Tag Archives: make audiobook

That Week in Links: May 8 – 12

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

For Producers:

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

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

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

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

For Rights Holders:

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

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

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

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

This Week in Links: 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: September 15 – 19

For Rights Holders:

Edit My Paragraph!– via LitReactor – Learn about editing in a micro sense with part four of this informative series.

27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA – via Flavorwire – A crowd of writers attempt to answer the eternal question: is an MFA worth the time and money?

The Twitter Secret – via badredhead media – Guest Dana Leipold explains why she uses “that Twitter thing.”

For Producers:

Are You A Voice Over Chameleon? – via Gary Terzza’s Voice-Over Blog UK – “Are you trying to be all things to all people? Then, you could be scuppering your chances of getting voice over work.”

[VIDEO] Whittam’s World: Episode 44, Low-end vs. High-end Preamps – via Edge Studio – Edge’s resident studio expert takes a look at various preamp options in this video.

The Signature Voice – via Bobbin’s Voice Over Sampler – Bobbin challenges actors to define their “signature voice.

 

This Week in Links: September 1 – 5

For Producers:

So You Want To Be A Voice Actor? – via Voice Over Herald – Thinking of jumping into audiobook narration? VOH has five points to ponder to decide if the industry is right for you.

Configure Reaper for Voiceover and Audiobooks – via Steven Jay Cohen – A great primer on how to set up this popular recording software for audiobook production.

Learn Voicing Tips From Robin Williams – via Online Voice Coaching – Looking back at the career of the celebrated actor can provide lessons on improving your own voice over abilities.

With a Little help From My Friends – via steveoneillvoice – Learn how monthly Google Hangouts enrich the VO journeys of six voice-over artists.

For Rights Holders:

What Happens When your AudioBook Ends Up Sounding a lot Different than Expected – via R.C. O’Leary.com – Hint: it’s usually not a bad thing.

An Author Website Checklist – via Digital Book World – Whether self published or traditional, new or experienced, there are certain elements every author should have on their website.

10 Ways for ADD Authors to Be OOH! SQUIRREL!!!! …Productive – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – Kristen’s got advice on how to stay focused in the ever-distracting modern world.

Easy Tips to Help You Save Money on That Necessary Edit– via Live Write Thrive – LWT has a nice breakdown of what a good editor offers, how much it will cost, and ways to get the most out of your money when hiring a professional editor.

 

Directing the Actor

As an author, you’re probably used to working with editors, proofreaders, and cover designers. But when you put on your audiobook publisher hat for ACX, you’ll meet a new type of creative person: the actor. To ensure you cast the right actor and can effectively direct them on your audiobook’s needs, you need to know how to communicate. Read on for our expert advice on the subject and helpful forms you can use to guide your actor to a great performance.

Casting the Actor

Casting the right actor is the important first step towards getting the best performance. ACX features a wide range of talented actors,  and you’ll want to narrow that list down to those with the specific vocal attributes you’re looking for in your audiobook. During the title profile creation process, you’ll come to an area with the following options:

Describe

 

This is where you’ll set the overall tone of the narration. If the book is set in England, or the main character has a heavy Spanish accent, now’s your chance to note such details. You should also begin thinking about the more specific aspects of who your characters are, and how that plays into their personalities. You can include some of this information in the “Additional Comments” field of your title profile.

Directing the Actor

Any actor worth their salt wants to produce the best audiobook they can, providing their best performance while honoring the material and the vision of its creator. As a rights holder, you can help him or her achieve this goal by providing detailed notes on the characters.

How can you help your narrator get the characters and tone right? Start by thinking back to when you were writing the book. Dig deep into your characters’ origins, histories, and motivations. Try to answer some of the following questions to get a sense of who your characters are:

  • Where do they come from?
  • How were they raised?
  • How do they act when happy/sad?
  • How do they react to adversity?
  • Are they book smart or street smart? Perhaps neither?
  • Are they generally upbeat or pessimistic?
  • What motivates them to take make the decisions they make throughout the book?

Thinking about these things and communicating them to your actor will not only help ensure you get a great read, but will help you better understand your own writing and characters! Also, make sure to think about any tricky pronunciations, either place names, names of people, or made up words or names from a conlang (we’re looking at you, Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors).

A Good Example

Check out these character descriptions from a recent Audible Studios production:

The romantic leads: 



  • Jessica: She has a slight southern accent – nothing over the top. If we don’t have a soft southern lilt, then a soft, clean, alto voice. She’s a teenager and should sound like one.
  • Kayne: Slight Scottish brogue. Sexy. He’s the lead male in this book.
  • Sonyaza, The Mephilum King (aka The Bad Guy): Strong, deep, dark, old voice; he’s been around for a while (20,000+ years).

Supporting characters: 



  • James: British. steady. He’s one of the crew’s moral compasses, so a moral-sounding voice.
  • Norris: His voice is a superpower, so it needs to be very resonant; the kind of voice that can command people. Preferably a deep voice.
  • Mary-Beth: Neutral young woman, maybe with slight ‘valley girl’ undertones. She’s a fun person.
  • Eden: Smug, sensual, earthy.

Use this handy Audio Information Form to provide your actor with the information they’ll need to succeed.

The 15 Minute Checkpoint

The 15 Minute Checkpoint sets the baseline for the recording and performance quality you need. We’ve covered reviewing your audio for technical issues previously, so now we’ll delve into tweaking an actor’s performance.

When it comes to guiding or correcting your actor’s performance, remember two key points about your collaborator: he or she is an adult, and he or she is a professional. And like any adult professional, he or she should be able to handle constructive criticism when given respectfully and directly. Keep the following tips in mind when communicating your needs to your actor:

  • Be clear and confident in your vision. You’re going for respectfully direct, not wishy-washy.
  • Use a well known actor to guide your examples. “This character should be charming and romantic, like James Marsden.”
  • If your character is based on a friend or colleague, describe that person.
  • If you can’t describe what you want, try describing what you don’t want.

The Final Audio

If you’ve followed the advice above, you should reach the final audio review stage with very few, if any, notes on character voices and scene tone. Make sure to plan time to review your final audio, and if you have notes, communicate them expeditiously to your producer. It will only become more difficult for them to re-immerse themselves in the world you’ve created as time marches on and they move on to other projects.

Be sure to make reasonable and specific notes. Requesting a complete change to a character voice you approved in the 15 Minute Checkpoint is probably not a reasonable expectation at the final audio stage, but it’s OK to ask for tweaks to a key scene or a few lines of dialogue over the course of a book. You can make things easier for yourself and your actors by making use of the Audible Studios audio review form, found here.

Remember, an audiobook production is a collaboration between two creative parties. Setting up your partner for success will help ensure that you have a productive creative relationship that results in a great sounding audiobook.

Producers: What kind of direction do you find the most helpful? Tell us in the comments!

 

ACX Storytellers: Scott Sigler

New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is an ACX bounty superstar, racking up over $10,000 in bounty payments this year alone. Releasing his self-recorded works as free podcasts, his “serialized audiobooks” built a dedicated audience that pushed his indie print novel Ancestor to #1 on Amazon’s Horror and Sci-Fi charts. His print success led to a recently signed three-book deal with Del Rey, and Scott successfully negotiated with the publisher to retain his audio rights. Read on to see why those rights are so important to him, and how he made ACX’s $50 Bounty Program such a large part of his revenue stream.

Sigler_Bio

ACX Author Scott Sigler

NO STRANGER TO AUDIO

I worked for fifteen years to land a publishing deal, to no avail. By 2005, I had a nice, neat file folder labeled “motivation” that contained 124 rejection letters. That year was also when I learned about this newfangled thing called “podcasting.”

As an author, a lifelong reader, and a big fan of audiobooks, I saw the writing on the wall: podcasting would let people serialize audiobooks and deliver them to listeners. I still had my first novel, Earthcore. Since I hadn’t signed a publishing contract, I owned all the rights, which meant that I could record it and release it for free. Anyone who wanted to try out my stories could do so without spending money on an unknown author, giving me a competitive advantage to help gain new fans.

I built a large audience of people listening to my serialized audiobooks. When it came time to sell a story in print — the indie trade paperback of Ancestor, published March, 2007 — that audience rewarded me beyond my wildest expectations. Ancestor was the #1 print novel on Amazon’s Horror chart, #1 in SciFi, #2 in Fiction and the #7 best-selling book overall.

That success got New York publishing interested. They wanted to partner up and see if we could make something big happen. My novel Infected went into auction, Crown Publishing won, and we set out to make great books together.

ACX – THE ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY

I absolutely loved working with Crown Publishing (a division of Random House). I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the footballs in Texas. But it was one small difference of opinion with Random House Audio, over my audiobook marketing strategy, that led to my fantastic relationship with ACX.Nocturnal Cover

By my fourth book with Crown, Nocturnal, Random House Audio simply chose to not put out the audiobook. Since they owned the audio rights, I couldn’t record it and release it on my own. Therefore, no podcast.

So we asked them: if you’re not going to release an audiobook, can we have the rights back? Happily, they said “no problem,” and promptly worked with us to release the rights back to me, the author.

That left me with the audiobook rights to a pair of in-demand novels. What to do, what to do…

HOW ACX BECAME A TRUSTED PARTNER

We had released one book with ACX, my horror short story collection Blood is Red. We next hired the golden-voiced Phil Gigante to record both Nocturnal and Pandemic, and released those audiobooks via ACX. We thought we might sell a couple of hundred copies, and that ACX’s high royalty rates would do us well.

We didn’t sell hundreds. We sold thousands.

And it’s not just the audiobook sales themselves: the $50 bounty we receive when a new Audible Listener selects one of our books as their first purchase is a significant line item in our revenue stream. We actively market the availability of our books on Audible, and ACX in turn rewards us when we bring them new customers. Everyone wins.

It’s Empty Sethard to measure our podcast audience, but our stats show we have around 20,000 listens per episode within the first month of that episode’s release. Therefore, we have an existing audience that already listens to audiobooks on a regular basis. Our podcasts are free, but also serialized and ad-supported. We regularly tell our listeners that if they want the whole book in one big chunk, free of ads, they can swing over to Audible and buy it — free or paid, the choice is all theirs.

Offer the customer a choice, and you’ll be surprised how many will take the “paid” option. In 2014 alone, we’ve earned over $10,000 in bounty revenue. That’s on top of the royalties we’ve earned for the books themselves.

Since I am a happy and active Audible customer, I really get into pushing Audible to my podcast listeners. It’s a great service at a great price and I know the vast majority of my fans who try it will love it. We regularly pitch Audible as a “pre-roll ad” where the pitch comes before our episode’s intro music, and we often pimp it with messaging in our blog posts and posts on Facebook, G+, Tumblr and Twitter. We only pitch about once a month on each of those locations, however, so that we’re not beating our readers/listeners over the head.

AND THE FUTURE ROLLS OUT BEFORE US…

I recently finished my five-book deal with Crown, and my agent landed me a three-book deal with Del Rey (also a division of Random House) for my Generations trilogy.

Part of the negotiation with Del Rey was that we keep the audiobook rights. Del Rey agreed, and we’re excited to be in business with thUntitled-9at legendary Sci-Fi imprint. The success of Nocturnal and Pandemic on ACX taught us that we’re more successful when we control our own audiobooks. Del Rey manages the print and eBook products, we’ll sell our own audiobooks through ACX.

We can’t wait. We’re looking forward to a lifetime of royalties and bounties for our products, a long-term revenue stream that will contribute to our company’s bottom line. More importantly, that revenue will help us keep making new products for the readers who have given us everything we have.


New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the author of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. His hardcover horror-thrillers are available from Crown Publishing and Del Rey. He also co-founded Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his YA Galactic Football League series (The Rookie, The Starter, The All-Pro, The MVP and The Champion due out in September 2014).

This Week in Links: June 2 – 6

Did you attend one of the many audiobook industry events last week? Whether you made your presence known at BEA, APAC, The Audie’s or our own Narrator Knowledge Exchange, we hope you learned about your craft and gained some new skills to apply to your next writing or producing venture.

Don’t fret if you didn’t make it to the New York City area for one of these events. There’s plenty of audiobook education for you below in our weekly links roundup!

For Producers:

AudioElequence – via AudioElequence – One of the most comprehensive online pronunciation resources available.

The Inaudible, Low-Voice Syndrome – via Online Voice Coaching – Dr. Ann Utterback has tips for projecting even when speaking softly.

The Stuff Between Your Ears – via Nethervoice – Paul’s motivational post discusses the mental aspects of life as a freelance artist.

Do Allergies Affect your Voice Over Work? – via Voice Over Herald – Nicola Redman shares the impact her hey fever has had on her voice work – and what she finally did about it.

For Rights Holders:

4 Reasons You Should Prioritize Your Author Website Over Social Media – via The BookBaby Blog – Chris Robley explains why your website may be more important to your author platform than your Facebook account.

How to Finally Finish That Novel – via Live Write Thrive – Author and writing instructor Cathy Yardley tackles the 4 biggest excuses writers use to put off writing.

Writing: Write What You Know – via ALLi – Author Carol Cooper’s advice: write what you know, check what you don’t.

Maxed Out: Changing the Conversation about Women and Work [VIDEO] – via YouTube – ACX author Katrina Alcorn discusses why you may be feeling overwhelmed with work – and what to do about it.

 

Are You the Next Voice of Audible Studios?

ACX is proud to present our latest Audible Studios open casting call. This is your chance to audition for Audible‘s Grammy-winning producers and land an audiobook contract to voice one of two great titles! And as an added bonus, we’ve invited special guest Robin Whitten, Editor and Founder of AudioFile Magazine to aid in the selection process!

main-banner-NO

 

Raiders! The Story of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is the wild, true story of two young friends who realized their impossible dream of remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark shot by shot, and how their friendship survived all the challenges the 7 year amateur film shoot threw their way. Robin and the Audible Studios producers will be listening for an engaging male voice who can bring out the adventure and ingenuity in this story.

AFLogo_RichBlack_URL

Female VO’s can audition for Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging. Author Lauren Kessler investigates the world of anti-aging, aiming to separate the hope from the hype. The result is a thoughtful, hilarious, and informative tale of what’s really possible when you get serious about taking charge of how well and how quickly you age. The ideal voice will be a smooth female who can express the thoughtfulness and straightforward scientific details in this story with a smile.

audible-logoThe contracts to record these titles have an estimated value between $1,300 and $1,595 USD  (£951 & £787 GBP), and the chosen actors will record these titles in their own home or professional studios, leaving the post production to Audible Studios.

In addition, this casting is an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with Audible Studios. Dawn Harvey, winner of the Sex and the Single Girl casting call, has found recognition and continuing audiobook work with Audible Studios:

Being cast as the narrator for Sex and the Single Girl brought recognition to my name among many narrators.  When I attended APAC last year, my name was familiar to so many people that I had never met. Subsequently, I was added to Audible Studio’s roster where I have since voiced 6 books for them, and was able to join SAG/AFTRA as a direct result.

Working with Audible Studios and their friendly, knowledgeable studio team is always a delight.  There is no doubt that booking Sex and the Single Girl has really made a difference to my career.

Visit ACX.com, and create a free account to upload an audition. Auditions are open Thursday May 1 – Friday May 16 at 12:00PM ET. The selected actors will be announced on or about May 28, right here on the blog. Full casting call rules and restrictions can be found here.