Behind-the-Scenes: Rosco the Rascal's Audiobook Collection

LATEST NEWS: Rosco the Rascal’s Audiobook Collection is now available!

If you just want to know how to get it, click here for a free 3-month Audible trial to listen to the collection for free! For those interested in the process, please read on. 🙂

I’m thrilled to say my audiobook is out and my first experience with creating one has been a very interesting and exciting ride. I found a narrator/producer in September of this year, Trista Shaye, and we got to work right away, with the goal of having the audiobook out by December, and I am happy to say we met that goal by more than two weeks. I should really say ‘she’, Trista, met that goal by more than two weeks, because Trista did all the hard work of recording and preparing and uploading the mp3 files, all of that technical less-understood- by-many-authors work that magically creates an audiobook. Once I had given her the Kindle files and background information that she needed to complete the project, all I had to do was sit back and listen to the chapters each day. My job consisted mainly of making sure nothing was missed and that unusually-spelled character names weren’t mispronounced.

I decided to use Amazon’s ACX platform, which makes an audiobook available on the Audible subscription program, as well as on iTunes and Amazon. I went exclusive with them, and I decided to put all five books into an audiobook collection so that when someone rents it on Audible, they’re getting nine full hours of listening. The reason I did this is because the way that Audible works for the consumer is that you get only so many tokens per month for audiobook rentals, with your subscription, and rumor has it that most people prefer to rent longer audiobooks to get their money’s worth out of their subscriptions. (Disclaimer: this is for the majority – of course, everyone is different.) So, if I’d have done each book individually, each one would’ve only been about one to two hours long, and may not have been so likely to be rented. In other words, an average parent would probably save their tokens for longer books, rather than use them for rentals of shorter audiobooks for their kids, which would’ve left my audiobook out in the cold. This creates a higher price for an audiobook, and I should add, I cannot control the price – ACX sets the prices on their titles. But the price doesn’t matter so much to Audible subscribers when they’re renting their audiobooks anyway.

Amazon’s ACX program works a lot like KDP and Audible is a lot like Kindle Unlimited

Sales of such shorter audiobooks may have been greater if I’d have done them each individually, (the price would have also been lower) but I’m aiming for royalties based on rentals from within the Audible program, because I believe, that just like Netflix and Kindle Unlimited, subscription programs like Audible will only grow in popularity in the coming years. So that’s my gamble, and we’ll see how it goes. I had to create a 5-ebook collection and make it available in the Kindle store in order to create the 5-book audiobook, so be advised, any writers out there considering getting into audiobooks, that was actually step one, creating an ebook collection. ACX needs a product that is identical in readable format to create the same in listenable format.

Ebook five-story collection

(By the way, I want to give a big shout-out to my brother-in-law, Eric Gennes of E.G. Foley, who explained all of this to me and guided me in the right direction before I began! I was lost when it came to all of this, and that’s why it took me so long to get into audio – the dread of researching it and making the right decisions. So, thank you, Eric! You saved me countless hours and dollars!)

Speaking of dollars, when it was time to look at cost, I chose to do the Royalty Share Plus program offered by ACX, in which I paid my producer a partial upfront fee, and now will share royalties with her for a fixed number of years, which ACX divides up neatly for us. It didn’t cost me as much as if I’d paid her outright for the work, in full, so that helped me. But it was also not zero dollars upfront for her, in exchange for her countless hours, talent, experience, and effort with my project, so that helped her.

So, once we were in the recording phase and I received files from my narrator/producer to approve each day, I have to admit that I could not keep the ridiculous grin off of my face as I listened to her read my books! It’s a lot of fun – and a whole new world – getting to hear your own words in someone else’s voice, especially when that someone really knows what she is doing.

Trista Shay
Narrator /Producer Trista Shaye

Narrator and producer Trista Shay has narrated thirty+ audiobooks, is the voice of a superhero character in a podcast, and is continually working to expand her repertoire. (She is also a middle grade author and I can’t wait to see her upcoming book!) She managed to make all of my various characters easily stand apart from one another in the five books and spoke slowly enough for a listener, especially a child listener, to really absorb the story, which I love. (Don’t worry – it doesn’t come across as slow! It’s just in contrast to my own way of speaking, which is fast and often rushed, so I really appreciate the way she did the narration.) For the Rosco the Rascal stories, we chose an old-fashioned, sort of Storytelling type of reading voice, which she is really good at, and I think it works very well for my books, since I wrote them with that style in mind all along. Trista was amazing to work with and extremely professional and knowledgeable. That also may be why this process went so smoothly for me. 🙂

Now, for the benefits of audio: I was told by a teacher friend who reads my books out loud to her 2nd grade students each year, namely the Pumpkin Patch title, that she can’t wait to get them on audiobook, because she will be able to save her voice! And just think, now she can use it all year round, since Rosco’s adventures span the calendar. 🙂

Talking to parents of my children’s friends lately, too, I am told that so many already belong to Audible and that they and their kids listen to books constantly. It makes for a great distraction on long drives in the car, as a way to get kids off of screens, especially when they’re whining that they don’t want to read right now, for something to do before bedtime when eyes are tired, as a way to pass the time at the gym or in a waiting room when wearing earbuds, and for so many other uses.

And so now, my objective is to let the world know my audiobook is available. So how do I do that? They don’t provide an easy way to advertise them on Amazon, like they do for books, at least not yet. But ACX gives narrators and authors a number of free promo codes that we can distribute in exchange for reviews or for other types of publicity.

I have some of these codes available for both US and UK customers, so if you’d like to review the audiobook, please let me know by email at author @ shana gorian dot com with the subject line: Requesting promo code for audio, and I’ll send you one. Read below for a little more on that.

Rosco the Rascal Series Collection, Books 1-5, summary:

Meet 10-year-old James, seven-year-old Mandy, and their mischievous German shepherd, Rosco, in this five-book audiobook set. Year-round adventures await, with a fall trip to a pumpkin patch, a winter vacation to the mountains, a springtime march through a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a summertime week at sleep-away camp, and a hometown Christmas lights contest. Narrated by Trista Shay. 9 hrs: 3 min run time.

Fans of the Magic Tree House series will love this brother and sister pair, and fans of classic, heroic dogs – from Lassie to Beethoven – will love Rosco.

If you’d like to hear a five-minute sample, you can visit my Amazon page and click on the sample button, below the image of the audiobook.

This five-book collection includes:
Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch
Rosco the Rascal in the Land of Snow
Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp
Rosco the Rascal at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Rosco the Rascal and the Holiday Lights

So, here’s how you can listen:

If you’re not already a member of Amazon’s Audible program, listen to the book for free with a FREE 30-Day trial of Amazon Audible, by clicking here. Please feel free to share the destination of the link above with anyone who’d like to listen to Rosco the Rascal’s 5-book collection. Might make a great and easy teacher gift, especially since all five books have A.R. quizzes now on Renaissance Accelerated Reader, levels 3.8-4.4.

If you are already an Audible subscriber, please visit the links below to find the audiobook. And, as mentioned above, if you’d like to write a review for the audiobook, please email me first, at author @ shana gorian dot com, to request a free promo code to listen to this title for free. Available only for a limited time; one per customer, until they run out.

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK | Audible subscribers

Thanks and I hope you and/or your children, grandchildren, or students will give it a listen! Reviews are highly appreciated but not required. ~Shana

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