We’ve got something special for this edition of ACX Success Stories. Author Jasinda Wilder, narrator Piper Goodeve, and engineer Pete Rohan are here to share the story of how ACX brought them together to produce the audiobook of Jasinda’s wildly successful “Falling Into You.” The origins of this unique partnership stretch as far back as the launch of ACX in 2011.
Engineer Pete Rohan:
I was working at Audible as an audio engineer when they announced the launch of ACX with great fanfare. There was a big company meeting were they presented the new site. I was immediately intrigued with the opportunity to produce audiobooks from home.
ACX Narrator Piper Goodeve
Narrator Piper Goodeve:
I was recording a series at Audible, with Pete as my engineer, in the spring of 2011. We hit it off really well and had a great time on those books. One day, while we were in session, Kat Lambrix, Audible Studios Production Manager/Producer, poked her head in to tell us that there was going to be an announcement of a new Audible venture called ACX. We took a break from our session and went to the meeting. We heard all the new ideas, the exciting future that this new site would lead to.
To my knowledge, ACX was the first service of its kind. Before its existence I had no way of connecting with rights holders to produce audio books. It just wasn’t an option for me and the narrators that I knew. We had to get work through the studios that were producing the audiobooks. ACX has had a very liberating effect on the industry. That first meeting motivated me to build my home studio, which paid for itself with the first project.
We left that meeting and looked at each other and Pete said, “If I build a booth, do you want to do this together?” I think I said something like “duh, of course!” I uploaded a picture and samples the next day and started building my ACX profile. I was really excited by the idea of being exposed to so many different titles and I was excited by the prospect of meeting authors directly.
ACX Author Jasinda Wilder
Author Jasinda Wilder:
My friend Hugh Howey advised that one of the first things you should do after hitting “publish” at KDP/CreateSpace is get on ACX and make an audiobook. So, I created an account, picked a title from my backlist, and got going. When I first started looking into narrators and voice actors, Piper’s name came up from several different sources. I knew another writer who’d hired Piper to do her book and just absolutely sung Piper’s praises. So I asked her to submit an audition for Falling Into You and loved her read.
I knew from the first few messages with Jasinda that she was going to be a great author to work with. You can tell a lot about someone in your first few messages. Jasinda messaged me on ACX asking if I would be interested in auditioning for her books. I checked out her books, did some research about her online, read her reviews (which were amazing!), and sent her an audition. She asked me to do one of her earlier books, as well as the subsequent books in that series. I felt very respected as a narrator and was treated as an important part of bringing her books to more people. She trusted me with her words and characters, and as a result I felt even more eager to give her a great product. She was really excited about working with Pete and I, and about opening up her books to a wider audience with the audiobook format. She trusted Pete and I as professionals.
Engineer Pete Rohan in his Queens, NY studio
In the beginning, there was a lot of trial and error, mostly on my part, working out the technical aspects of recording in a NYC apartment. Extraneous noises were a constant issue. There were early challenges of finding the right microphone, soundproofing the studio, producing an acceptable recording, etc. Piper was very patient. I dragged her to shop for microphones with me, I tried out different enclosures on her. She was my test subject. We soon worked out the kinks.
With the narrator selected and the studio built, production for Falling Into You was nearly ready to get under way. But there was still one more piece yet to fall into place.
When Jasinda contacted me about doing Falling Into You, she said she needed a male voice to read the Colton chapters, and asked if I could recommend anyone. I was acting in a production of Hamlet at the Tennessee Shakespeare Co. in Memphis, along with my boyfriend, actor Gabriel Vaughan. Since Gabe is a very talented actor and voiceover artist, and we had brought our mic with us to Memphis, I suggested him to Jasinda and he recorded some samples for her. She loved them and hired him to do the male chapters.
Piper is brilliant. She knows the business backward and forward. She and Gabe, who are also together in real life, have an amazing story of their own, which I just might steal for novel someday. With their blessing, of course.
Production would soon get under way at Pete’s Queens, NY studio. We’ll hear about that, as well as the subsequent success of Falling Into You, in part 2, coming to the ACX blog next week.
Do you have an ACX success story? Tell us in the comments and you might be the next one featured on our blog!