Tag Archives: thats voiceover

This Week in Links: October 17 – 21

Deadline for Holiday Season Audiobook Submissions

We know, we know; Halloween is still a week away. But this isn’t an example of holiday creep. We just need to inform you that the deadline to submit audiobooks to ACX for the best chance to be on sale for the holiday season is Friday, December 2. Make sure your productions meet our Audio Submission Requirements and submit, review, or approve holiday projects in advance of that day to take advantage of the gift-giving season.

Need help producing, publishing, or marketing those productions? Read on…

For Producers:

How Can a Voice Over Actor Manage a Busy Day – via Voice Over Herald – “To manage your voice over business better you have to allot time to accomplish all tasks that goes along with running a business.”

Upping the Articulation Challenge – via Dr. Ann Utterback – “This challenge attacks some sloppiness that has become okay in conversation, but it’s often not acceptable for professional work.”

Pronunciation, Dialect, & Speech Resources for Audiobook Narrators – via AudioEloquence – Bookmark this one-stop shop for voiceover performance resources right now.

Your One-Hour Audiobook MBA – via ACX/That’s Voiceover – Learn how to mind your own audiobook business during our panel in Los Angeles this November!

For Rights Holders:

Turn Your Author Website Up to 11 (with Bonus Content) – via Digital Book World – Once you’ve got your author website set up, you’ve got to get listeners to visit it.

How to Write a Book Trailer – via The Verbs – Authors and actors can – and should – team up to create engrossing audiobook trailers to promote their titles.

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – October 2016 – via The Book Designer – Learn from one author’s experience with what she did vs. what she should have done.

Should You Promote Your Book By Yourself? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – 28 questions to ask yourself before you start promoting your title.

This Week in Links: November 9 – 13

For Producers:

Let’s Get Serious About Breath Support – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Breathing is the energy for speech, and not having good breath support is like driving a car with watered down gasoline.”

7 Things (And A Bonus) You Can’t Overlook Before Sending Your Voice Over Auditions via Voice-over Xtra – “[T]hese 7 points cannot be overlooked. They are the Holy Grail of “must-do” actions on the pre-flight list – a “basic necessities” list of pertinent reminders.

How to Effectively Deal with Customer Dissatisfaction in Voiceover – via Victoria DeAnda – “It is never easy to hear criticism. The first step in dealing with it is to understand that this happens to everyone. The next step is to help the client.”

Audiobook Narrator Tavia Gilbert Shares Her Secret to a Riveting Read – via Writer’s Digest – Learn from this short Q and A with a seasoned audiobook narrator.

From Amateur to All-Star: Everything I Wish I’d Known About Audiobook VO – via That’s Voiceover – Join ACX at That’s Voiceover in Los Angeles on November 14th to learn audiobook production from three Audible Approved Producers.

For Rights Holders:

Book Marketing on Facebook – via Book Marketing Tools – Learn why Facebook may be better for brand building than direct sales.

From Casting to A Narrator to Happily Ever After – via Karen Commins – The Audible Approved Producer offers pro tips on casting your audiobook from an actors’ perspective (check out Karen’s companion article here).

Book Marketing: How Authors Can Use Periscope’s Video Streaming Service – via ALLi – Author Chris Syme takes a look at how the emerging social video platform can work for book promotion.

How to Write Funny Dialogue – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Give your narrator something fun to voice.

This Week in Links: November 2 – 6

For Rights Holders:

Five Ways for Self-published Authors to Use Video to Promote Self-Published Books – via ALLi – Read how author Laxmi Hariharan uses the moving image to help build her author platform while having a lot of fun.

15 Authors Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram – via BookBub – “[H]ere are some great examples of authors who’ve been able to successfully build an audience and publish content that has connected with many followers.”

The 2015 October Platform Challenge – via Writer’s Digest – Need to beef up your author platform? This 31-day challenge to get you where you want to be.

Writers Need A Breakthrough, Not A Breakdown – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Feeling stuck? Perhaps it’s time to affect change by shaking things up.

For Producers:

Are You Suffering From Mike Fright? – via Nethervoice – Halloween’s over, so you’ve got no excuse for being afraid of your microphone.

From Amateur to All-Star: Everything I Wish I’d Known About Audiobook VO – via That’s Voiceover – Join ACX at That’s Voiceover in Los Angeles on November 14th to learn the do’s and don’ts of audiobook production.

[VIDEO] Reducing Voice Over Breaths Using Audacity – via Gary Terzza –  Learn a quick and easy way to subtly reduce the sound of prominent breaths when using Audacity.

5 Ways To Get Top Of Mind With Voice Over Clients – via Marc Scott – “It’s so easy to get caught up thinking about how to market ourselves to new clients, that sometimes we forget about reaching out to the clients we already have!”

You Will Always Read Like a Child, According to Science– via Gizmodo – Learn about pseudo-homophones and why your brain still gets tripped up sounding out the words you read.

ACX Guest Post: Andi Ackerman

Last month, ACX met new talent Andi Ackerman while we where out in LA for That’s Voiceover 2013, and she joins us today to help ACX producers learn from her experience. Read on, and let Andi help you avoid some of the mistakes she made in her early in her audiobook career.

Four Things I Learned About Audiobook Production The Hard Way

Most people think of themselves as reasonably astute, myself included.  I may not be genius material, but I like to fancy myself perhaps just a bit smarter than the average bear, or at least smart enough to not have to read instructions. But in truth I always need to read the instructions.

Going against my usual habit, I did actually read the ACX web site pretty thoroughly before accepting my first title.  But that only began to prepare me for my ultimately wonderful, but initially torturous audiobook journey.  Below is a brief summary of four things I’ve learned about audiobook production over the past year.

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ACX Producer Andi Ackerman

1. Amazon reviews only tell part of the story.

Believe it or not, it took me three tries to learn what should be a pretty obvious concept. Everybody has different tastes, and some wonderful books have never been reviewed on Amazon. To make an informed decision when choosing titles to audition for or produce, read as much of the book as you can yourself before you accept the project. (Editor’s Note: ACX producers should feel comfortable politely asking the rights holder for a full script before agreeing to produce the title.)

2. Don’t take on a project that makes you uncomfortable.

Some nonfiction titles that seem innocuous can turn out to espouse points of view with which you may strongly disagree. And in the words of the brilliant Richard Horvitz, the voice is the work of the spirit, or in other words, our true selves.  Your feelings can be heard in your voice.

I agreed to narrate a nonfiction title about holistic health by a credentialed, reputable author.  I love health!  I want people to be healthy!  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, a few pages into the second chapter I discovered the author held opinions about childhood vaccinations that I vehemently opposed.  I could not in good conscience produce that book.  The author deserved a narrator who would help them realize their vision, not undermine it.  And if I had followed my own advice in point number one, I wouldn’t have made this mistake!

There are certain things you have to know about yourself, and I know that I can’t do erotica because I get the giggles. If you don’t care for violence you probably want to stay away from mysteries and police procedurals. You’re going to be spending a good chunk of time with a work so choose a project you like.

3. Editing will always take you longer than you think.

When I first signed on to ACX I had been editing short project voiceover work comfortably, and naively believed an audiobook couldn’t really be that different. It really is that different.  I had a pretty darn steep learning curve with the production end.  Allow yourself more time than you think you’ll need.  Watch the videos on ACX and check out tutorials on YouTube before you start your first book.

4. Don’t get so caught up in the technical end that you forget to enjoy your time with the words.

You’ve been entrusted with someone’s “baby.”  It really is a gift and a joy to be able to create a landscape, a universe, a story with your voice.

Now that I’m wiser and more experienced (but not yet a master!), the work of audiobook production is a joy.  I am grateful to be able to do what I love.  If you’re just starting out on your ACX journey, I hope you can learn from my experience and forge a successful voiceover career.

Help others learn from your mistakes by leaving your best piece of audiobook production advice in the comments!

Advice From Authors Near and Far

We’ve attended quite a few publishing & voiceover events this summer, from BEA to That’s Voiceover, and met many current and future ACX users along the way. Last month, we attended the annual conferences of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), and we learned great tips from successful authors along the way.

ACX’s own Jason Ojalvo took Atlanta by storm at the RWA’s annual conference, taking part in the fruitful Amazon indie publishing panel, and we’re not just saying that because he tried his first peach cobbler. Authors learned about the great benefits and services provided through Amazon, from Amazon Author Central to Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, as well as ACX. We also attended panels conducted by ACX authors such as Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy. Both offered tips for their fellow writers, including:

  • Write more than one book. There is strength in numbers
  • Spend more time writing than promoting. Promoting your work is definitely important. But as a writer, your main job is to write.
  • Network with authors and cross promote. You can multiply each others’ efforts, especially when you’re in similar or complimentary genres.
  • Get to know your retailers. Different retailers offer varying services and have different timelines for getting your book in their store. Learn who offers what to best navigate the landscape.
  • Get all of your fans to sign up for your newsletter. This is mainly to drive sales on the release date, in order to get on the best seller list. Be aggressive about getting email addresses – they’re even more important than fans on Facebook or Twitter.

Moving now to the Pacific Northwest, ACX Product Manager Mike Stover presented ACX to the gathered authors at PNWA, participated in the Independent Author booth for the full three days of the conference, and expertly avoided the siren song of Seattle’s casinos. Here’s some of what he learned from the fantastic authors he met:

  • Authors love hearing their work in audio. And, it inspires them to write future books with audio in mind.
  • Authors are advertising their audio edition alongside their print and eBooks. This is especially beneficial with ACX’s $25 bounty program.
  • Authors are putting their 5 minute sample on their blog or website. Oftentimes, fans only need to hear their favorite work in audio to be convinced to buy it.

We look forward to spreading the word about ACX at upcoming industry events like Novelists, Inc. 2013 in October and Self Publishing Book Expo this November. We hope to see you there!

Would you like to see ACX at your next publishing or recording industry event?

The Great ACX California Adventure

We’ve just returned from Tinseltown, meeting producers and actors at That’s Voiceover, the one-day voiceover acting career expo, at the beautiful Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood. Over the course of a whirlwind day, guests attended panels on how to work the mic, presenting from the red carpet, and making a living with audiobooks, hosted by ACX.

Audible VP and head of ACX Jason Ojalvo moderated narrators Scott Brick and Shelby Lewis as they gave their best tips for breaking into the audiobook business and succeeding. If you couldn’t attend, here are a few of our favorite insights.

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Photo credit: Jeff Fasano

Breaking into the Industry

Shelby’s and Scott’s paths to success in the audiobook industry were very different. For Scott, “it [was] all about getting the audition.” The right contact lead to the right book that helped him get his next gig, but he added, “14 years later, it’s so much easier. You make a demo, you put it on ACX, and you can get a job the same day.”

“Once you get your foot in the door, you tend to stay in the room,” agreed Jason.

Shelby was discovered by Audible in 2011 by submitting her wild and crazy audition for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland during that year’s That’s Voiceover audition contest. Her first audition led to more projects through both traditional audiobook publishers and ACX. “It’s truly a 9-to-5 job whether you’re in a closet or a studio,” she said.

On Acting Versus Storytelling

Scott and Shelby also discussed two approaches to their narration technique. For Shelby, she likened it to choosing between performing sitcoms and Shakespeare. “It’s not that one’s better than the other. They’re just different.”

Scott added: “It’s all storytelling. Doing an audiobook is like shaking hands. Two people do the work. What I’m doing when narrating the book is asking the listener to take me by the hand and work with me. If you’re authentic, that’s what matters.” When asked if he ever performs character voices, he recommended bowing to the context and genre, and if it’s called for, meeting the challenge enthusiastically.

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Photo credit: Jeff Fasano

Preparation and Recording Advice

In the booth, Shelby shared a tip she’d been taught by Scott on good hydration: “Take a sip of water after each page, even if you’re not thirsty,” reminding that dehydration can take hours to overcome.

Scott also recommended using printed manuscript pages in the booth to perform because that helps keep track of how far he’s read and reminds him to take breaks. On an iPad, he can scroll for long periods before realizing how much time has gone by. He also recommended no more than two pages on your mic stand to prevent your voice from straying too far from the mic as you read the first and third pages.

Jason’s advice on preparation was to read the text before beginning your record: “You don’t want to find out on the last page that your English detective was actually Scottish.”

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Photo Credit: Hannah Wall

We truly enjoyed meeting so many of you at That’s Voiceover and hearing your success stories! We’ll leave you with one last photo: no trip to California would be complete without a requisite stop at world-famous In-N-Out Burger.

What’s your best tip for those just breaking into audiobooks? Tell us in the comments!

Alex Hyde-White’s 4 Tips For New Narrators

With That’s Voiceover 2013 coming up on August 17th, we thought we’d check in with Alex Hyde-White, winner of the male narration contract at That’s Voiceover 2011. If Alex’s story inspires you to attend That’s Voiceover! and enter our contest, click here to register, and use code ACX2013 for a 20% discount on attendance!

In August 2011, I was “just” an actor living in Hollywood. I was working with a voiceover demo producer when I saw an ad for the ACX Narration Contest during the upcoming That’s Voiceover! conference. I entered by reading the audition script for The Prince and the Pauper, which just happened to be in my wheelhouse. It was well recorded, thanks to the producer and her editor, and I won!  The moment I saw my name on the screen at the Pacific Design Center with a packed house felt as good as a having top-billing at a premiere.

AHWHaving never done an Audiobook read, and having never won a contest, I was speechless. But not for long. Now, I can’t stop talking. Thanks to ACX, I have over 40 titles produced, with a growing body of work on Audible.

The open marketplace that ACX and Audible have created encourages anybody to try their hand (or their voice) at an audiobook. Now, when I say anybody, naturally I mean anybody who is motivated to start with some basic equipment, develop their craft, and find their style. Cloud-based and easy to navigate, ACX gives anyone in the U.S. the opportunity to post their demo and search for a good fit from the many titles on offer.

In the hopes that others get as much out of ACX as I am, here are 4 things I have learned.

1. Start with two demos, one fiction and one non-fiction.

Find something you like and want to revisit for fiction and something you are good at for non-fiction. For instance, if you like vampire novels, find a passage you enjoy reading and mark it for the emotional beats that resonate with you.

For non-fiction, consider something familiar to you, perhaps related to your past or current work or career. For instance, if you have worked in hospitality at hotels or restaurants or are good at helping people and solving problems, you may be great at self-help or management titles. I have learned to bring a sense of the same authenticity and enthusiasm that the author has invested on the page when voicing nonfiction.

2. Pay Attention to Technical Quality

If you have the time and a quiet space to experiment, record yourself and then find your best mastering specs. Keep it sounding natural and don’t get too caught up in the technical options, which are many. Remember, audiobooks don’t require heavy effects, and if you like what you hear technically and are happy with your read – then you have accomplished something to be proud of (Editor’s note: listen to samples and read listener reviews on Audible to get a sense of what sounds good to you and to listeners). You may want to record your first few books with an engineer for two reasons: to lighten the production load on yourself, to have another set of ears in the booth. The feedback you get and give will be a great two-way, win-win exercise. And you will end up with a great product.

3. Start with a Short Book

By beginning with a title less than 6 hours long, even as short as 1.5 hours, you will be creating and perfecting your craft under manageable conditions. Things such as deadlines, corrections and delivery protocols will be dealt with relatively simply without the burden of too much content.  After all, the work necessary to produce 90 minutes is the same work necessary to produce 9 hours, there just more of it to do.

4. Invest in Yourself

Before committing to expensive equipment and software, invest in your talent by doing a short Royalty Share read without worrying about if it will sell enough. Even if it means you “lose money to make money.” Even if it means paying an engineer to produce it. You will feel like a pro and, without having to edit, you can focus on the read. You will grow from there.  If you have the time and are technically able, by all means do both the recording and the editing. You will grow these skills more quickly, but be wary of biting off more than you can chew. You want this training period to be fun and rewarding, not discouraging.

ACX provided me with an opportunity to get behind the mike and craft stories, from nonfiction to sci-fi. It gave me the opportunity to practice my craft and learn to listen and utilize my ear for accents and tone.

I am thankful to ACX, Audible, and That’s Voiceover! for giving this veteran of TV and film an amazing new career .

And we’re glad to have such talented actors on ACX willing to share their experiences. What advice would you give screen actors looking to break into audiobook production? Tell us below!

This Week In Links – July 15 – 19

This week, we’ve collected some interesting and informative links from around the online audiobook world. Share what you learned below, and add your favorite links from this week in the comments!

Producers:

You Know The Voices, Not The Faces – Via CNN.com – Compelling interview with John DiMaggio ( aka Bender on Futurama), Tara Strong (Rugrats, Powerpuff Girls), and Lawrence Shapiro, director of the upcoming documentary I Know That Voice.

Stop Doing The Basics – Via Dan Hurst Voiceovers – Why moving beyond the basics may be the key for your VO business.

Why You Can’t Take Rejection Personally as an Actor – Via Rebecca Forstadt – “If you want to be an actor, you have to roll with the punches.”

Announcing The 2nd ACX/That’s Voiceover! Audiobook Narration Contest – Via The ACX Blog – Exciting opportunity exclusively for attendees of That’s Voiceover!

Rights Holders:

Why Watching TV Can Actually Be Good For A Writer – Via Writer’s Digest – Notes from the panel discussion at ThrillerFest 2013.

3 Keys to Writing Success and Overcoming Procrastination – Via Training Writers – Shelly Hitz offers tips for staying productive.

The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover – via The New Yorker – A look at the history and current state of book covers.

Thanks for clicking! We’ll be back next week with more news and notes!

Announcing the 2nd ACX/That’s Voiceover Audiobook Narration Contest

ACX is pleased to bring you another great audition opportunity open exclusively to attendees of That’s Voiceover!

Anyone ACX_Contest_Logoattending That’s Voiceover in Los Angeles on August 17th, 2013 is invited to record an audition for for one of two titles currently listed on ACX. Male narrators can audition for The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green, while female narrators can read for An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. Upload your audition to ACX by August 14th, and a panel of audiobook experts, including Audible Studios’ Executive Producer Mike Charzuk will select one male and one female VO to narrate one of the two titles to be produced by Audible. Winners will be announced at That’s Voiceover! Click here for the official rules.

That’s Voiceover! is an exciting, interactive, behind-the-scenes career event where agents and industry buyers come together with some of the top voice actors in the voiceover industry to reveal the practical steps to establishing and sustaining a career in this rewarding and intriguing field.

We highly reclogoommend you attend this fun and informative event, and take advantage of the opportunity to audition and potentially read for Audible Studios. You never know where it might lead – just ask previous winner Shelby Lewis!

Register here, and use code ACX2013 for a 20% discount on attendance!

Let us know if you’re signed up for That’s Voiceover and plan to submit an audition by telling us in the comments below!