Friday, October 27, 2006

How Catherine did it

There are writers out there who would love to be part of AuthorsAloud — and declare their every intention to contribute — who somehow feel daunted by the technological part of the task. Catherine Bush was one of those I think. She was one of the writers I invited early on to be part of what we're doing here, and she was always very supportive of the idea. But somehow things got in the way of the act of sitting down and recording a reading. Part of what was getting in the way, along with living a very busy life, was Catherine's assumption that the task would be more time-consuming and complicated than it was.

But then along came the ever-encouraging Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer to show her what buttons to push, and presto, we have one of the loveliest readings yet on AuthorsAloud, an evocative passage from Catherine's Trillium-nominated third novel, Claire's Head.

"Once Kathryn showed me how," writes Ms Bush, "it was astoundingly easy." Catherine used the built-in mic and GarageBand software included with her Macintosh, and getting a recording took all of five minutes. "It's so easy," she says, "that I feel like I've got to figure out something else to do with GarageBand, the software I thought I'd never use ... maybe I'll be singing in the privacy of my study before we know it."

I asked for Catherine's permission to share her experience because I think it illustrates how easy it is to get over the initial technology concerns many writers have about doing readings for AuthorsAloud. Certainly being a Macintosh owner made things particularly breezy for Catherine, but the process is really not much different for a Windows user. It just takes a willingness to dive in ... and maybe a knowledgeable friend standing by just in case.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

With a Bullet

Just a few days after being indexed by Google, AuthorsAloud is already the number one listing when users search for "Canadian author audio readings." Meanwhile, it's the highest ranked independent site for "Canadian fiction audio readings" (only two primary Amazon listings for audio books rank higher). Thanks to everyone in the vibrant, supportive literary community we call our own for linking to this site, cheering its existence, and helping both readers and writers find their way.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Indexed!

Hallelujah. Not atypically it took more than two months, but Google has finally found and indexed AuthorsAloud. That means soon even more people will be coming to this site to hear the voices of Canada's literary talent. The fun has just begun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lots of news

It's been a bit hectic around here lately. ("Here" being the home office). And as a result, I've been negligent in a few of my AuthorsAloud duties. But that's all changed. You may have noticed that novelist, poet and Brick Magazine magician Michael Redhill recently contributed a reading from his stellar new novel Consolation. We're happy to have Michael aboard. And to the right, you'll notice the friendly face of Kimmy Beach, who brings us a reading from her collection fake Paul, a series of poems investigating the mania of Beatles fandom.

From the standpoint of AuthorsAloud, Kimmy's contribution is significant, because it's our 20th reading — that means in roughly two months we've doubled the number of readings we offered on the day of our launch. Don't worry, that's only the beginning. Interest in AuthorsAloud keeps growing, and there are many more readings in the works.

Now, with all the hubbub at the home office, the number of people coming to take a look at AuthorsAloud has jumped appreciably in recent days. And you know how it is when you've got a lot of people coming over? Suddenly the furniture seems a little drab, you feel the need of a snazzy new throw rug or two.

So you may notice, if you've been here before, that a few things about the look of AuthorsAloud have changed. For starters, there's a series of navigation buttons across the top now, rather than on the side. We've done that to accommodate a new page structure for the readings section, where you'll find the names of our authors incorporated into the menu along the left hand side. You'll also notice a gateway page (click on "Readings" above), which will allow you the opportunity to choose what kind of reading you want to hear first. At the moment, the choices show two pages for fiction, and one for poetry. As AuthorsAloud grows, you'll see the choices grow too. And for the first time, you can now get to individual author readings directly from the picture links shown on this page (for those occasions when you know exactly who you want to hear). It's all about choice, and making it easier to find what you seek.

So have a look around, and use the contact page to let us know what you think. Cheers!

TC