Tag Archives: Audiobook Creation Exchange

This Week in Links: May 22 – 26

For Producers:

Feeding Your Soul – via Paul Strikwerda – Find out why the “Nethervoice’s” best ideas come when he’s trying NOT to focus on business.

5 Customer Retention Tips for your Voiceover Business – via Victoria DeAnda – If you voice it (well), they will come. But how do you keep them coming back?

Get Into Voice-Over Work: Beginner’s Guide – via Gary Terzza – Learn the VO coach’s essential tenets of a successful narration career.

Storytellers: Amanda Rose Smith – via ACX – “For me, getting paid to do something you’d probably do anyway is the highest form of success.”

For Rights Holders:

Public Speaking Tips for Writers: 7 Keys for a Great Speech – via The Write Practice – We’d say the 8th key is “ask your narrator for advice.”

6 Tips for Creating Believable Characters That Win Over Readers – via Writer’s Digest – This one’s for the “give your narrator something awesome to say” file.

10 Ways To Approach Book Publicity – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “Believe in your abilities, trust in your creativity, and take the initiative to get the media exposure you feel you deserve.”

Clear Step-By-Step Guide to Editing for Self-Publishers – via where writers win – Every good book deserves an editor (and no, your narrator doesn’t count!)

This Week in Links: May 15- 19

For Rights Holders:

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – May 2017 – via The Book Designer – This month, the site’s lead writer shares her biggest marketing mistake: not taking her own advice.

The Key to Creating a Successful Blog: Evergreen Content – via The Write Life – Creating blog posts that are constantly wanted and searched for is a great way to attract readers through social media.

How to Form an Indie Author Collective (and Why You Should Consider Doing So) – via ALLi – [“K]nowing others are supporting you and holding you accountable puts wind in your sails.”

Branding vs. Marketing – via CreateSpace – “I’ve heard people use the terms interchangeably, and frankly, that’s just wrong. They serve the same purpose, but they are two different tools serving that purpose.”

For Producers:

On Excellence in Voiceover. Do You Dare to Push Yourself? – via Edge Studio – Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

2 Customer Service Examples: The Wrong Way and the Right Way – via audio’connell – Freelance VO’s need to give clients great customer service. Two anecdotes from other industries provide examples to follow.

10 Money Tips For Voiceover Freelancers – via Tom Dheere – “Make, save, and spend money like a business, not like a clueless rogue artiste.”

Tales From The Voice Booth – via People Magazine – Put some fun in your weekend with H. John Benjamin’s hilarious voiceover horror stories.

That Week in Links: May 8 – 12

Kick off your Monday with a look at our favorite links from last week!

For Producers:

Make Every On-Air Day Your Best – via Dr. Ann Utterback – What would you say if not just on-air days, but every day could be your best? Don’t miss the additional resources at the bottom of the post.

How to Track Voiceover Projects That’s Quick and Easy – via J. Christopher Dunn – Learn a straight-forward system to keep your various emails, invoices, files, and folders straight.

I Am a Female Voice Over, Hear me Roar! – via Voice Over Herald – Take a look at the history of the gender divide in VO, capped off with a handy infographic showing why women rule.

How to Succeed in the Voiceover Industry – via Victoria DeAnda – Victoria shares the career building blocks that allow you “let your passion bleed into your work.”

For Rights Holders:

Can You Market Your Book For 5 Minutes A Day?– via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – If you’re too busy, or big marketing projects seem daunting, check these tips for working a little bit of promotion into every day.

How to Launch Your Blog With Your Book in Mind – via Writer’s Digest – “Blogging helped me hone my voice and connected me to a community of readers. But, oh, if I could start over knowing that many of my far-fetched writing dreams would come true, I sure would do a few things differently.”

Branding: The Rule of Coaching – via CreateSpace – See how being genuinely altruistic within your creative community can have the side benefit of building your brand.

The Elusive Value of PR as a Book Marketing Tactic – via The Write Life – “I am constantly reminding myself to invest my time and efforts wisely as an author. And that means putting my efforts toward growing a long-term following—not just pestering readings into that one or two next sales.”

This Week in Links: April 10 – 14

For Producers:

Are You Ready for World Voice Day? – via Paul Strikwelda – The experienced VO uses the yearly celebration of the human voice to tout the importance of maintaining your instrument.

Do You Look Influential, Capable, Likeable?! – via Natasha Marchewka – “Despite the fact that voice talent are all about audio, having a professional headshot has always been important to me because I’ve understood the psychology of presenting a good 1st impression.”

What Can Voiceover Talents Learn from the Kendall Jenner Pepsi Commercial? – via Peter K. O’Connell – “[S]elling the soda, not selling world justice, is Pepsi’s only real job. That’s our job too.”

Seasoned Voice Over Actors Share a Glimpse of Their Voice Over Lives – via Voice Over Herald – Get a humorous peek behind the curtain from two of the most famous VO’s working today.

For Rights Holders:

Finding Your Target Audience – via Amazon Author Insights – “Marketing your book successfully has a lot to do with answering these questions: Who are my readers? How will they find my book? Will readers want to buy my book once they’ve discovered it?”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – via The Book Designer – This monthly feature takes a look at some real-life examples of the coulda, woulda, shoulda behind authors’ marketing decisions.

Marketing Tip: Build That Email List – via CreateSpace – “Building a mailing list takes time and effort, but it can be a valuable marketing tool, perhaps your most valuable marketing tool.”

How to Make ALL Ads, Marketing & Newsletters Work BETTER – via Kristen Lamb – The foundation for all goods and services (brands) is the relationship. Nothing sells without establishing, building and improving the relationship.

This Week in Links: March 20 – 24

For Producers:

Making Room – via Dave Courvoisier – “What old business practices, coaching tips, or social media schemes are you continuing to use… JUST BECAUSE you always have?”

What Can a New Voice Over Do To Get Noticed? – Pay Attention to Your Needs – via Voice Over Herald – “To help you find the root cause of your failures and rejections, get someone who will be honest with you, brutally and utterly honest.”

Joe’s VO Intel – Ep 93 “Audiobooks: Narrator vs Character – via Edge Studio – Learn how and when to vacillate between a neutral and emotional voice when narrating nonfiction.

ACX University Presents: Now Hear This: A Closer Look at Performing Top Audiobook Genres – via ACX – “Join ACX as we dive deep into performing in the best-selling fiction and non-fiction genres with help from some best-selling voices. Actors Mark Boyett and Piper Goodeve join Kat Lambrix of Audible Studios.”

For Rights Holders:

How to Hitch a Ride on Someone Else’s Holiday to Sell Books – via The Book Designer – “It takes time and requires patience. But most of all, it takes courage to step far outside your comfort zone, something most authors who are introverts are loathe to do.”

How to Create a Review Campaign for Your Book Launch – via Book Marketing Tools – “Honest, authentic reviews are the result of connecting with readers and either exceeding or failing their expectations. Contrary to what some authors might believe, however, getting reviews isn’t a waiting game.”

Workshops – via CreateSpace – “Why would I want to undertake such a task? Simple. It’s a way to associate my brand with a topic that is crucial to the theme of my books.”

The Reasons Branding Confuses You and How To Fix That Right Now – via Bad Redhead – “Branding is not (solely) about your books. I know, right? Weird.”

This Week in Links: March 13 – 17

For Rights Holders:

5 Quick-Fire Tips to Ramp up Your Book Launch via Social Media – Book Marketing Tools – “Running a good social media campaign for your book launch is about maximizing exposure, promoting engagement, and generating enthusiastic support from followers and fans.”

Do We Understand The Book Reader? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “The best writer lets her mind and soul lead the way.  She writes, unapologetically and daringly confronts the truths, lies, and unknowns in life.”

Why Indie Authors Need to be Bold with Social Media – via ALLi – “To be truly successful there needs to be a mind-shift from ‘what can I get?’, to ‘what can I do for others with social media as a tool?'”

Be the Gateway: The Dan Blank Interview – via The Book Designer – “Your work is your work. I think that building your gateway and opening it up is the idea of ‘Can you explain it to me in a way that doesn’t just show me what you are about, but it connects it to what I really care about; the way where it lets me lean in, and I think about it?'”

For Producers:

Are You Ready for a Voice-Over Career? A Five Question Quiz – via Debbie Grattan – “If you’re in the midst of making a decision to jump off into the pool of voice-over actors to determine if it’s right for you, you will want to answer these five questions to ensure you’re truly prepared to climb up on that diving board.”

Kick That Cold to the Curb – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Learn how to stop or shorten a cold so your voice will not suffer as badly.

In Voice Over: Dare the Difference and Find your Authentic Voice – via Bobbin Beam – “Here’s a suggestion: Make who you are your selling point. Stop measuring yourself, your voice-over performance, your “popularity” against others’ standards and claims of others before you.”

What Can a New Voice Over Do To Get Noticed? – BE EMOTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE – via Voice Over Herald – Your talent and skill as a voice over actor can make people stop and listen, but what will make them hire you, continue to work with you, be loyal to you, and refer you to others is your pleasing personality.

This Week in Links: March 6 – 10

For Producers:

10 Things To Do On The Slow Voice Over Days – via Marc Scott – There are a number of things that you can do to benefit your business when the “recording” light in your studio is off.

The One Thing That Will Improve Your Voice Acting Immediately – via Paul Strikwerda – “Today I want to focus on something that many of my voice-over students struggle with. They have trouble sounding “natural.”

Are You a PROFESSIONAL Voice Actor? – via Dave Courvoisier – How do you define your voiceover career?

ACX Storytellers: Amanda Rose Smith – via The ACX Blog – “Mistakes are important to catch, of course, but over the years, what I’ve learned first and foremost is the nature of collaboration in session work.”

For Rights Holders:

What Every Author Should Know About the Social Side of Book Launches – via Book Marketing Tools – “There’s just one major hazard you need to be aware of, though—a trap that finds many authors spinning their social media wheels.”

These Are the Reasons Most Authors Fail at Book Marketing -via BadRedhead Media – From “analysis paralysis” to good old fashioned laziness, uncover the marketing mistakes that may be holding your book back.

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – March 2017 – via The Book Designer – TBD takes a look at who self-published authors should turn to for guidance and feedback.

Will YouTube Save or Kill Books? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Examine the pros and cons of how the popular video service is affecting the publishing industry.

 

ACX Storytellers: Amanda Rose Smith

As an engineer, editor, and director, Amanda Rose Smith has worked on over 700 audiobook productions, 300 of which are ACX titles. After years of working with studios and publishers, she struck out on her own, and recently dropped a vocal booth into her Brooklyn apartment so she can see productions through from start to finish. Read on to learn her thoughts on collaborating with narrators and the value of knowing what “ə” sounds like.

Q: How did you become an audiobook studio pro?

A: I was a music major at Smith College, studying to be a composer for film, TV, and video games, and I decided I’d like to record my own work. Simultaneously, my work-study job in college involved read aloud for blind and dyslexic students, recording each week’s lessons onto those old tiny tape recorders.

Later, when I traveled to New York to get my masters in Music Technology, I began working for the American Foundation for the Blind as a recording engineer and editor for audiobooks. After that I was at a commercial studio for several years, working on audiobook productions for several publishers, doing post-production for film and television, and eventually became the production manager for the entire studio. A few years ago, I left that position to start my own business. I now work directly for publishers, with narrators on ACX, as well as continuing my work in film, television, and video games. I recorded all the ADR for the second season of Orange Is the New Black, for instance.

As a studio professional working indirectly with ACX (I’m usually hired by producers to edit and master their home-recorded audio), ACX work factors in as a significant portion of my income and in growing my business. After encountering lots of producers who would love to work on ACX but don’t yet have their own recording spaces, I decided to buy my own booth and create my own recording space.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out?

A: I wish someone had explained to me how vulnerable one has to be, as an actor, to get the right performance across. Consistently connecting with this work on an emotional level is a hard job. Over the years, directing actors, I’ve learned how closely collaborative this work is. The engineer/director and the actor have to fully engage with each other to allow the best product to emerge.

In my early years, I was sometimes afraid to be as hands-on as I could have been in that collaboration. That feeling probably stemmed from an interaction I had with a very seasoned—but also sensitive—narrator on a book. They had started the book with another director, and I had been brought in to finish things off at the last minute. So we hadn’t really built a rapport yet. Being the pronunciation and misread nerd that I am, I came down a little hard and fast from the start of our session, pointing out all of their mistakes right away, before we had built any trust. It made for an uncomfortable session and the ensuing performance suffered.

Tremontaine

One of Amanda’s 300 ACX productions, the serialized prequel to the Audie-winning Swordspoint

Mistakes are important to catch, of course, but over the years, what I’ve learned first and foremost is the nature of collaboration in session work. Now, I record all sorts of people—from actors who have been narrating for decades to authors who have never spoken in public—and I always approach it from a place of collaboration rather than just fixing someone else’s mistakes. The overall quality, performance, accuracy, and technical sound quality are all part of the whole.

Q: What are you doing to grow your skills and get better at your profession?

A: I’m always researching new gear, new software, new techniques, etc. Social media plays heavily into my keeping track of what my peers in the industry are doing. When I notice buzz about a new piece of software or gear, I’ll try it out. In any technical industry, which this is, it’s important to stay current. For example, I was using ProTools pretty much exclusively when I started out, but a number of other digital audio workstations (DAWs) have cropped up in the past few years. Different programs have different strengths, and studying them allows me to find the most efficient ways to get the work done. While I still often use ProTools, Reaper is also fantastic for audiobook production, especially since it works equally well on PC and Mac. Twisted Wave is great for bulk processing. Izotope RX is indispensable for noise reduction.

Staying up-to-date in this way also helps me advise others when they have technical problems. This is still a very word-of-mouth industry, and I’ve gotten lots of work simply by offering a few minutes of my time to fix a problem.

Q: What are your favorite educational resources for audiobook production?

A: The main physical dictionaries: Merriam Webster and Oxford. When I worked for the American Foundation for the Blind, we weren’t allowed to use online resources. So, I had to learn to read all of the pronunciation symbols in order to do pronunciation research. I’m grateful for that now, because most of the pronunciation sites that are reliable, like Merriam-Webster online or Dictionary.com, may only have audio files for one version of the pronunciation. Those will often be followed by a bunch of symbols only nerds like me can read.

Workspace

Amanda’s home studio and editing suite

Q: What is your must-have piece of studio gear?

A: There are a lot of microphones and pre-amps and plug-ins that I like, and I’m sure that one of those would probably be the expected answer here. But honestly? My favorite piece of studio equipment is the iPad. I have the new 12.9 inch pro in my studio and I’m in love. I started working in this field while people were still using paper scripts. When the iPad became ubiquitous in the audiobook studio, the changes I saw were profound. Narrators who previously had to stop every two pages or so (to avoid the page flip getting caught on-mic) could now go on for as long as they desired—or until I stopped them for a misread. I saw some actor’s output go up by as much as 15%; people who previously finished a session with 180 minutes of raw audio were now finishing with 200 or 210. That might not seem like a big deal, but since most publishers pay on a per-finished-hour basis, it was a game changer.

Q: How do you define success in your creative career?

A: I feel most successful when I pull my head out of my book/computer/headphones and think, “Wow, I’m getting paid to do this.” For me, getting paid to do something you’d probably do anyway is the highest form of success. I also try to keep moving forward, in terms of my level of knowledge. If I can look back on a year and feel that I know more than I did last year, that’s a good year.

ScubaQ: Do you have a fun hobby or skill unrelated to your audiobook work?

A: I love to travel! Also, I scuba dive. In 2013, I went scuba diving off the coast of Belize, at the second biggest barrier reef in the world. To an audio engineer, there’s something oddly relaxing about the near-silence of an underwater environment.

After earning a BA in Music Composition from Smith College, Amanda, originally a musician, moved to NYC where she completed a master’s degree in Music Technology at New York University.  Recently, she was the dialogue editor for Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead: The Game.” She loves most things Star Trek, and hopes to visit all seven continents before she dies. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

This Week in Links: February 27 – March 3

For Rights Holders:

7 Insider Tips You Need to Learn from Self-Pub Pros – via Bad Redhead – “There are authors who are paving the way for others when it comes to self-marketing, and nearly all examples of this come from the independent publishing pond. Here are just seven tips that work.

3 List Building Tactics to Attract Subscribers Quickly Before a Book Launch – via BookMarketingTools – “[R]eaders want more these days. If they’re going to part with their precious contact information, they want high-value items that will benefit them in some way.”

Does Your Dialogue Match Your Characters? – via CreateSpace – Good dialogue is a hallmark of any successful audiobook.

What is Your Social Media Purpose? – via The Write Conversation – Hone your efforts on social media by asking yourself why you’re using it in the first place.

For Producers:

The 1 Thing That Will Help You Fail at VoiceOvers – via Dave Courvoisier – “The reality for most freelancers, though — and especially for voice actors — is: this career is  built on consistency, patience, and steady growth.”

How to Use Facebook Ads for a Voiceover Business – via Victoria DeAnda – Read an overview of how to leverage the popular platform to increase your exposure.

How to Add Voice Over Demos to Your LinkedIn Profile – via Marc Scott – This video walks you through the process of creating an audio resume for potential clients to peruse.

Peformance: The Craft of Audiobook Narration – via ACX – Bookmark our playlist of videos on the art of audiobook acting, and get ready to learn.

This Week in Links: February 20 – 24

For Producers:

7 Steps to LinkedIn Success – via Marc Scott – Are you using the professional’s platform for your voiceover career? Marc’s here to show you how to make the most of it.

Listen To The Books Behind This Year’s Film Awards – via Audible range – from book to audiobook to Oscar-nominated film, get inspired by the performances in the source material from this year’s academy awards.

Online Tools For Freelance Voice Actors – via Dave Courvoisier – Learn about a variety of programs and apps that can make running your VO business easier.

Voice-Over Work (and All Else) Got You Uptight? Relax! – via Edge Studio – “A relaxed voice also gives you greater tonal range, has more endurance, enables you to follow direction more accurately, helps you enunciate better, adds to your confidence, and simply makes VO work (even) more fun.”

For Rights Holders:

Growing Your Audience One Fan at a Time – via C.S. Lakin – Find out why the self-published author thinks your mailing list is the best way to build your fan base from the ground up.

How to Get the Most Marketing and Publicity Bang for Your Buck – via Writer’s Digest – Is it time for you to invest in your success and hire a publicist?

Creative Book Marketing and Promotion Ideas for Indie Authors and Self-published Books – via ALLi – Learn the almost-accidental, counter-intuitive ideas that led to marketing success.

The Inspired Writer & Book Marketer – BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “Maybe [these ideas] will help you move towards aiming higher, achieving more, and living a fulfilling life as a writer or book marketer.”