Last year I wrote a blog post called What’s all the noise about Audiobooks? while exploring new platforms for self-published authors. The main issue that many authors such as myself encountered were twofold: creation and distribution.
This weekend I discovered an entirely new platform that sets up no barriers to any and all authors. Booktrack, soundtracks for books, is an entirely new platform that while some others from what I understand have tried to accomplish but only Booktrack has been able to do well.
Like audio books, it allows readers to be immersed into a story by adding a soundtrack that might include a score, ambience and sound effects. The service is free for both the reader and the authors or you can choose from a library of public domain source material. The books can be read on a PC or Mac (Chrome is the preferred browser) and hand-held devices like a tablet or iPhone.
To test out the platform, I used a sample of text from my YA novel Love and Cola Wars. I didn’t watch the tutorial, but the platform was pretty intuitive that I was able to navigate it quite easily. It is a simple, three step process: add text, add sound, and publish. Since I had already written my story, I just cut and paste it right into the window, but you can also write it in directly too.
Then I added sound. That was the fun part. You can choose from a large catalogue of music, background ambience or effect OR upload your own original music or sounds. You might find some limitations in the selections, but I’m sure as the company grows, so will its catalogue.
Layering the tracks was awesome. At one point, I had as many as five tracks in one section. With the tracks, it’s possible to fade in and out, cross fade and raise or lower sound levels. I ran into a few issues with creating dips, although I did manage to find some work around for that.
The longer I worked at it, the smoother and more realistic my tracks became.
A three chapter sample took me approximately 5-6 hours to complete, so for a full length novel, it would probably be at least 40-60 hours to complete for an average novel but could be upward of 100 hours.
Since the service is free for readers, many authors in the Booktrack library included only samples of their full length novels, while others posted short stories and single chapters of new works. There’s a full selection of genres including suspense, horror, romance, fan-fiction, classics (open source) and young adult. I noticed an absence of erotica – that would certainly open it up to a whole new market!
On the Booktrack’s site, there is mention that in the future, authors will be able to sell their work but for now, it can be a powerful marketing tool. Currently, readers can rate your booktrack, leave comments and share your booktrack.
You know great things are coming when super self-published author Hugh Howey has attached himself to it by offering up a sample of his latest novel Sand and a contest tie in for fans for his short story Half Way Home. Read more about what he has to say on his own website.
A few authors and readers have already poo-pooed the idea, wanting their books unfettered and free of technology. Who ever thought that we would be reading books on an e-reader or a PC or listening to it on an MP3 player or in our car. This technology, in my mind, has nowhere to go but up. So my final question is, when will Apple or Amazon buy up Booktrack and make the developers stinking rich?