"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Top children's Author Ngaire Elder Talks Audiobooks - Around the Cauldron.

Long term Wizardwatchers will need no introduction to Ngaire Elder, children's author and occasional co-host here at the Cauldron. 

A resident of Spain and mother of four, Ngaire is extremely popular as a blogger and a writer. She's here to talk about the dark arts of Audio Books, which are exploding like spring flowers all over Indie. 

If you ever wanted to know how to set your own audio book up, then Ngaire is here to tell you. I picked up the Wizphone and called Ngaire as she herded her many Burros through the vast acreage of her Cadiz rancho. Here's what she had to say.

Ngaire Interviewed Around the Cauldron HERE

Regular readers know you live in Spain. Is there any possibility of a house swap? It’s throwing it down here again.
What do you think, Wiz …? 


Swap the sun, sea and sangria for rain, rush-hour and  ribena I have a good life in Spain and wouldn’t swap it willingly. Sorry.

Spanish literary legend, Don Quixote, the ballet

Spain in silly pictures

You have just released your third prose book Dragon’s Star as an audiobook. Tell us about that.
I didn’t think it would be possible to produce one of my children’s stories as an audio book, but after chatting with a friend who had previously produced her children’s books as audio, I decided to investigate. I thought the process would have been a lot harder than it was. 

I am excited by my move into audio books for children. Audio books are great for reluctant readers  –pairing of the audio book with the paperback should encourage reading – and fantastic for those who are the visually impaired.  

To share Cecilia Spark’s adventures on a variety of formats – paperback, audio book and ebook (my least favourite) – can only serve to encourage children to read and write and explore the great outdoors!

Why audiobooks? Are audiobooks to the writer what the Motor Car was to the horse?
Would you believe that ‘audio books’ have been around a lot longer than what you may realise. According to top intellectual sources (Wikipedia) 

“Many short, spoken word recordings were sold on cylinder in the late 1800s and early 1900s, however the round cylinders were limited to about 4 minutes each making books impractical; flat platters increased to 12 minutes but this too was impractical for longer works. "One early listener complained that he would need a wheelbarrow to carry around talking books recorded on discs with such limited storage capacity." By the 1930s close-grooved records increased to 20 minutes making possible longer narrative”.

So audio books are not a new concept, and advancements in technology have encouraged the rapid growth of audio book production.

How can children benefit from listening to an audio book?
There are many benefits from listening to audio books for children, Wiz. 

These include:

Encouraging better listening and comprehension skills,
Discovering the proper pronunciation of words,
Developing vocabulary,
Motivating reluctant readers by pairing books with  audio books (unabridged) for word recognition and phrase awareness,
Stimulating their imagination to visualise a story instead of relying on illustrations,
Engaging a child's interest in a way that an adult reading aloud may not, 
Great boredom-breaker for journeys, and
Providing an enjoyable activity for the whole family.

Young Toby Nellist feels his brain enlarge like an expanding melon
every time he hears "Dragon's Star" on audiobook

Is the conversion an easy process. What did you think when you first heard your story “live”.
Yes, it’s extremely easy. 

1) I created an account on ACX (the audible division of Amazon) and as an author I was able to choose who narrated my books and the selling channels. 

2) You upload an audition script, set the specification for would-be narrators and sit back and wait for the auditions to come rolling in. 

Some narrators will do a royalty-share and/or a per-finished-hour fee.

A bit of advice, don’t jump at the first audition that is submitted
3) After you have chosen the narrator a formal offer has to be sent to him/her via ACX, and once the narrator accepts, you send the full audio manuscript to him/her for complete narration.

4) Approve it and then ACX do a bit of behind-the-scenes magic and about 10 days later your audio book is available on Audible and within another 2-3 days iTunes and finally Amazon.

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, Wiz … why don’t you try it for one of your books!!!!!!!!

I shall check it out, Ngaire...

"Good, Wiz. When I listened to the full audio book for Dragon’s Star for the first time I was astounded. I thought, wow, Hana has made my book sound brilliant. She really has done a fabulous job at narration and she is the narrator for Book 2 in the series – The Mystical Mountains of Terra".

Where do authors who wish to convert their work into audio find out more information?
They should have a look here - ACX – Audiobook Creation Exchange 


Where can Wizardwatchers purchase your audiobook? I understand it can be downloaded onto an Ipad?

Dragon’s Star is available from:

Your readers can listen to an audio sample of Dragon’s Star at Audible and Amazon.

Listen on your Kindle Fire or with the free Audible app on Apple, Android, and Windows devices.

I understand you have some late news!

Oh yes. Fantastalistic news. I have THREE audio books to give away for US readers. (UK reader freebies to come later!)

The first three people to comment on THIS blog will receive a code to download a Dragon's Star audiobook. So get commenting!

What’s the next project? Will you be converting that to audio too?
 My next Cecilia Spark adventure is in Africa and has a conservation theme to it. I am a massive supporter for prevention of cruelty to animals and our natural world … as is Cecilia Spark. We have to teach and encourage our children to appreciate the world they will live in and not destroy it as we’ve done.

Also, I have plans to add to my A-Z picture book series, and my daughter, Fearn, will be happily  illustrating this book as she did with MY NATURE FRIENDS.

All 3 books in my children’s series – The Adventures of Cecilia Spark – will be produced as audio books, as will any other additions to the series.

I’m not fond of book trailers and I know you are a massive fan. Change my mind.
Book trailers add excitement, improve visibility and generate interest and make people want to read the book, in theory … in reality this is not always the case. I enjoy creating the book trailers and will continue to do so. 

All Cecilia Spark Book Trailers can be found HERE, On Ngaire's excellent and popular blog

Why not, Wiz , it’s a bit of fun and I hope children enjoy watching the book trailers on Cecilia Spark’s website.

Your blog has doubled its readership in the past few months. What are you doing differently? What would you recommend to other bloggers.
I am perhaps being more active on Twitter and getting involved with 


Using hastags a lot more – some of my favs:
#shutyourhowlingscreamer (only to bed used in select incidents hahahahahhaha)

Plus, I post and share quite a bit on Google+ … super network site!

What book are you reading at the moment? And what cold fizzy drink accompanies the reading experience.
I am reading Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem – an epic story about General Maximus’ last stand … I’m #lovingit! 

And, the only fizzy beverage I would drink is pink/rose champagne, delicious, love the bubbles!

Pink Champagne Cake...my oh my oh my...

And finally, what are your plans for the coming year?
Take up Noodling and learn how to yodel – been on my bucket-list for a while. 

On a more literary note, continue Cecilia Spark’s adventures and start writing!!!! More visits to schools and libraries. 

I am participating at the Kid’s Book Festival in Nottingham later in the year and hope to be part of 2014 Summer Reading Challenge.

Once again, thank you for coming on the show and I, and all the Wizardwatchers, wish you every success with Dragon's Star audio book.
Brilliant, Wiz. And thank you.


Follow Ngaire on Twitter  


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Ngaire Elder is not a member of Facebook.


  1. Great post - however, Ms. Elder, when is Cecelia visiting Deep Space Nine - tons of adventures in the Star Trek universe to consider. Best of luck with sales.

  2. Wonderful page. Love these books. Might have to think about the audio book option. Thanks for sharing!!! xo

  3. Brilliant feature, Wiz, you captured by best side!!!!! Thank you for the Save the Elephants video; sad state of affairs poaching is on the increase and herds of elephants are still being slaughtered. As for the yodelling amish girl ... was she really singing and yodelling???? hahahahahah, need to practice a bit I think! (btw my comment doesn't count). n x

  4. I really enjoyed this one, ladies. Especially the pink champagne cake. I know you are all into audio and I wish you all the very best with the project!! :D Mxx

  5. What a great post. I enjoy audiobooks and always wondered how to get one made. Good stuff.

    1. Toinette, so glad you enjoyed our natter about the audiobooks. Guess what, you are the lucky 3rd commentee ... could you message me at info@ceciliaspark.com and I will arrange the complimentary audiobook. n x


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