This Week in Links: July 27 – 31

For Producers:

Market Your Voice Over Services Like the Superhero You Are (Or Should Be) – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn how to book more VO gigs by thinking of others first.

Should I Wear a Headphone While Recording Voiceover? – via Voice Over Herald – A look at the pros and cons of routing your voice directly back into your brain (with bonus gear recommendations).

[VIDEO] One Way To Elevate Your Self Confidence – via Marc Scott – Are you putting yourself down without even realizing it? Learn how treating yourself better can boost your confidence and your career.

That’s NOT Voiceover! – via Rob Marley – Can a quiz tell you if you’re cut out for voice acting? Not this one, apparently.

For Rights Holders:

8 Blogging Tips for Writers to Find Success – via Writer’s Digest – “Blogging is an incredibly effective and efficient way for writers to reach their target audience and build writer platforms. In other words, it’s a great method for writers to find engaged readers and more success with their writing.”

Email Marketing: 3 Awesome Ways For You To Connect! – via BadRedhead Media – Author Rachel Thompson tackles a common reader-submitted question on this important topic.

Hacking Your Reader’s Brain – via Live Write Thrive – “I have come to understand that what a fiction reader wants is to be thoroughly engaged. Enthralled. Swept away. And what does that mean in practical terms? It means not bored.

Product Families, Placement, & World Building – via Author Marketing 101 – Could a trip to the grocery store inspire and inform your book marketing?

 

This Week in Links: July 20 – 24

For Rights Holders:

Going Back to the Basics… – via Author Marketing 101 – The site makes good on its name by offering a roundup of it’s advice for beginners.

[PODCAST] Book Marketing Tips from Experts – Part 2 – via Book Marketing Tools – “We’ve compiled the answers from several of our past guests to our question, ‘Knowing what you know now, if you had to start all over today, what 3 things would you tell yourself?'”

Our Five Favorite Books on Writing – via The Write Practice – Most authors want to learn more about writing. Some authors write about writing. Here, The Write Practice shares their top examples of the latter for the benefit of the former.

How to Improve Your Fiction Marketing Through Peer Collaboration: 11 Quotes From the Experts – via The Book Designer – “Regardless of how the publishing landscape changes and how online tools evolve, there will always be opportunities for leverage by joining with others who have similar goals.”

For Producers:

How to Maximize Your Voice Over Brand – via Voice Over Herald – It’s hard to get hired if no one knows you exist. Get tips on creating a recognizable face for your VO business.

Keeping Your Audiobook Revisions Straight – via vo2gogo – Your rights holder wants revisions but you forgot to save your raw audiobook audio? David H. Lawrence XVII has you covered.

25 Ways to Market Your VO Business – via Rob Marley – “The voiceover business is 5% about your voice and 95% about how you market that voice.”

Iconic Voices Receive Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Narration & Character Performance – via Voice-Over Xtra – Find out which VO industry leaders got nods for TV’s best voice acting.

This Week in Links: July 13 – 17

For Producers:

Is Hesitancy Allowed in Voice Overs? – via Gary Terzza – “Ordinary is the new distinctive. This begs the question – should we now be adding hesitancy into scripted copy, so as to reflect natural speech patterns?”

Recording While You Travel: Seven Tips for Wherever Your Vacation Takes You – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn how to keep your voiceover career on point when you’re on the go.

The Most Embarrassing Moment of my Voice-over Career – Nethervoice – Paul Strikwerda covers a range of reader-submitted topics in his most recent mailbag.

Why Mistakes Matter in the Voice Over Business – via Victoria deAnda – Everybody makes mistakes. Luckily, Victoria has some tips for how to recover and handle the aftermath.

The History of Voice Over through the 1900’s – via Voice Over Herald – Find out about the world’s first voice actor and other tidbits from the early history of VO.

For Rights Holders:

One Author’s Book Marketing Strategies – via Book Marketing Tools – “In this guest post, author H.M. Clarke shares her tips that she uses for marketing her books. She is an author just like you, so take these tips to heart and start implementing them as soon as you can.”

You Kept Your Audiobook Rights – Now What? – via The ACX Blog – DIY author/narrator Scott Sigler stops by to discuss the options audiobook authors have available to them today.

15 Book Marketing Lessons From An Ex-Wife  – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – This author found book marketing inspiration in the least likely of places.

The Hardest Part of Writing Good Character Arcs—and How You Can Make It Look Easy! – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Great characters are especially important in audio. Learn how to show them growing and changing via author K.M. Weiland.

5 Writing Challenges All Writers Face (& How to Deal With Them) – via Writer’s Digest – Writing can be a solitary pursuit but remember: You’re not alone, and many authors face the same difficulties you do.

You Kept Your Audiobook Rights – Now What?

We last spoke with ACX DIY author/narrator Scott Sigler almost exactly one year ago. Back in 2014, Scott shared the success he’s had racking up our $50 bounty payments by driving new listeners to Audible. Today he joins us to discuss the decision that made all of those bounties possible: keeping his audio rights instead of signing them away to his print/eBook publisher.

Scott Sigler

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Author Scott Sigler

The debate about “what’s best” for authors — doing it all yourself as an indie writer, or striving to sign with a traditional publishing house — has been the stuff of bloggers and Internet wags for some time now. While proponents of each camp make excellent points, there is a third side to this coin: doing both and becoming a “hybrid author.”

A “hybrid author” is someone who produces independent works and writes for traditional publishing at the same time. One way to do this is to retain your audio rights when you sell print and/or eBook rights to a publisher. That’s what I did when Del Rey bought my Generations Trilogy. Alive, the first book of that trilogy, is out in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook on July 14, 2015.

That’s right: hardcover and eBook from Del Rey, audiobook from, well, from us. “Us” is Empty Set Entertainment, the company I own along with my business partner A Kovacs. When Del Rey rolls out the beautiful hardcover of Alive, Empty Set will kick out the unabridged audiobook. We did all the work for that audio version, and will also earn all of the royalties from it.

Retaining audiobook rights was a natural for us, because we’ve been creating our own audiobooks for years. We produced eleven of my fifteen titles currently available on Audible.

AliveFew publishers are going to offer to let you keep audiobook rights. Publishers are in business to make money, not to be your pal. If you want to keep those rights, you’ll have to negotiate for them. That’s what happened with fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan.

Sullivan’s first publishing deal was with Orbit, who kept the audiobook rights and sold those rights to Recorded Books. Sullivan was happy with Recorded Books — and his narrator, in particular. When it was time for a new deal, though, Sullivan wanted more control.

“When my agent was negotiating my second Orbit contract, I asked for her to get the audio rights held back,” Sullivan said. “Orbit said it would be a ‘deal breaker.’ When all was said and done, we signed the contract, and asked them to keep the rights with Recorded Books. They agreed and so the first two books of the Riyria Chronicle series were published as a subsidiary right.”

For Sullivan’s latest deal, however, he and his wife, Robin, took a different strategy — they sold the audiobook rights first. Therefore, those rights weren’t on the table for Del Rey, who will be releasing Sullivan’s next novel Age of Myth next summer.

“The lack of audio rights definitely wasn’t a deal breaker for Del Rey,” Sullivan said. “Nor the other publishers who were interested in the series.”

What to Do with Your Audio Rights

First, you can keep the audio rights in a print/eBook deal, then sell them to another company. That’s what John Scalzi did in his recent blockbuster $3.4 million, 13-book deal with Tor Books. This gave Scalzi the ability to negotiate for a higher payout for audio, and as part of that negotiation, possibly have more influence over production and casting decisions.

“I held onto the audio rights, as I hold on to every other right I can, because they have value,” Scalzi said. “Economically and artistically, it makes sense for me to maximize both (print and audio). I get the most amount of money possible and partner with the people who I think will do the best job making and marketing the work.”

Scalzi

Author John Scalzi

The second method would be to produce your own audiobook, which is what I did for Alive. Alive is a YA title with a female protagonist as the only point-of-view character. The readers see everything through her eyes. For voice talent, we hired Emma Galvin, who narrated Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. Emma was a perfect fit for my book and we were lucky to get her.

Producing it ourselves, means we earn the full 40% royalty from ACX, which is extremely competitive. That’s good, but it comes at a cost — all production and talent expense came out of our own pockets. We invested $5,000 in the creation of the Alive audiobook and will need to sell about 660 audiobooks to make that money back.

We invested similar amounts for our audiobooks Nocturnal and PandemicNocturnal earned out in eight weeks, Pandemic in seven. That means everything we earn for the remainder of the seven-year contract term is straight profit.

That accounting, however, only represents our cash outlay. I am not factoring in the time I put in auditioning narrators, communicating with Emma, communicating with the engineer about edits, and managing the process. I can’t put a specific dollar amount on that time. It’s an opportunity cost, measured as time I was not writing new product. If you produce your own audiobooks, you’ll also encounter those opportunity costs.

Sullivan has considered producing his own audiobooks, but with the significant sales his works generate, the advances for audio rights are high enough that it makes more sense to sell them off.

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Author Michael J. Sullivan

“The most attractive thing ACX has going is that the author’s cut isn’t diluted,” Sullivan said. “If my future audiobook advances were to go down, then I would have a bigger incentive to self-publish the audio. I would definitely consider ACX.”

If you don’t want to sell your rights, and you also don’t want to produce the book yourself, that leaves the third method: using ACX’s marketplace to find a producer who will create the audiobook. Through the marketplace, you can either pay for your production up front based on the final running time of the audiobook (per-finished-hour (PFH) payment), or enter into a royalty share done as a 50/50 split between writer and producer. That makes your 40% share a 20% share, with the producer getting the other 20%. Seems severe, doesn’t it? Not when you take a step back and realize you don’t have any up-front costs, as I did with Alive. The royalty share method means you start earning revenue with the very first sale.

And, of course, there is one additional choice: sell the print, eBook, and audiobook rights to a single publisher. Collecting an advance and — hopefully — future royalties is still a viable option if you want to focus all of your energies on creating new works.

As for our strategy? Now and in the future, we enjoy the total control over our audiobooks, and we enjoy the higher profit margin. As long as we have working capital to produce the audiobooks, we’ll keep doing things that way.


New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the author of over fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. His hardcover horror-thrillers are available from Crown Publishing and Del Rey. He also co-founded Empty Set Entertainment.


Are you a hybrid author? Tell us your story below.

That Week in Links: June 29 – July 2

Worry not loyal readers – we didn’t let the holiday-shortened week deter us from bringing you the best audiobook links. Get this week started on the right foot by reviewing our favorite producing and publishing advice from last week.

For Producers:

The Real Voice of Siri Explains the Art of Voiceover – via Vox – VO Susan Bennett talks about recording for Siri, her favorite studio gear, and why text to speech won’t soon replace voice acting.

How Should I Describe My Voice? – via Gary Terzza’s Voice-Over Blog UK – “It is important to get a voice description. You don’t need too many adjectives –  it’s about honesty, but at the same time there is a promotional element.”

[VIDEO] Demo of Kindle eBook and Audible Audiobook Whispersync – via Karen Commins – The Audible Approved ACX producer provides a detailed look at Amazon’s text + audio technology.

Rejection Isn’t Personal – That’s (Voice Over) Life – via Voice-Over Xtra – Actor Rob Marley shares “three things you can do to help deal with rejection and improve your voice over success rate.”

For Rights Holders:

So Many Voices – Who Can Hear Yours? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – ‘We are each a drop of water in a vast ocean. Our content mirrors this ratio as well. It’s just the way things are – and it is likely to get more crowded soon.”

The Complete List of Creative Distractions and Defenses Against Them – via Writer Unboxed – A comprehensive, tongue-in-cheek list of the many things vying for an author’s attention, and advice on how to combat their allure.

[PODCAST] Book Marketing on the Cheap – via Book Marketing Tools Blog – Hosts Sean and RJ dive deep into a recent blog post covering budget-friendly marketing ideas.

3 Ways to Make Writing Your Novel Easier – via Helping Writers Become Authors – “If you want an easy writing experience, you’re going to need to make sure you’re choosing a story that supports that desire.”

This Week in Links: June 22 – 26

For Rights Holders:

Making Your Cover Work Harder – via Author Marketing 101 – Find out how to leverage your audiobook cover to drive your promotions.

How To Write a Story 101: Character – via The Write Practice – Learn the basics of creating characters your narrator can really bring to life.

How to Sell More Books through Radio Interview Publicity – via Book Marketing Tools – Alright authors, its time to put your voice to work to sell your audiobook.

Writing a Book? How to Know When to Stop Editing and Move On – via The Write Life – Authors need to know when to say when (great advice for audio editors too).

For Producers:

How to Build Relationships in the Voice Over Business – via Victoria DeAnda – “Knowing how to establish and sustain relationships with people will help you achieve the success you’re seeking for your voice over business.”

Studio Microphones: Large-Diaphragm Condensers – via Mix – A great post for those who like to geek out over studio equipment.

Finding Success in the Voiceover Industry – via Voices UK – ‘To become a successful voice over actor, you need the know-how (skills) and the means (voice over equipment) and of course the opportunity.”

Are You A People-Pleaser, Afraid Of Losing Jobs And Clients? Don’t Be Their Doormat – via Voice-Over Xtra – Paul Strikwerda covers why freelance VOs need to be comfortable dealing with conflict & sticking up for themselves.

This Week in Links: June 15 – 19

For Producers:

Becoming a Voiceover Blogger – via Voice Over Herald – Blogging is a great way to market yourself and your ACX productions. And who knows – you just might end up in a future edition of “This Week in Links!”

Audition Strategy: When Opportunity Arises, Let Your Voice Come Out To Play –  via Voice-Over Xtra – “Clients want their copy to come alive, but they are cautious about how far to let the talent stray, and rightly so. Where and how do you draw the line? ”

How To Use Your Marketing Tools – via Marc Scott – If you’re not booking the gigs you desire, perhaps you need to look in your self-marketing toolbox.

Arnold Schwarzenegger voices Waze as the Terminator – via USA Today – “I’ll be back…the next time you need directions.”

For Rights Holders:

14 Ways to Crash Your Book Launch – Authors, DO NOT Try This at Home – via The Book Designer – “Other book marketing and promotional strategies can be tweaked and refined over time, but your official book launch comes around but once, and you’ll need more than a smidgen of courage to see it through.”

Social Media Basics for Writers: Snapchat – via The Write Conversation – Let three real-world examples of marketing through Snapchat inform your marketing efforts.

[PODCAST] Building Your Author Platform – via The Author Hangout – Dorie Clark shares some great tips about how she built her platform.

ACX On the Road: 7 Success Tips from Authors at Romantic Times and Book Expo America – via The ACX Blog – Get some audiobook publishing and marketing advice from your successful peers.

Want to Build an Email List? 7 Newsletter Platforms to Choose From – via The Write Life – It’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your readers through social media. But one of the best ways to grow your network is with a good old-fashioned email.

 

ACX On the Road: 7 Success Tips from Authors at Romantic Times and Book Expo America

May is the busiest month in the audiobook publishing industry, and this year we connected with ACX authors and publishers at the Romantic Times convention, Book Expo America, and The Audio Publishers Association Conference. We spent a lot of time talking about rights, new technologies, marketing strategies, and so on, and we’re happy to share with you the advice from seven bestsellers we met:

Use paid Facebook posts to drive fans to your audiobook detail pages on Audible.com. Soon after learning she’d won an Audie award for her ACX production of Alpha, Jasinda Wilder created a promoted post mentioning the win so she could capitalize on the buzz. More info on using Facebook to promote your audiobook can be found here.Jasinda Wilder Alpha Facebook AdHold onto your audiobook rights when negotiating traditional book deals. Author Ryan Winfield shared the importance of this decision with us last summer, and pushed to keep the audio rights to his upcoming Falling for June, set to release on June 30, 2015. Separating rights allows authors to leverage the promotional might of a publisher for print/eBook while being able to negotiate better royalty rates for the audiobook.

Expose readers to audio by sharing excerpts on your website via services like SoundCloud. Using these excerpts, authors create dedicated audiobook pages to promote their ACX titles. Check out the audiobook section of ACX author Wendy Lindstrom’s website:

Wendy Lindstrom_Combined

New to audiobooks? Your best resource is… other authors. Sandra Edwards and Regina Duke have turned their friendship into a mentorship; Sandra was the first to take the plunge into audiobooks and makes herself available to Regina for questions and best practices.

Find creative ways to expose your audiobooks to new listeners. We spoke to authors who send ACX promo codes to audiobook blogs and give them out to fans via their newsletter or Facebook page in return for unbiased reviews. Authors are also leveraging each other’s popularity by writing posts for each other’s blogs and even co-writing books and anthologies.

Use GoodReads to make sure readers are aware of your audiobook. The GoodReads Audiobooks page is ideal for finding audiobook reviewers to whom you can give promo codes. Have you noticed GoodReads started rolling out audiobook samples on title pages? ACX author Ava Miles’s title Nora Roberts Land is a good example of this new feature (highlighted in red below), and once samples are available for all titles with audiobooks, every author will be able to use their title page to promote the audio version.

Nora Roberts Land on GoodReads

Run a BookBub ad for your Whisperysync-enabled eBook. Exposing your eBook to a wider audience can have a trickle-down effect when readers find out they can get a great price on your audio version, as well.

While we learned a lot from the authors and publishers we met this May, we know there are even more of you out there working hard to promote your ACX audiobooks. Share your audiobook publishing and marketing tips below and help your fellow rights holders learn from your experience.

This Week in Links: June 8 – 12

For Rights Holders:

[VIDEO] Interview with Sharon Hamilton and J.D. Hart – via YouTube – ACX author and her producer share screen time in this conversation about their audiobook relationship.

Conference Season for Authors – via Author Marketing 101 – Summer is conference season for authors. Learn the dos and don’ts before you hit the convention scene.

The World of Book Blogging: A View From Book Expo –  via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Author Brian Feinblum shares his takeaways from the panels he attended at this year’s biggest publishing expo.

If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop – via BuzzFeed Books – A fun look at writing workshops via a classic novel.

For Producers:

Meditation: How It Can Help Your Work as a Voice Over Artist – via Victoria DeAnda – Find a quiet room, align your chakras, and find out this eastern practice can improve your voice acting.

[VIDEO] All About Noise Floor – via The ACX Blog – Our resident audio scientist stops by to help you fix that low rumble before it gets amplified during mastering.

Can This Voice Problem Be Corrected? – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Learn about common vocal problems for voice artists and how easy – or difficult – they can be to overcome.

How To Add An Intro Video To Your Facebook Business Page – via Marc Scott – An engaging social media presence is important for every actor, whether you’re looking to market your books or your voice.

All About Noise Floor

We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the ACX team, Alex the Audio Scientist. Alex has a degree in Audiobook Studies from ACX University, and he’ll be stopping by the blog from time to time to explain some key ADBLCRE-ACX_Character_Iconaspects of audiobook recording and production. So without further ado, take it away Alex!

Nice to Meet You!

Hi everyone I’m excited to share my knowledge of all things audiobooks and help you improve your ACX productions. Before today’s lesson, I hope you’ve read previous posts on this blog regarding home studio setup, because today I’ll cover a common problem with voice recording spaces: a high noise floor. Enjoy the video below, and take good notes – there’ll be a quiz afterward!

And we’re back. Ready for that quiz I mentioned? Let’s see how much you learned. Leave your answers in the comments below. The first person to get every answer correct will get a shout out in my next post!

  1. The noise floor is the ________ level of background noise in a recording, when no narration is taking place.
  2. A high noise floor in a home studio can be caused by ________, ________, ________, ________, or ________.
  3. Its best to address your noise floor issues during the ________ stage.
  4. I recommended using a ________ to remove unwanted frequencies, such as a low rumble.
  5. The appropriate frequency range to target the removal of this low rumble is usually between ________ and ________ Hz.
  6. The ACX Audio Submission Requirements call for a noise floor no higher than ________ dB RMS.