Category Archives: Authors + Publishers

How to Win Listeners and Create Great Audiobooks

We’re bringing a renewed focus on education to the ACX blog in 2014, and we kicked things off last week with our seven habits of a highly effective audiobook producer. This week, we’re back to teach authors everything they need to know about having their audiobook produced on ACX.

How To Be  A Great Audiobook Publisher

1. Know Your Medium. Some authors are audiobook listeners, and some aren’t. But when you’re looking to have your work produced in audio, it’s important to be familiar with the basics of the medium. Start by poking around Audible.com and listening to the 5 minute samples for a variety of books. Listen to fiction and nonfiction, to books in your genre and books that are nothing like yours. Note what you like and dislike, in terms of both performance and production values. Take note of listener reviews, too. Audible’s listeners are discerning audiobook consumers, and they’re not shy about telling you what they love or hate about a book.

2. Think Like An Audiobook Producer. On ACX, your producer is your partner, and in order to get the most out of your working relationship you need to understand the audiobook world from their perspective. Learn what goes into a finished hour of audio so you know what’s reasonable in terms of payment and production timelines. Audiobook production isn’t just sitting in front of a mic and reading aloud; it requires skill, talent, and discipline. Any author who’s heard someone say “Oh, I could be an author, I like to write!” knows it’s not nearly that simple. The same goes for voice acting/production.

3. Begin With The End In Mind. Think about when you want your audiobook to be available for sale, and work backwards from there. The average audiobook production on ACX takes about 45 days, depending on the length of your book. Mark time on your calendar to review your 15 minute checkpoint and your final audio (once you’ve agreed on those dates with your producer). Make sure you have an edited, final copy of your manuscript ready to upload to ACX or send to your producer as soon as you’ve cast them (your audiobook producer is not your manuscript editor). Start thinking about audiobook specific marketing from the beginning of the production, not the end – this way, you’ll have a rabid fan base who can’t wait to hear your audiobook once it goes on sale. Finally, don’t forget to think about cover art early in the process too. Audiobook cover art requirements are different than those for print/ebook covers, and you’ll do well to familiarize yourself with them and start your cover art process early.

4. Attract The Best Producers, And Know Which To Cast. Build a strong title profile that will interest the top talent on ACX. What are great audiobook producers attracted to? They like working on books that are interesting, creative, and well put-together, and actors on a royalty share especially like books that will sell well.

The next step is your audition script. It should be a maximum of 5 minutes (about 2-3 pages) – consider that a narrator will likely put about an hour into prepping, recording, producing, and uploading a 5 minute audition. When picking your audition script, don’t just pull the first 3 pages. Consider the various things that happen throughout the course of your book. Try to find a portion that has both dialog and descriptive text, and contains most, if not all of the key characters. If a character has a specific accent or way of speaking, include them in the script. If there are names or places with complicated or foreign pronunciations, include portions that pertain to them , and your notes on how you want them voiced. If there’s not one section of your book that contains all of these things together, feel free to use portions from different parts of the book to make sure everything is included.

When it comes to casting, listen to both the performance and the technical aspects of the audition (this is where you can start putting the things you learned in point 1 into practice). On ACX, the audition should be indicative of the final audio quality you’ll receive at the end of the production. Keep your ears open for anything that doesn’t sound right to you (Audible’s listeners particularly dislike cartoonish, over the top character voices, for example). And feel free to communicate with with the actor via the ACX messaging center if the audition is mostly great but something small is a little off.

5. Work Out Payment Details and Production Timelines. You’ll have decided whether to offer your book as a royalty share or on a pay-for-production basis when you posted your title, so negotiate payment with your producer if necessary, and then decide on audio due dates. Communicate how you’d like to work with your producer from the outset. Will audio be uploaded to ACX chapter by chapter for your review, or will you receive it and review all together once completed? Consider exchanging phone numbers and have a brief chat about expectations at the outset. A real human connection can make all the difference in a successful collaboration.

6. Understand The Importance of Reviewing Your Audio. Learn about the 15 minute checkpoint, and be sure to set aside time to listen critically around the due date. This is your chance to request changes to the performance or sound before your producer proceeds with recording, editing, and post-producing the entire book. Read up on how to review your final audio, and request adjustments if necessary. Share any research you’ve done into dialects, pronunciations, and foreign locations with your producer. Finally, make sure to keep your eye on whatever means of communication you work out with your producer. You wouldn’t want an unanswered question to hold up production while you work on another project.

7. Don’t Approve Until You Approve. Make sure you’ve reviewed everything and have considered all the aspects of your audiobook recording before hitting “Approve” on ACX. We do everything we can to get your book up for sale on Audible in a timely manner, but you’ll find your title may be delayed in our quality assurance queue if it contains missing or misordered chapters, or cover art that doesn’t meet our specifications.

8. Kick Your Marketing Into High Gear. Hopefully you took our advice and set your audiobook marketing in motion at the outset of your production. Now that your book is complete, turn up the heat, and do everything you can to drive listeners to Audible to purchase your book. We’ll give you codes for 25 free review copies of your title when it goes on sale, so use them to your advantage. Seek out professional audiobook reviewers (Google is your friend here) and offer to send them a download code. Use social media, your author website/blog, and your email list to cultivate a circle of fans who give honest reviews of the title on Audible or Amazon in exchange for free review copies (and have the reviewers state the “deal” in the review). Do everything you can to generate sales and buzz for your title, then tell us about it! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter and share your success.

9. Rinse And Repeat. A full audiobook portfolio is a strong audiobook portfolio. And now that you’ve been through the production process once, future audiobook productions will get easier and easier. Look over your contracts to see if you own the audio rights to any of your backlist titles, and get them up on ACX. Don’t have any backlist titles?  Start writing your next book, keeping audiobooks in mind as you do. We want to see a lot of you around these parts, ok?

What do you consider “best practice” for having your audiobook produced via ACX? Help your fellow authors learn form your experience in the comments!

Sample, Sale.

Marketing your ACX titles to potential listeners starts with a dynamic audio sample: in just a few short minutes, Audible listeners will decide if your audiobook is their next great listen. So what makes a great audio sample? Join us as we cover how to get the most out of this brief sound snippet.

A great sounding sample comes from the same place as the rest of your great sounding audiobook – your narrator! Make sure to cast thoughtfully, and don’t be afraid to be proactive by using ACX’s narrator search to find actors and invite them to audition for your title.

As your narrator begins producing your book, give some thought to 3 – 5 minutes of audio that will best represent your title and make it desirable to Audible’s listeners. If you can find one representative scene of this length, great! Or, select more than one interesting passage, and have your narrator edit them together. If your title has action and romance, feature both scenes to really whet your fans’ appetites.

If you’re not sure how to best represent your book, ask your fans for their favorite scene from the print or eBook version. Or, ask your narrator for her recommendation. After all, collaboration is the name of the game on ACX!

Once your narrator has finished your book and uploaded the audio for review, you can approve the production and let us worry about getting the sample on Audible. In the meantime, you can download the retail audio sample file from ACX to your computer, then upload it to an audio sharing site like SoundCloud*. Share the link in your newsletter and on social media. SoundCloud even has a widget that you can place on your own website, further showcasing your audiobook to your fans.

The retail audio sample is a key part of your promotional efforts for your audiobook. Combining a little taste of what’s to come with your other promotional efforts should start to generate some buzz about your book, and set you on the path to strong sales and reviews for your title.

How do you select the perfect retail audio sample?

ACX Guest Post: Wendy Lindstrom on Writing For Audio

Known for the riveting emotional power of her work, award-winning author Wendy Lindstrom has found a perfect home in digital audio on ACX. Masterfully crafted for audiobook format, her bestselling Grayson Brothers series captivates listeners and is fast becoming an audio 5-star favorite. Today, she shares her ten tips on writing for audio.

Writing with Audio in Mind

The audiobook world is experiencing explosive growth, which presents a huge opportunity for authors to gain new readers and to create a potentially lucrative income stream. Writing for audio is an exciting new world that begins and ends with a great book. Preparing your manuscript for digital format requires some time and thought up front, as I quickly discovered.

Wendy Author Photo pds copyright

ACX Author Wendy Lindstrom

Since June of this year, I have been working with a talented producer (Brick Shop Audiobooks) and actor to bring my Grayson Brothers series to audiobook via ACX.

Creating my title profile on ACX was a breeze, but auditioning narrators and working with a talented actor to create character voices and to bring my books to audio has been an incredible journey. I learned that writing for audio puts you in the driver’s seat. You’re in charge—and you’re responsible. Having control of the product and the creation process can be both heady and terrifying.

If you would like to see your work in audio format, here are 10 tips I wish I had known before I started the process.

Ten Tips to Improve the Audiobook Experience—For You and Your Readers

  1. Open with dialogue and action, if possible. Long narration can get boring fast. (I ought to know. After listening to the first fifteen minutes of The Longing, I cut most of the first chapter for this very reason!) Reading text is a very different experience than listening to those same words as an audiobook.
  2. Create descriptive tags that keep your readers from getting lost. Use tags to clarify who is doing the action or experiencing the emotion, especially in scenes where characters banter back and forth quickly or for long stretches. Without good tags, listeners must depend on the vocal skill of the narrator to differentiate characters. Not an easy task with two or three characters of the same gender in a scene. Listen to samples from other audiobooks and evaluate what works and what doesn’t.727tpe4761sf5cg11374614520830
  3. Ensure that your author voice is evident in your sentence cadence and phrasing. You might have heard the adage, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” This holds true in the audiobook world as well. The stronger your voice comes through on the page, the better chance your narrator will create something close to your vision of your book. The same is true for your character’s voice. If your protagonist speaks with a raspy, seductive voice, get that on the page. Envision how you will convey this information to your narrator and put it in your book. These are all tips your narrator will use when creating character voices and recording audio. Listen to superb character dialogue from The Longing for an example. 
  4. Limit the number of characters in a scene, or limit how many of those characters speak in that scene. In Kissing in the Dark, there are nine female characters conversing in a scene! My mistake. Thankfully, my talented narrator was able to pull this off, but I guarantee I won’t be doing this again.
  5. Maintain a balance between narration, dialogue, and inner monologue in order to keep the listener engaged. See tip #1.
  6. Make each word count. Words carry more weight when read aloud. A good voice actor can raise your story to a higher level, but don’t depend on your narrator to act or convey the level of emotion you imagine for the scene. Your words must create that impact. A skilled narrator will make those words sing.
  7. Beware of character accents and localized speech—use judiciously. A narrator must read those lines, and the results might be far different than you desire. Listening to characters with very heavy accents can be confusing and grow tiresome.
  8. Read your work aloud to pinpoint areas needing clarification and to eliminate choppy writing.uln8ne5nvavw7alt1374620097444
  9. Complete all revisions on your book project before uploading to ACX and seeking auditions from narrators. It can be confusing and difficult to swap out your manuscript and sales copy once production begins. Plus, for Whispersync for Voice your e-book must closely match the audiobook. If you revise more than a word here and there, you’ll need to upload a new e-book file that matches the revised audiobook.
  10. Manage your project budget through book length. Writing a shorter (but not too short) book will require less money to produce in audio format, which may enable you to get into audiobooks sooner. There is always the royalty share option to consider, but that is for another post.

I hope these tips help make your entry into the audiobook world a little easier. It’s a great place to be—it’s a place you want to be.

Read more about Wendy at www.wendylindstrom.com.

Do you write with audio in mind? Tell us in the comments!

Advice From Authors Near and Far

We’ve attended quite a few publishing & voiceover events this summer, from BEA to That’s Voiceover, and met many current and future ACX users along the way. Last month, we attended the annual conferences of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), and we learned great tips from successful authors along the way.

ACX’s own Jason Ojalvo took Atlanta by storm at the RWA’s annual conference, taking part in the fruitful Amazon indie publishing panel, and we’re not just saying that because he tried his first peach cobbler. Authors learned about the great benefits and services provided through Amazon, from Amazon Author Central to Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, as well as ACX. We also attended panels conducted by ACX authors such as Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy. Both offered tips for their fellow writers, including:

  • Write more than one book. There is strength in numbers
  • Spend more time writing than promoting. Promoting your work is definitely important. But as a writer, your main job is to write.
  • Network with authors and cross promote. You can multiply each others’ efforts, especially when you’re in similar or complimentary genres.
  • Get to know your retailers. Different retailers offer varying services and have different timelines for getting your book in their store. Learn who offers what to best navigate the landscape.
  • Get all of your fans to sign up for your newsletter. This is mainly to drive sales on the release date, in order to get on the best seller list. Be aggressive about getting email addresses – they’re even more important than fans on Facebook or Twitter.

Moving now to the Pacific Northwest, ACX Product Manager Mike Stover presented ACX to the gathered authors at PNWA, participated in the Independent Author booth for the full three days of the conference, and expertly avoided the siren song of Seattle’s casinos. Here’s some of what he learned from the fantastic authors he met:

  • Authors love hearing their work in audio. And, it inspires them to write future books with audio in mind.
  • Authors are advertising their audio edition alongside their print and eBooks. This is especially beneficial with ACX’s $25 bounty program.
  • Authors are putting their 5 minute sample on their blog or website. Oftentimes, fans only need to hear their favorite work in audio to be convinced to buy it.

We look forward to spreading the word about ACX at upcoming industry events like Novelists, Inc. 2013 in October and Self Publishing Book Expo this November. We hope to see you there!

Would you like to see ACX at your next publishing or recording industry event?

ACX Success Story: Falling Into You – Part 2

When we left off with the key players in the ACX production of Falling Into You, author Jasinda Wilder had chosen narrator Piper Goodeve and her real life beau Gabriel Vaughn to bring young lovers Nell and Colton to life. The two narrators and engineer Pete Rohan got to work preparing the script and began recording.

Narrator Piper Goodeve:

Prepping a book is always a fun process for me. If I have time I love being able to just read the book once without thinking of anything in terms of recording, just enjoying it as a reader, and then go back and read it again with characters in mind, underlining difficult passages, making notes, etc.

Engineer Pete Rohan:

Piper had a really good grasp of the story and characters. In the first chapters I thought that she might have been reading the main character too young but, as she pointed out, at that point in the story the main character was a callow youth. In retrospect it made perfect sense, and allowed for a more dramatic arc for the main character.

Author Jasinda Wilder:

Piper pretty much nails it the first time, every time. That’s part of why I love her so much. She gets the feel and voice of my characters, and accurately portrays them in a way that matches what I had in mind.

a165oxxqungc8e921364913817711Piper Goodeve:

A big part of the prep for me was actually listening to all of the music that Jasinda mentions in the book.  Music is a huge part of these characters and their lives, so it was important to me that I know the songs and what they meant to the characters, and why they were specifically chosen by Jasinda.  I made a mix of the songs (21 in total) and would listen to it on the way to the studio.  It helped me get into the world of the book more completely and embody Nell more fully.

With preparation finished, Piper and Pete began recording the 15 minute checkpoint for Jasinda. Their preparation and professionalism paid off. 

Jasinda Wilder:

I didn’t make any changes at the 15 minutes checkpoint. Listening to the final audio? There’s nothing like it. It’s such an amazing experience, hearing talented actors like Piper and Gabe bring my story to life in such a unique way. I had shivers as I listened to each chapter.

Pete Rohan:

This was my first foray into using more than one narrator, so I was a little concerned with the additional editing work. Thankfully the structure of the book made it a fairly easy edit, as most of the guy/girl parts were broken down into complete chapters. The whole thing came together beautifully if I do say so myself.

Piper Goodeve:

Sometimes at the end of recording it is hard for me to say goodbye to certain characters, especially in first person narration. I found that to be true of Falling Into You.  I was sad to be done with Nell and Jasinda’s wonderful writing.

acx_logo_600x600_smallJasinda Wilder:

Your audiobook is part of your toolbox. When you send out newsletters, post on social media, and do blog tours, make sure you’re mentioning your audiobook. Some people aren’t even aware of audiobooks, so part of our job is to heighten awareness of ACX/Audible, and how awesome it can be to listen to a book performed.

Listen to Falling Into You at Audible today. If you’ve forged an inspiring creative relationship through ACX, tell us about it in the comments!

ACX Success Story: Falling Into You – Part 1

We’ve got something special for this edition of ACX Success Stories. Author Jasinda Wilder, narrator Piper Goodeve, and engineer Pete Rohan are here to share the story of how ACX brought them together to produce the audiobook of Jasinda’s wildly successful “Falling Into You.” The origins of this unique partnership stretch as far back as the launch of ACX in 2011.

Engineer Pete Rohan:

I was working at Audible as an audio engineer when they announced the launch of ACX with great fanfare.  There was a big company meeting were they presented the new site.  I was immediately intrigued with the opportunity to produce audiobooks from home.

Piper

ACX Narrator Piper Goodeve

Narrator Piper Goodeve:

I was recording a series at Audible, with Pete as my engineer, in the spring of 2011. We hit it off really well and had a great time on those books. One day, while we were in session, Kat Lambrix, Audible Studios Production Manager/Producer, poked her head in to tell us that there was going to be an announcement of a new Audible venture called ACX. We took a break from our session and went to the meeting. We heard all the new ideas, the exciting future that this new site would lead to.

Pete Rohan:

To my knowledge, ACX was the first service of its kind. Before its existence I had no way of connecting with rights holders to produce audio books. It just wasn’t an option for me and the narrators that I knew. We had to get work through the studios that were producing the audiobooks. ACX has had a very liberating effect on the industry. That first meeting motivated me to build my home studio, which paid for itself with the first project.

Piper Goodeve:

We left that meeting and looked at each other and Pete said, “If I build a booth, do you want to do this together?” I think I said something like “duh, of course!” I uploaded a picture and samples the next day and started building my ACX profile. I was really excited by the idea of being exposed to so many different titles and I was excited by the prospect of meeting authors directly.

Jasinda_Small

ACX Author Jasinda Wilder

Author Jasinda Wilder:

My friend Hugh Howey advised that one of the first things you should do after hitting “publish” at KDP/CreateSpace is get on ACX and make an audiobook. So, I created an account, picked a title from my backlist, and got going. When I first started looking into narrators and voice actors, Piper’s name came up from several different sources. I knew another writer who’d hired Piper to do her book and just absolutely sung Piper’s praises. So I asked her to submit an audition for Falling Into You and loved her read.

Piper Goodeve:

I knew from the first few messages with Jasinda that she was going to be a great author to work with.  You can tell a lot about someone in your first few messages.  Jasinda messaged me on ACX asking if I would be interested in auditioning for her books. I checked out her books, did some research about her online, read her reviews (which were amazing!), and sent her an audition.  She asked me to do one of her earlier books, as well as the subsequent books in that series. I felt very respected as a narrator and was treated as an important part of bringing her books to more people. She trusted me with her words and characters, and as a result I felt even more eager to give her a great product. She was really excited about working with Pete and I, and about opening up her books to a wider audience with the audiobook format. She trusted Pete and I as professionals.

Pete Rohan:

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Engineer Pete Rohan in his Queens, NY studio

In the beginning, there was a lot of trial and error, mostly on my part, working out the technical aspects of recording in a NYC apartment. Extraneous noises were a constant issue. There were early challenges of finding the right microphone, soundproofing the studio, producing an acceptable recording, etc.  Piper was very patient. I dragged her to shop for microphones with me, I tried out different enclosures on her. She was my test subject. We soon worked out the kinks.

With the narrator selected and the studio built, production for Falling Into You was nearly ready to get under way. But there was still one more piece yet to fall into place.

Piper Goodeve:

When Jasinda contacted me about doing Falling Into You, she said she needed a male voice to read the Colton chapters, and asked if I could recommend anyone. I was acting in a production of Hamlet at the Tennessee Shakespeare Co. in Memphis, along with my boyfriend, actor Gabriel Vaughan.  Since Gabe is a very talented actor and voiceover artist, and we had brought our mic with us to Memphis, I suggested him to Jasinda and he recorded some samples for her.  She loved them and hired him to do the male chapters.

Jasinda Wilder:

Piper is brilliant. She knows the business backward and forward. She and Gabe, who are also together in real life, have an amazing story of their own, which I just might steal for novel someday. With their blessing, of course.

Production would soon get under way at Pete’s Queens, NY studio. We’ll hear about that, as well as the subsequent success of Falling Into You, in part 2, coming to the ACX blog next week.

Do you have an ACX success story? Tell us in the comments and you might be the next one featured on our blog!

How To Review Your Final Audio The Audible Studios Way

Today we’re offering advice for producers and rights holders on reviewing their final audio for ACX. The steps we’ll outline can be used by a narrator before submitting their final audio to a rights holder, and authors can apply the same method before clicking “approve” to send the book to ACX for processing. We’ve got some great insight from the Audible Studios team, so let’s get right to it.

A Two Step Process

Audible’s editors listen to the entire book end to end, twice through, while following along with the manuscript. The first pass is called the edit pass, and the editor is mainly listening for and fixing technical deficiencies: sounds under words or “in the clear ” (between sentences), loud or unnatural breaths, mouth noises, plosives, pacing issues, and consistency of sound over the course of a long day of reading or between multiple sessions on different days. Audible editor Ashlee Harrison offers her advice on what to listen for when editing:

The most important thing to remember about editing audiobooks is to make the pacing sound natural (in regards to unnecessary or non-existent spacing). Something that I’ve learned really bugs listeners is unnecessary mouth clicks, and distracting noises that could easily be removed. Also, be sure to look out for cut or unnatural breaths. In some cases these things can be completely removed or simply cropped with a fade in to make it sound better.

The second, or “QC” pass focuses on the read, with an editor listening to make sure the narrator is voicing the words exactly as written. They’re also listening for mispronunciations, as well as ensuring that character names, place names, and voices or accents are consistent throughout the book.

How Audible Gets It Done

When it’s time to edit/QC, the issues listed above are either edited out or marked to be rerecorded (also called a “pickup”). When editing, it’s important to do so cleanly; that is, to surgically remove offending noises and keep the pacing consistent and appropriate by inserting clean room tone when appropriate. When marking pickups in the script, highlight the sentences before and after the portion containing the error. These surrounding sentences should be rerecorded as well. This will help ensure the editor is able to seamlessly insert the newly recorded audio into the original file. You’ll also note the particulars of the mistake, and where/when it occurred on a “QC Sheet.” This document is essential for ensuring that your list of corrections are organized and easy to understand. You can find a useable example of Audible’s QC sheet here.

Audible’s editors aim for a ratio of 3:1 on the edit pass and 1.2:1 on the QC pass. This means that a 10 hour book should take roughly 30 hours to edit and 12 hours to QC, though it may take longer depending on the subject matter, the language used, and the amount of errors made by the narrator. This strikes the right balance between attention to detail and the need to produce the title in a reasonable amount of time. ACX rights holders that are reviewing final audio can can focus on the QC pass, leaving the slower, edit focused listen to their producer.

With both the producer and rights holder listening in full, you’re bound to catch nearly all of the items in need of correction in your production. Your listeners will appreciate the attention to detail that produces a great sounding audiobook.

What are your secrets to a successful edit/QC? Tell us in the comments!

How to Use Social Media to Sell More Books

Guy Kawasaki is one of the biggest names in self-publishing today. He’s the author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur; What the Plus!; Enchantment; and nine other books, and he recently gave his take on selling more books on social media channels via a webcast hosted by CreateSpace. Watch the presentation below, and use our favorite tips to start promoting your audiobook today.

(If you can’t view the video through our blog, you can watch it on YouTube)

1. Start Yesterday!

Don’t wait until you’re finished producing your audiobook to start marketing. To get you started, ACX provides social sharing tools as you produce your book to update fans on the progress of your audiobook.

2. Segment the services.

Each of the five primary social media services, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, should be used for different reasons. Facebook helps maintain existing relationships, while Twitter is best for blasting news. Google+ can help you discover new fans who share your passion, Pinterest can help you discover new information, and LinkedIn maximizes your business connections.

3. Make a great profile.

Show your fans who you really are by creating a concise, but detailed, social media profile. Feature audiobook covers and your author photo on each channel to show others you are a real person.

4. Curate and link.

In addition to promoting your audiobooks, entertain fans by sharing articles, videos, and photos that add value to their day. Be considerate of your self-promotion: your content should be one of many other pieces of content you share on social channels.

5. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Social media updates happen so frequently, and you don’t want your promotions to be missed. Don’t be afraid to repeat your posts at different points throughout the day or week to reach your full audience.

What are some of the ways you use social media to promote your audiobooks? Tell us in the comments!

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Earlier this week, we discussed selecting an audition script for your book once it’s been posted to ACX. Today, let’s tackle the next step for authors and rights holders: casting your title and making an offer. This is an important step that can ensure that your production goes smoothly.

Casting the right producer.

mike-charzuk-exec-prod-audible-com

Mike Charzuk

Only you know who has the perfect voice for your story or characters. Among the 10,000+ producers on ACX, you’re bound to find some fantastic narrators. Mike Charzuk, Executive Producer/Sr. Director of Audible Studios, advises you to know your text well and cast to your narrator’s strengths.

When casting, it is important to know the text inside and out. If the text is complex with many characters, then an actor that is facile with character delineation and accents would be advised. Remember, subtle is the way to go with accents and character choices; you don’t want the narrator to sound to cartoonish and over the top. If the text is nonfiction, then a voice that is engaging is optimal. Remember to cast nonfiction to the strengths of the actor. Someone that might be not be good with complex verbiage may not do well on a book about ancient Greek language, for example.

You should also be listening to the technical aspects of the audition. The auditions you receive should be indicative of the final audio quality your producer will deliver once they begin producing your title. We recommend listening to some samples of well rated audiobooks on Audible to get a sense of what a good production sounds like. If you have reservations about the sound quality, feel free to politely discuss them with the potential producer or pass on the audition.

Making an offer.

Consider a few things when making an offer on ACX. As you post your title, you may have already chosen what payment method you’ll use, but if you’ve offered your title as royalty share or pay-for-production (P4P), you’ll now need to commit to one or the other. Next, you’ll choose exclusive or non-exclusive distribution, and offer due dates for the 15 minute checkpoint and final audio.

It’s important to understand the amount of time that goes into producing an audiobook when deciding on due dates. See this post for information on how long it can take to produce your audio. Based on this, a good estimate for the length of time needed on an average ACX production is roughly 45 days. It’s always a good idea to discuss the production timeline with your potential producer via the ACX messaging system before making an offer.

Help your producer help you.

One final thing to note is that you should be prepared to send your producer a copy of the final, published version of your book as soon as they accept your offer. You should also include any additional notes that you can regarding character voices and pronunciations. Putting your producer in the best position to produce your title ensures that you’ll end up with a great audiobook.

Are you ready to make an offer for your book? Tell us how you set yourself up to get the best audiobook possible from your ACX productions in the comments!

All About Audition Scripts

Casting the right producer for your ACX audiobook production may be the most important step in creating an incredible-sounding audio version of your title, and a good audition script can ensure that you’re hearing what you need to hear from a producer. Today we’ll cover the three do’s and one don’t of selecting the right audition script

Do: Pick the right text.

Make sure you’re using passages of your book that are representative of your book. For nonfiction, pick a selection that contains obscure or foreign pronunciations from your title, and provide direction on how to voice them in the audition. The producer will need to know what they’ll be reading, and you’re going to want to hear their pronunciation of these tricky words. For fiction, pick a section that has both dialog and prose. Try to include as many different characters as possible, so you get a true sense of the narrator’s range and various voices.

Don’t: Automatically use the first few pages of your title.

The first few pages of your title might seem like a natural starting point, but if they don’t contain the sections mentioned above, the auditions you get won’t tell you very much about the future voice of your book. Feel free to select a portion from the middle or end. In fact, you could even mix and match a few short scenes from various places in the book that will give an overall sense of what’s involved.

Once you’ve decided on the audition script, you can either enter it into the text box as you set up your title profile or upload a .pdf, .txt or.doc file right to ACX.

Do: Value an ACX producer’s time

In most cases, you’ll probably only need an audition script that’s 2-3 pages long. Audiobook producers can take up to an hour (and sometimes more) to produce an audition from these pages. They’ll familiarize themselves with the material and record it, then edit, mix and master that recording. After that, they’ll upload it to ACX, perhaps with comments or a note for you about the audition.

Do: Listen to the auditions submitted for your title in a timely fashion.

As a courtesy to the producers who are interested in working on your title, you may want to respond to those you’d not consider casting to let them know, and to thank them for their audition.

Armed with the information in this post, you should be set to choose a solid audition script. Next time we’ll cover the next step: what to consider when making an offer to the perfect voice for your title.

Tell us what you think makes a good audition script in the comments!