Before we pop the champagne and ring in 2019, we’re looking back at your wonderful accomplishments from 2018. You published tens of thousands of audiobooks, found new listening fans, and helped make the ACX community more vibrant than ever. We hope you’ve enjoyed a successful 2018, and to help you continue the trend in 2019, we asked some of our favorite Storytellers of 2018 how they define success. Find inspiration by using their stories to shape your own audio successes in the year to come.
I define success as “goals set and reached.” Now, that can be confusing because I don’t always reach every goal I set. Sometimes, in the reaching, I discover something else entirely and my goal shifts.
This year my goals were to create something, collaborate, and stretch my talents AND to get back to my “pre-baby” recording schedule of one book per week. Tall order, huh? Well, along with a team of very talented writers, we created the industry’s very FIRST audiobook musical, “SPIN-The Rumpelstiltskin Musical” which I am so incredibly proud of. And… although it took me until September, I managed to to maintain a book per week schedule. I had to record day and night to do it (between, mommy duties) but I did it! Thank you, coffee! Part of my ability to meet these goals was good old fashioned luck (meeting my creative team) and part was just good old fashioned hard work. However… My take-away; success happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Watch Khristine in ACX U Presents: Mind, Body, and Soul for the Audiobook Narrator.
Listen to Fury of a Phoenix, performed by Khristine Hvam.
Success is best when it has not yet been attained. You never want to find success. Get close, sure, but don’t catch it. If you do, you’ll sit back to rest and be satisfied. You’ll lose that thing that drives you toward the really good work, and then as a writer you’ll be done. Focus instead on writing the most honest thing you can; the truest thing, whether your line is fiction or not. Write a thing that scares you, or makes you uncomfortable, or makes you feel shy for others to read it because you’ve put so much of yourself into the words. That will always be your best work, and then the right people will notice.
I wish I had a “wise monk on a mountain” answer for this, as there are so many different forms of success. Focusing on my own 2018 experience, I’d say I met with sales success when I took steps to promote my own self-produced novels Deep Shadow and Zombie Bigfoot as well as a couple books I recorded for Robert McCammon. My advice for ACX producers and narrators on Royalty Share: get your title out there! Use every last one of those promo codes you get from ACX. Blitz social media. Promote the print and ebook, too, because their visibility on Amazon will improve the visibility of the audio. Consider doing a “Reviewer Blog Tour”, either in the book’s genre or for audiobooks in general. The job isn’t over when you finish uploading the files!
Success is not a single moment in time but rather the feelings I get from A) doing quality work that fulfills me and B) making a positive difference in other people’s lives. I help others in multiple ways, from advising narrators to sharing my prosperity with people and organizations who need it. In addition to my narration work in the last year, I published 2 titles! For one, I licensed the rights to Road to Tara: The Life Of Margaret Mitchell by Anne Edwards. I’m thrilled to announce that this audiobook has been recognized with 2 prestigious honors:
- Nominee for Best Narration in Audiobook Biography, 2018 Voice Arts Awards
- Finalist for Best Audiobook, 2018 Digital Book World Awards
My advice to other narrators is to create your own work. You don’t have to wait to win auditions or meet the right people. You could find a dream project, license the rights, and cast yourself! In this article, I outlined many of the steps, obstacles, and side journeys I found on the Road to Tara to encourage you along a similar path.
I would define success as the opportunity to work on projects that make a positive difference in the larger community, as well as being personally meaningful and valuable. 2018 is the year that I was able to fully embrace this notion and thrive in my work in audio at a new and higher level. I narrated more projects than ever before this year, several of which were produced through the ACX platform. And this was the year that my audio directing career really took off, with the release of our Audible Originals Stinker Lets Loose! (a New York Times Monthly Bestseller with Jon Hamm), and improvised show Bad Reception, plus Maximum Fun’s new scripted series Bubble, recently named one of Apple’s Best of 2018 picks. 2019 is bringing more big new series, including a live show at SF Sketchfest in January for Bad Reception, and a few other new shows I can’t talk about just yet! I’m grateful that people are listening, and grateful for opportunity to work with incredible collaborators who make sure we have interesting things to say.
Success to me is being able to make a good enough living to support my family. It’s being recognized by my peers as someone who knows and respects the business of audiobooks, someone they can trust to answer their questions with solid, actionable advice based on my experiences. Success is having fun doing what you love, yet always trying to improve your craft so that you can continue to grow in an ever changing field. Awards and recognition are great but they don’t define success. Success is continually working in an ever growing and more competitive field with the people and publishers you love.
How do we define success? By the careers launched, the audiobooks published, and the words brought to life on ACX. A bell rings every time an ACX audiobook gets a glowing review on Audible, and this year our bells have been ringing of the hook! From all of us at ACX to all the audiobook superstars in the US and abroad, here’s to an even bigger and more rewarding 2019.