. I don’t even remember what we were talking about. Oh we were talking about Simon’s reading of proletariat which we are both listening to right now because it’s about– we’re going to write the sequel next, and so we’re all bababababa and then Dave gets on and it was so wawawa, he just looks all bad and grouchy. Now to his defense he is sick, so…
Dave: And my son had strip all week and he was home and I’m trying to write this book and I can’t write with my son next to me. It’s just been a horrible fucking week.
Johnny: Well, he got to learn how to spell.
Sean: [Cross talk 00:02:09] going to be on fire today.
Johnny: He’s got to learn how to spell can’t somehow, I mean think about it watching your words form on screen is just as good as any.
Dave: The first days he was sick, he was like in my office just like crying the whole day just like he was in…
Sean: Isn’t that what happens in your office?
Dave: Horrible pain.
Johnny: Like your office isn’t used to pain and crying.
Dave: But then when he was starting to feel better but he wasn’t good enough to go back to school, he was in my office like playing video games. He was just like singing and humming you know he doesn’t shut up; he’s like Sean just crying. I’m crying at that point.
Johnny: Oh well anyway I want to start off just– this is very in your face and Dave’s probably going to roll his eyes, but we did a thing where I mentioned a while ago with the Fiction Unboxed preorder that I would feel really negligent if we didn’t at least tell you guys about. So the Fiction Unboxed is on preorder. This is actually a good technique I think for anybody using nonfiction which is how we mentioned it before. We created the Write Publish Repeat conversation video course. It’s a 30 part video course, and it’s free with that, but that ends with the preorder. Dave’s actually rolling his eyes, do you know this is how people market and this show is about like selling things.
Dave: No-no-no, I’m loving it in Twitter.
Johnny: Oh okay, we’ll get back to that later, but the preorder ends on December 3rd is when it goes live. So before that, if you preorder the book you get that Write Publish Repeat conversation video series free, and it also goes up from 2.99 cents to 4.99 so…
Sean: And to quote some of the emails that we will inevitably get because we are already getting them. The conversations series appears on the last page of the book, but you can’t get that until the book goes live on December 3rd. So basically the flow is you pay 2.99 now, and you’ll get the book on December 3rd and on that day the conversations series link will be there.
Johnny: Right, Sean just froze a little bit for me, so I was very confused but you can search Udemy for it if you just want to see what the course is. But it’s– we are going to– like what we have learned in the years since Write Publish Repeat. We sort of go through the book and hit every piece of like this is what– this is how we really apply it. This is what we’ve learned in the year since. It’s like an updating and it will be 50 bucks, it will be $49, but we want give it to you guys free as an enticement for the Fiction Unboxed preorder, so just letting you know that’s ending soon.
Sean: Free or three dollars if you already have the Fiction Unboxed book which you may very well if you backed kick starter or you are a platinum reader, then you already have their book so its three dollars for the series which is still…
Johnny: Right that’s true, it’s not technically free. It’s free with the preorder, but I think we are going to do this.
Sean: We are going to at least set a video at that point, but it is a great nonfiction strategy.
Johnny: Yeah I think we are going to try to do something like this with every Smarter Artist release going forward because it’s win-win.
Sean: It does make sense, yeah it just makes sense.
Johnny: We want our most loyal tribe getting in there free anyway, we don’t mind that.
Sean: And long term too you can even take those videos and you can cut them up and have them on YouTube as lead gen for the book and for the course, and you create that content once. It’s really-really cool; like I’m really glad we did this. I haven’t posted it yet, but before we started today I was writing something for the Sterling and Stone blog that just announces the series, and I was talking about when we first came up with the idea and we’re like oh we really want to do this. It would be really-really cool, we’ll do that in 2015, but as happen so often you know we get pushed into doing something immediately.
Johnny: And the flow in there by the way is Sean mentions it, I go yeey that’s cool and then Dave goes “oh these fucking assholes,” and then he’s got to deal with it.
Dave: I’ve stopped paying attention to everything until I get an urgent email saying…
Sean: And talking of something else it’s so true, Dave’s like a gofer who only raises his head out of a lawn when either a lawn mower is coming to lop his head off, or there just has to be a reason he’s just…
Johnny: And then what’s funny is that Sean dilutes the value of that by putting urgent with everything. Dave urgent, so every email becomes Dave urgent, then nothing is urgent.
Sean: Oh I never do that.
Johnny: When we were doing it in the sauna you used to make tasks saying Dave urgent please read for every Dave task. Motherfucker, so anyway as part of Fiction Unboxed experience I just proofed the audio book, so I thought I’d play a little bit of it for you guys. Now starters, is it already in the library is that if you don’t know yet the platinum readers– sorry not starters platinum readers Sterling and Stone?
Sean: Wait what about the platinum readers?
Johnny: Do they have the audio book yet? Because it…
Sean: For Unboxed?
Johnny: No– yeah Fiction Unboxed for the platinum readers.
Sean: No.
Johnny: Okay, well you will, like that’s part of the deal, but I wanted to play a little bit of it because it’s got Simon making us sound very classy again and this was just– I laughed at this part when I was going through it, and I think it’s very characteristic of what we did. So I’m going to play it, it’s two minutes and two minutes does feel like a long time on a podcast, but I think this is the interesting bit.
Sean: You will be interested in a one minute and 48 seconds too long, just for the record.
Johnny: Right. So I’m going to go ahead and play this for you guys. This is Simon Whistler reading the Fiction Unboxed book. This is chapter four building our world and it’s about the day three meeting where– let me do a little bit of set up. So if you weren’t in Unboxed on day three we came– we’ve done two days of intense like brainstorming, and then on day three we had a meeting in the morning where we were supposed to– Sean had taken our stuff, like he had taken the– everything we talked about.
We were all excited and Sean was going to come up with story ideas and we were going to start writing the next day, and it was the disastrous day for unboxed because we know this is like D-day and we had to come back in the afternoon and rescue it, but this is the first part. This is where Sean has just Sean up; he’s giddy with new ideas. He’s going to tell us about the cool things he’s come up with; I’m going to start writing. The energy is high and all three of us– so this is Simon reading the audio book of that section, it’s two minutes long.
Simon: The first thing Sean gave us after preliminaries were out of the way was a question. Have you ever heard of the akashic records? Dave and I had no idea, but trusted that Sean would show us how whatever it was tied into our story seeds from the day before. They are the records of the collective unconscious, everything that anyone in the world has ever thought or will think or has happened or could happen.
Johnny: I just want to interject that what we’d spent two day talking about was steam punk pistons and dreams, okay? So continuing this.
Simon: The noises Dave and I made at this point were the polite equivalent of, okay. We had no idea where Sean was going, but he’d been in the last meetings same as we had. He was a smart guy who paid attention; surely this was going to tie into dream extraction, genetic manipulation and a society where pseudo precons were torched into manifesting what society needed, maybe a Romeo and Juliet vibe, right? But instead of his saying any of that, Sean went on to explain that thousands and thousands of years ago, there were terrestrials, giant creatures made of earth and celestials, which were basically elves from the heavens. At the early solstices these two races met combined in a ceremony, Sean turned to nativity then mutually annihilated into a substance called Crumble.
The Fiction Unboxed transcripts don’t include psychic transmissions for some reason, that’s luckily I have a record of them, here’s a snippet. Dave psychically to me, “what the fuck is he talking about?” Me “I’m sure he’s getting to something cool, we just need to hang in there.” So we hang in there waiting to see how this tied in to something familiar. We knew Sean was giving us background stuff that we had to understand, but it would never appear in the story. We watched to see where he was going, but after 10 minutes there was still no mention of dream extraction, dream police, mermaids, demons, crack work or anything else familiar. Me psychically to Dave, “if at least give us a sign post something familiar, anything at all, he was in yesterday’s meeting, right? Maybe he suffered head trauma and has already forgotten everything that preceded today because none of this makes sense, even more came in days one and two Dave, “this meeting is like the finale of Dexter.”
Johnny: So there you go, little bit of the Fiction Unboxed audio book goodness for you so…
Sean: Yeah so that audio book we will put that up to the platinum readers. It is an unannounced bonus that wasn’t part of the platinum reader line up.
Johnny: Actually I think that that’s the part of the deal that they get audio books, right?
Sean: Right, we finished it and so it was you know done and so we’ll put it up to the library.
Johnny: There you go.
Sean: We just have to do it before it’s available on Amazon.
Johnny: Isn’t that nice of us to do what we promised? That’s how we like to surprise you guys around here. I have a ninja trick to report. We know our general attitude on ninja tricks, but I wish I had it in front of me. I apologize to the guy who sent it to us. It wasn’t our idea, but we’re going to use it. So Indies have preorders, right? And you can’t get reviews on preorders unless you’re Jason Gurley apparently, or Sean Platt and David Wright with Yesterday Is Gone season five.
But in general you can’t and what this guy told us which again I apologize for not having his name, is if you put up the paperback on create space, then you can send people to that and they can leave reviews on the paperback, and it will link when the two editions link. So you essentially get the ability to have ratings on your preorder if you send people to review the paperback. So we did that, we put that up there today and correspondingly if you’ve read the Fiction Unboxed book,, we would love that, but that’s something that– yeah FU review, that’s what Dave is going…
Sean: Steve Sulker is the guy’s name.
Johnny: Okay, well thank you very much for that, I can’t wait to see that. Garrett either new or hopped on to that comment and tried to pretend because he was like, “hey paperback is up, you should do that” because it’s in the link. So maybe kudos to Garrett so there you go. I do have– we’re going to have a guest, our guest is Rachel Fulginiti. I should have gotten the pronunciation for sure and she’s going to talk to us not just about audio books because we’ve had several people on. We had Ray and we had David Laurence on to talk about audio books, but specifically the phenomenon of audio book narrators having their own marketing force and following, which Sean can tell the story of sort of why we want to talk about this.
Sean: I think they really have their own tribe; actually I have true stories about this that I can…
Johnny: Do you want to wait till Rachel’s on– I could do some voicemails as well is what I was thinking.
Sean: If we have voicemails to do then that’s a good idea.
Johnny: Okay, so let’s go ahead and handle some voicemails, do I have this up, okay let me turn the iPad back up, so first one is about promoting.
Female Speaker: Hey thank you for making this avenue available to all of us who are lost and in need of direction. Question– I publish a self published a short work of fiction. I did in under a pen name and now I’m having a problem, I can’t promote it, any thoughts? Thanks.
Johnny: I feel like I want to send her to Lindsey Buroker’s latest post about– do you sort of smiling there Dave, did you have a thought?
Dave: Well I was thinking it’s similar from to what Lexi had actually, but yeah go to Lindsey Buroker’s blog where she– she launched a series of I think three books it was…
Sean: Let’s put that link in the show notes, so it’s easier.
Dave: We’ll put that in the show notes which will appear on the blog.
Johnny: Jacob?
Dave: Basically she launched three books under a pen name, didn’t use her own you know she didn’t push it under her own name at all, and basically did very-very well, so you can find out how she did it on her blog.
Sean: I think for a pen name I think KDP select is a pen name’s best friend you know you can especially if you have more than one title and you use one to piggy back onto the next, which is a key takeaway from Lindsey’s post by the way is that she didn’t go out with one title, because it’s very easy to get lost. She had a strategy; she had a strategy ahead of time. I’m going to use this book to promote this other book, and I have more books coming you know right on their tails and so that’s a pretty smart way to do it.
And I think that you know as much as we don’t you know love select for the whole exclusivity thing and we really are trying to build a platform you know not just on other retailers, but on our own site so exclusivity just doesn’t work in all cases for us. But for a brand new author I think it’s still strong and for a pen name I think it’s even stronger because you know your hands are tied in that way and KDP Select is how Lexi did it in her first six months to a year you know, flat out that is why she sold books.
Dave: And you can also advertise in places like Book Pub and the Search that will help you get exposure.
Johnny: All right, next question is from Kev.
Kev: Hey guys my name is Kev Buff, I got a question for you guys about short story compilation link. So I have this compilation of short stories, they are five short stories, the compilation is 15,000 words. Is that enough word count for a short story compilation? I know Dave and Sean have some short story compilations that maybe seem to be much longer than that, it’s like 18 stories in one of them or something, and also like should I use like six or a five odd number not a good thing.
So I wonder if this window like if my product is up to the standards, what it should be for a compilation and also what would be a good price point like, 2.99 is that too low? I originally was thinking I want to do 5.99, but I realized it’s such a small word count, so I pull them all together and I saw that that was the word count. So those are many questions that I have for you guys, but thanks for you know giving me the opportunity to ask them.
Sean: Yeah, I have a hard time with the word compilation and 15,000 words. It’s not– that’s not much of a compilation. Our shorts– they’re not quite 15,000 words, but some of them…
Dave: Even more.
Sean: Some stretch you know and I’d say average…
Johnny: How long is Corrosion? Do you know? The one we just put in.
Sean: Corrosion is 6,700 words.
Johnny: Okay.
Sean: And you know that’s a little short for Realm and Sands. Decoy Wallet is 14,000 words. The Barrisio ones are usually around 10. Dave’s Watcher is 13 you know, so I think that I mean dude nothing more than 2.99, like nothing I mean 5.99 for a 15,000 words. Axis is 5.99 and its 150,000, all the Yesterday Is Gone seasons are 5.99, they are 100 to 150,000 words. You really want to deliver that experience because if I downloaded a compilation and you’re using words like compilation.
And you know I found 15,000 words and I was done in an hour, and I spent six bucks, I wouldn’t be too thrilled and you know I’m not that money conscious either, but I would still be like this author overcharged and you don’t ever want to overcharge. So yeah I think that 2.99 is the most you would want to charge. Dave and I– all of our Dark Cross scenes have six to them. The little mini ones they’re 5.99, but they have 60,000 words. Our Dark Cross scenes collection has 18 stories is 180,000 words, it’s– Dave do you have it handy? Like show how big that is?
Dave: No, I don’t have a copy of that, I only had one and I– no I didn’t even have one.
Sean: We need to get you one, anyway it’s big it’s a very big book, and it’s all the shorts that we had written up to that point. So I would either just price it 2.99 or write more shorts and actually put out a compilation, or put them out individually at 99 cents even though it sounds like they’re probably not even…
Johnny: Although I would argue that free is better than 99 cents if you have a smart…
Sean: Yeah, I would too so…
Dave: I’ll just say another thing you need to adjust your expectations on short stories. Unless you are already a well known established author, they’re a very difficult sell and they’re even difficult when you are established. They don’t sell very well for us, they sell a fraction of what our regular stories sell, and that’s even when we’ve you know run them fairly cheaply. You know our core readers will buy it, but most of our readers won’t buy it. And if you’re trying to get discovered now and you’re doing it with short stories, it’s going to be difficult and I would price it as cheap or free as possible.
Johnny: Are we really just going to let this sentence go Dave’s watcher is 13. Nobody is going to comment on that? I feel like that warrants a mention, but okay. One more voicemail and we move on, so this is from Tom.
Tom: Hey guys this is Tom. I am calling with a question for the Self Publishing Podcast. I think this is a question more for Johnny, but I would love to hear what Sean and Dave have to say about it. To make a long story short, a couple of years ago we had a group of friends get together and basically formed a small organization. A lot of people came together and it’s really incredible stuff, and a couple of months ago I got the idea to turn that event into a novel. Heavily fictionalized you know fantasy novel about as far removed from the real event as possible, but some of what actually happened and most of the characters and especially their names will be heavily-heavily influenced by the real events.
And my question had to do with I know that most books come with a copyright page that says this is a work of fiction and any similarities between real people and real events is pure coincidence. It’s the invention of the author and it’ll be all intents book. Johnny you didn’t have that copyright page. And my question is, are there any considerations to writing a novel where the people and names and some of the events are very closely paralleling real life people and real life events? I’d love to hear what you guys would have to say; thanks to the podcast you guys are awesome.
Johnny: I feel the need to preface my answer by saying, I am not a lawyer, what I say shall not be taken as legal advice, but my understanding as a non-lawyer is that for somebody to be bothered enough by something to sue you, they would have to be able to establish that you somehow damaged them.
Sean: Yeah, defamation of character actually has to be something where you– that you can prove and again I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t advice, but defamation of character is you know you’ve cost them in some way. You’ve cost- their reputation is somehow dismerged in a way that they can no longer make a living or you have cost them money.
Dave: Can I sue you sue you all for having me on Better off Undead then?
Sean: Yes, I mean no.
Johnny: I would like to pause at this moment to say that Decoy Wallet is a work of fiction and there is no resemblance to persons living or dead.
Sean: One of the best cases I ever heard on this is Eminem you know that song Brain Damage?
Johnny: No.
Sean: Way before my baby daughter Hayley, I got harassed by this 8th grader called DeAngelo Bailey.
Johnny: Yeah.
Sean: Right okay, so DeAngelo Bailey is a real guy like he actually used the guy’s real name right? So DeAngelo Bailey was an 8th grader who boxes and acted obnoxious, right? And he used to hit him up in the lockers. So now DeAngelo Bailey is a sanitation worker in Detroit and he sued Eminem for defamation of character and the judge dismissed it. Now yes granted Eminem has a way better lawyer than any of us do, but still like he is the actual guy in this song and it was way over the top and maybe this was because it was parody, but he talks about like how he ripped out his spinal cord and all this stuff like it’s– he calls him names and he ridicules him, and a song that sold millions and millions of copies. So I think that your book is probably safe.
Johnny: Right.
Dave: On the flip side on that though.
Johnny: Datantanta.
Dave: Yeah, you can be sued by anybody for anything pretty much; you just have to be careful. It’s not whether or not you’ll win the lawsuit; it’s the cost of fighting it in the first place. It’s sort of a pain in the ass. So if you’re writing something about somebody that you know they might take issue with, even if you’re like friends right now they might later not be friends with you or whatever, I would air on the side of caution.
Johnny: I was actually going to raise that point is it it’s not just a matter of whether somebody can win a lawsuit against you, it’s whether somebody can bring a lawsuit against you. And Eminem’s case against DeAngelo Bailey like he had to pay his lawyer you know like that I’m sure was not a cheap thing to defend. DeAngelo just didn’t make any money. So there is that and I guess the way that I chose to handle that is I changed all the names including the name of any places, I mean not– it takes place in Columbus.
It takes place in high street Ohio State University all that, but as far as like business name that were involved or anything like that and character names, it just– and it’s so fantastical, like it’s so not anything that actually had happened. They were anecdotes just like anything we do, they’re anecdotes that were that kind of really happened, but that’s not what the book is about and the things are so crazy in it that you’d be ridiculous to think that those were real, so I agree with Dave.
Sean: Allegedly a lot I hear that works.
Johnny: Yeah I agree with Dave don’t– I wouldn’t try to poke anybody like Eminem was asking for with DeAngelo you know what I mean, did he not think of that before he published the song you know.
Sean: Anyone else want to have DeAngelo on the show?
Johnny: I totally do on Better Off Undead.
Dave: No, real soon.
Johnny: Yeah that’s true; I’m going to send Rachel the link in a moment. Were you about to say something Dave, I don’t want to cut you off.
Dave: We do have a question on You Tube; do you want to wait to get to that or…?
Johnny: Let’s actually spontaneously before you get to that.
Dave: Okay.
Johnny: I just– it just occurred to me like I was thinking about the Black Friday sale that we’re going to do with– on the everything on Sterling and Stone. We’re doing a Black Friday sale and it just made me wonder what your Black Friday plans were Dave because let’s face it, if there’s a holiday you celebrate, that’s it right?
Dave: Yes every Black Friday I hide out in a bunker and get all my weapons and I’m ready.
Johnny: So what are you going to do– I mean when you’re bunkered in your Black Friday bunker, I’m thinking you’re going to spend a lot of time writing and designing book covers, right?
Dave: Exactly, that is what I do on my Black Friday every year, I design book covers. If you’re not like me though you don’t design your own book covers and you need of a book cover, we have a great-great sale– not we, the folks at They’re doing something special just for you our audience in celebration…
Johnny: Wonderful, special people.
Dave: Yes, okay if you don’t already know what 99designs is, welcome to the show.
Johnny: Yes.
Dave: Basically they have tons of designers waiting to deliver you an excellent book cover in usually about a week and it’s great, we’ve had a lot of great experiences with them. They’ve designed many covers for us and logos. A logo for sterling and stone that great unicorn logo that came from 99designs, and right now if you’re thinking about getting a book cover you should buy it between the 26th and the 3rd, and you are going to get 30 dollars off.
Johnny: Oh my God.
Dave: $30 off.
Johnny: Oh my God, I’m definitely doing that.
Dave: And all you have to do is go to the regular page, you go to– we’ve mentioned…
Johnny: Which of course is, if you want that power pack upgrade.
Dave: Yes you get the power pack upgrade and you get $30 off. So if you’ve been waiting, if you’re on the fence you know whether or not you should do this, now is a great time to do it.
Johnny: And the only downside is you may lose approximately $270.
Dave: No, you don’t lose anything that is…
Johnny: Oh my God.
Dave: That is the beautiful thing about 99designs; you have absolutely nothing to lose. If you don’t– if for some reason there’s no book covers that you like from their zillions of designers then you just– you don’t have to do it, you just say okay forget it contest over…
Johnny: You say…
Dave: We’ve never had that happen though.
Johnny: Author out.
Dave: They’ve always delivered for us and they’ve always delivered great covers better than the ones that I would’ve come up with definitely, these are pro cover designs here, it’s a great deal.
Johnny: So start your custom design today at and get that free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks, which gives you more exposure and they bold and highlight your listing, and you stand out and that makes designers say I want to work with that person who is smart enough to get the power pack upgrade from, right? So there you go, so I have invited Rachel, and she’ll probably pop in mid sentence, but do you want to go ahead and do that question that you were mentioning.
Dave: Yeah, Mike Underwood says hi folks! I wanted to ask if any or all of you had seen and had thoughts about Ursula K. Le Guin– I think I’m pronouncing that right maybe not speech as she accepted a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Book Awards, especially this portion “Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.” So basically he wants our input on something that none of us have seen based on that quote.
Johnny: No, but I like the quote.
Dave: [inaudible 00:30:50]
Johnny: No I do like that quote, I like that quote a lot, that’s something that we’ve– and actually I’ve been reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s book called Discoverability, and she– hey Rachel I’m waving to you, I’ll finish my sentence…
Sean: Hey Rachel.
Rachel: Hey.
Johnny: And then I will do a proper welcome. She is– she makes the same point, she’s like you need to be an artist first and keep your marketing mind out of the studio, and then after it’s done then you turn your mind to marketing. I whole heartedly agree.
Sean: I couldn’t agree more.
Johnny: So there you go. I would like to welcome our guest Rachel, I realize I didn’t get a phonetic pronunciation of your name, so is it Fulginiti?
Rachel: It’s actually Fulginiti.
Johnny: Fulginiti.
Rachel: Can you hear me okay?
Dave: You’re barely…
Johnny: Your volume is kind of low, I can turn you up but I don’t think I…
Rachel: [Inaudible] [00:31:37] Google hangout. How’s this?
Dave: Yeah.
Johnny: That is excellent.
Rachel: I don’t have any better.
Johnny: You sound like a professional audio person.
Rachel: Oh hey look at that.
Johnny: Except we can’t see you, but I don’t know where you went.
Rachel: You can’t see me because the– I’m sorry that this isn’t more together, let’s see I wonder.
Johnny: It’s like I’m talking to a ghost.
Rachel: I know.
Dave: A good chat.
Sean: This is what it is like to be in Dave’s head.
Rachel: If I can reconfigure my things so that I’m not– I’m so sorry guys, why don’t you carry on and I will try to figure this out.
Johnny: All right, well here’s what I can do, here’s what I can do. So the reason we know Rachel is she narrated– I’m going to play a sample, she narrated the part of Kai Dreyfus in the audio book in the Beam, and so I just in the spirit of you know we’re having her on, I figured I just play a little sample. It’s not as long as the fiction unboxed sample, but she was- she was definitely one of our favorites. I don’t want to pick favorite because then we slight the others, but we really-really liked her performance. So I’m just going to go ahead and play just the first bit of the first Kai chapter, just so you guys can get a feel while she’s messing with her mic and stuff, so here we go.
Rachel: The trick to being a good escort Kai knew was to make the man she was with feel like he was the only person in the world she’d ever care about. That meant she couldn’t discuss other clients, leave remnants or mementos of other clients around, half-ass her affection, or talk business. For the time she was booked, Kai became her client’s girlfriend, wife, confidant, whatever he wanted. She kept extensive records of each client’s background in a characteristic file in her canvas. Subtle cameras in her apartment and imbedded in her retinas recorded every second of their every interaction, and a sophisticated AI algorithm stripped the footage for relevant details.
Johnny: All right, I could go on and on, but we’ve already played an excerpt tonight, I don’t want go on, but yeah it was a great performance. Are you set up over there, do I need to stall for some more do you think?
Rachel: I know you can see me, but can you hear me?
Dave: No.
Rachel: You still can’t hear me?
Johnny: We can hear you, but you are very quiet.
Rachel: Very quiet, okay hold on one second. How about now?
Johnny: About the same, and now I hear an echo which is good, so I hear myself coming back. So you’ll need headphones at some point.
Rachel: I will, okay.
Johnny: Well Sean can tell his stories while you’re hunting around if you want.
Rachel: Okay.
Johnny: There you go. Okay so these are the stories that made us- that prompted us to think about this topic.
Sean: Yeah so this started– I’ve been binging on audio books a lot lately just because I wanted to A) start walking more because I’m just a total slob, totally start exercising and so I wanted to be better about walking every day. And also I kind of lost the joy of reading fiction, because every time I sit down to read fiction I start rearranging the words in my head and it feels like work.
So I kind of lost that and I felt sad, and so I thought well if I’m going to walk more and I can listen to books while I do it, that’s two great things. And I really-really enjoy that, I’ve been walking a lot and I have been listening to a lot of books and I’m alternating between fiction and nonfiction. So I– the first time that this ever happened, I’d just heard Rysa Walkers Timebound right after she was on our show, and I thought you know what that I want to read her book now, but of course by read now I mean hear.
And so I listened to it and I thought it was great, fantastic for the record, I’m very happy I love time travel, but then you know it was whatever and I don’t know maybe a month later, maybe two months later, I was listening to the Fault In Our Stars, which you know I never would have read that in a million years because I never would’ve had the time to, but it’s just a huge phenomenon as a book, and so I’m like I can listen to that. So I downloaded it off Audible and I was listening to it, and I kid you not it was 10 maybe 15 seconds into the narrative when I’m like I know this voice, I know this voice. I just spent 10 hours with this voice, and I clicked over and sure enough it was the narrator for Timebound and I thought that was really-really cool.
And I know that we had heard that before that you know narrators have their own little tribes. They have people who do care; they follow them from book to book just like you would follow an author from book to book. But these are narrators and people like the way that they interpret a story, the way they tell the story, the voices they use, the infarctions they use, and I just immediately like I was a warned, like I thought that was really-really cool and I’m like I got it, now I get it, I get what they are saying. And you know it’s–we are launching Axis of Aaron and one thing that is kind of cool about Axis is that we weren’t rushed to have the– great…
Johnny: She left, she’ll be back hopefully.
Sean: We weren’t rushed to have Axis to market, to coincide with the Axis print and digital release. David Laurence is doing the reading for that one. And David Laurence is a really good example of this phenomenon. He has his own tribe of people. He has his own people who like his books and the way he reads the books, and will follow him just because he is the one narrating it. And so when we launch Axis of Aaron, yes platinum readers will still get that totally for free. But when we launch it will actually be a launch where we’ll probably be doing stuff on his show you know for his blog and answering questions about it.
And he’ll send an email to his list, and it’s a whole different thing because he as a performer is doing it. And I’d already had that conversation with David when you know I heard– when I heard the narrator for “Fault in our Stars.” But it was one thing to hear it, but it was another thing to experience it. And it was really cool, it was really-really cool to think, “Oh I feel comfortable with this person.” He’s already told me a story and it took 10 hours to tell it. Anyway I’m experiencing the same thing with Simon right now.
Johnny: Is this the second story I’m trying to delineate which is the second story.
Sean: Well no, they are actually just all just blended together. The second one was the David Laurence one.
Johnny: No, so three stories, because Sean giving us more than we planned for. Go ahead.
Sean: But with Simon like I really-really love the way he tells a story. His reading of robot proletariat is just– it makes me laugh and it makes me just happy, like I’m so looking forward every time I leave the house to go on a walk, and oh more of robot proletariat. And it’s not just because I like the story which I do, but I like his performance and it’s a separate thing. And I never really got the audio book. Like I thought of audio books as an efficient way of consuming information, or consuming a story and that was how I approached it when I first started listening to his many years I have been lately, but it’s more than that, like if you have a good performer, it’s an individualized version of that art. And it’s really-really cool, and so any how that’s my story.
Johnny: I think it’s definitely a good idea for Indies to do that because the– in one sense it is 20% like because for most books you are definitely not going to get most your juice. By the way we are sort of amping because Rachel vanished and she sent an email saying she’ll be back.
Sean: Google shoulder.
Johnny: Right, so that’s Google fucking with her right. So anyway so I’ll just continue with this. It is definitely 20% but if you weren’t sacrificing a ton of time to– you aren’t sacrificing a ton of time to get your book on audible, so it kind of makes sense and I would actually say the same thing for create space for lot of people. If you think you can get through the formatting relatively easy and that you aren’t going to pull your hair out. But ACX in general is–
I know that they changed their terms and it’s not as favorable as it used to be but it still 40% of purchase price which is way above what you would get with– if you had an audio book produced or something like that by a larger company. And you basically just claim your book like you go and you claim a listing and you type in your book and it matches. Like it pulls up Amazon ones that are on kindle store or whatever. And then you just say what kind of narrator you want. If you are going to do a royalty split, it isn’t costing you anything; you are just splitting whatever is earned. And some books won’t earn out a lot of money, but what have you put in to it you know?
Sean: Yeah and it’s a discoverability thing too. I mean we want to be in as many places as possible because it helps people find us. And that’s a really cool thing. And you have got to think too, 40% of the purchase price; it’s not 40% of 2.99. You know the audio books cost more than other books, and so you know that 40% is higher and it doesn’t add up.
Johnny: Like the Beam audio book which we don’t get 40% of, that’s because it’s a different deal. It’s not an ACX deal. But that’s like 35 bucks, right.
Sean: It’s 34.95 yeah.
Dave: It’s almost as much as a book.
Johnny: Almost, oh my God do we know what the price is going to be on the Axis hard backs? Those big things, because I ordered my proof and…
Dave: $85.
Johnny: It’s going to be pricy, but…
Sean: Very expensive, yeah they are going to be expensive.
Johnny: That’s a collector’s thing. That’s for one muff. We are famous.
Sean: Yeah I mean I don’t expect to sell a lot of the hard backs, but that’s clearly not why we put that in hard back.
Dave: It’s made on the skin of dragons.
Sean: I can’t wait to hold it. I actually– my father’s birthday is on Sunday and I sent him an Axis hard back. I really hope it arrives in time although I know for sure it won’t.
Johnny: I’m trying to– I tried to send my dad a book because he reads all of our stuff and I keep telling him– you know his favorite thing right now is everyone gets divorced. Like really and I almost told him like you don’t have to read everything like the seat combs, the comedies you are not necessarily going to dig those. Don’t feel like you need to read everything. But he’s like, he’s been, “oh I’m really digging this” and really and when he got to the cliff hanger it’s like he was more impressed with that than the Beam. And he was like, “how could you leave me hanging.” But I tried to send…
Dave: Oh Rachel, hold on.
Johnny: That is no Rachel.
Dave: Rachel has a gold teeth.
Rachel: I am [inaudible 00:42:50]
Johnny: Can you hear me?
Sean: Say I really loved Yesterday is Gone.
Rachel: I don’t see anything.
Johnny: I see a window or something.
Sean: Is that your basement Dave?
Rachel: Oh my goodness thank god my tech person is here. Okay can you guys see and hear me?
Johnny: Yes now we can see and hear you.
Rachel: Awesome, this is wonderful. Alright let’s see maybe we can hear you better. No my head phones aren’t on. That’s okay though.
Johnny: Alright, awesome so let me just finish this story really quickly he’s like; “yeah I’m trying not to accumulate a lot of stuff so I’ll just read the kindle one.” I’m like, “Oh man you are the one who I would give the hard back to.” But whatever I’m not going to push it on him.
Dave: Throw it through his window.
Johnny: So you want to– I don’t know how much of the story you heard.
Rachel: [inaudible 00:43:44]
Johnny: From?
Rachel: I did not hear any of the story, I’m so sorry. This is like a total nightmare, I’m sorry you guys. Oh my god.
Dave: It’s about par with our regular standard.
Rachel: I’ll just stick to narrating and not DMS text stuff.
Johnny: It was the stuff that I sent you via email about narrators having their own following. Sean told the story about how he found a second book and said I know this narrator and now I’m bonded to the book more and having your narrator as a promotional partner.
Rachel. Yeah I think that that happens a lot. I think that people choose books a lot of times just because of the narrator; I know that I do that. There are some narrators that I just love, that I’ll just listen to anything for instance Rebbeca Lowman. I love her, she’s just great. I’ll listen to pretty much anything that she reads just because I like her. You know it’s kind of; it’s the same thing as with movies and TV shows. You know a lot of times I’ll go to see any movie that has you know somebody I really like in it. You know, Francis McNorman, I’ll go see anything that she’s in, she’s awesome you know. So I think that that’s part of it for sure.
Johnny: What do you think it is that bonds somebody– because I mean we are sort of foreign to the idea of audio books and when we– well we aren’t anymore, but we don’t– Sean is a recent consumer really of audio books and I guess so I’m I on some fronts. So the idea of the story being paramount and then the audio book being like well it’s just a read, is– like that’s how, kind of how we started to approach it. And then we started to see…
Sean: And how we rate the performance.
Johnny: Right and when we saw [crosstalk 00:45:25] stuff and with the produced stuff like the Beam.
Rachel: Yeah there’s different. I think that for me I have to– like my sense of stability, like my artistic sensibility has to dove tail with the artistic sensibility of the narrator. So there’s different styles first of all with narration. There is– to me there’s two pretty much distinct styles, there’s a more sort of stylized read, and then there is a more sort of conversational read. And people really like one or the other. You know things that I like other people don’t like and vice versa. So for me I prefer a more conversational read, I just do.
So that’s one thing I think is just knowing what style you like. And then I think also like, you start to develop sort of a persona I think. It happens over time because you get cast in similar projects a lot because of either your voice type or whatever, your sensibility. And so then I think people start to think,” oh yeah like I really like the things she does.” Or I– you know that kind of thing. So for instance with your book, with the Beam, Kai was so right up my alley. Like she just, completely right up my alley. Like she’s bad ass, she’s sexy, she’s smart. You know she’s kind of funny in like a dry way.
Dave: She’s like Sean.
Rachel: That’s something– yeah exactly. That’s something that I have been doing literally for you know I was an actor for years before I became an audio book narrator and voice of a person, and that’s kind of what I got cast as a lot in acting. So it’s kind of funny that way.
Johnny: That’s actually an interesting point that I hadn’t thought of is you may have a character. So like not everybody is like this obviously, but I know that there are many people who are they are character actors. Like you see them in the movie, they are always the same type of person. And you kind of like that person in addition to that actor. So does it change for you when you are reading an entirety of a book as opposed to something like the Beam where you read Kai’s POV, but not the other chapters?
Rachel: That’s a good question actually. There’s always an overriding voice of the narrator of like you know– and sometimes if it’s in first person it’s a little easier because the whole thing is from that one person’s perspective and you are saying I did this, I did that. When it’s third person it’s a little trickier because it’s an outside person. It’s an omission like you know person telling the story. But there’s always a voice there, so I think it’s important as a narrator to tap into the voice, and tell the story from that perspective if that makes sense.
Johnny: How much contact do you get from fans in your circle who are– you can tell that they are fans of your performance? And I mean I wasn’t going to say not necessarily the book, but you know what I mean, independent of it? [Crosstalk 00:48:47]
Sean: In what cases is it that the artist behind the performance, come in before the actual narrative of the book?
Rachel: Right, well hopefully if we are doing a good job, we are serving the book. I’m not trying to do the Rachel show when I’m doing a book hopefully, I’m trying to you know represent the authors overriding desire, what they wanted to do, their through line. So kind of to me it’s like you know finding writers that I connect with and that I really like their style and I like whatever, then we both have sort of the same sensibility, so then we are presenting something together almost as a team, kind of reminds me of like you know [Martin scores easy Francis] he is always working with the same actors. And he works with the same actors because they get him and he gets them and they just– it fits, it’s a good fit. And so I really see audio books as the same kind of a thing.
Johnny: How much in general do you find that authors are willing to let you land your own performance? So here’s sort of what I mean by this and this isn’t exactly the same thing, but when we had Ray on, one of the things that I mentioned to him was I said if you find that something just doesn’t work in audio, like it works when you are reading it, but it’s– like he said one of these things is…
Rachel: That happens a lot.
Johnny: Right, so Grace said that if you say grasped followed by a consonant sound, I think it’s the one that he hates. And so he’s like that’s really hard and I said horrible grasped cup. And like it just doesn’t– and so I said…
Rachel: It’s terrible.
Johnny: Great if you run into that in any of our books like you can just change it. And he was like I’ve never once heard anyone say that. But I would Imagine that some authors would be like don’t do anything. You know I guess it’s sort of like some directors probably micro manage actors. So how much do you find that people are willing to do that?
Rachel: I don’t think that we have any business doing that. This is just my you know my perspective is that it’s my job to read the words on the page and bring them to life. And so I need to you know– of course I will sit there and be cursing clean my booth in the privacy of my own booth, like oh my god this is crazy. Another thing is like when the sentence is like a run on sentence from hell where it’s like literally like a paragraph long, and it’s all one sentence that can be too challenging. Because books are meant to be read quietly, like they are not being– it’s not like a play where you are writing for performance.
You are actually writing for people to read it, but now with audio books it’s a whole new form. And so but I think that that’s our dilemma and that’s our job, is to do it and to do it well, and to not outwardly complain about it. Like you have got to do it, you have got to do what is written. And I would never change something, I just wouldn’t. The only exception to that is sometimes and it happens kind of more than you would think, there’s typos, where it’s an obvious typo in script, then I’ll change it if it’s like supper obvious that like they didn’t mean that, they meant something else. But other than that I just do what’s written, and I will do it 800 times until I get it right.
Sean: That makes sense actually. You are a purist. This goes back to something you originally said when you were talking about the different kinds of performance. But would you say that if conversation was one, would you say that the other– if you are dividing it in two styles, conversational and theatrical.
Rachel: I would say presentational.
Sean: Okay.
Rachel: Because hopefully they are all a little bit somewhat theatrical. I mean I know I tend– I’m conversational, but my characters are somewhat theatrical. I would say presentational. There’s more of a presenting and you know certain narrators especially ones that have been doing it for a long time, they speak very– you know there’s a sort of affectation, not a bad one but just a slight affectation to their delivery that I notice, which actually can be really pleasing on the ears, but I think just because of where I come from and I come from voice over which is very conversational, I can’t, I don’t like doing that. I like to talk; I like to narrate the way I speak if that makes sense.
Sean: No, it totally does, that’s how we feel about– we like to write very conversationally, because we write like we speak and otherwise it feels overwritten. And you are saying you think you think it feels over performed.
Rachel: To me it does. Some people really like it, but for me I don’t want to listen to something that that’s presentational for over a long period of time. Although you know what, it depends on the genre that you do too, because I have to say that for instance and this is right up your alley it’s actually your book. I was listening to Yesterday is Gone which I love, absolutely love, thought it was great.
Sean: Thank you.
Rachel: And some of the narrators are quite presentational, but it’s fantastic. They really know how to tell a story and they tell it, and it’s wonderful. And I think that science fiction sometimes you can really get away with that because it’s just such a grandiose genre in a way. So it worked for me.
Johnny: So I know that you wouldn’t and can’t speak for Podium audio books, we need to have those guys on. But the Beam is– the Beam and Yesterday is Gone and– are they doing white space or [inaudible 00:54:31]
Dave: Yes, at some point.
Johnny: So when you have this…
Sean: It’s actually the one they signed us up for, white space [crosstalk 00:54:39] first.
Johnny: So they are on sambo [phonetic] casts. I mean I think the Beam season one has eight or so and I know, I think the entire cast between two, is something like 18 narrators. So they are going to do their own promotion obviously, like podium is going to. But for individual narrators like you and Ray and I don’t know the other people personally but there are several others on season one. Do we sort of get like a marketing magnification by having multiple people who they are– you know you all have your own fans.
Rachel: I think so, I really do I think that that is a huge benefit to doing a multi-cast production. And if the narrators are you know into it– some are more into it than others, they are all doing their own promotion hopefully. So it’s reaching more people, it’s the same idea as like you know when I used to do plays back in the day, they always wanted to do plays with a huge cast because then they thought well if everybody brings five people then we’ll have a full house you know. If we do a play that only has three people, there’s going to be not a lot of people in the audience necessarily.
So I do think that that is a really good strategy and I also think that it’s exciting and different. And I think that some people, I mean I’ll read the reviews and some people don’t like it. Most people do though. Most people find it kind of exciting and different and– but I have to say I think it’s important for all the narrators to be on the same page and talk to each other before recording so that they are sort of knowing what the other characters sound like and…
Sean: Oh that’s interesting, did you guys have an exchange with all the other narrators before.
Rachel: I did you know it’s a personal choice. Some narrators are really into reaching out and some aren’t you know. But I definitely reached out and was like, “Hey do you have a sample of your character, I’d love to just hear it.” Because you know I know when I’m listening to an audio book, I want it to sound– it doesn’t have to sound exactly the same because we are different people interpreting it. But I do kind of want it to sound like somewhat like the same person.
Sean: No that’s awesome, that proves that you care. Like…
Rachel: Yes.
Sean: And that’s awesome. You know I mean just– I haven’t actually not listened to the Beam yet, I’m going to listen to it starting next week, and I’m actually going to hopefully get to listen to one and two back to back, because then we are writing the third season in January.
Johnny: And its way easier to just listen than to sit down with the 360,000 words.
Sean: Yeah I don’t have to read three hundred and something thousand words, I just get to hear it.
Rachel: Right.
Sean: But when they were done and they delivered it to us, I just wanted to hear what each character sounded like. So I was just you know going through and none of them sounded like– I don’t know if they were good or bad, I haven’t listened to them yet. But no one sounded like they did in my head, like at all.
Rachel: Really, not one?
Sean: You, except for Kai.
Johnny: Yeah, except for Kai.
Rachel: Really, that’s crazy.
Sean: I had very different people in my head…
Johnny: As did I went and did the same thing.
Rachel: No way, that’s so interesting.
Sean: But that’s okay, like one of our– one of the guys who narrates most of our stuff right now, Ray Chase who is Bariccio in Yesterday is Gone.
Rachel: Yeah. No he’s so amazing as Bariccio.
Sean: Not at all what I expected as Bariccio, but that’s fine, he’s fantastic as Bariccio and now when we are writing Bariccio stuff, I hear Ray in my head which is kind of funny.
Rachel: Right.
Sean: But no he was a very like Matthew MConahe almost in my head on the page. And so Ray is definitely not doing that, but that’s okay on what Ray is doing. But when I scroll through and I was just listening to what everybody did on the Beam, I stopped on Kai and I’m like oh this is fantastic. And I was like dude we have got to have her on the show, like she’s great.
Rachel: Oh that’s cool.
Sean: No really-really great job on Kai.
Rachel: Oh thanks.
Johnny: Well so that actually raises another question because what Sean just said about Ray and Bariccio, so Ray has done several of ours and he did the book called the Dream Engine, which we are writing the next two sequels to write now. And so when he added an affect to a character named Willoughby that I didn’t hear at all in my head and he added it. And that was interesting and I was like okay Rays interpretation of Willoughby, but then when I was writing the next two I changed the character because– not in a factual way. Like I didn’t contradict something, but I changed the rhythm of his speech because I could hear that performance in my head. Do you hear anything, because it feels very collaborative like I’m sure the Beam will change a little bit after I listen to those.
Rachel: Right. I mean that’s like a– that’s awesome like for an actor that’s so cool you know. It’s funny I was just listening to– I’ve been listening to Amy Paola’s book, she just came out with [crosstalk 00:59:38] did you listen to it? Yeah it’s really good. It’s very-very funny. And she has people come in and talk, like her friends and Seth Mayers and different people, like do little excerpts. And so the producer of Perxin recreation was on talking about Perxin recreation and was saying that he– exactly what you said like he started writing after she was doing the character for you know the first like six episodes or something. He really started writing the character, informed on her– based on her interpretation of it, and Leslie just got to be so awesome and different. Somewhat different from what he was originally– like what he put out there…
Sean: Yeah but that just– I’m sorry go ahead.
Rachel: I was just going to say, I think at its best it’s a collaboration. I mean to me I come from a theatre background so I love that. I think it’s great. It doesn’t always happen though, I mean sometimes we– most of the time we don’t even have contact with the authors.
Dave: There was a– I forgot who it was I mentioned on the show before. There was a TV producer that we like and he was talking about how the first season of a show is never quite as jab as the second season. It’s once they see the first season, what the cast has done with everything, then they really come back a lot stronger in the second season, usually if they have a great cast.
Johnny: Yeah I think I really…
Rachel: I find that, that’s why I always think that the pilot is usually always the weakest episode because no one knows the actors don’t even really know who the characters are yet. They are just…
Sean: Yeah, I started watching friends with my daughter just– my son went to camp two days ago and so, so my daughter was an only child for a couple of days and she thought the cast were 13 and we always told her that when she was 13 she’d be allowed to watch friends, and so you know she’s just shy of it. And we said you know your brother is gone let’s just– we’ll watch friends. And that pilot is just not– there are elements there for sure, but those characters change so much…
Johnny: Joey is such a, you know like reptilian stare…
Sean: Right Joeys not…
Rachel: What is Joey like; I forgot I don’t remember about that.
Sean: He’s got like floppy hair and he’s just…
Johnny: And I think it’s in the pilot or at least in the first season that he’s making sauce. Remember that with his dad? He’s chopping garlic and it’s like the character never ever does that. Yeah he never does that. He’s like incompetent…
Sean: I’ll put a little hot dog on top of the fridge.
Johnny: But right.
Rachel: Right, right.
Sean: But a really good example of this too is the American version of the office right, because that show was written and you have got these people playing these characters in a very certain way. And clearly when the pilot was written for the US audience, it’s the same characters just you know slightly re-interpreted.
Rachel: Right.
Sean: But then you see what Steve Parell does with Michael Scot and you know very different Jane and Pam and Dwyde. Oh my god like Dwyde is just so awesome that clearly the writers then have to be responsible to the quality of the show and write to those actors.
Rachel: Yeah I have a question for you guys. Do you guys when you are writing ever cast in your head like, oh this would be my dream like this is truly who we strive at, so this is whoever. You know like…
Sean: We don’t know how to do it without doing it. Or Dave does.
Rachel: Wow.
Johnny: When Ray asked us– when he did the Dream Engine, he said can you give me any like details on these people about how old they are and whatever, and so we just sent him our pre-production package and said here’s the actors that would play them and here’s exactly like photos and everything. Sean does that every time.
Sean: Yeah we call it casting and we actually do. We don’t just cast actors; we cast actors in specific movies. So it’s like this version of that actor and it really helps to.
Rachel: Right
Sean: And of course it’s just like writing for a pilot. Once we start writing the story it becomes very different from who we cast and the way we cast them, but it’s a really good starting point for us.
Johnny: And just FYI in the original season of the Beam we were very immature in our casting process like we hadn’t really started doing it very much. But originally Kai– we would have cast– Sean would have cast Milacunas [phonetic] and then I said no I said I think she would be an edgy Natalie Portman. And so that’s who she became in season one.
Rachel: Interesting. That’s cool they are both great so yeah, different, definitely different.
Dave: Comment Thomas Bena says I’m a narrator, so I follow in narrators, I avoid extra reading my favorite theories because James Mart just [inaudible 01:04:26] from Buffy audio book sequel access to audience in audience. So I have a question for you in relationship to the actual topic.
Johnny: Is that a backdoor insult there Dave.
Dave: I will always go off topic. How do you interact with fans? I mean or you and other audio talent, do you all have websites, do you go to conventions and stuff. What are some of the things that we don’t see as writers like how you interact with fans and how they find you? Because audio is really like a new thing to me, I’m not a big audio listener.
Rachel: Yeah like I think Twitter is awesome. Twitter to me is the best because it’s just in real time. It’s immediate. It’s a really great way to connect with fans. I do a blog, but it’s not for audio books, it’s actually for voice over right now and it’s more for newbies and voice over industry, but what I realizing and wanting to do in future, is to do some sort of a blog or a newsletter for my audio book stuff and talk about the process. I think being– this is you know just a little– here’s a little you known couple of paragraphs about what my experience was voicing Kai or whatever. So I do have that in my intentions for 2015 to do some sort of a newsletter or something where I can reach out to people and keep them abreast of also what’s coming up.
And another thing that I do that I’m trying to find the right platform to is I’ve been doing selfies of myself doing all my books, and I try to do at least one for every book. So this was me narrating Uncle Janice. This was me narrating– I actually did a couple for the Beam. And so I just started– I didn’t know what to do with them though. So I just started an Instagram page putting them up there. I only have a handful of them out there right now, but I thought that was kind of an interesting idea and something that people might be interested in as well as fans, like oh this is her voicing that book. So..
Sean: That’s cool.
Johnny: So do we like do we get a market. I mean I sort of already asked this, but do you promote the Beam or do you– I mean I know that you have some ACX titles, I don’t know if they are revenue share or whatever but I guess– well let me just say this and then I’ll finish the question is our two nonfiction books are narrated by a guy named Simon Whistler, and he has a podcast called the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast. So he can, like that’s a natural promotional partner. I haven’t listened– I don’t think I have actually heard him mention the books, but I’m pretty sure he has to his audience. So that’s like you know you get a marketing partner there. And I’m just wondering to what extent if we do you know an audio book or like a revenue share ACX deal, or a podium deal or a pay for performance deal, to what degree we are getting a marketing partner.
Rachel: It depends very much on the narrator and that’s something that you would want to take into consideration when choosing a narrator like, is the narrator active on social media. You know does the narrator have significant amount of followings, do they have a website you know. That’s all really important like for me I really want to promote it, but it’s also a little bit of a fine line because people get tired of people self promoting all the time. So I…
Johnny: It’s what Dave says.
Sean: Dave gets tired every day.
Rachel: [Inaudible 01:08:14] I do promote it. I certainly have tweeted about the Beam and posted on Facebook. I don’t want to do it all the time because I don’t want to get people annoyed, but another thing is if I do it and include the publisher then a lot of times like the publisher will re-tweet it, and then that’s good because they have a bigger audience probably than I do like that.
Johnny: Our model has been DVD extras. So one of the things that I do when I’m writing is I keep a development diary now for relevant projects, and we’ve started teasing with those. So it’s like it’s not quite self promotional, but its extra content that then makes people interested in the prime content. And I just wonder if anything like that like oh yes snippets are takes. Out takes might be amusing you know like …
Rachel: It’s a great idea.
Sean: When you couldn’t get through grasped or whatever.
Rachel: Absolutely.
Dave: I think a blue berry would be a good way to go.
Rachel: It would be completely X-rated because I curse like a sailor when I’m like in the middle. It’s very funny too.
Sean: Oh you are our people.
Johnny: Yeah.
Rachel: But you know what’s difficult, what’s challenging about it though is that for me when I’m in the moment, I’m trying to– I want to like be getting this work done, and it’s hard for my brain to also think oh but wait I should stop and put this on the blue berry because this will be good. You know it’s challenging. I want to do it more. I’ve thought to do it before and I have a few things saved, but it is, it’s hard to do that because then you are taking yourself out of it for a minute to like…
Sean: I have the same problem, with social media, like I always think of things I should have done when I’m out of the moment. But I just…
Johnny: You should have a partner assign you a development diary or something like that.
Rachel: Like if I had an engineer, I typically engineer myself. If I had an engineer it would be so much easier because then I would say, oh hey save that, let’s save that. And then the engineer would just do it and it would be great, but doesn’t happen for me that much.
Johnny: So Dave why don’t you hit and see do we have any additional YouTube comments before we finish up. Any questions or anything, Dave monitors YouTube for us. He’s our social media guy. Look at him go.
Rachel: Nice.
Dave: Edda Milly says audio books are my favorite way to consume fiction. Thomas Bennett says yeah there was a difference in the Beam season one. I’m sure what he’s talking about the difference. It was so much easier to follow the story; I would never have been able to finish the book. It’s dense in a good way.
Johnny: There we go, so it sounds like Thomas actually prefers the audio.
Sean: Multiple narrators.
Johnny: Oh there you go yeah. Yeah Thomas consumed the Beam audio book in like 24 hours. It was ridiculous.
Rachel: Wow.
Johnny: It’s like I you know it’s like I– I sent him one of our promo codes and like the next day he was like, okay I’m done.
Rachel: Yeah. That’s another thing that I wanted to mention is give-a-ways are awesome. Give-a-ways are an awesome way to connect with the fans. Everybody likes getting something for free and it doesn’t happen enough in my opinion where they give us, they should be giving the narrators– I mean most of the times and this is just a ridiculous thing but it’s true, I buy my own books. Because I don’t even get copies of them, so like I– you know and I don’t mind because it’s all…
Johnny: What! That’s ridiculous if you ever do one o ours, let us know.
Sean: That is ridiculous. Always email us; we’ll get you the book like seriously.
Rachel: So I mean– but anyway so if we were to get like a few promotional copies, then we could give those out, and I think that that would create buzz and be a good thing but– and I think if you asked the publisher, they’ll do it.
Johnny: We’ll we get them. Like we get them and– but I would imagine if you are hired talent, they probably don’t think to pass it on.
Rachel: Right, exactly.
Johnny: But please don’t ever buy a book you did for us, like just let us know.
Rachel: I don’t mind, you know help out the cause.
Johnny: Any more Dave, or are we ready to be done.
Dave: I believe that is it.
Johnny: Thought you were going to say I believe I could fly. That’s what I thought was coming from Dave’s mouth there. Rachel where can people find you? Where can they connect?
Rachel: Sure, I am which is not easy to spell, but it’s Rachel spelt the correct way which is just el. And then it’s– Fulginiti Is, and so from there you can find me on Twitter. Twitter is just my name at you know with the @ sign. And Facebook I’m up there too and all that. So yeah website is probably the best way.
Johnny: Fantastic. Well don’t drop off, we are going to do our closing and just hang in there, but thanks for being on so much.
Rachel: Thank you so much for having me.
Johnny: Well you are all very welcome, it’s been great so thanks everybody for tuning in to the Self Publishing Podcast. Remember that that Fiction Unboxed pre-order is up for 2.99, two dollars 99 cents. And that if you get it during the preorder period you get the Wright publisher Pit conversations series, the $49 your Udemy course for free if you get the preorder. And that it will go up to 4.99 and that’s going to be when the preorder ends on 12th or December third, so grab it if you are going to get. So thanks everybody for joining us. We’ll see you next week.

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2 Replies to “Marketing Your Books with the Help of an Audio Partner (with Rachel Fulginiti) (SPP #134)”

  1. Roland Denzel

    I don’t understand what you mean about ‘putting up the paperback’ to get pre-order reviews. Does CS offer preorders now?
    If not, and it’s the live book, what’s to stop someone from buying the paperback before you’ve launched the ebook?

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