Talking books…

“Are they available in audio…?” I get asked for the fifth time that day. At which point I start to explain, in my usual fluid, utterly self-confident, and in no way panic-stricken way that unfortunately they are not…

I’ll go on to explain this is because of the prohibitive cost involved in professionally recoding a novel. For an experienced but relatively cheap recording artist it would be a minimum of £15 an hour, for an average of 10 hours per 10000 words. For, in the case of Passing Place, a novel with 110000 words. Sure, the Hannibal books are shorter, and maybe rolls it at around 70k, but at around £150 per 10k words I’m not spending that kind of money for anything less than the novel I consider to be my best.

There is a degree of arrogance to my opinion of Passing Place which people occasionally pick up on. Which is to say I happily state it is greatest novel ever written (by me) which is not a very British thing to say about your own work. In my defence I specifically said it’s the greatest ‘written by me.’ That doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal, but its readers generally seem to have positive things to say about the book. At least the ones I manage to convince to give it a read, who then give me their opinion…

Some people have bought Passing Place and then never say anything about it to me afterwards. Either it got put on their to read pile and forgotten about, which is a horrendous fate. Or they read it and didn’t even find it interesting enough to venture an opinion. Or they just hated it and are too polite to tell me so… I could not honestly tell you which is the worst fate… Though it is always mildly worse when the readers concerned are people who’s opinions you suspect you would hold in great value…

But not to get distracted by my own inner neurosis’s….

The point about audio books is that in order to record an audio version of Passing Place I would have to outlay around £1650. This is a somewhat of a large outlay for the audio version of a book that despite being the greatest novel ever written by someone called Mark Hayes, at least one specific Yorkshire-man called Mark Hayes, specifically this one… has not exactly been a bestseller.

Passing Place has been in print for six or so years now. In that time it has made substantially less that £1650. About a fifth of that figure in fact, if I am being generous, in the whole six years… It is my least successful book by some margin in this regard. Indeed in every regard except the critical acclaim showered upon it by those few I have convinced to read it. In short, while I am clearly a little mad, I am not that mad…

So “No they are not available in audio…” I explain, and then, because I have started talking and starting talking is the single hardest thing in the world, I go on to explain all those details above, while whoever asked is clearly someone who doesn’t generally read as they prefer to consume their literature in audio fashion, so sin’t going to buy a book, or indeed maintain an interest in what I am saying.

They start giving me funny looks about this point…

All of this isn’t in anyway what I intended to talk about when I started writing this post. It does however illustrate what I wished to talk about quite well. The point being I am in person, when stood behind a table with books upon it, far from the confident charming erudite intellectual you might otherwise expect. If, that is, you have never met me or read between the lines in these blogs.

I hide my shyness behind layers of fake confidence, occasional smuttiness, and attempts at friendliness that are so often misjudged as smug arrogance, because I am just not very good with people I don’t know. Or indeed people I do know… Just people in general in fact… And when I feel such interactions are going badly they start to go worse…

Occasionally, I fend off these demons even if I never defeat them. The weekend just passed was not one of those occasions. As much as I enjoyed everything else about the weekend, in terms of being a bloke stood behind a table talking about his books it wasn’t one of my better ones…

Though few questions were asked of me “Are they available in audio…?” was about the only question I managed not to feel like a fraud when answering. So about the only one I ever answered well…

The right answer to questions like “What are your books about?” and “Tell me about this book..” I know well. I just never give them at the time I am asked…

If your interest the correct answer’s are:-

The Hannibal novels are satires on both the modern world and colonialism, set in a steampunk universe moved forward to the modern age. They are full of strange technology, mad scientists, strong women and foolish men… Hannibal himself is a coward and a rogue, though neither as cowardly or as roguish as he proclaims himself to be. A man of contradictions who relates his tale, after telling you he’s a liar, while sat in a leather armchair drinking port and smoking a good cigar before a roaring fire in his dotage.

The Maybe books are straightforward steampunk novels set some 150 years before Hannibal’s time at the point where HG Wells is about to change everything and history will; diverge. They follow the adventures of Eliza TuPaKa a strong minded young woman and engineer of mixed race descent, attempting to solve her fathers murder, with the aid of Benjamin West and his former manservant Mr Gothe.

Cider lane is a contemporary if unconventional romance, between two people who have fallen off societies edge, coming to terms with old wounds and recent ones that have left them broken. It’s fucking complicated but is also about the importance of tin openers.

The Lovecrafts book is whatr happens when you write a blog and have too much time on your hands…

And Passing Place is…

Oh for the sake of the old gods and the wolf king of winter it’s just the best novel I will ever write, just read it please…

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6 Responses to Talking books…

  1. andy hill says:

    Great blog, is it available in audio format please?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nimue Brown says:

    I did an entirely novel as an audiobook once (it’s on bandcamp, if you listen on the site you can get the whole thing for free.) And of course there was Wherefore in much more sensible small chunks. Audio books are silly. I totally get why people might want or need audio books but they are, nonetheless, silly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • darrack1 says:

      Unfortunately, while they are damn silly, they are also a major growth market, and where ‘readers’ be… Not having books available in audio makes it harder to reach a wider audience
      luckily since writing this post a friend who has recorded her own work, so knows what she is doing and what she would be getting herself into has offered to record passing place. Once she has finished recording all of hers.
      there is a split royalty thing you can do between the writer and the recording artist so you get half any royalties generated each, so i am going to look into that and we will see what comes of it 🙂

      Of course Kate can not record any of the Hannibal books , she doesn’t sound like David Niven after three large brandys , anyone know any good voodoo for resurrecting old movie stars, and forcing them to record your novels ?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mathewmccall says:

    he is right… it’s a fantastic book.

    Liked by 1 person

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