In which the audio versions of Happiest Days and Just A Geek get a new home

I've had such a great experience using Lulu to sell Sunken Treasure and Memories of the Future, Volume One, I have decided to start out 2010 by moving the audio versions of The Happiest Days of Our Lives and Just A Geek to Lulu. It made a lot of sense to me to keep all of my self-published work together in one place, and hopefully this will make ordering even faster and easier than it already was.

Now, for the sake of completeness and making a post that's more than 70 words, here's a little bit about my audiobooks, which I yanked from the Audiobooks tag on Wil Wheaton Books dot Com:

The Happiest Days of Our Lives

You can buy the audio version of The Happiest Days of Our Lives right here, for just $19.72. "Why $19.72?" You ask? Because that's the year I was born, and since nobody else is the boss of me, I can do that sort of thing. "How long is it?" You say? "That's what she said!" I reply. Then I tell you that it's about three and a-half hours long, and we laugh and laugh before the episode ends with a hilarious freeze frame.

Like the audio version of Just A Geek, this is a super-annotated edition, filled with tons of what I call "audio footnotes" for lack of a less stupid-sounding term. I hope we've created something that's more like sitting down in a room with me while I tell you stories, than it is a typical audiobook. I don't think a traditional publisher would let me get away with doing it this way, which is a big reason I do these things on my own. If you've ever heard meperform my work at a show, or listened to any of my podcasts, you should have some idea of what you're getting into.

Just A Geek

I'm very proud of this, my first audio book. I've talked in the past about what a huge letdown my experience wih O'Reilly was on the print version of the book, and much of the joy I'd hoped to feel with its release has instead come from the recording of the audio version, which ended up being a performance, with asides, commentary, and reflections on the material that aren't in the print version of the book. I guess it's like I'm reading the book to you, and occasionally setting it down to give some meta-commentary on various passages.

So if you liked the print book, my PAX keynotemy performance of The Trade, or if you like my podcasts, I'm pretty sure you'll dig the audiobook.

For the Lulu release of Just A Geek: The Audiobook, I was able to include a PDF scan of the booklet I created for its previous release, which I think is pretty cool. (If you already own the audio version of JAG and would like a copy of the PDF booklet, just e-mail me and I'll get it to you as quickly as I can.)

My audiobooks are quite different from traditional audiobooks. Rather than create a dramatic interpretation of the literal text, which is what I do when I voice another author's book (Like Peter & Max: A Fables Novel, which I did for Bill Willingham), I am able to use my experience as an actor to bring the words and characters to life while adding my own commentary. The result is much closer to hearing or seeing me perform my material live than getting an audio version of the text.

For both of these books, I worked with my friend David Lawrence, who in addition to producing them, participated in some interesting conversations along the way. In fact, we added so much material through our conversations and my additional commentary, we only half-jokingly call them superannotated versions of the books. It's the sort of thing that I doubt I'd be able to get away with if I wasn't doing this entirely on my own, and I'm really glad that we did the books this way, because I think it makes them special and unique. The feedback I've gotten from customers is overwhelmingly positive, and it appears that my goal of making the listener feel like we're sitting down together while I read to them has been successfully achieved.

Okay, before I sign off, I'm going to address a couple of FAQs that usually come up when my aubiobooks are mentioned:

Q: How about some stats, man?

A: Happiest Days is $19.72, about 3.5 hours long, and is about a 200MB download. Just A Geek is $20.00, about 9 hours long, and is about a 400MB download.

Q: Why is Just a Geek only 28 cents more if it's so much longer?

A: That's what she said! Oh, um. Sorry. Because it's been available for so long, and the old pricing model we used when it was originally released needed to be updated. Look, I know that people can just steal it if they want to, so I figured it was better to make it more affordable for people who want to be honest.

Q: How about a discount if I get them together?

A: I wish I could do that, but I'd have to make a whole new project at Lulu, and I don't think there's enough market demand for that.

Q: Can I get this from Audible?

A: Not right now.

Q: Why not?

A: Two main reasons: Audible takes a huge cut of the purchase price, and for an indie guy like me it's not worth it. Audible also requires DRM, which I'd like to avoid as long as possible. Now, to be super-clear: if Audible could somehow open up my work to tens of thousands of new customers, I think it would be a fair trade off. However, my experience in traditional publishing leads me to believe that that isn't going to happen. I think I can reach 

Q: So why not do it anyway? Why not sell them directly yourself and also use Audible?

A: Hurm. That's a good question, and I can't come up with a very good reason that's more comprehensive than, "because I don't want to deal with the hassle and potential rejection from Audible." 

Q: So you're going to eventually do that?

A: Well … it seems silly not to, now, doesn't it? Tell you what: once I get everything I need to do under control and I'm not behind on a crapton of deadlines, I'll look into Audible, assuming that they'll even be interested in having me.

Q: So should I just wait, then?

A: Facepalm.

Q: Are you going to do audio versions of your other books?

A: I've meant to do a Dancing Barefoot for years, and just never got around to it. If enough people are interested, though, I will. I bet I could give Barefoot a really neat superannotated treatment, especially since I've leveled up so much since I wrote it.

Q: What about Memories of the Future?

A: I really don't know. It takes a lot of time and energy to produce an audiobook, and I don't know if there are enough buyers to make it worth the time it would take to create a Memories audiobook all at once. I've thought about doing it episodically, so if only 20 people are interested, I've only wasted two hours instead of forty, but I'm not sure that would work. But there's always the Memories of the Futurecast, guys.

Q: Hey, is it weird to essentially have a conversation with yourself and present it as a FAQ?

A: Keep your questions on-topic, please.

Q: It's just that, I think it's kind of weird.

A: That isn't a question.

Q: Oh, so the voice in your head can say you're awesome and you'll let that slip by, but if I point out that it's a little weird, you're just going to blow me off?

A: Pretty much. Yes. Okay, um … you in the back?

Q: Hey, I don't have a question, but I just wanted to say that you're awesome.

A: Why thank you. That's very kind of you.

Q: And tell us, once again, where we can get these fabulous audiobooks, please?

A: Great question. You can go to my storefront at Lulu to find just about everything I've recently published, or you can go directly to Just A Geek: The Audiobook or The Happiest Days of Our Lives: The Audiobook.

Annnd, scene. Thanks for reading and (hopefully) listening. Remember to tell all your friends, and be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

48 thoughts on “In which the audio versions of Happiest Days and Just A Geek get a new home”

  1. I would be interested in both the Dancing Barefoot and Memories of the Future Audiobooks, in whatever format. Your podcasts have been my commute companion for a few months now, and I’ve listened to them all multiple times. Any new material is ALWAYS welcome :)

  2. Has there ever been a physical edition of the “Just a Geek” audiobook, and if so, how would I go about getting a copy?
    My birthday is coming up at the end of the month and I’d like to ask for the audiobook, but since my laptop is currently in a state requiring data recovery and this laptop I’m using is neither mine nor is it in good enough shape to allow me to create a CD backup of the download, the format offered currently on Lulu doesn’t work for me.
    Any help in this matter would be appreciated, and (dare I say?) awesome.

  3. At the moment, there isn't a physical version. There used to be, but it takes up like a thousand CDs, and is very expensive to burn, duplicate, and ship. It's just not worth what I'd have to charge to even break even.
    Sorry, man. I hope your computer gets fixed soon so you can get a digital copy.

  4. I just picked up the audio book version of “Just a Geek” I have been wanting to read it for a while but I was never able to find a print version of it until recently. However, I decided to go with the audio book version after listening to you do a reading at W00tstock LA with Paul and Storm. I am sure I will enjoy listening as much, if not more than actually reading it.
    Thanks!

  5. Wil,
    I would be super-keen to get an Audiobook version of Memories of the Future so please add me to your little mental tally list of intersted customers and I hope that it soon adds up to “enough to make it worth the effort”.
    Cheers m’dear

  6. Hmmm, that reminds me! I need to listen to my audio JAG again. It’s a tax-season tradition, you know.
    This year I can even add Happiest Days to the mix.
    People, if you don’t have these you need them. Be sure to listen to the extra fun stuff with Wil and David Lawrence. I kind of have a crush on Mr. Lawrence’s voice (although it added a weird dimension to his character on Heroes-because I love that voice but he played such an excellent creep).

  7. It’s ok to advertise for something if you actually like it yourself. It’s ok to be rich too. There is enough for everyone.
    It’s the barley in Ovaltine, that is why it is good for you, though the chocolate and suger in it might not be so good. At least it’s a start.

  8. So in your professional opinion is Lulu the best place for people to publish their books independently? Does it work for Canadians as well? Are you happy with the commission they take?
    Also do you own all the rights to the audio book for Just A Geek? If wanting to quote exerpts would someone go through you for permission? Is it better to quote the audio version then?
    Thanks Wil :D

  9. Thanks for the PDF! Dancing Barefoot is my only Wil Wheaton (TM) product I haven’t acquired yet. I’m holding out for the audiobook and would prefer the “super annotated” version. Just curious, would you get more $$ from a purchase of a Dancing Barefoot audiobook than if I went to the “super mega” bookstore and picked up a hard copy? (It’s a “I would like to support you the most efficient way possible” sort of a question.)
    -maryanne

  10. Yeah, I would absolutely earn more per sale if you got it directly from me. It's going to be a very long wait for the audio version, though.

  11. You really are a dork for writing the Q&A like that, but I read the whole damn thing anyway so I guess we’re even. ;) I look forward to listening to your books. =)

  12. I’m in the same boat as Rocky so thanks a lot for that.
    I’ll have something to listen to while I’m doing a really tedious job at work tomorrow. :o)

  13. I am interested in all the audio versions of your books. So with the Lulu store, we are buying directly from you? As soon as I save up some money, I am getting the JAG and Dancing B. audio!! I’m starting the new year off with Memories Of The Future as we speak….it’s awesome!

  14. Mark me down as another customer for any audio anything that you produce. I listen to your podcasts as I ride the subway to work (just moved to NYC last fall) and I don’t even care when other riders look at me all weird when I laugh.
    Also, you mentioned on Radio Free Burrito that you weren’t sure about producing fiction to put up for sale. I will definitely buy an inexpensive book of short stories or other fiction.
    Wil, I just want to let you know that I think it’s really cool what you do. Interacting with your fans like this is awesome. It makes me feel like I (and a whole slew of other people) get to act as a patron, supporting the people we like to do the thing that they love and are great at. Whenever I buy something from you (like my awesome “Tea, earl grey. Hot.” mug that lives on my desk) it makes me feel really happy in a way that other purchases don’t. Not only do I get something that I enjoy, but I get to think, “Hey, I’m helping Wil Wheaton earn a living! I love Wil Wheaton! Awesome!” And that’s just cool.

  15. On LuLu it says “Unknown Format.” Can somewhere here let me know if it’s an MP3, or other format that will play on my iPhone? Thanks! I walk to work and would be nice to pop them on there…
    (Sorry if this is a super lame question, I don’t currently have *any* audio books.)

  16. Actually, I was quoting “A Christmas Story”. When Ralphie gets his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin in the mail, he’s so excited to be part of the secret society, able to decode messages from Annie, herself. He finds out quickly that the messages are only advertisements in disguise. His first message? “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”

  17. Uh oh…
    How do I get a copy of the pdf booklet for Just a Geek? I don’t have your email address (and honestly never thought I’d ever actually be trying to find the email address of an actor that I loved when I was a kid!! Really! I guess I related to Wesley Crusher, I was a geek at 11 years old watching TNG, spouting off to my elders and saving the planet/ship/galaxy on a regular basis.)
    Anyway, thanks so much for putting yourself out there both in your writing and your audiobooks. Keep it up, and always ignore the idiots who tell you it can’t be done/shouldn’t be done/your character sucks- there will always be someone who is unhappy about something!
    kimba.geo at yahoo.com

  18. It's an MP3. I've looked all over the place for a way to tell Lulu what the format is, but there isn't an option.
    I thought I put it into the description, but I'll go double-check just to be sure. As far as I know, it *will* play on your iPhone.

  19. :::suppresses nerdy fangrrl ZOMGs that THE wil wheaton responded to my comment. puts away her bajoran earring to not give it all away.:::
    Thanks! I’ll give it a go.

  20. My favorite Christmas movie of all time. LOVED how you blew up your Twitter account Christmas Eve with all of the quotes. You must have seen it at least three times in a row that night.

  21. Dear Wil,
    Your beard may not be white like Santa’s but it is luxurious so here goes:
    I want all the audiobooks you’ve done that I don’t have, Dancing Barefoot, superannotated memories of the Future Highlights reel, my own island and an audio production of your posts where you talk to yourself and a bunch of other things that talk back.
    Ummm… oh yeah and peace on earth.
    Thanks

  22. Wil,
    I bought the audio of “Just a Geek” and while it said it would download automatically, it hasn’t yet. Do you have any idea why this might be?

  23. Even though it was a crummy commercial, I still love my Ovaltine. Just had a glass of Chocolate Malt this morning. :)
    That said, I recently got “Just a Geek”. Haven’t had a chance to start listening to yet, but I am looking forward to when I do have the chance.

  24. I have the physical Just a Geek, but when I saw the audio book was nine hours, I just had to hear it. I had to ask my partner if it was okay to spend $20 of our limited funds on it, and he said yes, cuz “it’s Wil Wheaton”!

  25. Q: Oh, so the voice in your head can say you’re awesome and you’ll let that slip by, but if I point out that it’s a little weird, you’re just going to blow me off?
    A: Rhetoric! 30 – Love
    hehe
    Heads!

  26. I’m just nominating Memories of the Future for a Best Related Book Hugo.
    Can I suggest that some other people might wish to do that.
    You could also nominated Memories of the Futurecast for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) but Avatar will run away with that this year.
    WWDN is eligible for Best Fanzine, too

  27. That's weird. E-mail their customer service and they should get right back to you. You probably just have to go to your account again and re-download.

  28. Whoops; very interested in following your links to Lulu and your site, and then I read the Ovaltine bit, and I spent 10 minutes Googling and Wiki-surfing childhood treats. Darned A.D.D.

  29. Hey Wil! Love your stuff, think you’re great! Guess what?!? I have been working on publishing a book with Lulu, and an ebook version, and did you know that on the ebooks page here:
    http://www.lulu.com/publish/ebooks/
    Sunken Treasure is the book featured! I was so excited when I saw it! At first I just thought, “oh, yeah, I know that book,” and then I realized “hey, that’s Wil Wheaton’s book! Awesome!”
    So there you go, just wanted to make sure you knew (and tell the rest of the comment-world). :)
    Teresa

  30. Also, for the record, if I could wish Wil to be insanely rich, I would. I’ve enjoyed his work, acting and writing, for many years. I already owned “Just A Geek”, when I purchased a second copy in May 2005 as part of a fundraiser to help with vet bills for Felix, Sketch and Ferris. By the way, I’m sorry for your loss… We paid $50 for a book we already owned, personally autographed, but one we owned, nonetheless. (I’m not a creepy fangirl, btw. I had to revisit the letter included with the book to get all of my facts straight)

  31. I don’t imagine anyone here needs encouragement, but I have IMMENSELY ENJOYED both “Happiest Days” and “Just A Geek” in audio form. Wil is an AMAZING writer and speaker.

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