ACX currently has over 2,500 titles open for audition. But how do you know which titles are the best fit for you to produce? Here’s our advice to narrow that list down and get the most out of your auditions. Consider these questions when choosing which titles to audition for:
1. Does this title fit my abilities?
Look for titles that you’ll feel comfortable voicing. You know your acting abilities better than anyone: stretching your range can be good, but biting off more than you can chew is easy to do. Are you great at balancing multiple character voices or better with instructional or informative reads? Few things turn audiobook listeners off faster than poorly voiced, cartoonish characters. Steer clear of that wild west tale unless you can convincingly portray the grizzled old prospector, the dashing young sheriff and the aristocratic land owner. Only you know your strengths – play to them!
2. Will producing this title make me any money?
As much as you love producing audiobooks, nothing in this world is free – especially your time! ACX offers both pay-for-production (P4P) and royalty-share deals. When it comes to P4P, negotiate an hourly rate that compensates you fairly for your work and time.
As for royalty share projects, do your homework to see if the rights holder is an active marketer of his or her titles, and be prepared to supplement their promotional efforts with your own. A promising rights holder will include this information, as well as marketing plans in the “comments from the rights holder” section of the title profile. Amazon.com sales rank and customer reviews can give you insight into how readers are reacting to this title, and ACX provides a handy link to view these directly from the title profile. Check out the rights holder’s social media accounts (like Twitter and Facebook), and note both the number of fans they have, as well as how often they engage them. Does the author have an up-to-date website? Does he or she have a blog they update regularly? The time your rights holder invests in their title will play a key role in how much you can expect to earn in royalties.
3. Does this project fit into my schedule?
You’re a hardworking, busy audiobook producer, but realistically, there are only so many hours in the day. Make sure the production timeline the rights holder has in mind fits in with your schedule. How? Reach out to the rights holder using the ACX messaging system before you start recording your audition, and ask what time frame they expect for having their audiobook produced. You can also ask about any research needed into pronunciation for this title, as that will factor into your schedule as well.
4. Do I have any of my own questions for the rights holder?
Feel free to start a dialog with the rights holder, and raise any other questions you have before entering into a production agreement. If you’re concerned about objectionable content in a title, now is a good time to ask. You can also gauge the rights holder’s level of involvement and test the waters of your potential working relationship. By and large, you should be looking for a rights holder who is passionate about their project, but won’t be looking to micro-manage the audiobook production process.
Asking yourself these four questions before spending time auditioning will start you on the path to producing only the best titles for your voice.
What other things do audiobook producers consider when choosing a title to audition for? Tell us in the comments!