Hamit: Shenandoah Spy Audiobook

Editor’s Note: Francis Hamit, who self-published his Civil War espionage novels The Shenandoah Spy and The Queen of Washington, contributes insight pieces about the strategies and emerging technologies he uses to market his books.

ShenSpyAudioCvr SMALLBy Francis Hamit: Here is a link to the audiobook edition of The Shenandoah Spy.  Not really science fiction, I know, but the fact that we were able to produce this in six weeks with two very talented and professional narrators should be of intense interest to any File 770 readers who have a novel they want to sell.

Kindle editions are easy, but this requires the collaboration of one or more narrators who can also produce a professional sound file for download.  We did this through ACX.com, a unit of Amazon.com, on a royalty share deal that gives us and the narrators between 50% and 90% of the sales price.

We did four short audiobooks last year, but a full length one of a very different experience.  Gail Shalan and her colleague John Zdrojeski made the text come alive and helped me tell a great story. It’s 14 hours and 40 minutes long at the very reasonable price of $24.95.

Of course, those who don’t want to pay that much can sign up for Audible.com’s club plan and buy it for $7.49, or just read the original book which is $22.50 or the e-book, which is $16.99.

A Dramatic Change

Understandably, Steve Feldberg of Audible.com is “ecstatically pleased” about the Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Hugo nomination for his company’s audiobook METAtropolis. It’s the first audiobook ever nominated, ending the decades-long shutout of audio works in general from the Hugos.

The last audio work up for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo, in 1979, was BBC Radio 4’s production of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hitchhiker’s Guide finished second to the movie Superman.

Several record albums received nominations in the Seventies: two in 1971, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers by The Firesign Theater, and Blows Against the Empire by Jefferson Starship. Later, nominations went to I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus by The Firesign Theater (1972) and Blood!: The Life and Future Times of Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch and Harlan Ellison (1978).

Another non-movie/tv work nominated in the Seventies was Phil Foglio’s 1976 cartoon slide show The Capture, which was accompanied by live narration and audience participation.

Every nominee after Hitchhiker’s Guide for the next 25 years came from film or TV. The division of the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo category into Long and Short Form, effectively doubling the number of works nominated every year, did little to broaden the types of media represented in the award. What finally interrupted the long-lived movie/tv monopoly was the “Prix Victor Hugo Awards Ceremony (Opening Speech and Framing Sequences)” performed by Paul McAuley and Kim Newman at Interaction, the 2005 Worldcon, which made the final ballot in 2006. It also has the distinction of being the first live stage performance ever nominated.

No audio work has ever won a Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo. If that should happen in 2009 they’ll need a katyusha load of rockets for the writers — John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear and Karl Schroeder, and narrators — Battlestar Galactica stars Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani and Kandyse McClure, plus Stefan Rudnicki and Scott Brick. Congratulations, Audible.com!

METAtropolis Released by Audible.com

<em>METAtropolis</em>

“A veritable Murderer’s Row of great writers” is what Audible.com’s Steve Feldberg calls the array of sf talent who collaborated on METAtropolis.

The project features five interconnected novellas written exclusively for downloadable audio, Jay Lake’s “In the Forests of the Night,” Tobias Bucknell’s “Stochasti-city,” Elizabeth Bear’s “The Red in the Sky Is Our Blood,” John Scalzi’s “Utere Nihil non Extra Quiritaionem Suis,” and Karl Schroder’s “To Hie From Far Cilenia.”

The team created a near future world where big cities are dying, dead or transformed; where the once-thriving suburbs are now the treacherous Wilds; where those who live for technology battle those who would rather die than embrace it. It is a world of zero-footprint cities, virtual nations and armed camps of eco-survivalists.

“It’s not just the standard-issue Jetsons future,” said author and project editor Scalzi. “It’s the idea that cities would be something like interstitial nationsl, where the people of Detroit or Portland might have more in common with the people in Hong Kong or Johannesburg than with the people right down the road.”

The first story can be downloaded free.

A press release appears after the jump.

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They Sound Like Heroes To Me

A Mind Forever Wandering has posted a well-done introduction to Fritz Leiber’s stories about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (newly released in listenable form by Audible.com):

One of Leiber’s original motives was to have a couple of fantasy heroes closer to true human stature than the likes of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian or Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan. Fafhrd is a tall (seven feet) northern barbarian; Mouser is a small, mercurial thief, once known as Mouse and a former wizard’s apprentice.

File 770’s Silent Service

Behind the cut is Steve Feldberg’s latest press release about the glories of sf and fantasy at Audible.com, leading off with Neil Gaiman’s introduction to Fritz Leiber’s The Swords of Lankhmar.

A real live blog would also host its own MP3 excerpt of Neil’s comments, but here at Pinocchio.com, where the WordPress software refuses to load a file bigger than 2MB, my second best idea is to point you to SFFaudio’s copy.

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