Tag Archives: audiobooks

This Week in Links: September 28 – October 2

For Rights Holders:

To Promote, Or Not Promote: The Hamlet Complex – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Should you hire someone to promote your book? Here are 8 questions to ask yourself to find out.

2015 October Platform Challenge – via Writer’s Digest – “This challenge will help writers through the process of improving their writing platforms by providing one task to complete for each day of the month in October.”

How to Be Interesting Enough to Be a Brand – via CreateSpace – Author Richard Ridley looks at brand building through the lens of dating.

Book Marketing 201 – via Publishers Weekly – “Marketing self-published books requires leveraging both new tools and tried-and-true strategies.”

For Producers:

You Landed Your First VO Gig – Now Nail It! – via Mike Lenz – Good advice for VO’s just beginning to work with pro studios.

Voice Over Mistakes – via Abbe Holmes – Abbe shares five common mistakes VO’s make and how to avoid them.

Sick Happens – via Rob Marley – Five ways to avoid putting VO work on hold because of a cold.

Why Some Voiceover Artists Never Make It – via Victoria DeAnda – Learn how not to sabotage your chances for success as a VO.

This Week in Links: September 14 – 18

For Producers:

How To Direct Your Inner Director: A Narrator’s Guide in Five Easy Directions – via Paul Allen Ruben – A worthwhile longread filled with the award-winning audiobook directors knowledge.

Run Your Own Race – via Marc Scott – A controversial few weeks in the VO community has lead one actor to reflect on the attitude required for success.

Voiceover Insider Podcast #22 with Scott Brick – via The Voiceover Insider – Take 15 minutes to listen to some advice from one of the top audiobook narrators in the business.

Branding for Voiceover Artists – via Debbie Irwin – “How do you encapsulate what you’re all about in as few words as possible, with as simple an image as possible, and yet communicate a message that has both depth and breadth?”

For Rights Holders:

Social Media Marketing Is Backwards: Strategy Vs. Tactics – via Digital Book World – “The truth is, success is not about finding the right channel; it’s about defining strategy first, and then plugging in the right channels to reach your goals.”

The Math and Music of Multiple Characters – via Writer Unboxed – Writing, developing, and managing multiple characters is especially important when it comes to your audiobook.

A Long Term Branding Strategy – via CreateSpace – When are you finally done building your author brand? Never.

How To Use 100 Print Books To Promote Your Self-published Book – via BookBub – A comprehensive infographic to help authors promote their work.

Want the best audiobook information and education in your inbox? Subscribe to the ACX blog to get updates every time we post!

Editing and Spacing with Alex the Audio Scientist

ADBLCRE-ACX_Character_IconHi, folks! I hope you’re ready to learn, because today, I’d like to kick off fall audiobook production lessons with three facets of your post-recording process:

Editing, QC, and Spacing

Audiobook editing is both an art and a skill. The aim is to achieve a clean, professional-sounding audiobook that elevates the source material. It consists of a two-step process commonly referred to as “Editing and QC.”

 

Step 1: Editing:

  • Remove extraneous sounds from your recording (mouth noises, pops, keyboard clicks, etc.).
  • Modify the pace of narration, if necessary.
  • When appropriate, portions of the recording that are edited out are replaced with clean room tone.

Step 2: QC (Quality Control):

  • Listen to the audio while reading the manuscript to ensure they match exactly.
  • Mark down any errors (misreads, mispronunciations, or noises you can’t edit out) to a QC sheet, which will be used when you rerecord. You can find the QC sheet Audible Studios editors use here.

Once you’ve completed the QC step, you’ll rerecord the errors you’ve marked and re-insert them into your original audio files. These rerecorded sections of audio are sometimes called “pickups.”

A Pro Tools session featuring unedited, or “raw,” audio on top and edited audio below.

Editing Ratios

Audible Studios’ editors aim for a specific ratio of time spent on the edit or QC to the audiobook’s overall running time to ensure that these steps fall within the schedule and budget of the full production.

  • When editing, the ratio should be 3:1, or three hours spent editing for every one hour of recorded time.
  • For the QC process, the ratio should be 1.2:1, or 72 minutes of QC for every 60 minutes of recording.

If you find yourself working faster than this, I recommend a second edit and QC pass to make sure you haven’t missed an error. If you’re consistently taking longer than recommended, you may be focusing too much on certain aspects of the edit. Try listening to some samples and reading reviews on Audible to learn what really bothers listeners.

One way to stay within these guidelines is to speed up the playback in your DAW, so that you cover more ground than at the normal speed. While this may take some practice, it can help ensure that your editing is done quickly and correctly. If you go this route, I recommend you start at 1.2x speed, working your way up to 1.5x speed, as you get more comfortable.

To learn even more about the editing process, watch this video from the experts at Audible Studios.

Spacing

When it comes to spacing, ACX’s requirements help ensure that your audiobook productions stand shoulder to shoulder with all the titles on sale at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Our requirements state:

Each uploaded file must have between 0.5 and 1 second of room tone at the head, and between 1 and 5 seconds of room tone at the tail.

Why is this so important? Think of the spacing within your audiobook as the layout of words on pages and of pages within chapters of a print or eBook. Without proper spacing denoting the end of a scene or beginning of a new chapter, your listener could feel lost within the book, and the impact of your narration may be lessened. The easiest way to follow this requirement is to paste in the appropriate amount of clean room tone at the head and tail of each file.

I hope this gives you a good understanding of one of the most important aspects of audiobook production. Check out my other posts for more audiobook production education, and come back soon for more tips straight from The Audio Scientist.

Quick Tips for Editing and Spacing:

Make sure you have clean room tone. If you don’t, you could be creating more problems than you’re solving.

Record new room tone any time you change your microphone or studio settings. The old room tone may not match the sound of the new recording you are applying it to.

Always wear headphones. You need to be in an isolated environment to ensure the narration stays natural and any cut is seamless.

Get into the habit of marking everything. If you find a click, pop, noise, or QC error, make sure you mark the instance within your DAW! That way, when you go back to make the edits, you won’t have missed anything.

Like what you read? Subscribe to the ACX blog to get updates every time we post!

This Week in Links: August 10 – 14

For Producers:

How to Promote Yourself as a Voice-Over Actor Online – via Voice Over Herald – Promote your audiobooks to gain sales, or promote yourself to book gigs.

Who Needs a Voice Over Coach? How To Get Training For Free! – via Gary Terzza – “It is possible to break into the industry without spending too much, but you will certainly need to invest plenty of effort.”

[VIDEO] Marketing Persistence – via Marc Scott – This week, Marc offers thoughts and encouragement, to help you develop persistence in your marketing efforts.

5 Ways to Get Hired in Voice Acting – via Backstage – Here are five ways to ensure your land solid, quality jobs that pay good money.

For Rights Holders:

Free Newswires Help Promote Books & Author Brands – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Learn how to promote your audiobook for free via press releases.

4 Methods to Invigorate Your Prose With Surprising Sentences – via Helping Weiters Become Authors – Give your narrator something cool to say in the booth.

Simple Promo Tip: Nailing Your Email Subject Line – via Writer Unboxed – Sometimes, it only takes a few words to sell an audiobook. Find out which will have the biggest impact on your potential listeners.

11 Ways to Ask for Writing Advice (And 10 Major Mistakes to Avoid) – via The Write Life – “Connecting with other writers — who are at your experience level or above it — is a great way to learn, grow and expand your career.”

This Week in Links: July 13 – 17

For Producers:

Is Hesitancy Allowed in Voice Overs? – via Gary Terzza – “Ordinary is the new distinctive. This begs the question – should we now be adding hesitancy into scripted copy, so as to reflect natural speech patterns?”

Recording While You Travel: Seven Tips for Wherever Your Vacation Takes You – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn how to keep your voiceover career on point when you’re on the go.

The Most Embarrassing Moment of my Voice-over Career – Nethervoice – Paul Strikwerda covers a range of reader-submitted topics in his most recent mailbag.

Why Mistakes Matter in the Voice Over Business – via Victoria deAnda – Everybody makes mistakes. Luckily, Victoria has some tips for how to recover and handle the aftermath.

The History of Voice Over through the 1900’s – via Voice Over Herald – Find out about the world’s first voice actor and other tidbits from the early history of VO.

For Rights Holders:

One Author’s Book Marketing Strategies – via Book Marketing Tools – “In this guest post, author H.M. Clarke shares her tips that she uses for marketing her books. She is an author just like you, so take these tips to heart and start implementing them as soon as you can.”

You Kept Your Audiobook Rights – Now What? – via The ACX Blog – DIY author/narrator Scott Sigler stops by to discuss the options audiobook authors have available to them today.

15 Book Marketing Lessons From An Ex-Wife  – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – This author found book marketing inspiration in the least likely of places.

The Hardest Part of Writing Good Character Arcs—and How You Can Make It Look Easy! – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Great characters are especially important in audio. Learn how to show them growing and changing via author K.M. Weiland.

5 Writing Challenges All Writers Face (& How to Deal With Them) – via Writer’s Digest – Writing can be a solitary pursuit but remember: You’re not alone, and many authors face the same difficulties you do.

This Week in Links: June 22 – 26

For Rights Holders:

Making Your Cover Work Harder – via Author Marketing 101 – Find out how to leverage your audiobook cover to drive your promotions.

How To Write a Story 101: Character – via The Write Practice – Learn the basics of creating characters your narrator can really bring to life.

How to Sell More Books through Radio Interview Publicity – via Book Marketing Tools – Alright authors, its time to put your voice to work to sell your audiobook.

Writing a Book? How to Know When to Stop Editing and Move On – via The Write Life – Authors need to know when to say when (great advice for audio editors too).

For Producers:

How to Build Relationships in the Voice Over Business – via Victoria DeAnda – “Knowing how to establish and sustain relationships with people will help you achieve the success you’re seeking for your voice over business.”

Studio Microphones: Large-Diaphragm Condensers – via Mix – A great post for those who like to geek out over studio equipment.

Finding Success in the Voiceover Industry – via Voices UK – ‘To become a successful voice over actor, you need the know-how (skills) and the means (voice over equipment) and of course the opportunity.”

Are You A People-Pleaser, Afraid Of Losing Jobs And Clients? Don’t Be Their Doormat – via Voice-Over Xtra – Paul Strikwerda covers why freelance VOs need to be comfortable dealing with conflict & sticking up for themselves.

This Week in Links: June 15 – 19

For Producers:

Becoming a Voiceover Blogger – via Voice Over Herald – Blogging is a great way to market yourself and your ACX productions. And who knows – you just might end up in a future edition of “This Week in Links!”

Audition Strategy: When Opportunity Arises, Let Your Voice Come Out To Play –  via Voice-Over Xtra – “Clients want their copy to come alive, but they are cautious about how far to let the talent stray, and rightly so. Where and how do you draw the line? ”

How To Use Your Marketing Tools – via Marc Scott – If you’re not booking the gigs you desire, perhaps you need to look in your self-marketing toolbox.

Arnold Schwarzenegger voices Waze as the Terminator – via USA Today – “I’ll be back…the next time you need directions.”

For Rights Holders:

14 Ways to Crash Your Book Launch – Authors, DO NOT Try This at Home – via The Book Designer – “Other book marketing and promotional strategies can be tweaked and refined over time, but your official book launch comes around but once, and you’ll need more than a smidgen of courage to see it through.”

Social Media Basics for Writers: Snapchat – via The Write Conversation – Let three real-world examples of marketing through Snapchat inform your marketing efforts.

[PODCAST] Building Your Author Platform – via The Author Hangout – Dorie Clark shares some great tips about how she built her platform.

ACX On the Road: 7 Success Tips from Authors at Romantic Times and Book Expo America – via The ACX Blog – Get some audiobook publishing and marketing advice from your successful peers.

Want to Build an Email List? 7 Newsletter Platforms to Choose From – via The Write Life – It’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your readers through social media. But one of the best ways to grow your network is with a good old-fashioned email.

 

This Week in Links: June 8 – 12

For Rights Holders:

[VIDEO] Interview with Sharon Hamilton and J.D. Hart – via YouTube – ACX author and her producer share screen time in this conversation about their audiobook relationship.

Conference Season for Authors – via Author Marketing 101 – Summer is conference season for authors. Learn the dos and don’ts before you hit the convention scene.

The World of Book Blogging: A View From Book Expo –  via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Author Brian Feinblum shares his takeaways from the panels he attended at this year’s biggest publishing expo.

If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop – via BuzzFeed Books – A fun look at writing workshops via a classic novel.

For Producers:

Meditation: How It Can Help Your Work as a Voice Over Artist – via Victoria DeAnda – Find a quiet room, align your chakras, and find out this eastern practice can improve your voice acting.

[VIDEO] All About Noise Floor – via The ACX Blog – Our resident audio scientist stops by to help you fix that low rumble before it gets amplified during mastering.

Can This Voice Problem Be Corrected? – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Learn about common vocal problems for voice artists and how easy – or difficult – they can be to overcome.

How To Add An Intro Video To Your Facebook Business Page – via Marc Scott – An engaging social media presence is important for every actor, whether you’re looking to market your books or your voice.

This Week in Links: April 27 – May 1

For Producers:

The 7 Most Overlooked Daily Habits of Successful Voice Actors – via CourVo – Whether you’re a narration newbie or a voiceover veteran, make sure you can see the forest for the trees.

How To Keep Your Voice Over Clients – via Voice-Over Xtra – Guy Harris’ advice? Focus on long-term game, not short-term gain.

Your Voice Over Questions Answered– via VOMasterClass – Gary Terzza answers a variety of common voiceover questions in his latest mailbag.

The Emoji Translation Project on Kickstarter – via GalleyCat – In a future when all books are written with emoji’s, audiobook narrators will need this handy translation guide.

For Rights Holders:

Putting It All Together – via Author Marketing 101 – An illuminating case study on one author’s book marketing experience.

Follow Your Dreams, Get Writing and Turn Those Excuses Upside Down – via The Write Conversation – “The more we talk about why we can’t—the more we guarantee our own failure.”

[AUDIO QUIZ] Can You Finish These Famous Lines From Books? – via BuzzFeed Audio – How well do you know the line after the famous lines from your favorite books?

How to Overcome Social Anxiety When You Work From Home – via The Write Life – if you’re an author who writes from home, check out these tips for acclimating to the world at large.

Happy Birthday to ACX in the UK!

Hi all, this is Sophie, from the ACX UK team. It seems like just last week we were preparing to welcome the UK’s talented authors and actors to ACX—but here we are, celebrating our first birthday. And since ACX is all about authors and actors collaborating to produce great sounding audiobooks, we invited some of our most successful UK early adopters to help us celebrate by sharing what they learned in their first year.

First up, we’ve got Audible Approved producer Anna Parker-Naples, who we met at last year’s London Book Fair. Anna has gone on to produce 10 audiobooks through ACX, and joins us to share how she chooses which books to audition for.

Anna Parker-Naples—Narrator of Legacy Code:

APN Homepage_HR021. Have a look at the Amazon ranking. I’m not going to give you a hard-and-fast number by which to choose your titles from, but be aware of them. Low rankings on a book that has been released for a while may not be a good sign that the audio will sell well.

2. Research the author. If they are active and engaged on social media, then it will mean they already have a following who may be interested in the audiobook when it is released.

3. Consider the genre or content of the title. Make sure that you have an interest in the topic. You will be spending a long time with that subject matter if you land the job and are planning to narrate, edit, proof, and master it yourself. And if there is content that you are uncomfortable with, go with your gut instinct and steer clear.

4. Be honest about your abilities. How much do you know about the main characters and their accents and dialects? If something is required that isn’t in your toolbox, perhaps this isn’t the right one for you.

We first met Joanna Penn at the ACX launch party, hosted at the King’s Head pub in London, and has gone on to publish five titles via ACX with another on the way.

Joanna Penn—Author and Narrator of Business for Authors:

ACX Author and DIY Narrator Joanna PennI love working with ACX narrators for my books because together, we produce a new interpretation of the work. The listener has to enjoy the voice of the author and also the voice of the narrator, so it’s a completely separate kind of product from the ebook and print book. Narrators are creative professionals who know a lot more than authors about audio, so I tend to trust my narrators to produce the best product rather than being over-controlling. I QC listen and comment on specific pronunciation with place names, but I like to allow the narrator a lot of freedom of expression. This makes the whole experience more fun for us, and hopefully, for the listener!

At an author luncheon in the autumn, we heard firsthand how profoundly affected our UK writers were by hearing their work in audio, and how important it is to hire the right narrator for their book.

Keith Houghton—Author of the Gabe Quinn series:

When I write a novel, I assign my own made-up voices to the characters. They are my creation and I know how they should sound in any given situation. In the Keith Houghtoncase of audiobooks, the job is done for us, and that’s why it’s important to get the right producer the first time, someone who will bring your characters to life in the way you envisaged them. Audiobooks stimulate the imagination in a very different way than print books. Everything hinges on the narrator’s performance: the drama, the mood, the emotion. The right narrator will paint an audible rainbow, adding shade to context and definition to contrast.

In my experience, the best way to ensure a true reflection of the voices you have in mind is to provide your producer with key background information about each of your main characters–where they are from, their motivation, their idiosyncrasies–plus specific scene details such as fear, happiness, or stress. This will help them choose the right accents for your players and relay the right tone for each scene.

In addition to learning how to work hand in hand with their producers, as UK authors brought their book marketing expertise to a new medium, they found that hearing their work in audio would in turn improve their future writing.

Mark Dawson–Author of the Beatrix Rose series:

I’m convinced that audio is the next frontier in the indie revolution, and I wanted to be a part of it sooner rather than later; I was delighted when ACX finally came to the UKMark Dawson

And it was well worth the wait. I eventually settled on a couple of US based narrators for my two series and we got stuck in. The recording process was straightforward and the experience of listening to my words read by professional actors was amazing. 

The books went on sale and there was a new challenge to consider: what about promotion? The support industry that has grown up around Amazon’s self-publishing platform isn’t there yet, so you have to think laterally. I emailed my mailing list and asked for volunteers for an audiobook advance reader team, eventually closing the door when we had enough. ACX makes promo codes available to help with getting early interest in your titles. I received 25 codes and my narrators received another 25. I collected all of these and gave them out to the team with the request that they leave honest reviews in return. The response was excellent, with dozens of reviews placed and some very nice comments included. They helped stimulate sales, and I now have a nice secondary income stream every month. I expect that it will grow over the forthcoming months.

Steven A. McKay–Author of the Forest Lord series:

In the year since ACX first opened up to UK authors, I’ve had all three of my titles produced as audiobooks. ACX opened up a whole new market bringing me new ‘readers’ and a new revenue stream in the process (which is always Steven McKaynice)! But on top of those obvious rewards, hearing my work read by a professional narrator has been a learning experience, as things like word repetition and pacing of scenes show up in audio more obviously than they do on a laptop screen. I’d like to think my writing has improved as I now take this into account when working on anything new.

It’s been a heck of a year and I’ll raise a glass in your honour today–Happy birthday to ACX in the UK!