Category Archives: Audiobooks

Dancing Barefoot (audio)

Dancing Barefoot by Wil WheatonWhen I was writing my first book, Just A Geek, I ended up with a lot of stories that just didn’t fit within the narrative. I didn’t know what to do with them, until my friend and editor, Andrew, said, “Why don’t you put them in their own book?”

I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a very good idea, so that’s what I did. I asked my friend Ben to draw some illustrations to keep the stories company, and I published it all on my own, before Just A Geek was even completely finished. The book is called Dancing Barefoot.

After I released the audio versions of Just a Geek and The Happiest Days of Our Lives, a lot of people asked me when I was going to do an audio version of Dancing Barefoot, to round out what I’ve just decided to call a trilogy. The truth is, I never intended to do an audio version of it, because I felt like I’d grown as a writer since it was published, and it would sound and feel strange to revisit that book without wanting to rewrite the whole thing.

But something really changed in me when I turned 40 last year, and I stopped worrying so much about things like that. I accepted that it was the best I could do then, and even if it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s because I made it that way.

So about a month ago, I booked some studio time with my favorite audiobook producers, and finally recorded an audio version of Dancing Barefoot.

It felt a little strange to record something I wrote over a decade ago, as I was entering my thirties, and looking into my past in order to understand my future. It was written during a tumultuous and uncertain time, when I was struggling so much just to make it month to month. Reading it now, knowing what my future actually held, both wonderful and terrible, made it a more emotional experience than I expected.

 

Houses_in_motion
From Houses In Motion

I had this weird sense of nostalgia as I read it, like nesting dolls: I remembered the stories that I told, I remembered writing them down on my blog for the first time, then editing them into Dancing Barefoot for the first time, and then shipping thousands of books around the world, out of my living room. I remembered how excited I felt when Anne and I opened the first box of books when they were delivered from the printer, and how happy it still makes me feel when someone hands me one of those books to sign for them.

Real quick, before I get to the link for the album, I want to say something to those of you who have been here for a decade, especially those of you who bought Dancing Barefoot so long ago: Thank you. Without your support then, I wouldn’t be here now. There’s a straight line between you buying that book from me, and me working on Eureka, Big Bang Theory, Leverage, and everything else. There’s an even shorter, straighter line between me shipping that book to you from my living room floor, to me writing all my other books, magazine columns, and posts of varying quality on this blog.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with declaring that “there are no second acts in American lives,” and before I began this journey a little over a decade ago, I believed him. But because I people like you kept coming back to read my blog, kept coming to see me perform on stage, and bought my books when I published them, I feel like I may be one of the exceptions to that rule.

I’m incredibly grateful for the life that I have now, the life that I worked so hard to build. Every single day, I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and discover that it’s just a dream, or a cruel trick in some episode of The Twilight Zone. I worked really hard for what I have now, but I didn’t do it alone. People I’ll never meet took a chance on me and made it possible for me to do what I’m doing now, and I can’t thank you enough.

Okay, I’m rambling, so I’ll just get out of the way. Here’s the product information:

It’s available now on my Bandcamp page, you can listen to the entire thing there for free, or you can buy it for $10 though the weekend, before it goes up to $20 next week. It includes a digital booklet with all the illustrations Ben did, scanned by me from my original author’s copy of the book.

Here’s the description:

Available for the first time in audio, read by the author.

In this wonderful Freshman effort, actor and author Wil Wheaton shares five short-but-true stories about life in the so-called Space Age:

Houses in Motion – Memories fill the emptiness left within a childhood home, and saying goodbye brings them to life.

Ready Or Not Here I Come – A game of hide-n-seek with the kids works as a time machine, taking Wil on a tour of the hiding and seeking of years gone by.

Inferno – Two 15-year-olds pass in the night leaving behind pleasant memories and a perfumed Car Wars Deluxe Edition Box Set.

We Close Our Eyes – A few beautiful moments spent dancing in the rain.

The Saga of SpongeBob VegasPants – A story of love, hate, laughter and the acceptance of all things Trek.

The Return of Just A Geek (audio)

For almost two years, the only way to get a copy of Just A Geek: Teh Audio Book was to download it from shady websites, or torrent it. I don’t begrudge anyone who picked it up that way, because I wasn’t doing anything to make it easy to get it in a way that put shiny gold coins in my pocket.

Last night, that all changed. Thanks to the fine people at Bandcamp, you can now get your very own, totally legit, guilt-free copy of Just a Geek: Teh Audio Book.

Here’s the original announcement:

Hey, if you’ve enjoyed my Radio Free Burrito podcasts, I think you may like the audio version of Just A Geek:

This journey is a fascinating read, made even more intimate and
fulfilling by Wil’s narrative. This is not just an audio book, it’s a
glimpse into the psyche of the man who considers himself…
Just a Geek. NOTE: Due to graphic language, some content may be unsuitable for
younger audiences.

A few RFB listeners have commented to me that they picked up the audio book after listening to the podcast, so I thought I’d make it nice and easy for anyone who is interested in checking it out. It’s available as an instantly-downloadable, DRM-free MP3 for just $12.

I’m very proud of the audio book. I’ve talked in the past about what a huge letdown my experience wih O’Reilly was on the print version of the book, and much of the joy I’d hoped to feel with its release has instead come from the recording of the audio version, which ended up being a performance, with asides, commentary, and reflections on the material that aren’t in the print version of the book. I guess it’s like I’m reading the book to you, and occasionally setting it down to give some meta-commentary on various passages.

So if you liked the print book, my PAX keynote, my performance of The Trade, or if you like the podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’ll dig the audiobook.

Here’s all the nifty stuff they put at Amazon about the print version:

Review
“A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of
memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing
Barefoot.” – Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)

Product Description
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture “Stand By Me”,
and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a
viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.

In this, his newest book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You’ll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil’s rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means
to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public’s eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he’s found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.

The stories in Just a Geek include:

– Wil’s plunge from teen star to struggling actor
– Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
– The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
– Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
– Moving tales of Wil’s relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
– The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author

Wil Wheaton–celebrity, blogger, and geek–writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.

Criminal Minds Production Diary (audiobook)

I spent much of today recording and mixing an audio version of my Criminal Minds production diary. It's available as a DRM-free MP3 for just $5.

The fundamental concept behind Operation Crazy Idea is to publish more
things, more often, at lower price points. The simplicity and immediacy
of POD technology, the Long Tail, and Kevin Kelly's 1000 True Fans
Model (I hate that term, but I love the idea behind it) have all worked
together to make the first effort in Operation Crazy Idea, Sunken Treasure, a huge success.

This
morning, I got a genuinely Crazy Idea that I've spent much of today
creating: An audio version of my Criminal Minds production diary.

"Why aren't you just doing an audio version of the whole book?" You may ask.

"Well," I would say, "because that wouldn't be a Crazy Idea."

What
is a Crazy Idea, though, is recording the whole production diary,
adding in the usual asides and extras, ending up with something that's
about 118 minutes long, and selling it on Lulu for $5.

"Why $5?" You say.

You ask a lot of good questions, person-who-I-made-up-who-is-different-from-the-person-I-made-up-yesterday.

It's probably worth more than that, but since the audio quality isn't as produced as the Happiest Days or Just A Geek audiobooks, I thought it was a fair price. Besides, I've learned from the PDF sales of Sunken Treasure
that it's possible to reach a lot of people at a very affordable price
point and still get a decent return on my investment. I'm not getting
rich off of this stuff, but I'm hopeful that if I do enough projects
like this, that are affordable and easy to purchase, over the course of
a year it will add up to me supporting my family. If that happens, this
officially becomes Operation Awesome Idea. If I earn enough to buy some
toys, it's Crazy Awesome.

I decided to do this particular
project today (total time from inception to completion: about 5 hours)
because my episode of Criminal Minds is airing tonight, and I thought
it would be cool to do this version right now, instead of waiting until
I could book studio time for the full audiobook.

If you're interested, you can head over to my Lulu storefront to pick it up right now. If you're not convinced, and would like to hear a preview, you can download this excerpt, which tells the story of the audition.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives (audio)

The Audio Version of The Happiest Days of Our Lives

SPECIAL NOTE: THIS AUDIO VERSION IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE, DUE TO LULU.COM ENDING THE SALE OF AUDIOBOOKS. I'M SEARCHING FOR ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTION.

You can buy the audio version of The Happiest Days of Our Lives right here, for just $19.72. "Why $19.72?" You ask? Because that's the year I was born, and since nobody else is the boss of me, I can do that sort of thing. "How long is it?" You say? "That's what she said!" I reply. Then I tell you that it's about three and a-half hours long, and we laugh and laugh before the episode ends with a hilarious freeze frame.

Like the audio version of Just A Geek, this is a super-annotated edition, filled with tons of what I call "audio footnotes" for lack of a less stupid-sounding term. I hope we've created something that's more like sitting down in a room with me while I tell you stories, than it is a typical audiobook. I don't think a traditional publisher would let me get away with doing it this way, which is a big reason I do these things on my own. If you've ever heard me perform my work at a show, or listened to any of my podcasts, you should have some idea of what you're getting into.

Unlike the audio version of Just A Geek, the audio performance of The Happiest Days of Our Lives will only be available as a download. We found that the costs associated with creating and shipping physical media for JAG:tA vastly outweighed the benefits, and most people just rip the CDs to their favorite digital format, anyway.

Now, I'm sure most of you reading this don't need to hear it, but I'm a dad, and that means I often say things at great length that don't need to be said, so I'd appreciate it if you pretended to listen. I've made it really clear that I despise DRM and think it's stupid, and I will never willingly infect something you buy from me with DRM. In accordance with my philosophy, there is no DRM or restriction of any kind on this audiobook. I don't think I'll lose any sales of The Happiest Days audiobook to piracy, because people who would steal from me aren't people who wouldn't buy it, anyway, but I need to say this. If you're considering trying to steal it in some way, there's very little I can do to stop you – it's a game of whack-a-mole that I don't have the time or resources to play – but I hope you'll consider that when you steal from me, you're not sticking it to a giant company with millions of dollars in annual revenue. When you steal from me, you're directly hurting my family, because this is how I support the four of us (and our dogs, who say that they love you no matter what, because they're dogs and that's what they do.)

I hope everyone who wants to hear me perform The Happiest Days of Our Lives will get a chance to enjoy to it, and I think that I've chosen a price point that's fair, reasonable, and affordable. I know the economy isn't great, so if you're looking to hear me perform my work for free, you can find stuff in my podcasts, listen to me perform Blue Light Special at the 2008 Phoenix Comicon or wait until early next year when I'm releasing, for free, performances of all the extra material I'm adding into Subterranean Press' special expanded edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

Okay, end of dad voice. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy my performance of The Happiest Days of Our Lives. Let me know if you review it, because I'll be compiling a page of stuff like that. You know, for kids.

(Epic thanks to Val for the incredibly cool graphic. Wait until you see the flyers and banner images she made!)

Just A Geek (audio)

Just_a_Geek_coverHey, if you’ve enjoyed my Radio Free Burrito podcasts, I think you may like the audio version of Just A Geek:

This journey is a fascinating read, made even more intimate and
fulfilling by Wil’s narrative. This is not just an audio book, it’s a
glimpse into the psyche of the man who considers himself…
Just a Geek. NOTE: Due to graphic language, some content may be unsuitable for
younger audiences.

A few RFB listeners have commented to me that they
picked up the audio book after listening to the podcast, so I thought
I’d make it nice and easy for anyone who is interested in checking it
out. It’s available as an instantly-downloadable, DRM-free MP3 for just $20.

I’m very proud of the audio book. I’ve talked in the past about what a huge letdown my experience wih O’Reilly was on the print version of
the book, and much of the joy I’d hoped to feel with its release has instead come from the recording of the audio version, which ended up
being a performance, with asides, commentary, and reflections on the material that aren’t in the print version of the book. I guess it’s
like I’m reading the book to you, and occasionally setting it down to give some meta-commentary on various passages.

So if you liked the print book, my PAX keynote, my performance of The Trade, or if you like the podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’ll dig the audiobook.

Here’s all the nifty stuff they put at Amazon about the print version:

Review
“A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of
memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing
Barefoot.” – Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)

Product Description
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture “Stand By Me”,
and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a
viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.

In this, his newest book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You’ll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil’s rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means
to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public’s eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he’s found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.

The stories in Just a Geek include:

– Wil’s plunge from teen star to struggling actor
– Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
– The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
– Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
– Moving tales of Wil’s relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
– The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author

Wil Wheaton–celebrity, blogger, and geek–writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.