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Howard Hopkins

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Recording the Author Sound Byte
By Howard Hopkins   

Last edited: Sunday, April 21, 2002
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2001

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How to create a sound byte for your book.

Promoting on the internet can sometimes feel like a
cold, detached endeavor. There are scores of places to list a new ebook, request a review or drop a press release. But most contact with potential readers comes in the form of printed words on a screen. While that's what you are trying to sell to begin with, your printed words on a screen, a certain level of intimacy is missing. Printed words carry the tone in the reader's mind, their
interpretation of the author's phrasing and rhythm.
That's all well and good but how do you create that
elusive intimacy with your reader that goes beyond the sound of their own thoughts? Or entice new readers to "hear" your words in your voice when they read?

For print authors--and sometimes e-authors--there is the author signing. Of course, this is somewhat limited by area and tour itinerary. Even so, most e-authors can't afford author tours and the luxury of reading to their readers and potential readers is limited.

So why not create a sound byte those readers can
download, either when they buy the book or before? Let them hear your voice, so you are more than just a few printed words on a screen. Become three-dimensional in their mind, get close up and in mono.

Creating a sound byte is not difficult and in fact
can be constructed even on older computers. I created one using Windat on Windows 3.11, but it can be done with sound recorder on later Win versions.

You will need a microphone and a bit of practice
reading to make sure you do the best you can. I used a cheap sound machine to put in a few crickets (roughly $20 at Walmart) because I was reading a night scene. I call them evil crickets because the scene involved vampires, but that's beside the point.

I would suggest picking a small dramatic passage, one you feel comfortable reading. Shut yourself in a quiet room if possible because it will take a number of "takes" to get it right and it is amazing how recording can be a cue for the dog to start barking. Size can be an issue. Wav files are fairly large--a bit over a meg--for even a minute worth of reading. You can convert it to Mp3 to save a bit on size. For mine I picked a very short passage and got it to about 500k.

Once you have your sound byte, upload it to your
webpage so readers can download it and listen. Or ask your publisher to place it as a download with your book listing on their store site.

For those who would like to hear my Mp3 sample, surf on over to and check out my listing for THE DARK RIDERS. Or alternately, surf to my personal webpage, and download a wav sample.

Howard Hopkins is the author of six horror and western ebooks from Atlantic Bridge Publishing under his own name and more than twenty print westerns under the penname Lance Howard. His novels can be purchased at, and and he lives in Maine.

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Reviewed by Jeanette Foresta 2/3/2004
Very nice! I listened to the wav it was very good! Too bad people don't read the articles as much as the poetry. They really miss out. I saw your name and because of the fact that I am friends with Budd Hopkins the UFO author I thought I would check you out. No relationship to him I'm sure.

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