Tag Archives: audiobook narration

This Week In Links: November 25 – 27

This week’s a short one due to Thanksgiving, but we’re still here to recap our favorite audiobook related links. Check out the info below and have a fun, safe holiday weekend. We’ll see you all right back here next week!

For Producers and Rights Holders:

You Asked, We Listened: Introducing Direct Deposit from ACX – via The ACX Blog – It’s now easier than ever to get paid for making audiobooks on ACX!

The Home Stretch: Get Ready For The 2013 Holidays – Via The ACX Blog – Submit your audiobook productions to ACX by 12/6 to have the best chance of your title going live in time for the holidays!

For Producers:

Acoustical Treatments for your Home Studio – via Edge Studio’s “Whittam’s World” – This informative video from home studio master George Whittam covers soundproofing for home studios.

The Current State of Social Media for Voice-Actors – via Voice Acting in Vegas – Dave Courvoisier shares his on navigating a complex social media landscape for VO’s.

For Rights Holders:

Seven Semi-Productive Ways to Procrastinate (With Bonus Motivational Posters!) – via Quirk Books – Everyone procrastinates while writing, so y0ou may as well tackle some writing related tasks while you do.

The Sound of Your Writing – via CreateSpace – “Turn on your computer microphone, read your story, and listen. It may be weird, perhaps even a little unsettling at first, but in the end, it will help you become a better writer.”

This Week In Links: November 18 – 22

Our links are all about turning negatives into positives this week. Authors can get a new perspective on rejection letters and learn why some books don’t get the reviews they deserve. Actors can learn to correct poor mic placement and find out which foods are voiceover no-no’s. Turn that frown upside down, and check out this week’s batch of links.

For Producers and Rights Holders:

The Home Stretch: Get Ready For The 2013 Holidays – via The ACX Blog – Catch up on our holiday deadlines, tips for ensuring your book passes our QA, and fun holiday marketing ideas.

For Rights Holders:

Why Your Last Book Didn’t Get Reviewed – via The BookBaby Blog – Did you put your heart and soul into writing and launching your last book project –  only to be ignored by the media, critics, and book bloggers? BookBaby tells you how to do it correctly the next time around.

Ask the Writing Teacher: Fifty Shades of Rejection – via The Millions – A no is a no is a no…or is it?

While you Wait: What Authors Can Do While Their Audiobook is Being Recorded – via The Voices In My Head – Actor and author Brian Rollins understands both sides of the audiobook equation, and offers his unique perspective on his blog.

For Producers:

Putting Your Mic Where Your Mouth Is – via Edge Studio’s “Whittam’s World” – Home and pro studio expert George Whittam covers mic placement and more in this informative video.

Speak the Truth: Harnessing Energy in Voiceover – via Bobbin’s Voiceover Sampler – “It’s all about truth and authenticity in voiceover. Of course, your vocal energy is essential to your personal presence on mic.”

Nutrition No-No’s for a Good Voice – via Online Voice Coaching – Dr. Ann Utterback looks at five food and drink landmines that can wreck your delivery.

We’ll see you next week as we round the corner of the final audiobook productions of 2013!

The Home Stretch: Get Ready For The 2013 Holidays

As we near the year’s end and the all-important holiday season, we’re here to remind you of our holiday timelines. We’ve also got some tips that will help you get those audiobook productions produced, approved, and processed by us for sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

The Deadline

In order to have the best chance of getting your title live and on sale by December 25th, the rights holder must approve the production by December 6th (at the latest). You worry about making the audiobook sound great, and we’ll focus on processing your productions as quickly as possible. Deal?

Tools For Success

Producers: Don’t forget to factor the time your rights holder needs to review your audio, as well as time the time you need to make any changes, into your delivery date. Set yourself up for success by checking out our post on avoiding the little mistakes that may cause your title to fail our QA check. If you’re in need of gear recommendations, read our Studio Gear Series. Also, don’t forget about our Video Lessons and Resources page, which has videos on editing, mastering, and the craft of narration, among others. If you have specific questions, our crack customer care team is ready to help you out at audio@acx.com.

Rights holders: Make sure to set aside time around the due date of your production to listen to your final audio. You can find out how to review it the Audible Studios way here. While your producer is finishing your audiobook production, see our tips on marketing your title, straight from the Audible merchandising team. Our customer care team is here for you as well, at rights@acx.com.

Holiday Marketing Tips

In addition to making sure your schedule is set up to get the most out of this holiday season, you can position yourself for success with these holiday marketing ideas:

  • Bonus content: Create a holiday-themed short story featuring supporting characters from your book. Publish it on your blog or as a Kindle Single through KDP.
  • Giving gifts: Host a Secret Santa gift trade between your fans on your website or blog, but with a twist: all the gifts must be items of significance from your book(s).
  • Interview your narrator: Sit down and chat with the voice of your book(s), and ask them about their favorite holiday memories, the best present they ever received, etc.
  • Basket case: Create gift basket guides based on themes from your book – and make sure your book is one of the suggestions.
  • Season’s greetings: Crowd-source greeting cards inspired by characters or scenes from your book, and host the top three on your site from your readers send to their friends and family.
  • Do some good: Let your fans pick a charity through a poll on your website or Facebook page, and donate 1$ per sale of your title(s).

The Holiday Season…and Beyond!

Finally, don’t forget that January is traditionally a strong time for sales of digital downloads, as gift cards are cashed in and happy hands look to fill their shiny new phones and Kindles. So, get those productions on sale, start getting some good reviews, and make that last big marketing push of the year. Then, get ready to do it all over again in 2014!

And, as always, make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for daily audiobook education and entertainment.

What are your favorite holiday sales and marketing tactics?

This Week In Links: November 11 – 15

There’s no better time than the present for self-improvement. We’ve collected advice from expert authors, actors and producers to start your weekend. Peruse the links below and improve your craft, whether its writing or acting. And make sure to check in next week for more audiobook info!

For Producers:

ACX Studio Gear Series: Home Studio Setup – Part 2 – via The ACX Blog – We gathered top ACX producers and Audible Studios staff to get their advice on setting up a home studio and running your VO business once you do.

The VOICE: When A Narrator’s Trusted Ally Becomes The Public’s Enemy Number One – via Audio Book Narrators – Grammy-winning audiobook producer shares deep thoughts on the actors instrument.

Building Your Own Voice-Over Studio – via Sessionville – Dave Courvoisier offers his take on the basics of setting up a home studio.

Evolution of The Home Studio – via Bobbin’s Voice-Over Sampler – Follow Bobbin as she ponders the best course of action for updating her home studio equipment.

For Rights Holders:

Eight Questions Writers Should Ask Themselves – via The BookBaby Blog – “To help you better understand yourself as a writer, Roxane Gay has come up with eight questions for you to answer.”

Writing Believable Dialogue – via Writers Get Together – A challenging topic for any writer, good dialog is especially important when it comes to your audio version.

Crowdfunding for Self-Publishing Authors – via BadRedHead Media – Justine Schofield of Pubslush covers a creative way to fund your next project.

‘4 Hour Workweek’ Author Tim Ferriss Is Becoming An Audiobook Publisher – via TechCrunch – Bestselling author Tim Ferris shares his thoughts on becoming an audiobook publisher.

What did you learn from this week’s links? Tell us in the comments!

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!

This Week in Links: November 4 – 8

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is is a fun way to approach to creative writing. Participants begin writing every November 1st with the goal of finishing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Whether you’re an author embarking on their NaNoWriMo novel or an actor hoping to produce one of the completed books, we’ve got tips and tricks to help guide you.

Check out the links below, and join us next week for more audiobook action.

For Rights Holders:

After the Audiobook is Done – An Author’s Guide to What’s Next – via The Voices In My Head – Author and voice actor Brian Rollins talks what to do after your audiobook is completed.

Website Tips For Authors – Via The BookBaby Blog – BookBaby’s sister site, HostBaby, is all about online resources for creatives, and they’ve rounded up their best tips of the month in this handy post.

Author Success – The Laws of Sowing and Reaping – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – “We get out of life what we put into it. We will get out of our writing what we invest.”

Get More Twitter Followers in 6 Minutes a Day – via CreateSpace – Quick and easy tips for authors looking to build their Twitter fan base.

For Producers:

How Keeping a Diary Can Help You Book the Job – via Backstage – “So much effort goes into getting the job that keeping a diary or a journal of all your auditions will help you see your progress in black and white.”

Task Manage the Goldilocks Way – via J. Christopher Dunn’s Voiceover Blog – Juggling lots of VO tasks? J.Christopher will tell you how to get it “just right.”

Fascination: A Voice Talent Necessity – via Life on The Voiceover List – Randye Kaye explains why fascination is a key component in life and as an actor.

How to Sound Sexy, According to the Women Who Narrate Audiobook Erotica – via The Cut – New York Magazine’s “The Cut” blog interviews some of our favorite actors on the art of talking sexy.

Did we miss any of your favorite links from this past week?

ACX Storytellers: Tim Grahl

Author Tim Grahl recently completed his production of Your First 1,000 Copies, voicing the title himself and uploading it through ACX’s DIY pathway. As president of Out:think Group, Tim has worked with many authors and knows how to speak their language, which makes him the perfect guest to talk about his audiobook journey . Take it away, Tim.

Last week I announced the release of the audiobook edition of Your First 1000 Copies, produced via ACX. I originally had no plans to make an audio edition of Your First 1000 Copies, but my good friend and fellow author Josh Kaufman insisted on it.  Last year he self-published the audio edition of his first book The Personal MBA and has been completely overwhelmed by the success.  And since I do whatever Josh tells me to, I decided to go for it.

tim-headshotWho, how, and where to record?

The first decision I made was to record it myself. I listen to a lot of non-fiction audiobooks and my favorites are always the ones that are read by the book’s author. While they aren’t always as polished as a professional narrator, I appreciate hearing the author’s voice. I wanted listeners to hear my voice and how I talk about the subject. Sure, I made mistakes and wasn’t as eloquent as someone who does this for a living, but it was something I enjoy as a reader so wanted to do it for my readers.

The next decision was how and where to record. I read several places how self-published authors were doing it by recording straight through their desktop computer with a microphone, but I know the quality of these final recordings are often lacking. Plus, the idea of doing all of the editing myself seemed very overwhelming. In the end I decided to reach out to a friend I have who works at local radio stations and has a professional recording studio in his basement. It took two sessions that started after 9pm at night (which meant his kids were asleep and the house was quiet), but I was extremely happy with the final result.  It’s well edited and lacks the unpolished feel that would have come from doing it myself.  I’ll admit here that I also got it done for less than $400 which is significantly less than what you’ll spend with a typical studio.  It’s nice to have friends with the right equipment.

The recording process wasn’t too bad.  I printed the entire book out in large font and practiced turning the pages silently before heading to the studio.  I also practiced my volume and tempo a few times into my own computer to make sure I wasn’t going to fast or slow.  Again, while the final product isn’t as polished as it would be by a professional narrator, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Just like self-publishing your digital and print books, quality matters.  People that listen to audiobooks are used to a certain level of quality, and I wanted to make sure my audiobook met those standards.  I’m happy with the decision to go with a recording studio whose job it was to make sure it was done right.jy2pdlpy1hgvv85n1380831492271

The Money

Here’s where things get really interesting.  The royalty model is unbelievable. On top of the royalties, Audible pays a $25 “bounty” if your book is one of the first three books purchased when someone signs up for Audible.  Again, pretty unbelievable.

I’m traditionally published, should I retain audiobook rights?

My definite answer is “yes!”.  In talking to other authors, the audiobook rights are often sold for very cheap — a couple thousand dollars — or never sold at all.  In the example of Josh Kaufman above, his rights were never sold so he bought them back from his publisher.  In the first week after self-publishing his audiobook, he made back the money he spent buying back the rights.

In fact, if you are still shopping your proposal and haven’t signed yet, I recommend holding back the audiobook rights (most publishers won’t fight you on this) and self-publish it.  There’s all kind of upsides to this, not least of which is all of the promotion for the print/digital sales will sell the audiobook edition as well.

That’s A Wrap!

In my experience, most authors have very little understanding or interest in the audiobook edition of their book. I hope this helped give you some information and insight that you didn’t have before.

Tim Grahl is an ACX author and president of Out:think Group. He invites you to take a free 30 day course on how to build your platform, connect with readers and sell more books by clicking here.

This Week in Links: October 21 – 25

ACXers in temperate climates are starting to feel that first chill in the air. Autumn is upon us, and with it thoughts of holiday fun and the year’s end. As 2013 winds down, use the links below to inform and educate yourself as you embark on your final audiobook productions of the year.

Remember, now is the time to get those audiobooks recorded and uploaded to ACX for your best chance of having them live on Audible in time for the holiday season.

For Producers:

The 5 Things You Should Be Doing NOW to Close Out the Year – via Dave Courvoisier’s Voice Over Blog – As the year’s end draws near, Dave has a 5-point checklist that will help VO’s wrap things up right.

Whittam’s World Episode 8: Acoustical Treatments for your Home Studio – via Edge Studio’s Youtube Channel – Home studio master George Whittam talks soundproofing in this informative video

Bed, Bath and Beyond – via Finding My Voice – Justin S. Barrett gets philosophical about life away from the microphone.

Why Restaurants And Voice Over Talents Fail – via Marc Scott Voiceover – Marc sees popular TV show “Restaurant Impossible” as a metaphor for VO failure – and success!

For Rights Holders:

Conflict—Giving LIFE to Your Fiction – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – “Bad decisions make GREAT fiction.” Kristen tells you how to work that adage to your advantage

How Writing “Small Stones” Hones the Writer’s Craft – via The Alliance of Independent Authors – “Novelist Satya Robyn explains the meaning, process and value of writing “small stones” – tiny observational pieces of poetry or prose detailing something close at hand.”

Passion, Purpose, and Power: A Pep-Talk For Writers – via The BookBaby Blog – In need of a pick-me-up? BookBaby’s got you covered

Did you find some great audiobooks links this week? Tell us all about ’em!

ACX Success Story: Badwater – Part 2: Christine Padovan

Yesterday, we spoke with author Toni Dwiggins about her award-winning forensic geology title, Badwater. Today we check in with ACX producer Christine Padovan to hear her side of the Badwater story, and to get some amazing pieces of advice for producers and authors alike.

Hi Christine. Tell us a little about yourself, and your current audiobook projects.

I grew up in New Jersey, near historical Basking Ridge and did my degree in clinical psychology at NYU in New York City. I played and performed on the violin through my early 20’s and fell in love with books from the time I learned to read. Interestingly enough, I was narrating children’s books to kindergarten children when I was in 4th grade in a volunteer program at school.  So I guess I started narrating at a very early age and didn’t pick it up again till 2011 after my introduction on ACX.

Christine_HeadshotI recently  completed Her Marine which is book 5 of the Always a Marine series written by Heather Long; I’m narrating debut fiction novels for two new authors (Kyrathaba Rising by William Bryan Miller and Voodoo Moon (Paranorm World) by June Stevens/DJ Westerfield); book 3 of The Dragoneers series by M.R. Mathias, and continuing the Always a Marine series with books 6 and 12, next in line to record and produce.

What attracted you to Badwater?

I actually love mysteries and thrillers, so after meeting Toni through a self-published writer’s blog by D.D. Scott, and answering some of her questions on audiobook narrating, I auditioned for Badwater. After she and I tweaked character voices and got pronunciations down in an indexed list Toni provided, we were off and running.

What have you done to market Badwater?

I’ve done opted-in email blasts through www.targetedemailads.com; I’ve used Google ads as well as tweets and Facebook posts.  I Googled my name back in late May 2013 and found out through Goodreads that eFestivalofWords.com had nominated Badwater in the ‘Best Audiobook’ category.  So I told Toni, and we took advantage of the nomination to promote the book harder by posting our nomination logo, then our Finalist badge logo – and eventually, our Winner’s badge logo!  The San Francisco Self Published Writers group that Toni is part of also helped plug the book when we were nominated, then won the award.

That’s pretty exciting stuff! How did it feel when you found out Badwater had been nominated for “Best Audiobook?”

It felt great to be nominated, become a finalist and then actually win ‘Best Audiobook’ for 2013!  This was the first year that eFestivalofWords.com (for the Best of the Independent eBook Awards) actually had an Audiobook category.  They based their nominations on the book’s quality in its editing, cover art, styling, and recognition from other critic and reader reviews.

What advice do you have for authors who are considering having their titles made into audiobooks? 

Make sure you have the audio rights to your title or titles.  Check your contract with your publisher or agent for that book or books, and see who owns the audio rights. If you own the audio rights, post your work on ACX and search for voice types that you feel would fit the style and genre of your work. Listen to narrator samples and see how experienced the narrator is in audiobook production.  It’s O.K. if you wish to try out someone new, but asked for audition samples and check if you like the quality of their recording.

I also want to caution authors that want to rush the audiobook production of their work: taking the time to find the right narrator is far better than rushing to get your title online, then being disappointed with the final product.

Lastly, audiobook sales differ greatly from ebook/Kindle sales of the work.  For example, people are pickier in paying for an audiobook than only paying $.99, $1.99 or even $3.99 for the text version.  If they are going to spend money on an audiobook, they have to like the book’s retail sample (does the narrator’s voice make them want to buy it?), the subject matter and possibly the genre of the book before taking a chance on a new work where the author may not be well known to the public.  More people will go for ‘household’ author name first as a safety net, before taking a chance on a new writer.  So having the dollars set aside to really market the audio version to increase sales is vital as well.

Any advice for those new to audiobook narration/production?

For talent starting out in audiobook narration, you don’t need to have expensive equipment to get the job done.  A Zoom H4N digital recorder with phantom power and XLR ports for my RODE NT1-A condenser microphone and a clothing filled, relatively soundproofed, square 4’x6’ walk-in closet helped me produce over 25 titles on ACX and Audible.Badwater_CP_Studio

I would then transfer my 44.1/16 bit WAV files from the Zoom to my laptop for editing in Audacity.

Creating an audiobook is not for the faint-hearted!  It is many hours of your time – to learn narration first from a seasoned narrator and to then make sure you have the resources to either rent studio space or create your own to record in. Then, there’s the time it takes to record the book (roughly double the running time to record it and triple the running time to edit it). You’ll either pay an engineer to edit and master your WAV files into broadcast quality MP3s and/or spent the time and money to do it yourself.  It is far better to learn to edit and engineer yourself, as you can be sure there are no mistakes left behind in your recordings. And in the end you will feel so much better, knowing you helped take someone’s ‘baby’ and give it another life as an audiobook

The best advice I ever heard was to take a book, sit in a closet with a light on, close the door behind you, and start reading it outloud – try doing that without a break for about 30 minutes or so.  Are you comfortable?  Do you think you can do that for 4-6 hours a day, 5 days straight – with 2 days rest in between?  If you feel you can comfortably be in a tight space, whether it’s a closet or studio booth, and narrate out loud for long lengths of time (with apple slices, bottled water, lip balm, snack breaks, etc. to keep you going), then congratulations!  Narrating is for you!

Thanks for the tips, Christine!

What are the secrets to your ACX success? Tell us in the comments!

ACX Success Story: Badwater – Part 1: Toni Dwiggins

ACX Author Toni Dwiggings and producer Christine Padovan joined forces to produce the audio version of Badwater, which went on to win the Best Audiobook award at the 2013 eFestival of Words “Best of the Independent eBook Awards.” We recently spoke with Toni and Christine about their experience producing Badwater through ACX. Read Toni’s interview below, and check back tomorrow for our chat with Christine.

Hi Toni. Want to tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Badwater_Cover

I’m a third-generation Californian who migrated from southern Cal to northern Cal. What I like most about my state is that one can go from the ocean to the mountains in one day, with a lunch stop in the desert. I like it so much I’ve set my forensic geology books in those settings.

I’m author of a US History textbook, and have contributed to texts in the sciences. I’ve done tech-writing for the Silicon Valley computer industry, and that experience hatched an idea that became my first novel, about an attempt to sabotage the nation’s telephone system.

What drove you to have an audio version of Badwater produced?

I’ve long been an audiobook fan. The idea of listening to my book, as I’d listened to other books, was a thrilling prospect. Also, my daughter was a five-hour drive away at college and I thought, what better way for HER to pass the time than to listen to Mom’s book as the miles pass?

From a marketing standpoint, I was eager to get my book out there in multiple formats. Amazon has a terrific program called Whispersync for Voice, in which a reader/listener can switch back and forth between reading the book and listening to the audio version.

How did you hear about ACX as an avenue for your audiobook production?

On a writing forum, wherein authors endlessly discuss ways and means to reach readers—and listeners! On the audiobook threads, ACX was mentioned again and again as an accessible way to get a professional job done. Because I hold the rights to my books, I was able to be proactive in getting my book produced.

Dwiggins

ACX Author Toni Diwggins

What have you learned about the audiobook production process though ACX?

How diligently a narrator works to get the pronunciation right! My book is a science thriller, aimed at a general audience. However, the geologists and radiation workers, aka radworkers, know their stuff and speak accordingly. Christine and I decided to meet so I could pronounce some of the technical terms, so she could hear that tech-talk rhythm. We both live in the San Francisco Bay Area and so we met at an SF café.

Christine: “Is the ‘i’ in travertine long ‘i’ or ‘ee’?”

Me: ee.

Christine: “Is the second ‘t’ in strontium a hard ‘t’ or a ‘sh’?

Me: (realizing this woman had done her homework!): let’s go with the hard ‘t’ because that’s the way my radiation experts pronounce it.

And so on, with americium, caesium, plutonium, all those oh-my-God-iums. And it was partway through the pronunciation of nuclear fission products that I noticed that people at nearby tables were listening. Looking at us. A couple of hands resting on cellphones. Were they going to call Homeland Security?

Has having your audio version produced changed the way you see your book? Has it affected your writing? How?

Oh yes. Listening to the narration was a cracker jack way to analyze pacing and dialogue—lessons that I’m applying to works-in-progress. I’m also more acutely aware of how to translate the character voices I “hear” to the voices on the page—so that the voices come across as I intended.

Congratulations on winning the award for best audiobook! How did that go down?

Badwater’s nomination came as a surprise. Christine learned of it (if I recall correctly) when she saw a post on Goodreads. She emailed me, and my response was along the lines of WOO HOO! When listeners voted it best audiobook, I was thrilled that the story was reaching this new audience.

What’s your next project, and when will we see it on ACX?

The next book in my Forensic Geology Series: Volcano Watch. As soon as Christine and I can find time to get to work!