Let’s Youtube! Also: I was a library once

So, I’ve been inactive on this blog for a while. I won’t bore you with a long story about a cycling accident, a month of uselessness in the arms, and so on.
What I will bore you with talk about is what I have been busy with in the meantime.

That Month I was a Library

Yes, this is a library. Of sorts.

Yes, this is a library. Of sorts.

During September, I did a large author promo I think others can do as well.
Author collaborations are all the rage now and most of them focus on joint mailing list promotion, cross-referencing, guest blogging, or multi-author box sets. And these are fine, but there is a lot of repetition here. And what I try to do on this blog is I try to avoid repeating what everybody else already talked about.
So, for one month, I became a librarian.

My hometown had an event during this time, where empty storefronts were being rented to artists for one month for cheap (€ 100-150). Had this not happened, I would have done this at a fitting convention or a similar event, but having a store for a whole month was an incredible opportunity.

So what I did then was I started looking for authors from my hometown and asked them about a collaboration. We would create a library with books from all authors who signed up for it available to read in this little library. It would not have shelves, but chairs and tables with books lying around, encouraging people to pick them up, sit down and read them. Additionally, there was a gallery of books and authors participating on the wall. We did reading events and at least one of us was always present during opening hours (usually me, because I was the guy with the keys). One Sunday, we organized a reading event (bookended by two national bestselling authors participating) where we read samples of our works to the audience through the afternoon and we had to get out all the chairs we luckily had in the closet.

We created a common brand for the participants and made clear every one of us was from our town. Most people know one or two authors from their hometown (unless they’re from New York or something like this). We were a group of twenty. Bestsellers, newbies, traditionally published, self-published, romance, sci-fi, steampunk, crime fiction, literary fiction, there was something and someone for everybody’s tastes.

We had constant local news coverage in papers, tv, and radio worth its weight in gold. As importantly, if not more so, we got to know each other a lot during that time. And while the project disbanded after one month, as had always been the plan, the seed of a community was planted with that event. All this left little time during September, but it was great.

If you speak German, here’s my blog entry on the German blog written after opening day. I honestly think this was the best event I did this year.

Now, if you do something like this, be prepared for rainy days. Nobody goes to a shop unless they have to on those. I got by writing stuff, resulting in two pieces sold. So even the bad days yielded results. To be precise, the sonnet Fling of Petals has in the meantime been published on Eye to the Telescope, and the short story Fetch Monkey has been sold to Mad Scientist Journal and is set to appear in its 2018 autumn edition.

On to the Tubes!

You might have also heard of the federal elections in Germany. While I did not run in it, I was very busy with that. Being the local head of a party does that.

But all that is past now, as well. For a few weeks, I tried to get back into writing on the English blog. Now I can with the result of my newest project. It’s a text some of you might have already seen. Delayed Vengeance was already published in both the Indies Unlimited 2015 Flash Fiction Anthology and my own collection How to Sing Butterflies. But now, you can listen to it on Youtube, as well. And again, I did some stuff differently from everybody else.

Basically, I was disappointed how audiobooks are usually presented on Youtube. There is either no picture at all or a static one. I can’t really listen to them much because my eyes get bored by the static visual and as they start to look for a distraction, they tend to tow my mind along with them. Audiobooks are really not my cup of tea as a reader/listener.

So I created a version of audiobook video that has the text currently read on screen. After a showed the concept to a few friends, I modified it so the previous paragraph would stay on screen until the end of the next. Paragraphs would appear top to bottom, and the from the top again, giving reading along a flow much like reading a book.

And no, this ia no movie magic. Here’s all the equipment I used: An age-old laptop running VSDC Editor (a free video editing tool available here) and Audacity (a free audio editor available here), and a microphone.

And some dust

And some dust, that is essential

I just recorded the audio, created a background image and a title image using the design of my blog as a template, and added text with a fade-in and fade-out effect in the video editor.

Now, this does take time, but it is by no means complicated. I am truly baffled nobody has done this before, it’s really easy and it is such a logical extension to publishing audiobooks on Youtube. I aim to add two every Friday from now on, one each in English and German. Though I do plan a little change of pace for the month of December involving unicorns and a couple of advent calendars. More on that come Saturday.
For now, enjoy the first flash fiction audiostory of many to come.

As you can see, I have been busy. I intend to keep it that way for some time.