ACX author M.C.A. Hogarth currently has 15 titles for sale on Audible, and has hit upon a ‘novel’ way to fund her audiobook productions and market her titles at the same time: Kickstarter! Today, we’re talking crowdfunding and how listening to her audio versions inspires M.C.A.’s next title.
Hi M.C.A. Tell us about your current audiobook project on ACX.
I’ve got quite a few irons in the fire! My space opera adventure Earthrise is in the approval queue now, with a science fiction short story collection, a novella and one fantasy short in the production phase, all with actors I’ve found through ACX.
Why did you decide to produce audio versions of your titles?
Fellow indie author Meilin Miranda mentioned her positive experience with ACX, so I decided to investigate and maybe test the waters with one of my shorter works. I’d never listened to an audiobook before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of the auditions. But I was blown away by the experience of hearing an actor interpret my works. In some cases, I learned things about the piece I hadn’t realized until someone else emphasized things I might not have noticed.
Has having your audio version produced changed the way you see your books, or the way you write?
I joke with my readers that there was MCAH writing before audiobooks, and MCAH writing after—that’s how big a difference it’s made! For instance, Jim McCance, who narrated my fantasy short “Fire in the Void,” made the anger of the narrator so palpable that I realized he wasn’t done yet—and that spawned an entire new novel!
Constructed languages are also a big feature of my science fiction and fantasy, and hearing actors take on that challenge has been instructive. Moe Egan‘s pronunciation of the alien words in “Freedom, Spiced and Drunk,” was so foreign to the way I heard it in my head that I realized there must be other populations on that world who speak the exact same language, but with an accent so different it would feel like a language barrier to the characters. That became a major plot point in my Stone Moon Trilogy.
This doesn’t even count the times when having an audiobook performance of a piece has driven me to write more in that setting, just to hear the actor continue to voice those characters. These days I try to schedule my projects so I’m approving audio in a setting that I’m also writing in, just for the way it makes me eager to get back to the keyboard.
You’re known for using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter for your audiobook productions. Tell us about that.
I use Kickstarter as both a marketing and funding platform for my audiobook editions. Because my work has been solely available in print or e-book prior to my first audiobook a year ago, my fanbase primarily consists of people who prefer those formats. Many of them are delighted to learn I am branching out! Now, when I use Kickstarter to raise funds for my print editions, I fold the audiobook edition in as a stretch goal, which gives me the opportunity to both gather money to pay my actors and give my readers a chance to listen to the audiobook edition and maybe become listeners as well as readers. Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice has been very useful in that regard.
To date, I’ve run seven successful Kickstarters (out of seven!). In fact, my best-selling audiobook is the recording of my book on how to use Kickstarter! I wrote From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign to help other people succeed with their crowdfunding dreams and decided to produce it as an audiobook when I read that nonfiction is the fastest growing market segment in audio. That’s definitely so in my case!
What advice do you have for other authors who are considering having their titles produced as audiobooks?
Be brave! Don’t wait for your actor to come to you. Go hunting for your voice. And most importantly, be mindful of your budget. There are so many amazing actors out there you can easily overrun your budget paying for their time!
What’s your next project, and when will we see it on ACX?
Next year I anticipate having another five or six fantasy and science fiction titles available, including my award-winning short “In the Line of Duty.”
Thanks for sharing, M.C.A.
Have you experimented with crowdfunding your audiobook productions? Tell us in the comments.