What is your background? I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, which may account for some of my wild and wacky ways. After earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mesa College, I spent the next 20 years working in television and radio as a reporter, news anchor and on-air personality. In 2008, I formed Straight to Audio Productions, LLC and opened a recording studio in St. George, Utah. My first audio book, Jitters-A QuirkyLittle Audio Book, won a 2011 Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association and landed a spot on Jimmy Fallon’s Do Not Read List!
Why did you chose to make audio books out of your manuscripts instead of publishing them as novels? Initially, I tried to get the manuscripts of Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book published in book form. After receiving enough rejection letters to wallpaper the ceiling of Congress, I finally got around to asking myself why I wanted to be published in the first place. The answer was clear: I wanted to my work to be turned into audio books. At that time, I wrongly assumed my work had to be available in print form first. In a supreme “ah ha” moment, I realized I could bypass the publishing industry altogether. That discovery prompted me to form Straight to Audio Productions and commence work on my first audio book.
Mainstream audio books usually have one or two narrators who voice all the characters. How do your audio books differ? Both Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book are multi-voiced projects. Each character has their own voice, telling their stories in funny, first person narratives.
One of the wonderful things about owning an indie studio is that I’m free to experiment with different formats.
You believe your company, Straight to Audio Productions, represents the “new wave” in the audio book industry. What do you mean by this? Today’s technology is so clean and affordable that a whole new wave of indie studios are washing ashore every day. In the past, sound was primarily manipulated through physical equipment such as mixing boards and consoles. Editing software such as ProTools helps audio producers accomplish the same goals at a fraction of the cost. This is enabling more studios to get in the game which equals more audio books for the public to enjoy.
You projects use satire to tackle sticky topics such as polygamy and marijuana. Why go there? I’ll admit I like to push the envelope. My definition of satire is to exploit the absurd so marijuana and polygamy are easy pickings! However, I do lapse into brief moments of serious debate by discussing the impact of racism, bullying and discrimination.
How do you promote your audio books? My websites, www.yikesaudiobook.com and www.jittersaudiobook.com, are my best sales tools. I produced YouTube videos for both projects which gives potential customers a visual image of my stories. Contests are another great way to get content introduced to people in the industry. One of the top competitions for audio books is the Audies sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. I also reach out to bloggers and internet radio stations to help spread the word about my audio books.
You have engaged in some very non-traditional forms of marketing for your audio books. What are some of the tactics you’ve tried? I try to remember that publicity and word of mouth are far more effective than advertising. I donate tons of free audio books to libraries and non-profit organizations. My hope is that if people like one of my audio books, they’ll be more inclined to buy my other products.
I also developed some wacky YouTube videos to promote Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGbatmaDeM and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPotQyyPsuo&feature=g-upl.
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Genre – Comedy / Satire
Rating – R (language & theme)
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