ACX Success Story: Kevin Pierce

We love a good success story here at ACX. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy when we get to show you the many ways that ACX can work for you. And while you might not be ready to take on quite as big of a workload as producer Kevin Pierce did, his story shows that with a little knowledge and some hard work, you too can break into the world of audiobook production. But enough from us. Let’s let Kevin tell you himself.

Last week, I uploaded a production to my ACX dashboard and pressed “I’m Done” on what was my 50th book through ACX. Which was surprising, because only several months ago, I had never recorded an audiobook.

I had a career in radio and TV in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and transitioned to full-time voiceover work after that. But despite decades of long-form narration work (documentaries, training videos, and radio series), I could not figure out how to crack the code and get into audiobooks. Near the end of 2012, though, I read a blog post that mentioned something called ACX and I checked it out.

ACX became my gateway into audiobooks. It gave me a way to audition for my first projects without having to demonstrate experience in the field. Armed with confidence in my related narration and production experience, and a copy of the ACX Rules for Audiobook Production, I gave it a whirl. I auditioned for a less-than-one-hour royalty-share project that would let me experience the entire production process quickly (if it wasn’t going to work, I wanted to know sooner than later). I accepted an offer, completed the production, and got rights holder and ACX approval.

I, Kevin Pierce, was officially an audiobook narrator and producer.

For the next 100 days straight (weekends and holidays included), I was in my studio auditioning, reading and producing audiobooks, managing as many as 10 at a time. On Thanksgiving Day, I put two 24-pound turkeys in the oven, read and produced two one-hour chapters, then served dinner for 50. On Christmas Day, my kids, wife and I opened presents before I started opening audio files. I was the ideal designated driver on New Year’s Eve, because I would be having a happy New Year’s morning in the audio booth.

After that first royalty-share project came several pay-for-production projects, and I got to see how ACX served both rights holders and producers through its approval and payment process (I couldn’t get paid until requested changes were made; the rights holder wouldn’t receive the completed work until payment was made).

Then I received notice from ACX about a stipend program that would both pay me for production AND give me royalties on up to 10 books produced (I managed to do nine). One of these audiobooks has generated my best  royalties to date, so it’s stipend was a nice bit of lagniappe.

I’ve had the pleasure of repeat business from publishers like Berrett-Koehler, University Press Audiobooks, Crossroad Press and Callisto Media, as well as authors both self-published and those who have regained audio rights to their previously published works.

I’ve worked with publishers and producers who do their own mastering, and I’ve mastered my own (I prefer the former). And I’ve worked with publishers and producers who provide their own Quality Control editing and I’ve done my own (again, I prefer the former). But all of my the recording was done in my own state-of-the-art, room-within-a-room studio, the resulting recording from which one of the delighted outside producers called “pristine.”

More important, I’ve done enough business (and see enough ahead of me) to be able to move into audiobook narration and production full-time (which now provides an answer for the wife and kids to the question, “What exactly does your husband/father do?”).

So now, as an Audible-Approved Producer and narrator (a recognition I inquired about and received after I pressed “I’m Done” on number 50), I’m looking forward to the next 50 and the next hundred and the hours and hours of fascinating storytelling in the months and years ahead.

Kevin Pierce’s narration of “Aliens in the Backyard: UFO Encounters, Abductions and Synchronicity” is currently Crossroad Press’s best-selling audio title at Audible.com. A frequent face and voice on public TV and public radio across Florida, he reads and records in his Fort Myers studio. His web site is http://www.kevinpiercepresents.com.

6 responses to “ACX Success Story: Kevin Pierce

  1. He has recorded my book and done a great job.

  2. I love hearing stories like these. They make newbies to audiobook production have something like a goal at the end of the road. One of those kinda things where “this guy did it and here’s how and so can you!” deal. This is awesome and congratulations! Thank you,
    -Jon

  3. My appreciation to Mr. Pierce for sharing his experience. It’s encouraging and inspiring both. I wish him the best, and continued success in the field. I’ve just pushed the “I’m Done.” button on my second project with ACX, and hope to follow in those footprints. Thanks, again, sir, for sharing!

  4. My appreciation to Mr. Pierce for sharing his experiences in this way. It’s both inspiring and encouraging for those of us trying to get to the same place. I just clicked the “I’m Done!” button on my second project yesterday, and can’t help but stand in awe of someone who has done that dozens of times already. Best wishes to you, sir, and continued success!

    Elliott Walsh/Spoken-Arts.Swiftpassage.Com

  5. Kevin Johnson

    Good for you Mr Pierce. so you’ve actually done narration of audio books, nice. well that’s what I’m trying to do, narrate for books and I’m on the acx site with uploaded demos. I auditioned for three books a month ago and neither author has gotten back to me. I feel I’m ready but I have to wait on somebody else to decide that so I’m still waiting.

  6. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story of how you came to be a producer of audio books. As a producer myself (of music), with my very own sound studio located in my living room, It’s not that big of a leap for me to feel this is the direction I should go with my career. When I was a lot younger, my jobs all involved public speaking. My first job was at the Mark Twain Outdoor Theater performing the roles of Injun Joe and Doc Robinson. My second job was as the head tour guide of Mark Twain Cave and Cameron Cave, also in Hannibal, MO. Perhaps the first audiobook I should record might be a familiar one from my hometown…possibly either “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” or “Huckleberry Finn”…I’m pretty sure those are public domain. Anyways, I hope to see you on the boards at ACX, and again, thanks for your inspiring story.

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