Tag Archives: createspace

This Week in Links: February 17 – 21

Winter getting you down? If you live in much of the US, you’ve likely spent a good portion of the past month battling cabin fever from gray days spent locked inside.  While more time inside can mean more time to write or record, it’s also important to take a break once in a while. Watch a travel show, call a friend just to chat, or strap on the booties and go for a (wet) walk.

When you’ve got a new outlook, read our weekly links roundup to get some education on writing and producing audiobooks. Then dive back into your art with a clear head and a fresh batch of ideas to inspire you!

For Producers and Rights Holders:

34 Audible Productions Named as Finalists for 2014 Audie Awards – via BusinessWire – 7 of the 34 nominations were made via ACX! You did it!

For Producers:

So You Want to Be a Voice Actor – via Backstage – The first in a new series designed to introduce voiceover to stage actors.

Twitter for Voice Over Talents – via Lance Blair American Voice Over Talent – Lance offers a crash course on the  basics of Twitter for VO’s.

Are You Suffering From Audition Fatigue? – via vo2gogo – DHL17 shares his advice for making a mountain of manuscripts scripts feel energizing instead of tiring.

What “Friends” Should Expect – via Voice Acting in Vegas – Dave Courvoisier polled VO’s on Facebook and came away with data on what people will and won’t tolerate on social media.

For Rights Holders:

Author Branding—Harnessing the Power of Digital Age Storms – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – “Proper branding is one of the most critical elements of author success. Brands that are outdated, boring, rigid, abandoned, fractured, negative or nonexistent are not only unhelpful, but they can spell disaster to our career and earning potential as artists.”

Tips for Managing Writer’s Block – via CreateSpace -Maria Murnane has a three step process for overcoming the scourge of writers everywhere.

5 Steps to Self-Publishing Success – via The BookBaby Blog – James Ventrillo of ReadersFavorite.com stops by with “some steps that will guide you through the self-publishing “system” so you and your book will be more successful.”

Turning Chaff into Wheat – via Hugh Howey – ACX author imagines a world where “[r]ather than beg readers for contributions with no idea of the quality of the final product, you have the financial backers begging to be included in something they see as worthy.”

Did you read a great audiobook article this week? Share it below!

ACX Storytellers: Mark Tufo

ACX Author Mark Tufo has written over 20 books currently on Audible, including the wildly popular Zombie Fallout series. Mark initially sold his audio rights to a studio, but as he learned about audiobook production, he realized he could make more money and and gain creative control by keeping his rights and having his books produced via ACX. Today, Mark joins us to discuss the decision to take control of his audiobook publishing.

Why self-produce? Well, the simple answer is money. There was so much more that went into the decision, but money was the major factor. The studio that picked up the rights to most of the Zombie Fallout series was, in a word, awesome. I felt a loyalty to them, and making the move to go solo was not taken lightly. But ultimately, it came down to what was best for my family. It made no sense to be paid pennies on the dollar when I could make more doing it myself. When I found out that ACX would allow me to continue my partnership with Sean Runnette, the multi-talented narrator of the previous entries in the Zombie Fallout series, it was nearly a no-brainer (which is a good thing for me).

TufoRunnette NY02

L to R: ACX Author Mark Tufo and Zombie Fallout narrator Sean Runnette

I know that going this alone can seem daunting for some folks. Finding the perfect narrator for your work is just about as important as the story itself. But there’s something to be said for getting to be ‘hands-on’ during this endeavor. If you’re a control freak like me, blindly trusting a publisher can be scary too. But working with ACX has been nothing short of great. I didn’t think this process was going to be as smooth as it has been. As an independent author there is always so much work to do, and the thought of taking on more was cause for concern. But beyond giving the go-ahead to Sean’s work (by approving the 15 minute checkpoint) and uploading my manuscript, it was only about one large iced coffee worth of work. And ACX has been there every step of the way, whether we had questions in regards to paying the talent or receiving royalties.

Looking back, it seems like it all happened pretty fast. While my family and I were going through it, not so much. I’ve always loved to read and I’ve always loved to write. Even in grade school, when our teacher would assign a writing project and the rest of my classmates were groaning, I was secretly happy. I started writing my first novel in college and finished it many moons later. My wife shipped it to every publisher’s address we could find. I could probably make a book just from the stack of rejection letters. I did not have much hope that my book would ever see the light of day.

I released my first book via CreateSpace & Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)  in February of 2009. One morning my wife said ‘Hey, there’s this self-publishing thing on Amazon and I’m going to put your book up there.’ I didn’t even know what that meant, but I agreed. I thought it’d be cool to see my book in ‘print,’ even electronically. I saw a ‘blistering’ sales rate of three copies over the first seven months (two were actually from family members who I think felt bad for me). When I found myself laid off, I turned to my hidden passion and wrote the first installment of Zombie Fallout, not because the “Zombie” genre was heating up (I had no clue), but rather because I truly love zombies.

I finZF7ished the book, and had a blast writing it. I self-edited (which I don’t recommend) and again published it with Amazon. We still had low expectations, so I almost swooned when we sold seven copies that first month (I said almost). At this point we actually weren’t doing any advertising, but were lucky when a few bloggers happened upon the first book and helped get the word out.  When the book started selling more and we could afford it, we had the book professionally edited. Increasing sales inspired me to keep writing, plus I really wanted to know how this was going to turn out for my characters!

It was with the release of Zombie Fallout 4 that my wife and I figured that this could be more than additional income; it could become our primary source.  It was with the release of the fifth book that I noticed more and more readers asking me about an audio version. I asked my wife if anyone actually listens to audiobooks anymore. I remember my mom with her ancient cassette player, listening to books in the kitchen. I thought it was a dying market, not a thriving one. So when that studio contacted me, I felt I had nothing to lose by signing with them and giving it a shot.

I admit I was misguided in my thinking and lack of research before signing.  I received my first royalty check about 8 months later and realized that there was actually a very large audio consumer group out there, and that I had signed away a very large sum of money by giving up my audio rights. That just goes to show you how much we were stumbling through the dark and trying to learn through this entire process.

Luckily, KDP puts out a monthly newsletter, and one issue had a write up on ACX.  I did some research into the service and decided to jump ship from my studio, as good as they’d been, and go with ACX for my next audio book.

ACX is there from start to finish of each project, ready to answer any questions I have. Payments are accurate and timely (something I’ve learned the hard way is not always standard in the ‘published’ world). ACX has been an incredible boon for us, without their help we would not have been able to move from our cramped townhouse to our own house with a yard.

Do you have an ACX story to tell? Put it in the comments and you might be the next featured user on our blog!

This Week In Links: December 9 – 13

We’re finishing the second-to-last week of “serious” work before Christmas, and we’ve got all info you need to keep the engine running and the creativity flowing. So, head into the weekend with our weekly links, and join us next week for the final stretch of 2014!

For Producers and Rights Holders:

The ACX Holiday Gift Guide – via The ACX Blog – Make your list and check it twice – once for authors and once for actors. We’ve got great suggestions for both camps within.

For Producers:

Multitasking in the Voice Over Studio – via Lance Blair – There can be so much to do at once as a VO, but multitasking may not be the best to get it all done.

7 Deadly Sins of Slating – via Marc Scott Voice Over – Slating your audition is a simple step that is nevertheless easy to get wrong. No need to worry though, Marc’s got you covered.

How Bilingual Voice Actor, Rosi Amador, Achieves the Ultimate Work-Life Balance – via VoiceOverTimes – This extended interview has lots of insight into an important aspect of every VO’s life.

For Rights Holders:

50 Ways Writers Can Prepare for the New Year – via The Huffington Post – Huff Post Books offers a comprehensive checklist for authors as they head into 2014. Print it out, mark them as you go, and see how many you can accomplish next year!

4 Easy Steps To An Irresistible Book Blurb – via Digital Book World – Whatever you call your book’s summary, it’s an important element of your marketing package. DBW’s got you covered in just 4 steps.

An Author by Any Other Name – via CreateSpace – Writing exercises under a pen name, in a different genre or style, can bring a fresh perspective on your day to day writing.

What were you favorite audiobook related links this week?

This Week In Links: December 2 – 6

Head into the weekend by looking back on the best audiobook related links from this past week. Use the links below to educate and inform yourself, and consider the advice in your next ACX Audiobook production.

For Rights Holders:

14 Simple Steps To Ensure Success With Your Writing for the Next 12 Months – via Nick Daws’ Writing Blog – Guest writer Ruth Barringham provides 14 pieces of advice to get authors off to a great start in 2014.

NaNoWriMo is Over, Now What? – via GalleyCat – Did you participate in National Novel Writing Month? Now that your book is done, GalleyCat has your next steps. Note the bonus links to their writing tips at the bottom of the article!

The Self-Publishing Debate: A Social Scientist Separates Fact from Fiction – via Digital Book World – Why do authors publish books? DBW shares in-depth results from their recent survey.

Audiobooks: A “How To” Guide, Featuring Interviews With Producers and Voice Artists – via Jade Kerrion’s Blog – Learn some ACX tips in this engrossing interview with author Jade and her producer.

For Producers:

4 Secrets to Voiceover Acting – via VoiceOverTimes – Jewel Elizabeth shares her takeaways from top casting and studio director Andy Roth’s video interview.

Dreaded Ambient Noise – via VoiceOverPlaza – 25-year broadcast pro dives into the causes of and cures for ambient noise in your recording space.
The Search Is On For Meaning-Laden Words – via Online Voice Coaching -

Meaning-laden words are the words that you must hear to get the gist of the story. Do you treat them appropriately in your narration?

Tell us your favorite link from this week in the comments!

This Week In Links: November 25 – 27

This week’s a short one due to Thanksgiving, but we’re still here to recap our favorite audiobook related links. Check out the info below and have a fun, safe holiday weekend. We’ll see you all right back here next week!

For Producers and Rights Holders:

You Asked, We Listened: Introducing Direct Deposit from ACX – via The ACX Blog – It’s now easier than ever to get paid for making audiobooks on ACX!

The Home Stretch: Get Ready For The 2013 Holidays – Via The ACX Blog – Submit your audiobook productions to ACX by 12/6 to have the best chance of your title going live in time for the holidays!

For Producers:

Acoustical Treatments for your Home Studio – via Edge Studio’s “Whittam’s World” – This informative video from home studio master George Whittam covers soundproofing for home studios.

The Current State of Social Media for Voice-Actors – via Voice Acting in Vegas – Dave Courvoisier shares his on navigating a complex social media landscape for VO’s.

For Rights Holders:

Seven Semi-Productive Ways to Procrastinate (With Bonus Motivational Posters!) – via Quirk Books – Everyone procrastinates while writing, so y0ou may as well tackle some writing related tasks while you do.

The Sound of Your Writing – via CreateSpace – “Turn on your computer microphone, read your story, and listen. It may be weird, perhaps even a little unsettling at first, but in the end, it will help you become a better writer.”

This Week In Links: November 18 – 22

Our links are all about turning negatives into positives this week. Authors can get a new perspective on rejection letters and learn why some books don’t get the reviews they deserve. Actors can learn to correct poor mic placement and find out which foods are voiceover no-no’s. Turn that frown upside down, and check out this week’s batch of links.

For Producers and Rights Holders:

The Home Stretch: Get Ready For The 2013 Holidays – via The ACX Blog – Catch up on our holiday deadlines, tips for ensuring your book passes our QA, and fun holiday marketing ideas.

For Rights Holders:

Why Your Last Book Didn’t Get Reviewed – via The BookBaby Blog – Did you put your heart and soul into writing and launching your last book project -  only to be ignored by the media, critics, and book bloggers? BookBaby tells you how to do it correctly the next time around.

Ask the Writing Teacher: Fifty Shades of Rejection – via The Millions – A no is a no is a no…or is it?

While you Wait: What Authors Can Do While Their Audiobook is Being Recorded – via The Voices In My Head – Actor and author Brian Rollins understands both sides of the audiobook equation, and offers his unique perspective on his blog.

For Producers:

Putting Your Mic Where Your Mouth Is – via Edge Studio’s “Whittam’s World” – Home and pro studio expert George Whittam covers mic placement and more in this informative video.

Speak the Truth: Harnessing Energy in Voiceover – via Bobbin’s Voiceover Sampler – “It’s all about truth and authenticity in voiceover. Of course, your vocal energy is essential to your personal presence on mic.”

Nutrition No-No’s for a Good Voice – via Online Voice Coaching – Dr. Ann Utterback looks at five food and drink landmines that can wreck your delivery.

We’ll see you next week as we round the corner of the final audiobook productions of 2013!

This Week In Links: November 11 – 15

There’s no better time than the present for self-improvement. We’ve collected advice from expert authors, actors and producers to start your weekend. Peruse the links below and improve your craft, whether its writing or acting. And make sure to check in next week for more audiobook info!

For Producers:

ACX Studio Gear Series: Home Studio Setup – Part 2 – via The ACX Blog – We gathered top ACX producers and Audible Studios staff to get their advice on setting up a home studio and running your VO business once you do.

The VOICE: When A Narrator’s Trusted Ally Becomes The Public’s Enemy Number One – via Audio Book Narrators – Grammy-winning audiobook producer shares deep thoughts on the actors instrument.

Building Your Own Voice-Over Studio – via Sessionville – Dave Courvoisier offers his take on the basics of setting up a home studio.

Evolution of The Home Studio – via Bobbin’s Voice-Over Sampler – Follow Bobbin as she ponders the best course of action for updating her home studio equipment.

For Rights Holders:

Eight Questions Writers Should Ask Themselves – via The BookBaby Blog – “To help you better understand yourself as a writer, Roxane Gay has come up with eight questions for you to answer.”

Writing Believable Dialogue – via Writers Get Together – A challenging topic for any writer, good dialog is especially important when it comes to your audio version.

Crowdfunding for Self-Publishing Authors – via BadRedHead Media – Justine Schofield of Pubslush covers a creative way to fund your next project.

’4 Hour Workweek’ Author Tim Ferriss Is Becoming An Audiobook Publisher – via TechCrunch – Bestselling author Tim Ferris shares his thoughts on becoming an audiobook publisher.

What did you learn from this week’s links? Tell us in the comments!

This Week in Links: November 4 – 8

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is is a fun way to approach to creative writing. Participants begin writing every November 1st with the goal of finishing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Whether you’re an author embarking on their NaNoWriMo novel or an actor hoping to produce one of the completed books, we’ve got tips and tricks to help guide you.

Check out the links below, and join us next week for more audiobook action.

For Rights Holders:

After the Audiobook is Done – An Author’s Guide to What’s Next – via The Voices In My Head – Author and voice actor Brian Rollins talks what to do after your audiobook is completed.

Website Tips For Authors – Via The BookBaby Blog – BookBaby’s sister site, HostBaby, is all about online resources for creatives, and they’ve rounded up their best tips of the month in this handy post.

Author Success – The Laws of Sowing and Reaping – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – “We get out of life what we put into it. We will get out of our writing what we invest.”

Get More Twitter Followers in 6 Minutes a Day – via CreateSpace – Quick and easy tips for authors looking to build their Twitter fan base.

For Producers:

How Keeping a Diary Can Help You Book the Job – via Backstage – “So much effort goes into getting the job that keeping a diary or a journal of all your auditions will help you see your progress in black and white.”

Task Manage the Goldilocks Way – via J. Christopher Dunn’s Voiceover Blog – Juggling lots of VO tasks? J.Christopher will tell you how to get it “just right.”

Fascination: A Voice Talent Necessity – via Life on The Voiceover List – Randye Kaye explains why fascination is a key component in life and as an actor.

How to Sound Sexy, According to the Women Who Narrate Audiobook Erotica – via The Cut – New York Magazine’s “The Cut” blog interviews some of our favorite actors on the art of talking sexy.

Did we miss any of your favorite links from this past week?

ACX Success Story: Dave Newell

ACX author Dave Newell has written quite the interesting book in Red Lory, one that’s been described as a “dark, psychological literary puzzle.” He has also made it his mission to bring his tale to fans in every format available – Print, eBook, audio (via ACX of course) and even an upcoming movie. Dave joins us today to talk about having Red Lory made in audio, the importance of building relationships with other authors, and when not to listen to the audio version of The Shining.

ACX: Tell us about your current audiobook project.

Dave Newell: I still can’t believe I crossed the finish line! Working on the Red Lory audiobook taught me an incredible amount about writing. I owe much of that to Richard Henzel, the voice talent for the book. We had a lot of fun working together on it, discussing the book, its characters, and their motives. He took the time to understand it, and it shows through in his performance.

CoverWhy did you decide to produce an audiobook version of your title?

Producing an audiobook was the next logical step for Red Lory, after print and eBook. The book is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle in that all of the pieces fit with each other, but it’s up to the reader to interpret what the big picture is. Through the narrator’s interpretations of the book, the story becomes vibrant in an entirely different way.

What industry figures do you look to for advice?

I look to other like-minded authors for marketing advice. My advice would be not to get sidetracked online with trends and data and forget that your main responsibility is to continue writing. I’d also tell authors to look around and find a critique partner. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Melissa Perea, a Young Adult/Realistic Fiction author. She brings an entirely fresh perspective to my genre of Southern Gothic/Literary Fiction. Find authors out there and form a tight-knit community. A group like that is the first step toward success.

Has having your audio version produced changed the way you see your book or affected your writing?

Once again, I have to credit Richard. He’s an incredible voice actor. I now have a better idea of what elements can be added to future stories to enhance the reading experience and future audio productions. Hearing the words offers an immediately different perspective to a writer. A suggestion I now give to writers is to read their work out loud as they go along.

What advice do you have for other authors who are considering having their titles produced as audiobooks?

My first suggestion is to be patient. Sign up for ACX, list the book, but take your time in selecting someone to narrate it. You’ll receive auditions, and it’s an exciting time, but a patient approach is necessary. This is where your critique partner comes into play again. They’ll understand what it is you’re looking for when the auditions begin to roll in. Look for a voice actor whose voice matches but also one who understands your book.

Dave NewellAre you listening to any other audiobooks now?

Typically when I’m writing I try to isolate myself from books, audiobooks and movies so right now I’m not. However, I’ll tell you about the best audiobook experience I have ever had. One late December I was driving by myself in my rattletrap car from Ohio to South Carolina by way of West Virginia, praying the whole time that I wouldn’t break down. It was then that I made the mistake of a lifetime and began listening to The Shining. That’s when a heavy snow hit; I could see maybe ten feet ahead of me. I don’t know why, but I didn’t turn the book off. Between the blizzard in the story and the heavy snows falling on my car, the experience was incredible. Good news though! I made it home safely. Shaken but safe.

Red Lory is available on Audible today! Dave Newell can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you the next ACX sucess story? Tell us in the comments!

Advice From Authors Near and Far

We’ve attended quite a few publishing & voiceover events this summer, from BEA to That’s Voiceover, and met many current and future ACX users along the way. Last month, we attended the annual conferences of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), and we learned great tips from successful authors along the way.

ACX’s own Jason Ojalvo took Atlanta by storm at the RWA’s annual conference, taking part in the fruitful Amazon indie publishing panel, and we’re not just saying that because he tried his first peach cobbler. Authors learned about the great benefits and services provided through Amazon, from Amazon Author Central to Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, as well as ACX. We also attended panels conducted by ACX authors such as Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy. Both offered tips for their fellow writers, including:

  • Write more than one book. There is strength in numbers
  • Spend more time writing than promoting. Promoting your work is definitely important. But as a writer, your main job is to write.
  • Network with authors and cross promote. You can multiply each others’ efforts, especially when you’re in similar or complimentary genres.
  • Get to know your retailers. Different retailers offer varying services and have different timelines for getting your book in their store. Learn who offers what to best navigate the landscape.
  • Get all of your fans to sign up for your newsletter. This is mainly to drive sales on the release date, in order to get on the best seller list. Be aggressive about getting email addresses – they’re even more important than fans on Facebook or Twitter.

Moving now to the Pacific Northwest, ACX Product Manager Mike Stover presented ACX to the gathered authors at PNWA, participated in the Independent Author booth for the full three days of the conference, and expertly avoided the siren song of Seattle’s casinos. Here’s some of what he learned from the fantastic authors he met:

  • Authors love hearing their work in audio. And, it inspires them to write future books with audio in mind.
  • Authors are advertising their audio edition alongside their print and eBooks. This is especially beneficial with ACX’s $25 bounty program.
  • Authors are putting their 5 minute sample on their blog or website. Oftentimes, fans only need to hear their favorite work in audio to be convinced to buy it.

We look forward to spreading the word about ACX at upcoming industry events like Novelists, Inc. 2013 in October and Self Publishing Book Expo this November. We hope to see you there!

Would you like to see ACX at your next publishing or recording industry event?