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.
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.
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.
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?
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.