ACX Storytellers: Anna Parker-Naples

ACX Producer Anna Parker-Naples was a classically trained actress with a career on the rise. But when family and health concerns threatened to derail her dream, she turned to voice acting as a way to continue to getting work and making use of her acting skills. Now she’s an accomplished audiobook producer with nearly thirty titles under her belt in less than two years. Read on to learn how she turned a challenging situation’s silver lining into a fulfilling new career.

The Silver Lining: Audiobooks

My path into audiobook narration and production has been unusual. You never know what life will throw your way, and I am a firm believer that in every cloud there is a silver lining. For me, it turned out audiobooks were just that.

APN_StudioI trained in London with The Actors Company as an actress, and worked predominantly in theatre, touring nationally and internationally including performing at the RSC’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre, until I took a break to have children. My third pregnancy was very difficult, and I found myself in a wheelchair, not knowing if I would ever walk again. I had worked on occasional high-profile short-form voice overs during my acting career, (including work for Aardman Animations and the UK’s main children’s television channels, CBeebies and CiTV) and an audio producer friend mentioned that since technology had changed so dramatically in the past few years, many voice actors could now work from home to create professional quality audio. It was a light-bulb moment for me. I knew I could make a success of voice over work and perform that way even if I remained in a wheelchair for the rest of my days.

My lovely husband set about building me a booth, and I set about learning everything I could about the voice over industry – how to record and edit, how to promote myself, and all that jazz. I found I was quickly establishing myself as one of the leading young British female voice over artists, creating commercial and corporate audio for many top international brands. And most importantly, my health recovered. I think chiefly because I had work that I could be passionate about and could put positive energy into.

As my kids grew, I realised that I would one day want to return to acting, and thought that audiobook narration would be a great way to cross that bridge. After submitting a reel, and rigorous auditions, I was selected to narrate for the UK charity the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and soon found that I fell in love with narrating audiobooks. I discovered that it is an art form in itself, and that performing in this field provides a tremendous amount of creative satisfaction. As a narrator, you get to paint the whole picture yourself – you are all the characters and often the engineer and APN Coverdirector as well, so it feels like your creative baby, which is so different from stage and screen work. I also found it so much more gratifying than the short form VO commercial work I was doing, as I could really get my teeth into telling a story. This narration business seemed like a great fit for me, and I quickly went on to work for other mainstream audiobook producers in the UK, and have now completed 28 titles in just under 18 months.

Since March of 2014 I have completed 11 audiobooks through ACX, with 4 more on the way.  I love the creativity narration allows me, and the freedom I have to pick and choose which titles I get involved with when I use ACX.  I specialize in Young Adult, Historical Fiction and Romance, and there are some great stories for me on the site. I have a young family, and working from home means I am always there for school pick-ups and can still bring to life some fascinating characters and tell absorbing stories. At the start of my acting career, this would not have seemed an obvious choice to me, but I am delighted to have found my way to being an audiobook narrator.

Check out Anna’s ACX profile here.

This Week in Links: January 19 – 23

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Before we get to this week’s links roundup, we’d like to remind you that you have just under one week to submit your audition for the latest Audible Studios open casting call. Male actors can audition to read Exile, Texas, while female actors can submit their take on Copper Moon. Don’t miss your chance to earn up to $2,700 reading for Audible’s Grammy award-winning studios!

For Rights Holders

Social Media is a Waste of Time for Writers—Hmmm, Think Again – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – Learn how an author’s social media presence can can bolster their other marketing efforts.

Publishers Know You Didn’t Finish “The Goldfinch” – via Buzzfeed News – A good look at reader engagement analytics.

When Characters Cross Ethical Lines – via Blood Red Pencil – “How does a writer create questionable characters so readers root for them in spite of their ethical lapses or downright crimes?”

Pen or Computer: Which is Better for Creativity? – via Huff Post Books – Author Warren Adler offers his opinion on analog vs. digital writing.

For Producers

Setting your own Recording Levels: A step-by-step guide for Audiobook Narrators & Voiceover Artists – via Steven Jay Cohen – Steven offers a comprehensive guide to getting your sound correct from the outset.

Speed Up Your Audio Editing in Audacity – via Dan Absalonson – Tips for streamlining your use of this popular DAW.

“I Don’t Like The Sound Of My Own Voice” – Well Shut Up And Go Home – Via Gary Terzza’s Voice-Over Blog UK – Tough love form Gary for voice over newbies.

One Image Shows Just How Talented The Simpsons’ Voice Actors Are – via Kotaku – Have some fun marveling at the talent behind TV’s longest running cartoon.

This Week in Links: January 12 – 16

In case you missed the news, we’ve teamed with Audible Studios once again to launch our latest open casting call, which opened this week and runs through January 29. Click here to get all the details on how to submit your audition for a chance to work with Audible’s Grammy award-winning studios and land a contract worth up to $2,700!

For Producers

The Formula for A Voiceover Career – via Rob Marley Voiceover – Rob has two equations that you can put into action to work toward your VO goals.

You Cannot Change The Wind - via vo2gogo – Some nice perspective on the things you can and can’t control in your voice over career.

The Four Voices of Non-Fiction Narration – via SPP Coaching – Narrating non-fiction is a great way to get into the audiobook game.

The Peanuts Kids… Where are They Now? – via Voice Over Herald – Catch up with the voice actors behind some of the most revered children’s cartoon characters.

For Rights Holders

Exclusive Titles Are Helping the Audiobook Business Boom – via Wired – Proof that the audiobook game is getting bigger and better in 2015.

Using Your Personality Type to Make You a Better Writer – via Marcy Kennedy – Advice for looking within to understand what type of writing and publishing will work best for you.

11 Secrets to Writing Effective Character Description – via Writer’s Digest – Keep these tips in mind as you “breathe life into your characters through description.”

Know Thy Story – via CreateSpace – Richard Ridley on the importance of If you’re  knowing your story and having faith in your plot.

A Star Will Be Born: The Latest Audible Studios Open Casting

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Audible Studios and ACX are kicking off 2015 in style by teaming up for another open casting call! This time, we’ve got two great titles from author Roxanne Conrad, and two narration contracts from Audible Studios worth up to $2,700 each!

Male actors are invited to audition for Exile, Texas, the story of  a missing girl, and a 15 year old murder case the Texas town can’t seem to forget.

On tap for female actors is Copper Moon. Don’t miss your chance to voice the adventures of small town music teacher Abby, as she meets a handsome stranger, becomes possessed by his dead mother, and begins to learn some unsettling secrets.

The casting opens Tuesday, January 13 at noon ET, and runs through Thursday January 29 at noon ET. Visit ACX.com, and create a free account to upload an audition. The winning narrator will read in Audible’s studio’s in Newark, NJ, or self-record from home. No editing or post-production is required.

After submitting your audition, browse our 6,600 + additional titles and find your next audiobook gig. We can’t wait to hear your voice!

This Week in Links: January 5 – 9

For Rights Holders

50 Articles on Writing to Help You in 2015 – via Writer’s Digest – Bookmark this treasure trove of advice, to read all year long.

Four Digital Publishing Questions for Mary Ann Naples – via Digital Book World – The SVP and Publisher of Rodale Books shares why she thinks 2015 will be the year of the consumer.

A Novel Is Not A Sum Total of Its Parts – via Live Write Thrive – Learn how to get all parts of your novel working together smoothly and for one ultimate purpose, plus  look back at all 12 Pillars of Novel Construction.

Tip of My Tongue – via chir.ag – Search this handy directory when you just can’t…quite…remember that one word.

For Producers

The Top Voiceover Blog Posts of 2014 – via The Voice of Your Business – Derek Chappell has 63 of the top posts related to voiceover from all corners of the web.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Fiendish Words That Make Us Speechless – via Gary Terzza’s Voice-Over Blog UK – Tips on mastering that one word you can never seem to nail.

5 Reasons Freelancers Undercharge for their Work – via Freelancer’s Union – Are you guilty of these in your voiceover career?

What is the Best Microphone for Voiceover Work? – via Voice Over Herald – Get a good look at 5 popular mic options.

 

The Top Ten ACX Blog Posts of 2014

Welcome to our final post of 2014. It’s been one heck of a year; you and your fellow actors, authors, studios and publishers have produced over 13,000 ACX audiobooks! All the while, we worked to bring you the best audiobook education, information, and inspiration around.

We’re here today to count down the top 5 ACX blog posts of 2014, for both producers and Rights Holders. Join us right here in 2015 for even more!

The Top 10 Posts of 2014

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Producers:

5. Karen Commins on Marketing Audiobooks – Prolific Audible Approved producer Karen Commins offered two great posts chock full of marketing advice for actors. Check out part two here.

4.5. The Last Job He Expected to Love – R.C. Bray’s success story didn’t technically appear on the ACX blog, but we’re giving him an honorary spot on the countdown anyway.

4. The ACX Narrator Knowledge Series: Editing & Proofing – Members of the Grammy-award winning Audible Studios team offered their advice in video form.

3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Audiobook Professionals – Also known as The “DUH!” List, this post is great for actors new to the audiobook business.

2. Audiobook Production Basics Explained – George Whittam of Edge Studio offered ACX producers a concise overview of the basics of home recording in this video.

Andrew_250x3201. How to Succeed at Audiobook Production: Part 1 – Andrew the Audio Scientist kicked off his video series on home audiobook production with a focus on the importance consistency in home recording. Check out parts two, three, and four to catch the entire series.

Rights Holders:

5. Five Tips for Choosing a Narrator – Learn how to cast your audiobook production. Includes audio examples of “do’s” and “don’ts.”

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An ACX success story: Scott Sigler

4. ACX Storytellers: Scott Sigler - Find out the unique tactic this author/narrator used to rack up over $10,000 in $50 bounty payments this year alone!

3. Cynthia Hartwig’s Top Five Marketing Jobs for New Authors – Third place in our countdown goes to the post that challenged authors to work as hard at promoting their work as they do writing it.

2. The ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist – keep your productions on track with this handy downloadable checklist which includes a box to tick off every time you complete a step.

1. How to Win Listeners and Create Great Audiobooks – This top post guided authors down the path towards audiobook publisher.

What would you like to see covered on the ACX blog in 2015?

ACX Monthly Earnings Reports Are Now Online!

Have you seen what’s new? Your ACX monthly royalty and bounty payments reports are now available online! What’s that mean for you? Read on to get to the skinny on ACX’s newest feature.

Making A statement

eStatement04What’s New: ACX users now have the ability to view and download their Monthly Earnings Reports right from ACX.com. Reports for the upcoming month will usually be posted during the third full week of the month. How will you know when a new report is posted? We’ll email you with a head’s up!

What’s Cool:  New online Monthly Earnings Reports are a faster, easier, greener way to track your audiobook sales. Starting with November 2014 data, you can now search by date range. Download your reports as an Excel spreadsheet to sort the data to your heart’s content, or save as a PDF for easy offline access.

How to Make the Most of It: When logged in to your Producer or Rights Holder account, click “View Sales Dashboard.”

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On the next page you’ll see the new “Earnings Reports” tab. Here, you’ll find access to all of your available Monthly Earnings Reports. Want to narrow the reports down to a specific month or range of months? No problem! Simply set the dates in the “Select Period From” boxes and click “Submit” to view those months.

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Click on a month to reveal your reports, and click on the appropriate icon to download your preferred format.

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It’s that easy! Note that we’ll still send you paper reports for the next few months, but expect a transition to digital-only reports in 2015.

With the combined power of the Sales Dashboard and Monthly Earnings Reports, tracking the impact of your promotional efforts have on your audiobook sales and bounties has never been easier!

Are you an obsessive sales tracker? Tell us about it below!