They pronounce it skil-ee-tul. Which isn't even a word...except in Mother England.
We know this because we've listened to Alexander McConnell, our audio book narrator, say skil-ee-tul about a buhzillion times. If you wander off to Audible.com, find the sample button for Aly's Luck, you can hear it, too. (If you prefer to go to Amazon, it's here; if you're an iTunes person, try here.)
It sounds freaky, doesn't it? It's as if Al McConnell decided, What the hell, I'm the narrator, I'll just make up a word here. Renée and Harrell, they're in Arizona, they won't know any differently.
We want to point out that, yes, we live in Arizona, but that doesn't mean we're dumm. Also, we checked it out and skil-ee-tul is an accepted pronunciation of the word, skeletal...if only in Mother England. Since the phrase, "skeletal finger" appears really early in the audio, we were a little anxious that other bits of odd pronunciation might crop up throughout the tale. Would survival become seer-vee-vul? Would nudiustertian suddenly be heard as nood-ee-oo-ster-tee-yan? (Nudiustertian is a word but it isn't actually in our novel. We have no idea how the word should be pronounced but, c'mon, cut us some slack. We live in Arizona.)
Now that we've got one under our belts -- Luck came out in mid-December; we meant to tell but we were just so busy -- we've discovered a few things about audio books. First of all, no matter how easy you think it may be, it's a bear to narrate one of these things. The playing time for our novel runs nearly 10 hours long, and the recording and re-recording probably took ten times that. Heck, it took us ten times that and we were just listening and making notes.
We've learned that your voice actor has to have some serious skills. There are scenes when our narrator had to provide different voices for multiple speakers within seconds of one another -- and he had to do this while maintaining the original voices of our recurring characters. Good thing he's a movie star. (A. McConnell asked if he could temporarily step away the Luck recording to jet off to Scotland and take the lead role in a movie. We were good with that.)
We were surprised to find that the price of audio books is all over the place, even with our book. Pick it up at Audible, they'll ask for nearly twenty bucks. Go over to Amazon, which owns Audible, and they'll give it to you for $17.95. Swing by iTunes, they'll provide it for $4.99. The pricing disparity makes no sense but that doesn't matter because...
...we learned that there's no good way to promote an audio book and sales aren't going to happen. Amazon suggests its authors blog and tweet and Facebook the crap out of their projects, so we asked other writers if any of this had worked for them. Without exception, they said it didn't help at all. This blog? It's doing nothing to bump our numbers and we know it. You love you anyway.
Both writers and other narrators have told us that audio book sales are nearly non-existent unless the name on the author's credit is Steve King or Jim Patterson. Sales do appear to take a happy uptick if Neil Gaiman likes your audio book and says so, but the restraining order has limited our ability to chat with Neil lately so that's out. (Darn you, Neil. Don't come crawling to us when it's time to pump The Ocean at the End of the Lane.)
Then something weird happened. Good, but weird; we received our first royalty check from ACX, the Audiobook Creation Exchange. In its first month, without any promotion, the audio version of Aly's Luck sold more copies than a year's worth of the Luck paperback. We don't know why and we may never know why.
We think it's the skil-ee-tul finger of fate, that's all.