This Week in Links: April 13 – 17

For Rights Holders:

The Sleazebag and the Magician: A Tale of Two Marketers – via Goins, Writer – Check out the comments section of this article for even more marketing tips from a variety of authors.

My Writing Process – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Learn how author K.M. Weiland goes from idea to manuscript and see how it stacks up against your process

Measuring Social Media ROI – via BadRedhead Media – “Marketing is one of the most difficult areas to measure ROI (return on investment), but don’t fret, it isn’t impossible. There are several tools authors can use to identify the impact of their posts or their visibility in the market.”

Quick Book Marketing Tips for Fiction and Nonfiction Authors – via The Book Designer – Get an easy to digest overview of the differences between marketing fiction and on fiction titles.

For Producers:

How to Deal with Spring Allergies as a Voice Over Artist – via Victoria DeAnda – “You can get through this allergy season, and continue to work as a voice over artist. All you need to do is try these tips.”

3 Things That Define A Successful Audiobook Narrator [VIDEO] – via Dane Reid Media – Veteran Nashville-based audiobook producer Joe Loesch shares the three pillars of his successful career.

Voiceover Scams – via Voiceover Mechanic – New actors can learn how to avoid the shadier aspects of the VO industry in this post from Anthony Gettig.

You Then Me: A Better Way To Introduce Yourself – via Marc Scott – Learn how an emergency responder’s approach can save lives and help you land audiobook gigs.

This Week in Links: April 6 – 10

For Producers:

For A Good First Impression With Audiobook Producers, Share Your Audible Customer Rating – via Voice-Over Xtra – Audible Approved ACX Producer Karen Commins has a great tip that you can apply to authors as well.

What’s Your Production Process? – via Wayne Farrell – Wayne lays out his audiobook recording from start to finish. How does it compare to yours?

How To Make Yourself Known and Available To The Work As A Voice-over – via Voice Over Herald – Learn the importance of committing to a promotional plan for your VO business.

Five Tips For A Quality Voiceover Demo – via Rob Marley Voiceover – “You want your demo to be remembered. If you send out a bad demo, IT WILL BE REMEMBERED.”

For Rights Holders:

Marketing Tip: Follow the 80/20 Rule in Social Media – via CreateSpace – Learn how to get the right mix of informative and promotional in your marketing efforts.

Finding Time to Write – via Writer’s Digest – Authors are busier than ever these days, so it’s important to remember the obvious: make time to write!

Grow Your Blog: Steal Tips From My Social Media Marketing Experiment – via Make A Living Writing – An in-depth look at one author’s findings.

Jack Kerouac’s 31 Beliefs about Writing – via The Write Practice – Find inspiration in the musing of one of America’s most revered novelists.

 

Tweet This!

With hundreds of millions of users, Twitter should be part of any audiobook marketing plan. So today, we’ve got a quick and easy way for you to drive more social shares of Twitter_logo_blueyour ACX productions. You’ll be creating a custom hyperlink that automatically generates a pre-populated tweet when clicked, which you can place wherever you interact with your fans online. This empowers an army of listeners to help you spread the word. Don’t worry, it’s easy—you can do it in just four steps:

1. Begin with this starter link: “http://twitter.com/home/?status=

2. After the equal sign, add the message you’d like your fans to tweet. Make sure to substitute spaces between words with a plus sign ( + ), as spaces are not permitted in hyperlinks.

3. The message can contain all kinds of helpful things besides plain text. You could include a link to a free 30-day Audible trial featuring your title; your and/or your narrator’s Twitter handles; or even a custom hashtag. (When including a hashtag, replace the pound sign “#” with “%23”.)

So a custom “Tweet this!” link would end up looking something like this:

http://twitter.com/home/?status=Check+out+this+awesome+%23audiobook,+written+by+@SA_McKayr+and+narrated+by+Nick%20Ellsworth:+http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Wolfs-Head-Audiobook/B00JG86YTI/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1416506491&sr=1-2

And would pre-populate a tweet that looks like this:Populated Tweet_SMALL

4. Place your custom link from step three in any of your communications that use basic HTML. Like this (replace tweet this with whatever message you want):

<a href=”PASTE YOUR CUSTOM LINK BETWEEN THESE STRAIGHT QUOTES“>Tweet this.</a>

(For more advanced information on placing this link on your website, click here.)

Now go forth and promote. Be sure to show us your efforts by tagging @ACX_com on Twitter!

This Week in Links: March 30 – April 3

For Rights Holders:

Where to Find Free Images Online to Use in Blogging & Social Media – via The Write Conversation – A great resource to make your marketing more compelling.

Marketing Advice When You Are Making A Leap – via Author Marketing 101 – “As creative as you are with your books, give yourself permission to be that creative with your marketing.”

8 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Author Website  – via Writers and Authors – There’s no time like the present to ensure the information on your website is current and correct

50 Things to Tweet About – via Author Marketing Experts, Inc. – A trove of ideas you can put into action today to build your presence on Twitter.

For Producers:

Customers versus Clients – via Voiceover Mechanic – Learn the distinction and decide you want to work with in your VO career.

[VIDEO] Marketing Your Voice Over Business With Landing Pages – via Marc Scott Voice Over – Marc explains how to construct specialized landing pages that market your services better than your website’s homepage.

Would Your Voice Over Prospects Buy A Car From You? – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn how you can “put yourself in the best position possible so you increase your chance of being hired.”

How Not to be Like Jeremy Clarkson – via Nethervoice – Don’t let success go to your head. Paul Strikwerda explains you how to avoid ending up like the former host of Top Gear.

ACX Storytellers: Joanna Penn

In addition to connecting authors and publishers with voice talent and studio pros, ACX offers those with completed audiobooks a pathway to distribution through the top audiobook retailers, Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. This DIY” workflow is a popular choice for authors who want to voice and even produce their own work. Author Joanna Penn recently completed the process herself, and she joins us today to share her experience recording Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur (out today) for ACX.

ACX Author and DIY Narrator Joanna Penn

ACX Author and DIY Narrator Joanna Penn

How to Record Your Own Audiobooks For ACX

Audiobooks are a fantastic growth market for authors, narrators, and producers alike, and I’ve been working with fabulous narrators for my fiction since ACX opened up in the UK in 2014. But as a listener, I prefer non-fiction audio in the voice of the author themselves, so I decided to record one of my own books, Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur.

Here are the lessons I learned in the process:

1. Make Sure You Record the Highest Quality Audio

There are specific technical requirements one must adhere to when publishing an audiobook on ACX, so that the listener has the best experience possible. You can reach this level of quality by recording in your own home, but only if you can get rid of the various noises that may pollute the audio, which you may not even hear anymore.

I’m a podcaster so I’m used to recording and editing audio, but when I listened to the sounds of my flat, I could hear planes overhead, cars going past, the rattle of someone in the garden, and the occasional yapping of a dog outside.

AndyMarlowRecordingStudioInstead, I hired professional audio producer (and musician) Andy Marlow (pictured), who has a great little studio just a bus ride away from me in South London. We worked in two-hour slots and Andy made sure that the quality of the initial audio was excellent, and he mastered the file to produce my retail-ready audio for upload to ACX.

2. Prepare Yourself for Recording

It’s surprising how tiring recording audio can be. I was exhausted after each two-hour session, because it was essentially a performance. You have to put energy and expression into what you’re saying. And in a professional studio you might be shut into a small, padded box, which takes some getting used to! Here are my tips to manage yourself during the audio process.

  • Schedule sessions a few days apart if you’re new at recording to ensure you have enough energy. People can hear exhaustion in your voice, so respect your audience and make sure you’re at full strength when starting, and stop before your voice begins to drop. It took 7 sessions of 2 hours each to get to a finished audiobook of 6.5 hours, a ratio of about 2:1.
  • Try to avoid dairy before recording or anything that might give you excess phlegm or clog your throat. Try cleaning your teeth and create a routine so that you know your voice will be ready for speaking. If you’re ill or your voice is affected in any way, you’ll need to postpone, as audiobook listeners will be able to hear the difference.
  • Joanna Penn records her audiobook.

    Joanna Penn records her audiobook.

    When you’re recording, try to modulate your breathing so you don’t end up holding your breath. I found that I needed to stop sometimes for deep breathing during longer chapters. I would consider a voice coach for help with this if I was recording more often, as it definitely affected my stamina. Professional actors and voice artists can record for a much longer period, as they have mastered this.

  • You’ll want to read from a Kindle or other tablet so you don’t encounter page-turning noises while recording. Remember to turn off any WiFi connection on the devices and set to airplane mode as they can make a static noise on the audio, even if you can’t hear it when recording.

3. Learn Some Editing Skills to Keep the Costs Down

You can pay a producer to edit the audio files as well as record and master them, but this will make your cost per book higher, meaning less profit for the project. Since I already edit audio for my podcast and I had high-quality raw audio files, I decided to do the edits myself.

Here are some specific tips:

  • You can use free editing software like Audacity to produce professional-sounding audio.
  • If you make a mistake when recording, clap your hands so you create an obvious spike on the audio file that you can use to find the error later (pictured).Clap in Waveform_01 Your error rate will increase as you become more tired, so make sure that you take breaks. I found that 40 minutes was the maximum time I could spend reading “in the box” before I needed a break.
  • The ACX technical requirements require you to add a few seconds of room tone at the beginning and end of the file. We recorded this separately, in the silence of the empty vocal booth. I then just used the pre-cut segments to begin and end each file, which made the process quick and easy.
  • After editing, there needs to be a full QC listen to the audio to ensure all the edits are done properly and the audio matches the book. Since I was truly sick of hearing my own voice by this stage, I employed my Virtual Assistant to do this step for me. Most of the files were fine, but there were a couple of instances where I had repeated myself without editing the error, so this QC step is crucial to avoid issues later.
  • High-quality audio files are very large, and because you’ll be sending them back and forth, you can’t use email for this. They will also fill up your computer memory really fast. I used Dropbox to send the edited files to my Virtual Assistant and the final files to the producer.

For more recording and editing tips, I recommend Audiobooks for Indies by Simon Whistler which has a lot of useful information, whether you want to record your own books or work with a narrator.

Would I do it again?

This process has given me a renewed respect for audiobook narrators, because now I know how hard the job is and how many hours go into recording and editing a book. It was much harder work than I expected!

businessaudioHowever, it was definitely rewarding and I will be recording other non-fiction books in the future. It also gives the entrepreneurial author another product in their business, and if you’d like to learn more about that, check out Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, available now on Audible.

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers. Connect on Twitter @thecreativepenn.

This Week in Links: March 23 – 27

For Producers:

Your Recording Space: Make It Dead Part 2 – via Voiceover Mechanic – Build on the lessons learned in part one of this informative series.

Why Voice Actors Have The Best Job In The Entertainment Industry – via Voice Over Herald – Never underestimate the positive effect of getting to work in your PJ’s.

[VIDEO] Breathing Tips – via Online Voice Coaching – Let Dr. Utterback teach you about breath control.

‘It’s Not Enough to Have a Nice Voice': The Original Siri on an Industry in Flux – via The Globe and Mail – Get Susan Bennett’s thoughts on the past, present, and future of voiceover.

For Rights Holders:

12 Workplace Skills to Apply to Your Writing Career – via Writer’s Digest – Is writing your second career? Here are a few things you can learn from your main gig.

How to Unlock All Five Senses in Your Writing – via The Write Practice – Pay special attention to the section on sound!

The Art of the First Line – via CreateSpace – Your book won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

A Sure-Fire Shortcut to Create Unique Characters – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Find out how to give your narrator something to dig their teeth into

 

This Week in Links: March 16 – 20

Did you join #TalkingACX this week? We held another edition of our popular Twitter chat this past Wednesday with guest Kate Tilton. The author assistant joined us to discuss audiobook marketing, and shared some great tips for Rights Holders and Producers. In case you missed it, Producer Karen Commins put together a transcript on Storify. Give it a read, then check out our favorite audiobook links from the past week, including bonus marketing tips from Kate, below.

For Rights Holders:

25 Ways To Market Your Audiobook: A Quick Guide – via Kate Tilton – A nice collection of tips for getting the word out about your audio edition.

Building an Author Brand: You are What You Share – via CreateSpace – You may not be a famous athlete,  but your endorsement could mean more than you think.

ACX Storytellers: Rosalind James – via The ACX Blog – Follow one author’s journey from ACX to Audible Studios to an Audie nomination.

Feeling Stuck? 7 Tools for Developing Fresh Story Ideas – via The Write Life – Ready to start that next draft, but lacking inspiration? Read this first.

What 17 Adults Learned From Rereading Their Favorite Childhood Books – via Buzzfeed Books – What could you discover by getting in touch with a childhood friend?

For Producers:

Are You Afraid of Your Own Rates? – via Jerry’s Voice – Steve explores why voice actors shouldn’t be afraid to charge with their worth.

In Out? In Out? Or shake it all about? – via steveoneillvoice – Find out why voice actors should focus on input as well as output.

Your Recording Space: Make It Dead Part 1 – via Voiceover Mechanic – Are you killing it? Your studio, that is.

ACX 101 for Authors and Rights Holders – via Corey Snow – The Voxman offers writers and publishers a Producer’s take on the audiobook production process.