Tag Archives: audiobook

This Week in Links: January 2- January 6

FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS:

5 Steps to Set Writing Goals You’ll Actually Achieve– via The Write Practice – Coming up with goals is easy. Coming up with goals that will make you a better writer can be a bit harder.

The Book Marketing Strategy –via Book Marketing Buzz Blog – January sees some of the biggest spikes in sales after people have been given Audible memberships for the holidays. Keep on marketing!

ACX Storytellers: Ryan Winfield – via The ACX Blog – ACX has numerous success stories, Ryan Winfield is one of our favorites. Ryan explains why he decided to retain his audio rights and passed on working with a major publisher to work with ACX.

FOR PRODUCERS:

6 Things you Can Do NOW to Get Started in Voiceover – via Voiceover Herald – It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re not sure how to get started. Avoid that issue with this helpful article to jump start your narration career.

10 Social Media Trends Giving Brands New Ways to Engage in 2017 – via Adweek – Social media is essential to establishing your brand and properly marketing yourself. Find out the best ways to engage with your audience in the New Year.

ACX University Presents: Finding Your Voice Part 1 –The ACX Blog – Before you  dive into audiobook narration, discover your voice so you can find the appropriate projects. Travel back to ACX University 2015 for some starting tips.

This Week in Links: December 19 -December 23

FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS:

How I Chose a Narrator for My Audiobook – via Josh Steimle – Josh provides great advice on how to pick the right narrator for your project and how to choose when you receive numerous auditions.

Build An Epic Visual Strategy for Your Author Brand – via Your Writer Platform – Branding has become as important as the words contained in your book. See how to properly brand yourself to ensure you reach your target audience.

What Are You Thankful For? (Here’s Why Each of Us Is a #ThankfulWriter – via Writer’s Digest – Tis the season to be thankful for all the things we have. Take a moment to reflect on what makes you a #ThankfulWriter.

Is Your Plan For Success “I Just Want to Write My Books”? – via The Book Designer – Marketing a book once it’s completed can sometimes be harder than actually writing the book.  TBD has helpful advice for what happens after “The End”.

FOR PRODUCERS:

9 VO Hacks to Sound Better and Save Money – via Voices.com – Who doesn’t want to sound better while being more productive and saving some money all at the same time?

A Client’s Guide to Selecting the Right Voice-Over Talent for Your Project – via Debbie Grattan – Getting picked for a project can be difficult. Check out this great article about how to turn that audition into an offer.

Drink Up for A Better Voice – via VoiceOverHerald.com – Magic potions, snake oil, bizarre concoctions? Nothing works better for your voice than a tall glass of H2O. Discover the benefits of being (and staying) hydrated.

4 Ways To Get From Good To Great – via Nether Voice – Paul shares tricks of the trade that you might have overlooked or never thought of that can make you a better narrator.

This Week in Links: December 12-16

FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS:

How to Conduct a Year-End Review for Your Writing: 25+ Questions to Consider – via TheWriteLife.com –Sometimes it’s important to take inventory of what you’ve done so that you can get a better idea of where you’re going. How was your 2016?

Marketing tip: link your blog posts to Goodreads and Amazon – via CreateSpace.com – A blog is a great way to let your audience know what you’re up to. Making sure it’s linked to the right websites and resources is key to making it successful.

1 Simple Marketing Tip to Boost the Reach of Author Facebook Pages – SelfPublishingAdvice.com – Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. It can also be a wonderful resource for promoting and marketing your title.

How the Age of Digital Books is Fostering the Writing and Self-Publishing of Mid-length Books – via SelfPublishingAdvice.com – Is more better? An interesting article about how digital books and publishing are changing the way authors approach shorter, more concise content.

FOR PRODUCERS:

Apps for Voice Over Actors – via VoiceOverHerald.com – Need to record an audition on the run? These apps can help your smart phone into a mobile studio.

Are Your Prejudices Hurting Your Voice Overs? – VO Master Class – You know what they say about people who assume… Gary Terzza explains the psychology of assumption when it comes to traditional roles in narration and how they can hinder your performance.

The 5 Elements of a Winning Voice Over Audition – via Michaellangservo.com – Every audition is different and each needs to be approached as such. Check out these helpful suggestions for how to turn auditions into offers.

Video Lessons and Resources – via ACX.com – Sometimes you don’t need to scour the internet for great advice and resources for getting started with #vo work. The ACX website has a wealth of helpful information from video tutorials to Amazon wish list of equipment to help you get started.

This Week in Links: August 22 – 26

For Rights Holders:

6 Marketing Hooks to Grab Your Audience – via Book Marketing Tools – “[N]ot all people are lured by the same bait. A different hook is required for different people, based on their personality and interests.”

Author Marketing Mastery: Maximize Your Social Media Schedule Using Aggregate Tools – via where writers win – A service that schedules and aggregates your social media posts across platforms can help you stay organized and focused on promotion.

Build An Epic Visual Strategy for Your Author Brand – via Your Writer Platform – “If you are not yet focusing on visual content in your book marketing and platform building strategy, it’s time to get started.”

Marketing Tip: Create a Social Media Presence for Your Main Character – via CreateSpace – Info on another creative way to stay front of mind with your fans.

For Producers:

How to Succeed in Voice Overs (and Why We Fail) – via Gary Terzza – “One of the biggest errors you can make is plowing a fallow field.”

5 Sites You Should Visit Today to Help Your VO Biz – via Dave Courvoisier – A handful of ways you can improve your career in one day.

Are You STILL Not Getting Lots Of RepeatBusiness From Your VO Clients? (Here’s Why) – via Voice-Over Xtra – “Consistent delivery is about much more than the way you read your lines.”

How To Use Twitter To Build Your Voiceover Brand – via Gravy for the Brain – A great overview on Twitter for VO’s, from setting up an account to making the most of your presence.

This Week in Links: August 15 – 19

The final week of #ACXU2016 featured advice on Taking Your Career to the Next Level, with tips from the casting directors of Audible Studios, Blackstone Audio, and Eljin Productions. Watch below to learn how established studios find new talent as well as the do’s and don’ts of interacting with audiobook professionals once you’ve got your foot in the door.

For Producers:

ACX University 2016 – via ACX – If you missed any of this summer’s panels, bookmark this playlist to round out your audiobook education.

The Big Secret To Audio Book Success – via Paul Strikwerda – What does it take to excel as an audiobook performer? A study of Jim Dale’s career provides one possible answer.

How to Master Voiceover Character Skills – via Gravy For The Brain – Learn what you could be doing every day, everywhere you go, to improve your VO character work.

[PODCAST] Drugs Can Help Your Voice Over Marketing! – via Voice-Over Xtra – Should VO’s take marketing cues from big businesses, like pharmaceutical companies?

For Rights Holders:

10 Sure-Fire Ways To Get Media For Your Book – via BookMarketingBuzzBlug – Read some surprising thoughts on “what really works when seeking to capture the mind share of the news media.”

Marketing Tip: Connect with Book Bloggers – Via CreateSpace – At a loss for how to find people to review your (audio)book? Check out this handy list.

A Quick Start Guide to Using MailChimp for the Email Marketing of Self-published Books – via ALLi – Find out how to leverage email to automate marketing and connect better with readers.

10 Ways To Hook Your Reader (and Reel Them in for Good) – via Writer’s Digest – Any prose written to hook a reader will also give your narrator something juicy to voice!

This Week in Links: July 11 – 15

Did you tune in to the inaugural live stream of ACX University 2016? Top producers Jeffrey Kafer, Christa Lewis, and Andrew Tell joined us to discuss the aspects of a successful audiobook production career. Watch the video below, then subscribe to our YouTube channel to get updates on the rest of this summer’s #ACXU2016 courses.

Now, on to this week’s roundup of links.

For Producers:

How To Prepare For The VO Ride Of Your Life: Live Announcing – via Voice-Over Xtra – Ready to take your talents out of the booth? Check out these tips from the announcer of the SAG and Critics Choice Awards.

7 Easy-to-Miss Habits of a Successful Voice Actor – via CourVo – It’s not easy to miss Dave’s handy hints to develop these seven professional habits.

Should You Hire a Marketer for Your Voiceover Business? – via Victoria DeAnda – “If you don’t tell people what you have to sell, no one will buy it from you.”

For Rights Holders:

Social Media Isn’t Working – 9 Tips to End Your Frustration – via The Write Conversation – “[S]ocial media isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. But, that’s still not an excuse not to use it.”

Marketing Tip: Share What You’ve Learned – via CreateSpace – Think of a tactic that’s worked for you, do more of it, then share it with the author community.

What Is Book Marketing Anyway? – via Digital Book World – If this is a question you’ve asked yourself, click through to get one veteran publisher’s definition.

Author Marketing Mastery #28: Google Plus for Authors – More Plus or Minus? – via where writer’s win – Find out if this social network is worth an your marketing efforts.

 

This Week in Links: April 11 – 15

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a storyteller. More than that, by producing and publishing audiobooks, you’re changing the way stories are told and listened to. Audible Range, a new online magazine, is exploring this altered landscape by telling stories around listening, voice, literature, and technology. Check out some of our favorites below, then continue on to our weekly roundup of the best audiobook links from across the web.

Audible Range

Weird Voices Are Winning OutIn the newly democratized world of voice acting, quirky, wry, and “real” voices are having a moment.

Why Books Get Banned – Warning: Reading certain books may cause empathy.

Scandal List: The Sounds That Brought Them Down – Here are some of the most prominent people who’ve “Jinxed” themselves by getting caught on tape.

The Amazing, Strange, And Horrifying History of Irish Storytelling – Grab a warm drink and brace yourself for the dark story behind Ireland’s dark stories.

For Rights Holders

An Interview with Fauzia Burke, Author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors – via The Book Designer – An expert look at author branding and digital book marketing.

5 Ways To Connect With Your Readers – via BookMarketingTools – A handful of tips for coming out from the shadows and marketing directly to your fans.

[VIDEO] Money Upfront: How Authors Crowdfund their Books – via ALLi – ACX author Ben Galley discusses various crowdfunding platforms and how to get the most out of them, all lessons that can be applied to funding the production of your next ACX title.

Guest Blogging to Expand Your Influence and Readership – via where writers win – “You benefit from the exposure to new audiences; they benefit with new, original content for their sites. Everyone wins.”

For Producers:

Tips for Perfecting Conversational Tone in Voice Over – via Rick Lance – If you’re struggling to develop a natural, conversational style tone, try these tips.

Your 12-Step Voiceover Lesson Plan – via Backstage – Make sure you’re aware of and working on these 12 aspects of voiceover success.

How to Act Like an Audiobook Narrator – via The ACX Blog – Audible Approved producer Karen Commins stopped by last week with insight into what makes for a successful audiobook performance.

Working From Your Home Studio – via Bobbin Beam – Get a peek at what it’s like to record at home, plus seven tips for success.

 

This Week in Links: April 4 – 8

For Producers:

Your Cure For Deadly Dull Non-Fiction Narrations: Flow With These Four ‘Voices’ – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn the proper way to voice everything from section headers to quotes.

Don’t Let Poor Sleep Sabotage Your Performance – via Online Voice Coaching – Get Dr. Ann’s five tips for ensuring you’re getting the rest you need to fuel your VO.

The Importance of Sending Monthly Newsletters to Voiceover Leads – via Victoria DeAnda – “A newsletter is a simple way to show others what you know and what you can do for them so you can get some new referrals.”

The Power of Playfulness in a Voice Actor’s Toolbox – Via Anna Parker Naples – “What if failure could be turned on its head to a happy place which allowed you to experiment further with different ideas, and be playful?”

For Rights Holders:

15 Instagram Book Marketing Ideas from Publishers – via BookBub – Not sure how to promote your audiobooks on the popular image sharing platform? Look to publishers for inspiration.

How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors – via Jane Friedman – Learn “what it means to blog successfully and in a meaningful way for an author’s long-term platform and book marketing efforts.”

4 Ways Planning Your Audiobook Can Make You a Better Writer – via Karen Commins – Producing an audiobook has many advantages, including some that benefit your future writing.

5 Ways to Market Your Book Daily (That Don’t Feel Like Marketing) – via BookMarketingTools – The easiest way to build a habit is to start small. This post offers five things you can do per week to get started.

 

Microphones and Mic Technique with Alex the Audio Scientist

Welcome, students! For my first lesson of the new year, I’ll be focusing on a key piece of equipment in your studio – your microphone. The video below is chock full of helpful info, but before we get to that I want to give a quick shout-out to J.L. Rebeor, who was first to comment with all of the correct answers to my quiz last fall. You can check out her ACX profile here. Congrats, J.L.!

Now, on to the lesson. And be sure to stick around for today’s quiz, as I’ll once again honor the first commenter to earn a 100% in my next post.

Pencils down! It’s time for our quiz. Leave your answers in the comments below for a chance at a mention in a future blog post.

  1. A microphone’s polar pattern indicates _______.
  2. What are the three basic polar patterns a microphone can have?
    1. _______
    2. _______
    3. _______
  3. What polar pattern is preferred for audiobook recording?
  4. If your microphone is positioned too close to your mouth, you may end up with excessive _______ and _______ in your recording.

Want audiobook production tips in your inbox? Subscribe to the ACX Blog for the latest from Alex the Audio Scientist.

File Management with Alex the Audio Scientist

ADBLCRE-ACX_Character_IconWe’re less than three weeks away from this year’s December 4th deadline to submit your audiobook productions for the best chance of being on sale this holiday season.

With that in mind, today’s lesson is about the file submission process. Being so close to the goal can lead to tunnel vision, but following the steps below, along with my other lessons, will  ensure that you don’t stumble at the finish line.

To set yourself up for success when submitting your finished audio, I suggest the following:

  • Export your entire audiobook to its own folder.
  • Name each file with its section number first, then the section name.
    • Ex: 00_Opening Credits, 01_Introduction, 02_Chapter-01, 03__Chapter-02, etc.
    • Stick to alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores. File names with other characters might cause upload issues on ACX.
  • After using this file naming convention, you should:
    • Drop all of your files into your audio player of choice (Winamp, VLC, iTunes, etc.)
    • Listen to the beginning of each file to ensure it has the correct credits and/or section header.
    • Listen to the end of each file to ensure it includes proper spacing and contains no narration from the next section.

Now that we’ve covered best practices, let’s look at some common issues that cause productions to be returned to the producer by our QA team, and how to rectify them.

Duplicate Audio

Your ACX audiobooks should match the text editions exactly, without repeated sections. Duplicate audio can happen for a few main reasons:

  • Part of a chapter/section is repeated in another section.
    • For example, an audiobook production contains opening credits at the start of both the first and second file. To avoid this, make sure each audio chapter/section matches the text exactly during the Edit/QC process. I also recommend checking the head and tail of each file after editing and mastering your audiobook to make sure they don’t contain duplicated audio, and to confirm that each starts with a section header and ends with the last sentence of that section.
  • A chapter/section is named properly, but uploaded twice to the production manager.
    • Consider a checklist for your production that lists all of the files, and checking off each file when it’s uploaded.
  • A chapter or section is named improperly, resulting in duplicate uploads with different file names.
    • This third issue occurs during the exporting process, when you output each chapter or section from your DAW as an MP3. Before you export each chapter/section, double-check that you are exporting the correct one. If you’ve got multiple sections in one project file, don’t forget to isolate the correct section for export, and be sure to select the next section after exporting the previous.
    • My favorite solution is to create a separate project/session file for each chapter/section within your DAW of choice. If you have a work folder that contains a project file for each section, your workflow will be smoother and easier when accessing/re-accessing an audiobook’s production. Having a separate project file for each section all but guarantees a section will be exported as two separate files.

Combined Chapters/Sections

App

Listening to an audiobook in the Audible app.

This is when two or more entire sections are combined into one file. ACX’s Audio Submission Requirements state: Each uploaded file must contain only one chapter or section. This requirement is in place for the sake of the listening experience. Navigation within an audiobook should be simple. If chapters one and two are combined in the same file, the listener won’t be able to skip to the latter on their device; they would be forced to navigate manually through one file in hopes of finding it.

This can also be solved during the export process.  As I noted previously, creating a separate project/session file for each chapter/section will ensure you’re not combining two separate pieces of audio.

Incorrect or Missing Chapter/Section Headers

Once again, this is about the best navigational experience for the listener. Having a section header for each chapter/section clearly marks its position within the audiobook. ACX’s Audio Submission Requirements make it clear: Each uploaded file must contain the section header, if contained within the text (e.g., “Prologue”, “Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”). Making sure each file contains its correct header is as easy as checking it before and after you export the audio. I would also suggest checking it again before you upload each file, just to be safe.

Retail Audio Sample Errors

The retail audio sample for each audiobook has a great deal of influence on the purchasing decisions of Audible’s listeners. They should be instantly captivated by the performance and impressed with the production. Work with your Rights Holder to select a portion that highlights your performance and their storytelling. ACX’s requirements call for “a retail audio sample that is between one and five minutes long.

File_Submission_Sample_02

A red box highlights Huntress Moon’s retail audio sample.

Additionally, I strongly advise against including opening credits and/or music in your sample. This content is secondary to your actual performance, and potential listeners may not make it through to hear your narration.

Finally, make sure the sample includes no explicit language or material, as listeners of every age and sensibility can preview samples on Audible.

That’s today’s lesson. Following each of the tips above should result in a seamless upload and submission process, which means fewer headaches for you, your Rights Holder, and your potential listeners.

Want audiobook production tips in your inbox? Subscribe to The ACX Blog for the latest from Alex the Audio Scientist.