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Today I’m on the ‘Venom! (A Natalie McMasters Mystery)’ blogtour, organised by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but b
About the Author :
Thomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s truly on his own as a novelist, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second most favorite detective to the MX anthology of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
A spooky mansion in the Georgia mountains with an outrageous cast of characters. Spiders, snakes, meth-heads and serial killers, oh my! Venom! ain’t your average gothic mystery, folks.
But who would expect it to be when Natalie McMasters is involved? She’s fallen madly in love with two people—her wife, Lupe, and Danny, her partner at the 3M Detective Agency. Rather than choose one of them as her life partner, she’s decided to have them both, and roped them into a relationship retreat in rural Georgia to learn how to live as a polyamorous family.
But Nattie finds more than she bargained for in the sleepy town of Greypeak. A methamphetamine operation. A snake-handling preacher. A retired FBI agent hunting a serial killer. And a charismatic psychologist who just might have his own agenda for his clients.
Nattie ultimately finds herself in the most dangerous situation she’s ever faced, which may well solve her relationship problems by costing her life. Is this really the last book in the Natalie McMasters series?
Guest Post :
An Indie Author Tackles Audiobooks
I’m the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium. Currently, the series comprises four books. In the first volume, Stripper!, Nattie is twenty, short and blonde (OK, it’s bleached!), way cute, and a pre-law student at State. She’s also straight, or at least she thinks so. To put herself through school, she’s moonlighting as a private detective trainee at her uncle Amos Murdoch’s 3M Detective Agency, where the most exciting thing she does is sit in a car, staking out people who’ve claimed workers’ compensation to be sure they’re hurt as badly as they say. It’s the perfect gig for a college student, because she can study on the job. But one day she directly confronts a subject on a stakeout, and Amos fires her. Then she meets another student who bears an uncanny resemblance to her, and everything in her life changes. When her new best friend is brutally murdered and Amos is critically injured, Nattie immerses herself in the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt the killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself. Nattie eventually exposes a drug ring, police corruption, and an assassin-for-hire online. Then she stumbles upon the true face of evil, and her encounter does not leave her unscathed…
I was 65 when I finished Stripper!, so after a year of querying agents with no takers, I decided to publish it on Amazon myself, on April 2018. Since then, I’ve released three more novels, Revenge!, Trafficked! and Venom!, and I’m working on the fifth book, Sniper! No way I could have had such a rapid production schedule if I had to deal with an agent and a publisher. The Natalie McMasters Mysteries have done fairly well, with about 11,000 copies in circulation world-wide.
I decided to enter the audiobook market, currently the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, with Stripper! Audiobooks are available as downloads and some also as CDs. Downloaded files can be played on multiple devices without losing your place. Some Audible books (Amazon) also have the Whispersync feature, which lets you listen and read your book on Kindle, and updates either the print or the audio file as you switch back and forth.
ACX, Audible’s publishing platform, allows you to sell your book on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. After you register on the website, you make your title available for auditions. Narrators (aka producers), can review available titles and contact you. However, I found it much more effective to survey potential producers myself and invite those I liked to audition by reading some excerpts I provided. You can narrow the list of over 100, 000 producers by gender, voice style, accent and other parameters. The Natalie McMasters books are written in first person, so I wanted a female narrator with a youthful, hip voice with a slight Southern accent.
You can pay your producer three different ways—by straight royalty share, a royalty share plus a one-time payment, or with a straight payment. The amount is determined according to the finished length of the audiobook (not how long the producer takes to produce it), which ACX estimates for you according to the word count. For Stripper at 93K words, the audio length estimate was 10 hours.
A royalty share agreement lasts for seven years, during which time the author and the producer split a 40% royalty. Many established producers, some of whom who are also professional voice actors, prefer either royalty share plus or straight payment, and you will see this when you are screening potential producers so you don’t waste time negotiating with someone who wants a different deal than you are offering. If you do a royalty share, you must commit to sell the audiobook on ACX only. If you elect a straight payment deal, the royalty percentage is 25%, and the author keeps all of it. To get my royalty share deal, I contacted over a hundred potential producers and got about ten replies.
When you contract with a narrator, you agree on delivery dates for the first 15 minutes of the recording and for the final version. The author has to accept the first 15 minutes for the project to proceed, and the contract can be cancelled without penalty if it is unacceptable. The author the reviews the final version when it is ready, mostly making sure that it tracks closely with the Kindle edition (for Whispersync to work, the audio version must track the Kindle version at nearly 100%). Some producers may send individual chapters as they finish them, some the whole book at once, depending on how they work.
Once the final file is approved, ACX quality checks it and produces the final audio version, which takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The author must provide a cover that meets ACX’s specs. It must be square, and if the book is exclusive to ACX, they may add a triangular badge in the lower right-hand corner stating so. Therefore, the author must ensure that the ACX triangle does not obscure important information.
The narrator of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries is the talented Lisa Ware (Voices from lsware), who captures Nattie’s voice perfectly, as well as those of the other diverse characters in the books. I’m sure you’ll find her work enjoyable.
The audio version of Stripper! was released in November, 2019. You can find it on Amazon. The big news is that the audio version of the second Natalie McMasters Mystery, Revenge!, should also be available when this article is posted.
$25 Amazon gift card / 3 signed Venom! paperbacks
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The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Virtual Book Tour Organized By:
RABT Book Tours