Tag Archives: produce audiobooks

ACX Storytellers: MCA Hogarth

ACX author M.C.A. Hogarth currently has 15 titles for sale on Audible, and has hit upon a ‘novel’ way to fund her audiobook productions and market her titles at the same time: Kickstarter! Today, we’re talking crowdfunding and how listening to her audio versions inspires M.C.A.’s next title.

Hi M.C.A. Tell us about your current audiobook project on ACX.

I’ve got quite a few irons in the fire! My space opera adventure Earthrise is in the approval queue now, with a science fiction short story collection, a novella and one fantasy short in the production phase, all with actors I’ve found through ACX.

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ACX Author M.C.A. Hogarth

Why did you decide to produce audio versions of your titles?

Fellow indie author Meilin Miranda mentioned her positive experience with ACX, so I decided to investigate and maybe test the waters with one of my shorter works. I’d never listened to an audiobook before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of the auditions. But I was blown away by the experience of hearing an actor interpret my works. In some cases, I learned things about the piece I hadn’t realized until someone else emphasized things I might not have noticed.

Has having your audio version produced changed the way you see your books, or the way you write?

I joke with my readers that there was MCAH writing before audiobooks, and MCAH writing after—that’s how big a difference it’s made! For instance, Jim McCance, who narrated my fantasy short “Fire in the Void,” made the anger of the narrator so palpable that I realized he wasn’t done yet—and that spawned an entire new novel!

Constructed languages are also a big feature of my science fiction and fantasy, and hearing actors take on that challenge has been instructive. Moe Egan‘s pronunciation of the alien words in “Freedom, Spiced and Drunk,” was so foreign to the way I heard it in my head that I realized there must be other populations on that world who speak the exact same language, but with an accent so different it would feel like a language barrier to the characters. That became a major plot point in my Stone Moon Trilogy.

This doesn’t even count the times when having an audiobook performance of a piece has driven me to write more in that setting, just to hear the actor continue to voice those characters. These days I try to schedule my projects so I’m approving audio in a setting that I’m also writing in, just for the way it makes me eager to get back to the keyboard.

You’re known for using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter for your audiobook productions. Tell us about that.

I use Kickstarter as both a marketing and funding platform for my audiobook editions. Because my work has been solely available in print or e-book prior to my first audiobook a year ago, my fanbase primarily consists of people who prefer those formats. Many of them are delighted to learn I am branching out! Now, when I use Kickstarter to raise funds for my print editions, I fold the audiobook edition in as a stretch goal, which gives me the opportunity to both gather money to pay my actors and give my readers a chance to listen to the audiobook edition and maybe become listeners as well as readers. Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice has been very useful in that regard.

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To date, I’ve run seven successful Kickstarters (out of seven!). In fact, my best-selling audiobook is the recording of my book on how to use Kickstarter! I wrote From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign to help other people succeed with their crowdfunding dreams and decided to produce it as an audiobook when I read that nonfiction is the fastest growing market segment in audio. That’s definitely so in my case!

What advice do you have for other authors who are considering having their titles produced as audiobooks?

Be brave! Don’t wait for your actor to come to you. Go hunting for your voice. And most importantly, be mindful of your budget. There are so many amazing actors out there you can easily overrun your budget paying for their time!

What’s your next project, and when will we see it on ACX?

Next year I anticipate having another five or six fantasy and science fiction titles available, including my award-winning short “In the Line of Duty.”

Thanks for sharing, M.C.A.

Have you experimented with crowdfunding your audiobook productions? Tell us in the comments.

Cashing In On The Checkpoint

Of all the steps in the audiobook production process on ACX, the 15 Minute Checkpoint may play the biggest role in ensuring that the final product turns out as the rights holder envisioned it. Today, we’ll explain the basics of the 15 Minute Checkpoint and go over the key aspects of this important step.

Why Have A Checkpoint?

On ACX, a rights holder and producer team up to bring the author’s vision to life. In an effort to make sure the production gets off on the right foot, ACX requires the producer to create a roughly 15 minute section of audio and upload it for the rights holder’s review. From the producer’s side, this audio should be indicative of the quality you’ll deliver when submitting the completed audiobook.

First Thing’s (Aren’t Always) First

The 15 Minute Checkpoint doesn’t have to be the 1st 15 minutes of the book. If there is a particularly difficult section later on, or an important character that’s not introduced in the first few chapters, ask the producer to tackle that portion first. As a rights holder, this is your last chance to review the audio and ask for changes before giving the producer the go ahead to record and produce the entire book. Changes that you’d suggest at this point include pacing, pronunciation of names, character voices/accents or how the narrator handles dramatization. Listen closely while reading along with the script, noting any issues with the read as well as the sound quality. Communicate with the producer and request changes to anything that’s not quite right. ACX producers are professionals and can handle direction. They usually even welcome it, as long as you’re constructive and specific.

Finally, make sure to schedule time around the due date of the 15 minute checkpoint to listen to this audio. Approving or requesting changes should be done in a timely fashion to keep your project on schedule and your producer focused on your book.

Once both sides have reached a consensus on the sound of the 15 Minute Checkpoint, the rights holder can approve it on ACX and the producer can begin producing the final audio. Now is also the perfect time to start getting your audiobook marketing plans in order. That final audio will be uploaded to ACX before you know it!

What do you listen for when reviewing the 15 minute checkpoint on your ACX productions?