Producer Advice from Kevin Pierce

ACX strives to help actors become entrepreneurs, by providing resources that allow voiceover actors to evolve into audiobook producers and marketers. Today we’ve got more advice from one of ACX’s chief entrepreneurs, Kevin Pierce. You may know Kevin as the producer with the most ACX titles available for sale on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Read on to find out how using ACX between other narration jobs turned into a deluge of audiobook production work.

Taking Care of Business

It was just about a year ago that I discovered ACX as I was looking for a way to “fill in the gap” between audiobook productions for another studio. Today, ACX is the source of most of my audiobook business.

For me, too much of the voiceover and narration business came in fits and starts — a flood and then an ebb. I was looking for a way to develop a steady flow of business.

In January, I jumped into ACX with both feet to find out whether I could make such a business of it — whether ACX was capable of supplying regular work at the volume I desired. Since then, I’ve been producing ACX titles non-stop, two to three finished hours per day, five or more days each week.

My ACX dashboard tells me I’m about to wrap up production on my 117th title through ACX. Roughly half of these were pay per-finished-hour, the other half were royalty-share. And of 300+ finished hours in my royalty-share portfolio, many have had an ACX production stipend. In a matter of just months, my royalty-share books have sold more than 5,000 copies and I’m adding new titles to the list every week. Just like a healthy stock portfolio, I have a few stellar performing titles and a couple handfuls of solid sellers that round things out.

Several things have helped:

  • ACX’s Title Search. Even when a project has my desired per-finished-hour rate or is a royalty share with production stipend, I only audition for those titles that I feel are right for my range and style. I can easily narrow down the 3,000 titles open for audition on ACX using the title search. And when projects are right, I audition for all of them.
  • Regular Communication. While the ACX system does a fine job of notifying rights-holders of next steps required of them the production process, I like to keep my rights-holders up to date on what’s going on in my production workflow.
  • Underpromise and overdeliver. At 2 to 3 finished hours per day, I can get through a project pretty quick. But by building some extra time in the production schedule to ensure nothing throws it off track, I often surprise rights-holders with an earlier-than-expected delivery of their final project.

With the per-finished-hour books and ACX stipends which pay upon a production’s completion, and the royalty and bonus checks which come every month, ACX has become much more than a way to fill in a gap between productions, it has become a full-time flow of audiobook production and a full-time business.

How has ACX allowed you to take  control of your voiceover career?

12 responses to “Producer Advice from Kevin Pierce

  1. roy951@mail.com

    Do you partake of performance enhancing substances to keep such a grinding schedule as you have indicated?

    >

  2. Would you share the process of production, whether or not you edit out all breaths, use gates or other tools and how you got so fast at the editing process?

  3. .I began to do the same thing in August of this year and I have already received seven books. Thank you for the encouragement and we wish you more success

  4. Roy, any substance that minimizes mouth noise and tummy rumbles qualifies as “performance enhancing.” Other than that, it’s just a routine…

  5. Leslie, I come from a lifetime of production in radio and TV, so editing was part of my pre-audiobooks DNA. A great room, pristine audio chain and good mic technique go a long way to reducing the amount of processing you need.

    • Kevin, thanks! I have pretty good mic technique but NOT a silent room. I’ve gotten pretty fast but still wonder how many breaths to leave it and how many to cut out. Can you shed light on that? Thanks so much! -Leslie

  6. Leslie, two suggestions for guidance on breaths and editing: reviewing ACX’s audio editing guidelines (http://goo.gl/k4hDff) and listening to well-edited audiobooks. You’ll have to guess at what was removed, but you’ll be able to hear what remains…

  7. “117th title through ACX”… when did you start on ACX?

    “two to three finished hours a day” … you are paying someone else to edit? Or are you editing in fast forward?

  8. This is what I wonder, Narrator Jack! Hehe!

  9. YOU GAVE GOOD IDEA OF THE TRIALS OF EDITING

  10. As far as editing out breaths… I usually leave them in the dialogue of the characters. I think it sounds more natural and also separates it from the rest of the narration. I’ve been producing audio for over 15 years in my radio career and it STILL takes me a good 3 hours or so to produce 1 hour, but I’m still pretty new to audio books.

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