“Retail Sample” – The Box Under The Bed. Thoughts?

51eRlHYLzJL._SY346_.jpgAs part of creating your audio book, you get to audition and choose a narrator, review each chapter and give them notes, and have final approval on everything.

One other thing you have to do is decide what the 5 minute retail sample ought to be.

Go with your strongest scene? Start at the opening of the story? Something else?

Here, we have what the narrator chose for the retail sample, the opening prologue to The Box Under The Bed. Is this how we should advertise our anthology?

Give me your thoughts.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

18 thoughts on ““Retail Sample” – The Box Under The Bed. Thoughts?

  1. Not sure. Does it sell the book? But I don’t have an alternative suggestion. I have no experience of this process. Will the potential customer have already heard the blurb or is this intended to fulfill the function of a blurb?

    1. For an audiobook, this sample would pretty much take the place of a blurb. They are going to probably read the blurb first but then this will be a chance to hear the pace of the story and the tone of the narrator.

  2. Why not! How cool is this. Give it a whirl and if, for some reason, it turns out NOT to bless you, at least you tried. If if turns out good, you’ll have one more thing to share at conferences and with all your fellow authors. #TossingYouToTheLions

  3. I love this! It leaves the reader hanging. It Makes the mind ponder on the items in the box and the mystery hidden behind each one.

  4. Rhetoric 101. Who’s your audience? Because it appears I will be the dissenting vote here. It’s too long, and too slow. First – Spoken word and A/V as mediums obviate the need for certain dialogue and/or action descriptives. Saying “she coughed” and coughing is redundant. She got a tickle in her throat, coughing dialogue, sold.
    It’s a bit stilted, in a charming way, for a younger audience. It could start a bit further in with action/dialogue and the question, not crawling about the house. I’m not being devil’s advocate here to be a jerk, but BAM. You have twenty seconds, tops, to hook me. And yes, it should be a strong scene, but not like a movie trailer where they give you the best 30 seconds of the entire movie pasted together. Hearing this blind I would assume it’s juvey and move on, unless I was a parent interested in material for that age group. Again, rhetorical position. Who is the audience? Who cares what’s in grampa’s box, it took too long to get there for a media driven culture. Us old farts, we can hang and say yeah yeah yeah, but that’s a lie. Prsonally, I’d find forty-five seconds of characters dealing with surprise, or chairs flying around the room or whatever the box conjurs up that made me want to read the story to find out what’s going on. If you’re Van Halen or the next big DJ you can sell it with the first eight bars. With a story, unless a bomb of some kind goes off in the first four lines, it’s difficult. My .02. And please consider it constructive and in no way derogatory.

    1. I think those are valid points, Phil. See my earlier comment where I asked, rhetorically, does it sell the book? If that’s the intention it fails for all the reasons you’ve stated. I was prepared to hold my fire as I thought maybe that was not the intention – it’s why I asked about the blurb. Dan responded that customers will have seen the blurb before they get to this. I still share your unease about it as a hook though.

      1. That depends on the customer, too. But I don’t know why they click on something if they didn’t read at least a little bit in the blurb.

        That said, I don’t pretend to know how audio book buyers shop.

        So again the question becomes: how do you properly represent an anthology of 27 stories written by 20 different people in only a five minute sample?

        1. Maybe five minutes is too long – as Phil says, we need to grab the listener within a few seconds. Do you know anything about book trailers? I know a lot of writers use these to introduce their e-books/print books. via Youtube. I’ve not seen one, but I’m guessing they are short. The ‘hook’ part of the prologue is in the list of stuff the folks in the attic find at the end. Maybe there’s a need to expand on that a little and leave out most of what precedes it. Watch this space – I might have a go at jotting down a suggested script.

          1. There are rules for this. It must be five minutes long or close to it, and it has to be something that is recorded from the stuff in the book.

            I’m not sure if you’re allowed to use different scenes. Maybe you are.

            That said, what in the book would you use?

              1. ACX makes the rules.

                I get the idea of having a “taste” of each story, but think about that in terms of a listener. What would you do to let them know they were now listening to the next story?

                I’m not sure this is allowed, by the way; I’ve asked the narrator to look into it.

    2. Excellent points. Our audience is not YA. I also assumed they were children as I listened to the audio. If I had stopped at the 45 seconds mark, which I would have, I wouldn’t have caught they are adults.

      1. The audition that I gave the narrators to read was the first five minutes of Jenifer’s story, “Passion.”

        The prologue is not really the stories, per se; it’s an easing into the stories and an explanation of where the title came from.

        Maybe Jenifer’s story represents the overall book better. Maybe not.

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