How does audioboo work for authors?

May 17th, 2012

For the next few weeks, every Friday, I’ll try out a social media app to see how it can help writers enhance our websites (and presumably sell more books!). As I still don’t know how to work my voicemail, I’m the perfect non-techie tester. If I can do it, so can you.

First up: audioboo. You can download it for free in order to make audio recordings of your work of up to three minutes, which can then be uploaded onto your website, Facebook, Twitter etcetera. Poet and novelist Sarah Salway uses them for poetry blog-tours  and every politician now seems to be ‘boo’ all their speeches ( You can also do longer recordings, for which audioboo charge, but policiticians seem to turn a 20 minute speech into 7 ‘boos’).

It was very easy to download onto my mobile phone. I then listened to the introductory ‘boo’, which was very clear. And recording  was simply press ‘record’ and speak after the 3,2,1 countdown.

After that I wanted to get creative. Three minutes is great for poetry, but it’s just over half a page of paperback novel. So you can’t expect to get your whole first chapter in. Blurbs are the right length, but I wanted to add something that wasn’t on my website already.

I started reading against ’interesting’ backgrounds, such as the sounds of a storm, waves or birdsong. This did not work. The first two just sounded like radio interference and the birdsong recording mainly picked up my own breathing, magnifying it so that I sounded like an asthmatic stalker. I listened to a few other ‘boos’ on the ‘Browse’ section – some boos ‘trend’ when people just say ‘la-la-la’. That might enhance the profile of a rap singer, but a writer…?

So I picked out a half page at the end of the first chapter of The Empty Nesters. (click on the link to listen). Once I’d finished, I just pressed ‘publish’ and ywas offered the option of adding a title, hashtags and a photograph (I used my phone to photograph the front cover, but got it upside down, so hold your phone the right way up.)

Next I wondered if it would be more effective with different voices, and wondered which of my friends might be prepared to act out the most dysfunctional character in the book, Alice. The result is here. Then we tried another fun passage from later on, when all the characters were on holiday. Judge for yourself which one, if any, would make you want to buy or read the book.

I couldn’t immediately see how to upload my boos onto my website (although I seem to have set them to automatically go out on Twitter). Then I discovered a little forwarding tick on the top right hand corner when you call up ‘My boos.’ You can email yourself with a ‘boo’, and then embed it easily from there.

You can also attract followers (probably mainly by using hashtags) and you can also message people, but my main interest was in adding value to an author’s website. I didn’t find it easy to search for other people’s boos by name, so I wasn’t able to find other authors on it. The most popular boo is called ‘This is What Heartbreak Sounds Like’, and is a girl sobbing into her phone about her husband being hit by a train. So you can find real emotion there, as well as politicians’ speeches, rap lyrics and me.

Audioboo was fun and easy. I’ll keep on using it. And if anyone ever blackmails me, I’ll rummage in my bag, turn on audioboo, and provided the threat is less than 3 minutes long, I’ll have the evidence. Next week: Instagram, a photo app.

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