Monday, April 6, 2015

Chat with 2015 Conference Presenter Berin Stephens

Sweat Hard, Feel the Burn, Win the Race Indie Writing and Publishing Conference brings to you the first in a series of interviews with our expert presenters who will help you cross that finish line. Today we're chatting with audio expert Berin Stephins.


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Q: What is your profession and how are you connected to the writing.
A: I am a professional saxophonist but I also have four published novels. I write middle grade and YA sci-fi/fantasy/comedy. Additionally, I write serial stories for Big World Network, where I also create audio versions of each chapter.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I wanted to be a writer when I was young, but after college, life took over for a while. It was when my oldest daughter wanted to do NaNoWriMo ten years ago that I decided to do it along with her for a daddy/daughter bonding experience. That was how my first book, The Dragon War Relic, got started. Then, when I started writing Delroy Versus the Yshtari for Big World Network, they asked if I wanted to make the audio version, too. I thought, “How hard can that be?” Well, it was quite a learning experience, but that's what kicked me into the narration side of things.

Q: What subject will you be teaching at the Indie Author Hub Writing and Publishing Conference?
A: I'll be teaching a class with Cheri Schmidt about how to create audiobooks. I'll be taking the do-it-yourself side of things and talking about what equipment and techniques are needed to create a good product.
Q: What is your expertise for this subject?
A: As a professional musician, I've spent plenty of time in recording studios as well as making recordings in my home studio. Once I started recording my own audiobooks, I discovered that it was another kind of performance art requiring a lot of practice. Over time, I learned various techniques to improve my performance and to speed up the process.

Q: Why is this important for indie authors to know?
A: The market is constantly changing, but one thing that has emerged is the popularity of audiobooks. Many people like to listen to books while commuting in their cars because they don't have time to sit down and read very much. By having an audio version of our books, there is a much wider potential audience we can reach.

Q: What is your top writing-related goal for 2015?
A: I shoot for three books a year as a larger goal, but my daily goal is to write about 2000 words a day. I used to do more but had to cap myself at 2000 so that I have time to work on my music as well as my narration. I do have a narration goal as well, which is to go back and record one of my earlier novels that I haven't had time to get to yet.
Q: How will attending the conference help you to reach that goal? And/or why do you feel it’s beneficial for indie writers to attend conferences.
A: My routine is pretty well established, but I'm always looking for more ways to improve my writing. No matter what field anyone goes into, if they want to excel they must be constantly learning and improving their knowledge.
Q: What is something many people don’t know about you?
A: I was a member of the Oregon State University track team as a 400m runner my freshman year of college. Unfortunately, sports and music don't cooperate at the collegiate level. When I realized that I couldn't do both, I then tore my hamstring severely, thus ending my track career and sending me off into music.
Q: What best advice do you have for beginning indie authors?
A: Go to conferences. Keep learning. Get a good writing group who is willing to tell you the hard things but in a nice way.

We hope to see you all at the IAH Writing and Publishing Conference in June!


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