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Happy NaNoWriMo Y'all, But...

It's November, and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is upon us. And as seems to be my custom, I'm not writing a darn thing.

Audiobooks First

At least, not until I finish recording Short-Term Rental Success into audiobook format.

The recording is going really well. So well that I find myself wishing I had done this years ago.

It's funny how fear of the unknown can stop you in your tracks, sometimes for months, years, even decades. Such is the story of my life, I guess.

I had been complimented repeatedly over the years on my "lovely voice" and how expressively I read aloud. That was never an issue.

But the whole, "where do I record, how do I do it, how do I edit it, and will it sound okay" parade of anxiety stayed my hand for years.

And now I feel silly that I put it off, that I spent thousands of dollars on the five books I had narrated by others. I could have been making money on audiobooks I narrated myself all this time!

And when you consider that 22% of my income this year has been audiobook income (and with only five of my fifteen books in audio), I really have been missing out.

I'm actually crafting this post in between recording sessions - which have to stop and start around the furnace turning on. Winter is upon us, but the additional roar of the furnace is unwelcome background noise, so I quickly pause my recording when it goes on, write here while it blows lovely warm air through my drafty old house, and then return to recording when it turns off.

I estimate it will take around two full weeks to record and edit the audio for each of my books. I'll record the ten currently not in audio and then go back and record the first five in my own voice for across the board consistency. Figuring in holidays, kids not in school and running about the house making noise, I estimate that I should be done with the first ten books by late March and sometime June for the original five books. Any books I write from here forward will be immediately recorded into audio. I think it will actually be the final "read aloud" edit the manuscripts need.

Book Covers

I've finalized (for now) my future thriller The Retirement Home. I even made an audiobook cover. Because, doggone it, I'm planning ahead from now on!

I really struck gold when I turned my sights to re-doing the cover for Winter's Child as well.

I just felt like the original cover didn't properly convey the thriller vibe, and the sales have been lackluster. I belong to a lovely group on Facebook, the Psychological Thriller Readers group, which has a fair number of authors within its ranks as well as readers.

Old cover

And it was here that I struck gold. I asked them for their opinions between the old cover, and the new one that quickly evolved into the cover that is now gracing Winter's Child across the different bookselling platforms.

New cover

I also asked Claude AI for a good hook line for the new cover. It provided a great base that I then edited and changed. I hope it works well!

The AI apps like Wonder, MidJourney, Dall-E3, Claude and more are doing amazing things. It's easy to get swept up on the anti-AI rhetoric, but responsible, ethical use is possible. I have no interest in AI writing my books for me. Frankly, I've got my own ideas and it feels the same as what co-writing with someone else would, NOT MINE. I guess I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my writing. The covers, the blurbs, hooks, ads, and even the editing (what do you think ProWritingAid is if not AI?) are all things I'm happy to have AI handle for me. It frees me to write my books and tell my stories.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. Next up, Turkey Day! And for all of you writers out there, write on, right on, during NaNoWriMo and beyond.

Find Me on Facebook

Join my group General Malcontent's Grumbles and Scribbles on Facebook and get plenty of weird memes, the opportunity to read my newest releases for free, pics of the family, and other author news. I look forward to seeing you there!

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