Tag Archives: audiobook narrator

ACX Sneak Peek: Hugh Howey’s Dust

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you know we’re huge fans of ACX author Hugh Howey. Hugh epitomizes the new breed of “hybrid” authors who combine traditional publication with “indie publishing,” and who work hard to maintain creative and financial independence as well as control over all of all of their formats. This entrepreneurial spirit has paid off for Hugh, who has become one of the most successful and respected indie authors in the business.

61-jMmuyfkL._SL175_Of course, none of this would be possible without some incredible books. Books that have been optioned for a movie. Books that have become highly successful audiobooks. Hugh’s books have flourished in audio, with ACX producers such as Minnie Goode, and Max Miller giving voice to the characters of Wool, and Half Way Home.

Today, we bring you an exclusive interview for Hugh’s next title in the Wool series, Dust. Recorded at Brick Shop Audiobooks and voiced by Tim Gerard Reynolds, Dust completes Hugh’s Silo saga in a thrilling and satisfying fashion. Watch as Hugh and Tim discuss their thoughts on writing and voicing these stories, then head over to Audible to pre-order your copy of Dust, which will be available from Audible/ACX on October 1st!

Featured Finalist: Leslie Ellis

The end of the week bring us to the end of our Featured Finalist series. We’ve spent the past week highlighting the 5 finalists in the Audible Studios/ACX APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur open casting. The final ACX producer in our series is Leslie Ellis. Enjoy her interview below, and make sure to check out her samples on her ACX profile!

Name: Leslie Ellis

Number of titles currently on Audible: 4

Leslie_SMALL

What drew you to audition for APE?

When I saw that ACX was having open casting for “APE”, I thought it might be a good way to get heard by the folks at Audible, and that it might lead to more work even if I wasn’t right for “APE”. Then I read the audition piece and thought it was really fun and lighthearted. I loved how it encouraged writers instead of the all-too-often discouraging words artists are forced to hear/read throughout their careers. Being an artist myself, I could really relate.

At what genre’s or vocal styles do you excel?

I think I’m fairy versatile but  my voice is particularly compatible with strong female characters who have a sense of humor or a sense of irony and a strong sense of self. I think that can be anything from detective type genres to Romance. And I absolutely LOVE being able to be witty or funny, or tell people off the way I WISH I could in real life!

How do you produce audiobooks?

I have a home studio. I do all the recording/editing/mastering myself. I typically record then edit one chapter at a time. I do a thorough editing pass for noises/pacing and “mistakes editing” (punching in occasionally). I do a pass for QC after mastering, then sometimes I listen to a little on a CD in my car to make sure it’s good sonically. I use all the standard mastering settings for ACX.

Favorite title you’ve produced/voiced?

It would have to be “Here, Home, Hope” by Kaira Rouda. I loved all the characters and the variety of characters I was able to bring to life. The main character was a woman in somewhat of a mid-life crisis whose sense of humor carried her through most of her difficult times. I also got to play a driven real estate success and a teen age girl who goes from completely rude and angry to vulnerable and emotional. The book was really well written and I was able to explore a lot of emotion and real life scenarios, which is very satisfying as an actor.

 

Featured Finalist: Derek W. Shetterly

Today we’re back with part 4 of our Featured Finalist series, in which actor Derek W. Shetterly stops by to talk about his audition for the Audible Studios/ACX production of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, and branching out from radio to audiobook narration. You can visit Derek’s profile and listen to his samples here.

Name: Derek W. Shetterly

Number of titles currently on Audible: 14

What drew you to audition for APE?

Thousands of people self-publish every year, and even more are researching how to do it.  I wanted to be their guide as they researched and acted upon their dreams of one day being a published author.

Derek_Profile pic_SMALLHow long have you been in the audiobook industry?

Less than a year.  However, I’ve been a voice talent for two decades.   My experience began, as with so many, in radio.  I was a production/creative services director and fell in love with creating characters and compelling advertising.  That led to working in voiceover as my exclusive career, and I narrate for eLearning, corporate presentations, commercials and other projects on a daily basis.

At what genre’s/vocal styles do you excel?

So far, I’ve narrated for self-help, management, and special-interest genres.  I’m a big fan of historical narratives, and with my degree in theatre, hope to get more work telling true stories.

Favorite title you’ve produced or voiced?

I just finished a book called “Savage Will”, a true account from World War II of 23 medics & nurses who crash-landed in Nazi-occupied Albania and had to trek their way out of the hostile territory. It’s a truly inspiring account of determination, courage and, as the title states – savage will.

Check out Derek’s profile on ACX and invite him to audition for your title today!

Featured Finalist: Zehra Fazal

Today’s APE Featured Finalist, Zehra Fazal, joins us to discuss her audition for APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, as well her acting and audiobook career. After reading her interview you can listen to Zehra’s samples on her ACX profile and invite her to audition for your next title!

Name: Zehra Fazal

Number of titles currently on Audible: 3

How did you prepare for your audition for APE?

I read the audition script through once for understanding, and looked up pronunciations/definitions for any terms I was unclear on. Then, I fired up the mic and went at it. My goal for handling “how to” material is to keep the read conversational, warm and friendly.

Zehra_SMALLAt what genres or vocal styles do you excel?

I excel in genres that feature a young female protagonist -adventure, sci-fi, mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. I work in animation, so my voice definitely lends itself to young adult/children’s titles which have broader characterizations. In the world of non-fiction, I find myself getting hired for a lot of spiritual, inspirational and self-improvement books.

How long have you been in the audiobook industry?

I’ve been in the audiobook industry for about nine months now. I’ve been working professionally as an actor for stage/film for the past 12 years. I moved to LA a little over a year ago to pursue opportunities in television and voiceover. As I built up my voiceover work in commercials and radio, I was encouraged by several colleagues to explore audiobooks, and signed up with ACX. I love it – it’s a great combination of my love of reading and acting – nothing keeps your skills honed (and your vocal stamina up) like an audiobook. I fortunately discovered that I’m very adept at performing long passages of text without flubbing – an editor’s dream!

How do you produce audiobooks?

I work in conjunction with North Hollywood Sound, a leading audiobook production studio in Los Angeles. We take pride in delivering books that are great from both an acting and technical standpoint.

Favorite title you’ve produced/voiced?

I had such a fun time with the first book I did for ACX: The Typhoon Lover by Sujata Massey. This mystery/thriller is set in America and Japan, with a snarky female narrator and a large cast of international characters. I’m fluent in Japanese, so it was a really wonderful opportunity for me to showcase my language skills, as well as work on a range of accents and characters.

If you’d like to invite Zehra to audition for your next title, check out her ACX profile here. Check back tomorrow for another Featured Finalist!

Featured Finalist: Corey Snow

Welcome to part 2 of our Featured Finalist series, where we’re highlighting the best auditions from the Audible Studios/ACX open casting of Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. Yesterday, we met Janet Borrus, and today, we’ll introduce you to actor Corey Snow. Check out his profile on ACX, and invite him to audition for your title today!

Name: Corey Snow

Number of titles currently on Audible: 20

Corey_Headshot_SMALLHow did you prepare for your audition for APE?

For APE, I prepared in the same way I do for every audition. First, I download the audition copy and printed it out. Next, I read the entire script, carefully, to get a sense of how it flows. Some areas will be drier, others will have a different sound. For example, in the APE audition, there was a portion where the script describes how self-publishing challenges traditional publishers. The tone there gets a little bit excited; you want people to realize that hey, this is the cool part. In other areas, it’s much more staid. I try to find the “subtext,” because that’s what you use to make the narration really work. It drives everything in very subtle ways.

After reading the script at least once (usually twice), I’ll put it on my copy stand and record it, just as I would a regular book, then upload it and move on to the next one.

At what genre’s/vocal styles do you excel?

I specialize in nonfiction – military history especially –  as well as biographies and memoirs. I am a former soldier and have a good command of military jargon, plus my voice is suited for that type of delivery. It’s deep, relatively smooth and clear.

That said, I’m a passionate reader of science fiction and fantasy on my own, and really enjoy the chance to read such titles. I’ve been the narrator for an urban fantasy series (The DeChance Chronicles by David Wilson) since its inception and being able to narrate characters like vampires, a blues-playing ghost, sorcerers and bikers is a lot of fun. You can also really get creative with voices in fiction in ways you can’t in nonfiction, especially when the characters aren’t human!

Vintage Soul_SMALLHow do you produce audiobooks?

I have a personal studio in my home, and I’ve spent a lot of time and a moderate amount of money making it into a good recording space.

I narrate in my studio, using punch and roll. I’m a very efficient editor myself so I will often manage the editing personally. That said, if I have narration work waiting, I’ll hire out the editing so I can get to the recording because it’s more cost-effective. I’m very blessed to work with very good editors and proofers, so I don’t have to worry about compromising quality. As to mastering, I handle that for my projects on ACX, and I like to think I’m getting pretty good at it.

Favorite title you’ve produced/voiced?

I recently completed Thunder Below! by Eugene B. Fluckey, which is about the submarine USS Barb in World War II. This sub and its crew did some utterly amazing things during the war, including being the first sub to use rockets in combat and conducting the only land operation on the Japanese home islands.

I loved Thunder Below! not just because it’s a great story, but also – and this is sort of the kid in me, I’ll admit –  because I got to stand there with a microphone and shout stuff like “CLEAR THE BRIDGE! BATTLE STATIONS TORPEDOES! DIVE DIVE DIVE!” and even make the klaxon noises for the diving alarm (AA-OOO-GAH!) . I felt like I was in a movie, it was so much fun.

If you’d like to invite Corey to audition for your next title, check out his ACX profile here. Check back tomorrow for another Featured Finalist!

Featured Finalist: Janet Borrus

If you’re a regular reader of the ACX blog, you’ve seen our recent posts on the Audible Studios/ACX open casting for Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.  While Lloyd Sherr was ultimately cast as the voice for Guy’s book, we heard many great voices among the 350+ auditions we received. We’ll be featuring some of the finalists on the blog this week, so check back for more updates. You just might find the voice of your next title!

Finalist: Janet Borrus

JanetWhat attracted you to audition for APE?  

I’m always up for a competition, and as an actor who also writes professionally, I was immediately drawn to the catchy title and the subject matter.  And the authors’ tone is very appealing – direct, a bit cheeky, but never superior or pedantic.  Bringing humor, drama and clarity to informative text is one of my strengths, so APE felt like it would be a good fit for me.

At what genres/vocal styles do you excel?  

In terms of vocal style, I’m probably best described as “versatile storyteller.” My voice has a natural authority but is also warm, and can evoke great vulnerability when needed. I have a strong sense of irony, so comedy comes easily to me.  Thanks to many years as a professional actor, I inhabit characters on a deep emotional level and also have a gift for for accents, so interpreting male as well as female characters from many parts of the world is fun for me.

How long have you been in the audiobook industry? 

While I’ve acted for many years in film, TV, and theatre, and have several years of experience in commercial voiceover, I’m new to audiobooks. Being selected as a finalist is very encouraging!

How do you produce your voicover work?

My husband Chris and I have a home studio. We use an Audio Technica 4040 mic and Pro Tools and have done full production.

Favorite title you’ve produced?

The most fun I’ve had in the booth was working with Carl Reiner, Ed Asner, Theodore Bikel and Richard Kind on The Dybbuk, the classic Yiddish play, for Dove Audio and NPR. The late Yuri Rasovsky directed.  Actually, the green room was as fun as the booth with these guys.  Maybe even more.

You can check out Janet’s ACX profile and invite her to audition for your title here!

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:

Pete wVocal Booth_Small

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!

Do You Have the ACX Seal of Approval?

ACX is a great place to find talented audiobook producers, narrators and engineers. Whether they brought years of experience or educated themselves using our Video Lessons and Resources, if they’re on ACX, they can be counted on to produce great sounding, professional, retail-ready audiobooks.  But what about the crème de la crème of ACX? We call these extra-dependable, knowledgeable members Audible Approved Producers.

How do I qualify, and how do I apply?

Anyone can apply to be Audible Approved, but as a general rule,  Audible Approved Producers should have a verifiable record of achievement in the audiobook industry. This means that you’ve narrated and/or produced 25 audiobooks currently on Audible.com, have favorable reviews of your productions, and have a strong producer profile on ACX. If you think you’re one of the best audiobook producers in the business, you can email us at support@acx.com and ask to be considered as an Audible Approved Producer.

What do I get?

If you’re accepted as Audible Approved, a badge will appear in your profile, as in the example below:

(Click on picture to expand)

Sullivan AA_Blog

That gives you our seal of approval; the thumbs-up from Audible.com shows authors and Rights Holders that you’re experienced and trusted, and it can encourage them to choose you for their project!

What qualities make you worthy of the Audible Approved program? Tell us in the comments!

Spend Your Weekend Auditioning For These Awesome Titles!

Calling All Producers! We’re back with new titles that are open for audition right now on ACX. These projects either share royalties with rights holders and include our $100 per-finished-hour stipend offer* or are offered on a “pay for production” (P4P) basis. Take a look at this week’s new opportunities, and if you think one is right for you we encourage you to submit an audition! All titles listed here are accepting auditions at the time of writing – but act
fast, as they could be cast at any time.

Please ensure that you are logged into ACX with your producer account to view each title.

For Male or Female Voices
For Female Voices
Air (The Akasha Series)
by Terra Harmony
Family Thang (Volume 1)
by James E. Henderson
For Male Voices
Kin
by Kealan Patrick Burke

Finally, for more hot titles, as well as tips on producing and marketing your ACX audiobooks, make sure to subscribe to this blog using the form on the right and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

*For more information on how the stipend program works, click here:
https://www.acx.com/help/production-stipends/200708200