Storytelling for a Cause

Crescendo Audiobook by Deborah J. Ledford

The Crescendo audiobook is due out in December 2013.

Wado is the Cherokee word for thank you. I learned that from Deborah Ledford’s online benefit, NatAmGoGo.

The purpose of the benefit is to help a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Blue Feather Corporation to keep Native American language and culture alive.

“This project is all about storytelling, an art I learned from my grandfather,” Deb said. Zeb Ledford never learned to read or write, relying instead on the spoken word.

Deb is part Eastern Band Cherokee and decided to use the art of storytelling to help advance the cause of Blue Feather Corporation.

The company’s founder, Floyd Daniel Gomez, is a Taos Pueblo living in New Mexico. His vision is to protect, preserve and enhance language and culture programs for all Native Americans. Deb will help by telling the story of the latest novel in her Steven Hawk/Inola Walela Thriller Series, Crescendo.

About the Need

Deb says that Native American languages are disappearing. For example, Floyd’s father and elders speak Tiwa. In spite of growing up on the reservation, Floyd never learned the tribe’s native language. Fortunately, today’s schools on the Taos Pueblo reservation include a language immersion program, and Floyd’s children speak Tiwa.

“He can’t converse in the language with his elders or children,” Deb said. Worse, not all Native American schools teach their traditional language and culture. The NatAmGoGo benefit is dedicated to not allowing another Native American language or culture to disappear.

After paying for production of the Crescendo audiobook, all NatAmGoGo proceeds will go to Blue Feather Corporation to help Floyd set up the language and culture program, hire elders from the various tribes as teachers and recruit other tribal members as administrators. Beyond that, half of the proceeds from the Crescendo audiobook sales will be donated to the nonprofit.

“The tribes can’t make it happen on their own,” Deb said. “It needs to occur through a private entity not registered with a tribe.”

About the Audiobook

Before Deb’s career as a writer, she worked for a decade as a professional scenic artist on motion pictures, including the 1987 Coen Brothers’ comedy, Raising Arizona, starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter.

Christina Cox, narrator of Crescendo by Deborah J Ledford

Actress Christina Cox is narrating the Crescendo audiobook.

She later launched IOF Productions Ltd. to produce her own screenplays. Today, the company represents Deb’s literary, film and audiobook projects. One of those activities is the Crescendo audiobook, narrated by actress Christina Cox.

“I wanted a professional production that was every bit as good as the top publishers release,” Deb said. “The only way to do that was to get an actress.” She chose Christiana, who has 63 acting credits, because of the rich, alto timbre of her voice.

What Author’s Should Know About Audiobooks

As an author, you’ll want to carefully review any contracts offered to you. Deb recommends using an entertainment lawyer. Publishers typically require you to hand over rights to the print and eBook versions of your work, offering you a 25 percent to 35 percent royalty on eBooks. You should be careful to retain audiobook and international rights.

If you decide to produce your audiobook, Amazon offers its Amazon’s ACX platform.

“All you do is submit your project, and narrators will contact you,” Deb said. “You can audition them.” Then you submit the finished product to Amazon ACX, and they produce and release both the downloadable and CD versions of your audiobook.

The Joy of Giving Back

Deb finds joy in giving back to both the writing community and the Native American community.

“The NatAmGoGo benefit is close to my heart,” she said. “I won’t be involved or administering anything, but the knowledge that these funds will go to a worthy cause brings me great joy. It’s about being involved in something bigger than us.”

Deb invites you to consider giving to the NatAmGoGo cause. There are several suggested donation levels, and each comes with a gift for the donor.

“There are all kinds of packages for writers and readers, from downloadable books, to autographed print versions and special edition unabridged CDs bound in leather with a booklet autographed by Christina Cox and myself, and some fabulous Native American jewelry,” she said. There is even a package to get Deb to edit your manuscript.

You can follow Deb on Facebook, Twitter and her website. You can listen to her describe the NatAmGoGo benefit below.

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