Author Archives: Emily Curran

Award-Worthy Advice from Indie Voices

The Audies were last night, and there was a strong showing from the ACX community, with several outstanding independent creators receiving nominations for their work. The Audies are the Audio Publishers Association’s annual awards for the best titles in audio publishing, and we have the inside scoop on what made these productions stand out, how they came to life, and why their creators submitted them for the consideration. Read on for inspiration, and let us know at the end if you’ll be submitting your title for next year.


Lauren Blakely – Birthday Suit

What makes Birthday Suit unique?

Birthday Suit is narrated by 12 amazing performers, full-cast style, so it sounds like a book met a radio play. It’s an aural experience, a book experience, and a theatrical experience all at once. The cast sounds great together and you can tell they had fun playing off each other.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

I’m a theater lover, so I’d wanted to produce a full-cast audiobook for some time and Birthday Suit was the perfect story for it because the romance includes an interesting cast of characters that the hero and heroine interact with during a scavenger hunt. I felt each character was unique, with his or her own quirks and traits, and because of that, the story called out for a new audio style. More so, I believe Birthday Suit has a powerful love story at its core—one that plays out over ten years, with all sorts of angst for the hero, which Sebastian York captured brilliantly as his character falls in love with his best friend’s girl.

I worked closely with two talented people who I partner with on most of my audio books—Andi Arndt, who is both my primary heroine narrator and the force of nature behind Lyric Audiobooks, and Tyler Whitlatch at Plunk Productions, who edits and produces all my ACX titles. The project was a true collaborative production, with us bouncing ideas off each other, then assembling the cast and sending them to a studio in New York. Not only is Andi an award-winning narrator, she makes casting call spreadsheets like nobody’s business! And Tyler is vital to all of my books with his terrific ear for detail and his focus on creating a fantastic final product—he was in studio working with the actors during the recording, and he made sure everything sounded amazing in post.

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I fell in love with this production from the very first minute I listened to the files. It was everything I’d hoped it would be and more—bright, dynamic voices interacting together. I decided before it even released to submit it, though I never expected the nomination to come in audio drama! That was a terrific surprise!


Stephanie Bentley & Miranda Ray – Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical

What makes Lustily Ever After unique?

We are thrilled to be the first audiobook musical for adults!  This multicast narration of a novella-length fictional story includes 20 original songs inspired by 90’s pop music peppered into the book, which heightens the comedy of the romance parody. Characters voice their own dialogue and chapter headings are sung by a trio invoking the R&B group En Vogue.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

I am a full-time audiobook narrator and a longtime musical comedy performer, so the inspiration for this book was truly as organic as it could get. I narrate mostly romance novels and would find myself giggling in the booth over and over at some of the tropes. Suddenly these lyrics just started coming into my head for the classic billionaire character—“the models in my bed don’t keep me warm at night, and no amount I spend can make me feel alright”—I started writing, and pretty soon a whole musical just came tumbling out! The songs were mostly written before I hired Miranda Ray to pen the actual book, so this was very much an audio-first project. 

There was so much creative collaboration on this project. Miranda was sending me pages from her theater tour on a cruise ship, I was sending vocals to Aaron Wilson to create the tracks, and I brought in very funny comedians from The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater to voice the other characters in my home studio. This was such a labor of love and every person who touched this project changed and enhanced some part of it and made it into what it is today! 

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I hope more than anything that this nomination will inspire ‘regular people’ like myself to go out there and just create whatever they are dreaming of! This is such an exciting time to be an author and anything truly is possible! I submitted my work for an Audie because I absolutely love it, and I believe that this audiobook musical niche is about to be a huge marketplace in audiobooks.


Tanya Eby & Blunderwoman Productions – Nevertheless We Persisted: Me Too

What makes NWP: Me Too unique?

This is truly a unique audiobook. It was created by survivors of sexual abuse/discrimination and features original essays and poems, as well as original music and art for the cover. When casting, we asked our narration community for people who felt a connection to this topic, and we did crowd funding to underwrite the production so that we could pay all participants in it.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

Blunderwoman looks for unique and important storytelling, and I try to do one passion project each year. I was deeply touched by the #MeToo movement and saw that so many of my loved ones had similar experiences. I wanted to amplify the message that abuse and discrimination still happens—is happening—and to give those stories a chance to be heard. An audiobook seemed to be the natural way to amplify voices—literally—so I created a call for submissions from writers, and narrator and writer Karen White joined me as co-editor for the piece. Friends and fans helped me spread the word about submissions, and we received pieces from all over the world. Narrators recorded poems and stories in their studios, Amanda Rose Smith did post-production and created original music, and singers who recorded tracks in their own studios and sent them in to be mastered. This was truly a sprawling project, and sort of a marvel on what we can accomplish using modern technology.

This project was definitely created with audio in mind—there is something deeply powerful about hearing a story told. In this case, having people speak directly to the listener and say “here is what happened to me.” It’s incredible the impact that audio can have. It connects emotionally with the listener, it can be transformative, and the team who came together to produce this (all 100 of us as writers, singers, artists, and performers) felt connected not only to a project, but also to something bigger: the power in telling a story, of the end of secret keeping, and the empowerment and healing that can come through expressing your truth.

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I knew no matter what happened, I was going to submit this. While this is not an easy listen, I wanted to give it a chance to be heard by as many people as possible, and I thought the Audies would be a wonderful way of thanking the creators of this project by acknowledging their hard work and commitment to creating something powerful. I’m so honored and pleased that it received a nod as one of the Best Original Works. In my mind, we’ve already won.


Congratulations to all this year’s Audie nominees! Your boundless creativity and drive to create never fail to inspire us. Let us know in the comments what you’re feeling inspired to create, and if you’ll be submitting your 2020 title for next year’s Audies!

Feedback Without Distortion: Audio Analysis is Here

Today, the ACX team is excited to announce the launch of a new feature available in Production Manager: it can analyze all your audio files, let you know if they meet ACX Standards, and give you a precise report on the changes that need to be made, all before you ever submit your project to QA—it’s the Audio Analysis Tool!

This feature will be accessible to producers and DIY authors on all new ACX projects. Now when you upload audio to ACX—starting with the 15-minute checkpoint—you’ll get an immediate report on seven common audio issues:

RMSSample Rate
Peak LevelsMixed Channels
BitrateDuplicate Files
Bitrate Method

That means no more waiting for the book to go through QA to learn you have one file in stereo and having to resubmit the whole project over again. Now you can find out right away and quickly make the required adjustments. The report contains precise indications on what needs to be adjusted and by how much, with links to helpful resources on how to do it. Don’t worry—all ACX audiobooks will get a final listen from our QA team before going on sale, and they’ll be on the lookout for spacing, noise floor, and other issues that can’t be detected by the tool—only now the process will be able to move a little easier, with smoother production timelines for all.

To give you some time to get used to this new feature, we’re accepting all audiobook submissions, even if Audio Analysis identifies errors within your files. When the feature launches fully, any issues detected by Audio Analysis will need to be corrected before the project can be submitted for Quality Assurance. This initial phase will give you time to identify recurring issues in your productions and make the necessary adjustments to your workflow without impacting your ability to submit audio and receive QA feedback.

We’re excited for this feature and we hope you are, too—we hope the earlier feedback and additional insights will help you improve you skills and setup, and result in a smoother production experience for all. And as always, if you have any questions about the feature, the answers can be found in our Help Center.

Love Is in the Airwaves

Audiobook airwaves are all a-flutter with a spectrum of sweet-to-sizzling love stories for the month of February. Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward have dozens of individual NY Times best-selling romance titles between the two of them, and together they have co-authored nine novels and counting that have gone on to capture the ears of audiobook listeners with the voices of Sebastian York, Andi Arndt, and other top narrators. In celebration of their gal-mance and gal-mances everywhere, we got them to tell us (and romance writers looking to learn from their success), what they love about each other’s audiobooks. Take it away, ladies!

Keeland and Ward headshot

Authors Vi Keeland (l) and Penelope Ward (r)

Vi Keeland: Just One Year is one of my very favorite audiobooks for so many reasons. It starts out as a light and fun story about a British college student coming to the United States to study abroad, but turns into a heartfelt story exploring why we sometimes need to travel far to find ourselves. One reason I loved the audio of Just One Year, and it might just be at the top of my list of reasons to listen to this book, is the hero’s sexy British accent. So, when I sat down to ask Penelope some questions, I was curious to know how she decided which narrator was the right fit for her character. Penelope, before you decided on casting, how many narrators did you listen to?

Penelope Ward: I actually listened to several! I had a pretty good idea whom I might want to cast as the hero, but I wanted to keep an open mind before finalizing my decision. I’d never written a British hero into my solo books before, so this was my opportunity to branch out and use a new-to-me narrator. I’d listened to Shane East several times before, so it felt comfortable casting him.

VK: How did you find narrators with a British accent to listen to?

PW: I knew a few because I’m an avid audio listener myself, but I also checked out Audible’s Accent on Love page. They list books with all different accents.PWJustOneYearAudioBookCover2

VK: Did you write the “British” into your book or give the narrator free rein to decide how to make the character sound like a true Brit?

PW: A bit of both, actually. I incorporated some British terms into the written book to give the narrators something to work with. But the narrator also had free rein to determine which words to play up with the accent more than others when speaking. If there are special notes about pronunciations, accents, or any other concerns, I make them known to the narrators when I send them the manuscript. However, since I’m privileged to work with very experienced talent, I pretty much let them do their thing with little guidance. They always message me if they have questions along the way.

PW: Okay Vi, now I have some questions for you! I recently listened to Inappropriate and loved it. It’s actually my favorite book of yours. One of the things I loved was the dual narration of Sebastian York and Andi Arndt. They just became Grant and Ireland, and their performances were amazing.  Sebastian’s deep, sexy voice was perfect for the alpha CEO, and true to the typical Vi Keeland heroine, Ireland is strong, independent, and feisty, and Andi nails that side of her personality. Why did you choose dual narrators over a single narrator?

VK: I think dual narration allows listeners to connect to the individual characters more. It also provides a nice break of voice, which keeps the material feeling fresh. I’ve been dying to try duet narration, and I think Inappropriate would have also been perfect for that.

PW: What’s the difference between dual narration and duet narration?

Temp Inappropriate cover (1)VK: In duet narration the female reads all the female parts and the male reads all the male parts—they’re acting it out together. Whereas in dual narration, one person reads an entire chapter based on which point of view is being presented in the text, so that each narrator must read both the female and male roles at times. Lauren Blakely does a ton of amazing full-cast and duet narration audiobooks.

PW: I think you should definitely try that! Okay, here’s an unrelated question. If you could choose one actor to voice one of your characters in an audiobook, who would it be and why?  You have no budget constraints!

VK: I think I’d have to pick Sam Elliott! I’m in love with his voice. It’s iconic and memorable, and his delivery is just so dry and on point with sarcasm.  Same question for you…who would you dream cast?

PW: For a male, I would have to say Josh Duhamel. I was watching a movie with him once and couldn’t help but think how good his voice would be for an audiobook. For a female narrator, I would say Claire Danes. I recently listened to her narrate The Handmaid’s Tale.

VK: While we’re on the subject of iconic voices, do you ever give direction to your narrators using a famous actor or scene that you had in mind while writing dialogue?  For example, if your character is saying “Could you be any more difficult?” you might suggest the narrator make it sound like Chandler from Friends?

PW: Not yet, but that’s a great way of helping give the proper direction for a performance. It’s a little more specific than a direction like “spoken with a Southern twang” or something like that!

Okay…one last question. Who’s your favorite author to co-write with when publishing audiobooks?

VK: I’ll get back to you on that one. 😉

The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Goal Setting for 2020

Light Bulbs Concept

We’re a month into 2020, and now is a great time to check in on your 2020 goals to see what progress you’re making. Didn’t make any resolutions? It’s not too late! There’s still 11 months left to set and meet some big audiobook goals for this year. Not sure where to start? We’ve got a device that can help you figure it out: S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related, and when applied to planning for the coming year, it can help you set goals that you’ll actually attain. Here’s your ACX guide to putting S.M.A.R.T. to work for you.

S is for Specific

Think about any task you set out to complete—it’s always easier to get it done if you have good, clear instructions. Choosing definite areas for your goals makes it easier for you to get to work on them and measure your progress. For example, if you’re an author, instead of setting the goal of growing your fanbase, consider setting a goal of increasing your social media followers on Facebook or Twitter specifically. If you’re a narrator, instead of setting the goal of expanding your repertoire as a voice actor, perhaps you set a goal to master one or two new specific accents or dialects.

M is for Measurable

Setting goals that are measurable is essential to achieving them—otherwise, you have no way of determining whether your goals have been met. That means you need quantifiable indicators of progress. So, if you’re that author that wants to grow your social media followers on Twitter, set an amount by which you’d like to grow them. Or if you’re a producer and your goal is to master a new dialect, maybe your quantifiable indicator of progress is adding a sample with that dialect to your ACX profile, or auditioning for three new titles for which that accent is required.

A is for Assignable

hatsThis one might not make sense for you at first glance—but as self-publishing authors and independent producers, you are your own business, so wouldn’t you just assign everything to yourself? Not quite. Maybe this means taking the time to assess your workflow to see what you can outsource. For authors, that might be cover art or advertising graphics, as a producer, maybe that’s editing and post-production. But it could also mean taking a look at all the different hats you wear as an indie creator, and determining which of your many personas each goal falls under. Is it your writer persona that will be working toward  these goals? Your publicist persona? Your actor? Your engineer? Assigning your goals to the different sides of yourself-as-business can be a good way to make sure you stay focused and on task (authors have told us, for instance, that they separate writing work from marketing work by time of day, so they can better “activate” those areas of their brain to get the job done). If you have too many goals in one area of your business, it might be the time to consider balancing with other goals or outsourcing some work. Which conveniently brings us to our next point…

R is for Realistic

We know you’re dreamers and risk-takers—as independent creators, you have to be! But when setting smart goals for yourself, it’s important that most are things you could realistically achieve. Consider the resources you’re working with—time, skills, finances, outsourcing, and what you’ve managed to achieve in similar periods in the past—and set your goals accordingly. For example, if you’re that author looking to grow your social media followers, look at how your followers have grown in previous terms. If you’re a voice actor mastering those dialects, consider how long it took you to learn similar skills in the past. Maybe that means increasing your goals compared to past years if you’ve gained more resources, or maybe it means pulling back a little if you’ve found yourself overwhelmed. Either way, setting realistic goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated—or put another way, setting a bunch of goals you won’t achieve is a great way to get discouraged fast. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big—you can break big goals down into smaller goals so you’re hitting milestones along the way, and you can and should set a few reach goals for yourself outside the ones you know are realistic to give yourself something to keep reaching for.

T is for Time-Related

close up of calendar and alarm clock on the green background, planning for business meeting or travel planning concept

We all know we start big with the enthusiasm when we set new goals, but it can be difficult to maintain that momentum if we don’t have deadlines. When setting your goals, be sure to specify when you want to complete them by and whether it’s a short, medium, or long-term goal. Maybe you set your social media follower goal at 100 new followers in three months, 300 in six months, and 1,000 by the end of the year. If you’re that dialect-mastering narrator, set a date by which you want to submit your first audition in that dialect. And if you aren’t already, consider using a marketing or production calendar to track your goals and keep yourself accountable. It doesn’t hurt to put a little pressure on yourself to stay motivated, and seeing a deadline in writing can do just that.

Now that you know how to plan your goals for the new year and beyond, we want to hear what they are! Let us know in the comments if you’re setting any 2020 audiobook publishing goals, and what you’re doing to make sure you’re meeting them. Now get to work—you only have 11 months to go!

The Best of the Blog 2019: The Re-Gift of Knowledge

It’s been quite a year for the ACX community: ACX creators published over 30,000 audiobooks, aided by the launch of some exciting tools and features, like Royalty Share Plus and Enhanced Promo Codes. Thank you for continuing to elevate the field of independent publishing through your hard work and innovation. In this giving season, we’ve decided to honor the tradition of re-gifting by wrapping up a few of our favorite blog resources from 2019 and presenting them to you to help support your continued excellence. Enjoy… or re-joy!

Now Hear This: Promoting with SoundCloud: Audio samples are your best friend when it comes to marketing your audiobook—they’re a great way to grab a listener’s attention and leave them eager to purchase the audiobook. Check out this article for great ideas on leveraging this free audio platform to put those samples everywhere your audience is, so they’ll be sure to give them a listen.

Bonus: Want more content on low and no-cost social media promotion for your audiobooks? Check out this episode from ACX University.


Amy Daws on Her Authentic Social Media Self: Authenticity is the key to a devoted community of fans, and nobody knows that better than this author and social media maven who uses her own genuine energy, fun content, and regular engagement to keep her fans’ attention between new releases. Learn from her social media strategies and fan the flames in your own fan base.

Bonus: Want to hear more on engaging with your fans? This is the ACX University episode for you.


Lighting the Way: An Author’s Journey into Narration If you’re an indie author, you’re no stranger to doing it all yourself, so chances are you’ve considered narrating your own audiobook. Well, paranormal mystery author Mary Castillo decided to do just that for her series, and you can read her full account of the production process from a writer’s perspective here.

Bonus: Interested in narrating your own book? Learn more about the art of audiobook performance here.


Production Pointers from Audible Approved Producers Whether you’re a narration newbie or a production pro, it never hurts to hear from other independent Producers on how they’re getting the job done. In this Q&A with a few of 2019’s newest Audible Approved Producers (AAPs), you can read about their favorite gear, pre-recording rituals, and at-home studio setups—you might learn a thing or two to add to your own process!

Bonus: Looking for more tips, tricks, and technical advice for audiobook production? Check out this ACX University series from our QA team.


A Portrait of the Artist How do you make a big impression and catch the attention of the authors you want to work with? It all starts with a compelling, professional, comprehensive Producer profile. In this article, we walk you through creating an ACX profile that stands out with examples from some of our favorite AAPs.

Bonus: Looking for more advice on your audiobook production career? This ACX University episode is for you.


Whether you’re new to the blog or seeing these articles for the second time, we hope it renews your drive and enthusiasm for creating great audiobooks, and gives you some good ideas for propelling your passion and your work forward into a successful new year. Feel free to re-gift these to the indie author or producer on your list!

Holiday Publishing Deadline for Your Audiobook

It’s hard to believe it’s already fall, and the holidays are just around the corner! We know many of you are hard at work on projects and want your upcoming releases to be available to listeners by the holidays, and ACX wants to help you deliver.

These last months of the year are a busy time for the Quality Assurance team—we receive a much higher volume of submissions in the months leading up to the winter holidays, and you may experience longer processing times between submission and on-sale date. If holiday promotions factor into your marketing plans, please submit your project for review no later than Friday, November 29th  for the best chance of being on sale by the holidays.

And with that deadline just two months away, we’ll let you get back to work!

Need help?  Here are just a few of our favorite resources for making sure your files pass our audio specifications every time.

Save the Date—ACX University is Back October 28th!

Sharpen your pencils and get ready to hit the books: October 28th, ACX University is back at 5:30PM ET for its seventh year and it’s all about the pros: pro tips, pro experts, and the biggest pro of all—it’s free! We can’t think of any cons.

Our 2019 curriculum is a masterclass in taking your audiobook business to the next level, so expect plenty of advanced techniques and insider tips from the industry’s best. Get to the head of the class by marking your calendars with this handy calendar reminder and catching up on past episodes here.

Want a sneak peak at this year’s classes? Check out acxuniversity.com to catch a glimpse of our instructors and see what’s on the agenda for this season. We hope to see you in class!

Introducing Enhanced Listener Navigation for Your Audiobook

Today, you may notice an update to how you create audiobooks on ACX: customizable Chapter Names!

Now, when you start a new project on ACX, you’ll be able to quickly and easily list the parts of the book you want included in your audiobook production as soon as you claim your title. Simply enter the Chapter Names in the new Table of Contents setup page as you want them to appear to your listener in their Audible app, using the “Import from Kindle” button (available for select titles), or copy and paste Chapter Names from your manuscript.

Authors, now you can easily present to your Producer which sections they should include when recording your audio edition, as well as making your final audiobook easy to navigate for your listener. Producers, this will make it easier for you to upload the corresponding audio to the Chapter Names you see in Production Manager.

So how do you make the most of this cool new feature?

Take the time to curate your chapter names. Now that listeners can use these chapter headings to navigate your audiobook in the app, you want to make sure your table of contents makes that navigation as easy and intuitive as possible. Designate the sections of your audiobook accurately, indicating specific sections like the introduction, prologue, or epilogue, and name your chapters for easy discovery. If you are able to import your table of contents directly from the Kindle version of your book, take a moment to carefully review the chapter headings to ensure all desired sections are present and that spelling, grammar, and formatting is consistent throughout. See below for example.

Poorly Formatted Chapter Names
Correctly Formatted Chapter Names

Remove sections that aren’t for audio. If you’ve ever wondered what sections of your book should (and shouldn’t!) be narrated for audio, this moment serves as an opportunity to remove any sections from the list that should not be narrated for the audio edition, such as the table of contents or index and other front or back matter. The chapter headings you provide will be automatically populated in the producer’s view of production manager so they can upload the appropriate audio for each section, so be sure your table of contents only includes the sections you want your narrator to record.

Pay attention to formatting. To make your audiobook appear consistent with other titles and to give the listener the best in-app navigation experience, take the time to attend to formatting. Review our formatting guidelines, and check your chapter names for consistency throughout your audiobook. Adhering to industry-standard styles for your chapter headings will give your audiobook a polished, professional appearance in the Audible app.

Optimizing your chapter names for enhanced navigation is a small way you can make a big difference to your listener’s experience, and we hope you’ll take advantage of it to help your audiobook succeed!

ACX Education: For You, By You

Here on the ACX blog, we’re hard at work uncovering stories and advice to help you cast, narrate, produce, and market better audiobooks. But even with our powers combined, we know our creator community outnumbers us by the thousands and we bet your great ideas do, too! If there are skills you want to develop, questions you want answered, stories you want to hear, or any other audiobook-related content you think we should be covering, drop us a line in the comments below this article and tell us about it! We’ll do our best to deliver.

A Portrait of the Artist

Listen here, ACX Producer—when’s the last time you updated that profile page of yours? Here on the blog, we can often be found extolling the importance of investing in your home studio, honing your editing and mastering skills, and publicizing your work on social media platforms. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight the value of your professional presence on ACX—your Producer profile! A curated, well-maintained profile will not only make it easier for Rights Holders to find you on ACX, it can help you stand out from the crowd and command the attention of authors and publishers on the hunt for talent like yours.

So, what are the elements of a successful profile? We’ve written a guide to giving your profile the makeover it deserves and sprinkled it with examples from some excellent Audible Approved Producers. Refer to the highlighted areas in the image below as you read along at home.

Prod Profile_01

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Profile Image

A complete, professional-looking ACX profile should include an image, first and foremost (1). Many Producers choose a professional headshot or a picture of themselves having fun in the studio. Not all voiceover artists wish to provide a headshot, however; many feel that their physical appearance sets an expectation incongruent with the variety of vocal performance they’re able to deliver, and would prefer to let their voice speak for itself. In that case, we recommend a graphic or logo developed to represent your brand—Fiverr can be a great place to source one of these—or a picture of your studio without you in it.

Bio

There are two places for you to biographize yourself on your ACX profile: the one-line blurb that appears beneath your name, and the “About” section (2). The first is a great place to offer a zippy little intro that grabs the searcher’s attention. Draw some inspiration from these great one-liners:

  • Confident, Intellectual, Charismatic—The Darkly Sophisticated British Storyteller. (Hannibal Hills)
  • Bright. Vivacious. (Suzanne Barbetta)
  • A smooth blend of professional sound with a personal touch! Bringing stories to life for over 15 years as a narrator and voiceover talent. (Heather Costa)

Then, there’s space under the “About” tab to add a longer bio (3). This is a place to give a comprehensive overview of how you got started, how long you’ve been narrating/producing, why you love it, what sorts of characters/projects you’re drawn to, your vocal range, repertoire, and any special skills you possess. For example, Kyle Tait highlights his extensive experience as a sports announcer. Listing this type of skill might seem irrelevant to audiobook production, but it can capture the attention of the author of a sports biography that wants to be confident their narrator is up to tackling the specific jargon and style of their book. Consider your unique skills and knowledge outside the world of audiobooks, and include anything that makes you stand out!

Prod Profile_02

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Samples

We know it’s tempting to include samples of the great work you’ve done in short form VO, but compelling as they may be, they aren’t especially relevant to Rights Holders looking to hire you for an audiobook project. For your ACX Profile, it’s best to include audiobook samples (4). If you’re new to audiobooks and don’t have many (or any) productions under your belt, head over to Project Gutenberg and choose an appropriate piece from the 60,000 free public domain books on their site. Remember, you can always link to your website from your profile and include your other VO work there.

Next, be judicious when it comes to the number of samples on your profile: too few and your experience and range won’t be apparent, too many, and authors may find themselves overwhelmed and moving on before they give you a good listen. Choose just 5-7 of your best samples that showcase great production values, your range as a performer, and a variety of genres, character types, and dialects. Hannibal Hills and Suzanne Barbetta use their “Sample” sections to great effect, including samples from a wide variety of genres so prospective authors can hear their range as a performer and don’t have to imagine whether they’re up to the task. Pro Tip: you’ll notice these producers have named the samples according to the genres and/or vocal styles they represent. The author or publisher perusing your profile may be completely unfamiliar with the book titles listed in your repertoire, so help them out a little by describing the vocal skills and characteristics on display in each sample.

Credits

Think of this section (5) as your IMDB page on ACX—this is your space to list not only the audiobooks you’ve recorded, but the movies, television shows, theater productions, commercials, radio programs, or video games you or your voice has appeared in (yes, here we encourage you to include relevant non-audiobook work). We also find that successful Producers include related experience, education, and training, be it a master’s degree in theater or a vocal performance workshop they took. Many producers, such as Kyle Tait, also choose to list the gear they use in their home studio setup here so that authors know they have the tools to produce a great audiobook, whereas Suzanne Barbetta features her experience as a paralegal under “Special Skills” to impart her knowledge of legal terminology. Heather Costa lists all of her available audiobook titles under “Credits,” which not every Producer chooses to do, but the list is impressive and the effect is clear—you can tell at a glance she has plenty of experience and has been re-hired by several authors to narrate multiple titles in their catalog.

Prod Profile_03

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Awards and Recognition

This is no place for humility, folks—this section (6) is your chance to brag a little! Show off your accomplishments and tell ‘em what the critics are saying—include any awards you’ve won or been nominated for, include ratings and reviews from listeners on Audible (like Hannibal Hills has done) or from authors who have been happy with your performance and delivery of the project, such as in Heather Costa’s profile. Most consumers don’t make an online purchase without reading the reviews first, so why should we assume shopping for an audiobook narrator should be any different?

Now that you know the ins and outs of a shining producer profile, don’t let it get dusty! Keep it current and up to date with your achievements, new releases, and professional development. Your producer profile is more than just your resume on ACX—there’s a good chance you won’t meet the authors you work with in person, and won’t have contact with them until they make the offer to produce their book, so think of your profile page as your resumé, audition, and interview, all rolled into one. Someone wise once said you only get one chance to make a first impression, so you’d better make it an impressive one, don’t you think?