Audible Studios and ACX are kicking off our latest casting call. This time, we’re teaming up with Voice 2014, one of the LA area’s top voiceover industry conventions, taking place in Anahiem, CA August 27 – 30 2014.
This casting call gives actors attending Voice 2014 the chance to audition for Audible Studios’ Grammy-winning team of producers, as well as one of the audiobook industry’s top talents, Scott Brick. Male actors can audition for the opportunity to voice Build for Change by Alan Trefler. Female actors can audition for Pivot Points by Julia Tang Peters. Both titles are non-fiction, and require an instructional read appropriate for newbies and veterans alike.
Both titles pay a per finished hour rate commensurate with the actor’s experience.Build for Changewill having an estimated running time of 6 hours, and the contract is valued at roughly $1,200. Pivot Pointswill have a running time of about 10 hours, and will reward the female winner a contract worth roughly $1800. The contract is for narration only; all editing and post production will be handled by Audible Studios.
Actor and casting call judge Scott Brick
To audition, visit ACX.com and create a free account. Auditions are open to attendees of Voice 2014 from Friday August 8th at 9 AM ET – Monday, August 25th at 11:59 PM ET. The selected actors will be announced during Scott Brick’s audiobook panel at Voice 2014 and right here on the blog.
This past Thursday, amidst one of the busiest weeks of the year in the audiobook industry, ACX attended the “audiobook Oscars,” better known as the 2014 Audie Awards at the New York Academy of Medicine.
The night kicked off with an opening cocktail reception, where the industry’s best engineers, narrators and other audiobook celebrities rubbed elbows, munched hors d’oeuvre, and sipped cocktails, while the night’s nominee’s received medals for their work. Our mistress of ceremonies, author Libba Bray, kicked things off with a blisteringly funny monologue, highlighted by the musical number “Talk Audie to Me.”
Author and Audie hostess Libba Bray.
This year, 6 ACX titles were nominated for this prestigious award. We’re thrilled to celebrate the producers and rights holders of the following books:
The Fall of Kings – Written by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, produced by Neil Gaiman Presents.
The War of the Worlds – Written by M.J. Elliot and H.G. Wells, produced by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air.
The first round of awards featured presenters Robert Fass, Suzanne Toren, and Joe Barret (ACX producers all) announcing winners for categories like best Non-Fiction, Biography/Memoir, and Business/Educational audiobooks. Billy Crystal (sadly not in attendance) then picked up his first award of the evening for Still Foolin’ ‘Em, in the Humor category.
Audible Studios received their first award of the evening for Graeme Malcolm’s narration in the Short Stories/Collections category for his read of Sherlock Holmes in America. Our celebration continued when Audible Studios next won its second award of the evening for Best Erotica audiobook (Shana Savage, reading Carrie’s Story.)
Robin Whitten of AudioFile Magazine presented the Special Achievement award to George Guidall for his impressive record of success in the audiobook industry. With over 1,100 audiobooks recorded, the standing ovation he received upon acceptance was well deserved.
Katherine Kellgren was honored with the Audie for Solo Narration/Female for the Audible Studios production of The Twelve Clues of Christmas, and David Pittu picked up his second award of the night for his read of The Goldfinch.
The final, most coveted award for the evening, Best Audiobook, netted Billy Crystal his third win of the night for Still Foolin’ ‘Em.
Congratulations to all the 2014 Audie nominees and winners. With all the talented rights holders and producers on ACX, we can’t wait to see what you create to be featured at the 2015 Audie’s!
Audible has a full list of 2014 Audie winners here. You can read @ACX_com’s live tweeting of this year’s ceremony on Storify.
Before embarking on that Memorial weekend trip, take a look at our roundup of this week’s best audiobook related links. Planning a staycation this year? Working through the weekend? Even more reason to educate yourself on your craft before the day is done.
Enjoy the links below, and share anything we missed in the comments below!
For Rights Holders:
The Iron Triangle of Interesting Characters – via Writers and Authors – “What makes a character interesting? This infographic gives one take on how to make characters interesting and might give you some ideas for when you’re developing your characters.”
Editorial Matchmaking – via Writer Unboxed – When you’ve taken your novel as far as you can, it may be time to call in a professional editor. Dave King has advice on finding the right one for you.
ACX’s resident audio scientist first joined us on the blog last month, when he discussed the theory and best practices for encoding audio. Today, he’s back to discuss the bedrock of any successful audiobook production: file management.
File Backup and Preservation
Anybody who has produced a lengthy audiobook will tell you that it can be rather arduous. After hours of prep work, days of recording your narration, and several additional days of editing, QC and mastering, the last thing you want to have happen is a disastrous and sudden loss of all your hard work.
As a former Audible Studios engineer and digital expert witness, it didn’t take long for me to realize the importance of backing up my work. While it may be obvious to some producers that data backup is important, learning file storage and archiving methods appropriate for audiobooks is key to your project’s success. Today, I’d like to go over some best practices i have found from my reasearch on sites like https://www.flashbackdata.com/data-recovery/server-raid-recovery/ for data preservation and how you can help prevent any tragic file loss for your next ACX production.
5 Keys to Proper File Management
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Make a habit of saving your work every five minutes. It takes almost no time at all and will ensure that, if data loss occurs, you will be able to recover most of your current work. The keyboard shortcut to save is almost always “Ctrl+S” in a Windows program, and “Command+S” in a Mac program (command is the “⌘” key on your Mac keyboard).
Each chapter’s audio file should be backed up upon completion of each stage of production:
Completed Recording Backup – The WAV or AIFF file containing the completed raw recording of your chapter.
Completed Edits Backup – The WAV or AIFF file containing the completed edits to your recorded audio.
Mastered Audio Backup – The WAV or AIFF audio file created after putting the Completed Edits Backup file through your mastering chain.
Encoded Masters – The Mastered Audio Backup file that has been encoded to MP3 for ACX submission. This is your final, retail-ready audio.
At the end of each day of production, you should make a backup of your DAW session, making sure the filename contains the day’s date.
Each time you make a backup of your work, it is strongly recommended that you store the files in two storage locations. (We recommend doing automatic backups to an external hard drive as well as cloud storage. More on that in a bit!)
Until you are ready to encode and submit your audio to ACX, back up all audio as WAV or AIFF files. No chapter file should be backed up as an MP3 unless it is 100% complete and ready for ACX submission. Making changes directly to an MP3 will lower the audio quality of your final production.
The above practices are important habits to form. Should you ever need to make changes to your files or fix an error found by our audio QA team, having consistent backups at each stage of your production will ensure that changes can be easily committed. For instance, if you master a chapter file only to discover that you want to re-record a particular line of dialog, doing so would be as easy as opening up your chapter’s Completed Edits Backup file and re-recording the line. Without this file, you will be forced to record and master your new dialog to a different file and paste it on top of your old Mastered Audio Backup file. Things can get messy!
Data Storage Options
File preservation is important, but it is undoubtedly a hassle. Luckily, file storage is more versatile, cheap, and reliable than ever before. We producers can take advantage of not just excellent portable hard drives, but specialized software and online backup services as well! We recommend the options below.
Portable External Hard Drive – The easiest and quickest file storage solution is to simply purchase an external hard drive. We love the Seagate Expansion drive series, which has a 1TB option priced at only $64.99. Cheap and easy to use, these drives should be on the shopping list of every beginning ACX producer. However, using it can be a bit clunky, as you must organize all of your files manually.
Backup Scheduling Software – Luckily, there exists software for both Windows and Macintosh platforms that aid file backup. We strongly recommend that Mac users utilize the built-in Time Machine feature on OSX to automatically back up and organize your files on your external hard drive. For Windows, I love the free FBackup by Softland. Both of these tools are easy to use and can be configured to automatically back up your files to external locations every night, or even every time the file is modified.
Cloud Storage – Amazon, ACX’s parent company, knows as well as anyone how important reliable storage solutions are for consumers. AWS, Amazon’s online web storage platform, is the leading “cloud storage” solution on the web. What is cloud storage exactly? In essence, it is a series of interconnected servers which safely handle and store massive amounts of data for customers of all stripes. Amazon provides this service to consumers for free as Amazon Cloud Drive. Upon signing up, all users receive 5GB of free storage! Using Amazon Cloud Drive in conjunction with the free Cloud Drive App, you can automatically back up your files to the Amazon Cloud Drive network without needing to lift a finger. Once you finish installing the Cloud Drive App, simply follow the on-screen instructions to set up your computer for automatic nightly backups.
In following these best-practices, you may save yourself and your rights holder from a potential disaster, and you will be putting your best foot forward by amply protecting both your hard work and your rights holder’s intellectual property.
What is your file management and backup process? Do you use any of the methods Andrew recommends above?
Today we bring you part two of ACX producer Karen Commins‘ guide to audiobook marketing for narrators. Part one can be found here.
A Narrator’s Look at Audiobook Marketing – Part Two
The goal of marketing is to make your audiobooks more discoverable and to develop an audience. In part 1 of my discussion about marketing, we looked at reasons why audiobooks aren’t more widely accepted and three ways to create lasting connections to your audiobooks in the consumers’ minds. Today, we’ll look at four more ways to promote your audiobooks.
1. Be Detail Oriented.
Once your audiobook is released on Audible, check the listing for it on Amazon. It should appear on the same product page as the other editions of the title (paperback, eBook, and hardback).
Sometimes the audiobook is orphaned onto its own page. If that’s the case, send an email to Amazon from the Help/Contact Us page, succinctly list both edition pages, and ask them to combine the editions.
If the book is part of a series, you’ll want to ensure that the series link is used on Audible. I’ve had success in sending an email to Audible from this pageto request that the series link is added.
The easiest people to sell to are the ones who already are fans!
I also create a Google Alert for the topic of the book and/or do specialized searches so I can track mentions of it online, then I comment about the audio version on any blogs, forums, or other place where people are discussing the topic.
2. Be Real.
Many people tend to think of marketing as an online activity. However, some of your best results may occur when marketing directly to people in real life.
Tell everyone who asks you that you’re an audiobook narrator, whether you’re at a networking event or an informal gathering with family and friends. You can also volunteer to speak at writers’ meetings.
Here’s another real world marketing idea: except in the case of futuristic, sci-fi universes, most books are set somewhere. Can you market to people in that area?
As an example, my Dixie Diva cozy mystery series is set in Holly Springs, MS. In every book, the annual Pilgrimage, which is a tour of antebellum homes, is discussed at length, and some of the local businesses are key to the story lines.
Holly Springs, home of the Dixie Divas
My husband and I went to the Holly Springs Pilgrimage this year. I talked about the audiobooks to the people I met, got lots of great pictures and videos that I can use on my blog and in book trailers, and made a note on my event calendar to create a local newspaper ad and/or postcards in time for next year’s Pilgrimage.
You can also be real without leaving your home. In this terrific video, award-winning narrator and teacher Sean Pratt advises how you could, and why you should, use snail mail in your marketing efforts.
I use social media extensively to promote my audiobooks, and I’ve learned that different sites are good for different things.
Hashtag marketing (putting a ‘#’ in front of your key word, like #audiobook) can be your friend across many different sites. If you can find a relevant way to link your book to a current hashtag search term, like a newsmaker, TV show, or event, you have made it that much easier for new fans to find you and even share your content with their followers. Narrator and publisher Mike Vendetti often utilizes hashtags that tie in to a TV show.
Sometimes a news event will be a perfect tie-in to your audiobook’s story line.
Although I’ve only shown examples from Twitter, hashtags are searchable on:
People may contribute the most on the site they learned first. If I were starting now, I would probably start with Goodreads, since it is all about books! Here’s what I do to market my audiobooks on Goodreads:
First, I created a Goodreads author page, and I add the audiobook edition on Goodreads for each of my titles as they are released. You’ll see a link on the title page to add a new edition.
After filling out the form to create your edition, you can ask a librarian to combine the audiobook edition with the print and ebook editions in this librarian’s group. You’ll have to look for the current thread of Combine Request in the folder.
A member of Goodreads recently wrote: I’ve discovered Twitter as a means to let narrators know when I really enjoy what they do.
If you don’t want to be a broken loudspeaker on Twitter, you can find other audiobook enthusiasts easily by signing into Twitter and subscribing to my three comprehensive lists of audiobook tweeps. You’ll be able to stay focused on audiobooks and correspond with audiobook folks without following all of them individually. You’ll do well to visit these links.
SoundCloud is a great way to share audio files on social media and around the web. First, create an account, then upload your retail audio samples. Include the audiobook cover as the image, add tags, and link to your book on Audible in the “Buy“ link. You can then share those recordings on your web site, in blog posts, and other social sites. Note that you might need to pay for more storage depending on the number and length of samples you upload.
I was astonished to see that PostHypnotic Press has attracted over 900,000 followers on SoundCloud, and that number continues to grow! Publisher Carlyn Craig graciously offered this advice:
As for why we have so many followers, it seems to me that, as with other social media, the more you participate the more attention you get. It is first and foremost a place for creators to share their work, and as such, it does an admirable job. It offers great tools, like the “Embed” and “Share” tools. I love the Twitter media player, for instance, and we use SoundCloud to host all the audio on our site. I do try to be active every day, even if it is only to tweet a few SoundCloud samples.
I suspect that one reason for their tremendous success on SoundCloud is that they have created a number of playlists of genres or titles by author, like this one.
YouTube is another visual site. I don’t know that you’ll have much success if your video only shows a cover of the audiobook. I think people would quickly grow bored and find a true video.
I loved creating a couple of book trailer videos! I plan to create more since the videos are evergreen products that I can always use, especially with hashtags! Here is an example of a book trailer I’ve created:
Remember that social media sites are a constantly moving target. I also add my videos to my blog and my web site. Of all the places on the Internet, my blog and site are the only pieces of real estate that I own!
4. Be Productive
If the variety and means of marketing audiobooks seems overwhelming, just remember that the best way to have more natural reasons for promotion and rack up more sales is to produce more audiobooks. You gain momentum every time you have a new release!
What are your favorite site-specific social media marketing tactics? Share them with your colleagues below!
Audible Approved producer Karen Commins is a prolific audiobook narrator who has completed over 20 titles on ACX. She is also a skilled audiobook marketer, working independently and with ACX rights holders to drive sales of her productions. Today, she joins us to share the first installment of her thoughts on audiobook marketing and some of the tactics that have brought her success.
A Narrator’s Look at Audiobook Marketing – Part One
Let me answer the second question first. Whether I’m paid per finished hour (PFH) or on a royalty-share (RS) deal, I always publicize my audiobooks because:
I want the world to know that I am an audiobook narrator! As a result, I have come to the attention of authors and publishers, and I’ve received ACX offers for books for which I didn’t audition.
Marketing is a value-added service that I offer my clients.
I have seen my sales numbers and the ensuing royalties for my RS audiobooks increase as a direct result of my promotion.
In addition to these reasons for marketing, I encourage other narrators to promote their books because, while audiobooks are a rapidly growing industry, the majority of people have never listened to an audiobook!
Those entrenched in the audiobook world may be quite surprised by this fact, but people resist audiobooks for several reasons:
The earliest audiobooks were only available to those with vision impairments. Some people do not realize that audiobooks are now mainstream entertainment!
Some devout readers won’t even invest in an e-reader because they like the feel of the actual book and the experience of reading the actual pages.
In past centuries, only the most educated people could read. Even in modern times, learning to read could be a difficult skill to master. Some readers still stigmatize audiobook listeners as “cheaters” if they choose to hear the text instead of reading it with their eyes.
So now you know what you’re up against. But with the right tactics and proper execution, you can become a skilled audiobook marketer who exposes new listeners to your work. Once you’ve decided that you want to market your audiobooks, we’re back to that first question – how should it be done?
Before I offer you some ideas, I want to address one misconception that seems prevalent with those who are new to marketing.
You’ve probably heard or read that it’s essential to repeat your message many times to get the attention of your potential buyer. I’ve seen updates on social media sites where the writer applied that advice literally.
They remind me of a broken loudspeaker continuously blaring the same phrases: BUY MY BOOK! READ MY BLOG! WATCH MY VIDEO! MY BOOK IS FOR SALE! HAVE YOU READ MY BLOG? MY VIDEOS ARE GREAT!
“Repeating the message” doesn’t mean that you say the exact same thing every time! If you use the same general words to present the same general theme, people will stop caring what you have to say. TV advertisers know they have to find new way to express their message. They change commercials frequently while keeping the underlying message the same.
“Repeating your message” really means that you are creating an association in the consumer’s mind.You create this association by continually and consistently letting the world know in a variety of clever ways that you are an audiobook narrator and that you have interesting audiobooks that they might enjoy.
Here are 3 ways to create those associations to your message.
1. Be Authentic
I recently read an author’s blog article about book trailers. She commented that other authors feel pressure to do something like a book trailer because “everyone else is doing it.” She wisely pointed out that you should do what is authentic for you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all, or any particular thing if it’s not you. As Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true.” You’ll find millions of articles and videos from experts and gurus who will tell you all of the “rules” for any type of marketing. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and do things your way!
2. Be Consistent
It helps to view marketing as a system or process, not an isolated action. I certainly don’t do all of my promotional activities in one day or even in a week. The key is to regularly discuss your audiobooks. One way to be consistent is to alwayspromote your new releases.
Narrator Andi Arndt offers this great advice about promoting new releases:
One thing I’ve figured out that seems important is to be sure and tag the author, audio publishers AND print publisher in social media posts.
It has been helpful to think of it as a congratulations to the author and publishers, and to follow their lead. Look up the press they’ve carefully put together for the book and use THEIR quotes, summary, description, so you’re reinforcing their marketing messages. Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus provide great material. The positive stuff, that is!
With a little thought and planning, you can find reasons to talk about your audiobooks on days other than the release days. Your growing fan base is interested in progress on your current book, funny quotes from it, etc.
I created an annual event calendar where I can connect the people/themes/events in my audiobooks with something in the news. I can create updates ahead of the date and use them each year.
For instance, my Blue Suede Memphis mystery series is set in – you guessed it — Memphis, and the main character is a tour bus driver. The titles of the books are plays on the names of famous Elvis songs. I can promote the series of books on Elvis’ birthday. On 13 July, I’ll talk about the audiobook Hound Dog Blues because it will be the anniversary of the release date for Elvis’ hit record Hound Dog.
Think of marketing your audiobooks as yet another way to express your creativity. After you receive that email from Audible with your 25 promotional codes, you can write a fun blurb to give them away, as illustrated here by narrator Christa Lewis.
She really makes you want her audiobook! And who knows – maybe someone who misses out on the download code is intrigued enough to BUY the book!
If you pay attention to what your publishers and authors are promoting, inspiration for a tie-in promotion may come beating down your door. One day, I noticed that author Barbara Silkstone wrote a blog post where her character Wendy Darlin (who is voiced by Nicole Colburn in audiobooks) interviewed Sasha McCandless, who is the main character in the series of books I’ve narrated for Melissa F. Miller.
I contacted Nicole about her interest in recording her character’s lines. We both obtained permission from our authors to record that blog installment like a radio show. The resulting recording was fun to create, thrilled our authors, and has been something that we continue to publicize.
Coming up in part two, I’ll share some more ways to create those coveted associations to your message. I’ll also give you site-specific social media tactics geared to make your audiobooks more easily discoverable.
You Asked, We Listened: Promotional Codes for Producers
Producers, you told us you’d like more help promoting royalty share projects you’ve completed through ACX, so starting tomorrow, we’re arming you in the fight for higher sales. ACX producers will now receive 25 promotional codes for each royalty share production they complete. These codes are the key ingredient in your marketing recipe. Using promo codes to drive reviews and sales of your ACX productions will not only earn you money, it will help you sell your narration abilities to boot.
Audiobook Marketing for ACX Producers
We’ve covered the basics of self-promotion on ACX, as well as here on the blog. Lay the groundwork using those tactics, and don’t forget that most marketing advice written with authors in mind is applicable to actors as well. The tips below will help you market your ACX titles, but it all starts with cultivating your brand. Don’t just think of your website, blog, or social media accounts as sales tools for your vocal work, but as ways for new listeners to discover your audiobooks as well. As an actor you’re used to selling yourself, so don’t be shy about marketing your products as well as your services.
Let’s take a look at five ways you can use promo codes to get people talking about you.
1. Trade a code for a review – This is the simplest method of using your codes to promote yourself. Offer anyone and everyone a free download of your book in exchange for an honest review on Audible (just don’t be too pushy). A number of strong reviews will help sway potential listeners, and you can add quotes from listeners to your ACX profile, your website, etc. And make sure to send their code via email, then add the contact to your email list. Now you’re killing two birds with one stone!
2. Use codes in a contest/giveaway – This is a great way to generate big buzz with a small reward. Everyone loves to win, so hold a contest with a free download as the prize (or as part of a prize pack). Double your return by roping social media into the proceedings. Look for ways to enlist your fans and contacts in your marketing efforts in exchange for something cool from you. For example, you could encourage fans to tweet about your audiobook along with a custom hashtag – then randomly select a winner to receive a free download.
3. Swap codes with a fellow ACX narrator/producer/engineer – Set up an agreement with a friend or colleague: trade download codes and review each other’s audiobooks on Audible, then expand on that review on your blogs. Offer the unique perspective of one audiobook insider reviewing the work of another, and make sure to include links to the Audible product page in your post. Feel free to give away each others codes as well. Their fans could become yours, and vice-versa.
4. Partner with your author – Pair with the author of the title you’re promoting to combine your efforts. Make sure you mention the book title and author’s name every time you give away a promotional code, and have the author do the same. You can also interview each other for your respective blog or websites, and focus on the creative similarities and difference between your chosen fields. Whatever you choose, find a way to make the most out of your relationship with your partner in promotion.
5. Don’t forget real world marketing – The only thing better than listening to a great voice in your headphones is listening to a great voice in person! Contact your local bookstore or library and offer to do a live read with a Q&A (if you have the copyright owner’s permission). If they’re local, combine forces and appear together. Make sure to bring your business cards with your website/blog’s URL, and hand them out at the end. Those that visit your website or follow you on social media will be added to your pool of potential code-getters and review-leavers.
You may not feel like a instinctive marketer, but if you start small and keep at it day after day, it will quickly feel as natural as narration. Remember that you’re still you, just with something to sell (or in this case, give away)! Don’t let marketing your titles take over your online persona, but do remember that you have a unique opportunity to drive your own income. A little marketing work is surely worth the extra sales and the chance to become an audiobook entrepreneur, right?
Help your fellow producers by sharing your audiobook marketing ideas below!
Huddle up, producers. We’ve got some guidance for you on how to pick the best royalty share projects to audition for on ACX. Choosing to forgo up front payment and counting on sales of the audiobook to pay you back can involve a leap of faith, but with a bit of planning you can tip the odds for success in your favor.
What Makes a Top Selling Audiobook?
While there is no single answer to this question, here are five factors that can help you predict how likely a title is to sell well in audio.
1. Are you the right voice for this title?
Before you can consider the sales potential of a book, you have to consider your own ability to do the material justice. You’re a talented audiobook producer, but even the best don’t have the right voice or style for every book. Few things can sink a good title’s sales potential faster than narration that’s just not right. Check out our post on knowing which title to audition for here, and take the advice to heart.
2. What can you learn about the title’s print/eBook versions?
Once you’ve decided you’re the voice for a book, it’s time to determine the book’s sales potential. Every title profile on ACX has a “Title Information” section that contains metadata about the text editions’ histories.
Let’s break these sections down:
Date posted to ACX: If this date is months in the past, consider sending the rights holder a message to confirm he or she is seeking auditions before submitting yours.
Original publication date: Knowing when the book was first published puts the other information that follows in the title profile in perspective. While a “frontlist” book can capitalize on the momentum built around the launch, don’t dismiss midlist or backlist titles, as they can expose a whole new audience to a certain author or series once the title is available in audio.
Published by: Information about the publisher of the print and eBook editions can be helpful when researching the title’s rights holder. Research the publisher to get a sense of what kind of titles they publish and what kind of effort they put into promoting them.
Amazon sales rank: Lower is better in this case, and by clicking on “view this title on Amazon,” you can get a more specific picture of how a title is performing in its categories (example below). You may also consider the book’s price with its sales rank.
Amazon rating: Note how many reviews it has received in relation to how long it’s been available for sale. The amount of reviews can be one indicator of how hard the rights holder is working to promote their book, as few readers discover a book by accident, and even fewer leave reviews unless they’re passionate or have been asked by the rights holder.
When it comes to the content of the reviews, remember that opinions about the writing style or the story can be subjective, but reviews that cite poor grammar, spelling, proofing, or editing could indicate a manuscript that’s not quite ready for prime time, or a rights holder who may need to pay a little more attention to detail.
3. What other information is the rights holder giving you?
The “Comments from the Rights Holder” section is the rights holder’s chance to sell you on their title. They can use this space to give you more information about character voices and the tone of the story. They can also list their promotional plans, social media accounts, awards and recognition, etc. This section is optional for rights holders, so if no information is provided, you may want to message them with questions.
Here’s an example of a strong ACX title profile (click to expand)
4. What else can you learn about the rights holder?
Google is your friend. Do a little research and get a sense of how much work the rights holder is putting into promoting themselves and their titles by answering these questions:
Do they have social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest that are updated regularly (and not just with sales pitches for their books)?
You’re looking for a motivated, savvy rights holder who will work with you to promote the audiobook.
5. Are you prepared to contribute to the success of this book?
The beauty of a royalty share production on ACX is that the producer and rights holder become partners, equally invested in the success of the book. In addition to bringing the story to life with your wonderful voice, you should be prepared to help promote the title on your website, social media accounts, email list, etc. Work with the rights holder to come up with creative ways to combine your powers. Interview each other for your respective blogs, record a brief audio-only bonus scene written by the author, or co-host a Twitter chat.
Picking the right title is an importation first step towards audiobook sales success. Delivering a great production and working to help promote the book ensures you’re doing everything in your power to maximize the earning potential of your work.
What factors do you consider when choosing a royalty share title?
Are you an actor new to voiceover work? Maybe you’re a narrator looking to become an audiobook producer through ACX. However you came about your “newbie” status, we’re here to give you a run down of all the little things the veterans just seem to know. In an effort to save you from the pain and embarrassment of making the most basic audiobook production errors, we present the seven habits of highly effective audiobook professionals, aka The DUH! List
2. Save your files. No, seriously, save your files. Frequently. If you have friends in the business, you’ll only have to ask a few to find one with a horror story about having to do an entire audiobook project over because their hard drive crashed or their files became corrupted. Save each iteration of your work along the way. Save after you record. Save after each edit and QC pass. Save before you EQ, mix, and master. And don’t just save locally – save to a cloud backup like Amazon Cloud Drive, in case your computer/hard drive is lost or stolen or vaporized by aliens.
3. Be Organized. This goes hand-in-hand with point 2. Come up with a file naming convention you like and stick with it from project to project. Keep files and folders organized on your computer. Keep your studio neat and your calendar straight. Being organized in every aspect of your business will help ensure that you and your files are where they need to be, when they need to be there.
4. Be Consistent. Make sure that your voice and your studio have a uniform sound from day to day and project to project. Pay attention to mic placement, temperature, and humidity, and work to keep them consistent. Note the settings on your studio equipment and software on the first day of a production, and match them on subsequent days. Schedule your recording at the same time of day, every day, if outside noises intrude in a periodic manner.
Consistency is an important part of performance as well, so listen back to a few minutes of the previous day’s (or previous project’s) audio before starting a new session, and compare it to the sound you’re currently getting in your studio. Then make small adjustments to your settings if necessary.
5. Respect Your Microphone. Your mic is your closest friend in the studio – you’re practically kissing! Sitting too close to the mic can make your audio sound muddy and cause plosives – sharp bursts of breath that result in a popping sound on the recording, often caused by the letters P, B, and T. Sitting too far from the mic will cause it to pick up too much of the room and not enough of your wonderful voice.
One trick for finding the right distance from the mic is to make a “hang ten” sign with one hand, placing your thumb on your chin and your pinky on the mic. That’s roughly how far away you should be. Be sure to repeat the lesson from point 4, and keep your distance and location relative to the mic steady as you record.
Finally, don’t forget that your microphone will pick up everything. Don’t wear loose jewelry or clothes that make noise when they brush against something. Take off that ticking analog watch, and keep your cell phone out of the booth. Incoming calls and texts can cause interference between your audio interface and your computer, and can be a major distraction for you as well.
6. Prep Your Script. There’s an age old tale that every narrator has heard at least once. A colleague with a busy schedule forgoes script prep and records the book “cold,” only to find out in the last chapter that one of the characters had a thick accent the entire time. D’oh! Save yourself the trouble and read through your scripts at least once before recording. This will allow you time to sort out character choices and do pronunciation research ahead of time. Trust us, you don’t want to stop recording every 5 seconds to look up a strange word you can’t pronounce.
Find a way to keep everything that informs your performance straight. Some narrators highlight. Some write in the margins. Some keep a spreadsheet with character voices, pronunciations and other performance notes. However you do it, find a method that works for you and stick to it. This ensures the recording process will go smoothly and efficiently.
7. Take Care of Your Instrument. You are the most important piece of equipment in your studio. Take care of your voice. Reduce intake of sugary drinks, as they cause bloating (which inhibits your ability to project from the diaphragm) and excess mucous in the mouth and throat (which will make you sound gross). Avoid alcohol before recording, as it can dry out the vocal chords. Too much caffeine will do the same, with the added drawback of causing a rushed-sounding read. And don’t smoke. We don’t even have to tell you why that’s such a bad thing for your voice, do we?
Finally, remember that audiobook production, as fun, artistically rewarding, and profitable as it can be, isn’t everything. Schedule “mental health” time. Take a walk. Zone out in front of the TV for a bit. Go to the gym. Get out into the real world before you go stir crazy in your studio. Keeping your body and mind healthy will ensure you’re focused on one thing in the studio: getting a great sounding read.
Following these basic tips will put you ahead of all the other rookies and set you on the path to a rewarding, successful audiobook career. And who knows, maybe someday you’ll be the one playfully yelling DUH! at an inexperienced colleague who had to learn something the hard way. Just make sure to be nice and show them this post so they don’t repeat their mistakes.
What tips would you put on your DUH! list? Help the next generation of audiobook pros in the comments!
As we enter the final weeks of 2013, listmakers near and far are weighing in on the “Best of 2013”. Whether you’re looking for inspiration while writing or recording, in need of a break from hours of creative work, or just looking for your next great listen, you’ll find something to love in our roundup of the Best of The Best of 2013.
Audible’s Best of 2013: Check out the best listens in every category from Audible’s editors, as well as listener favorites.
Now that you’ve got a feel for the best written and spoken words of 2013, think about how you can apply what you’ve learned to your writing and recording in 2014. What trends did you notice this year? What genres topped everyone’s list? Take good notes, share them below, and let them lead you into a productive and successful 2014!