Tag Archives: voiceover

This Week in Links: May 15- 19

For Rights Holders:

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – May 2017 – via The Book Designer – This month, the site’s lead writer shares her biggest marketing mistake: not taking her own advice.

The Key to Creating a Successful Blog: Evergreen Content – via The Write Life – Creating blog posts that are constantly wanted and searched for is a great way to attract readers through social media.

How to Form an Indie Author Collective (and Why You Should Consider Doing So) – via ALLi – [“K]nowing others are supporting you and holding you accountable puts wind in your sails.”

Branding vs. Marketing – via CreateSpace – “I’ve heard people use the terms interchangeably, and frankly, that’s just wrong. They serve the same purpose, but they are two different tools serving that purpose.”

For Producers:

On Excellence in Voiceover. Do You Dare to Push Yourself? – via Edge Studio – Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

2 Customer Service Examples: The Wrong Way and the Right Way – via audio’connell – Freelance VO’s need to give clients great customer service. Two anecdotes from other industries provide examples to follow.

10 Money Tips For Voiceover Freelancers – via Tom Dheere – “Make, save, and spend money like a business, not like a clueless rogue artiste.”

Tales From The Voice Booth – via People Magazine – Put some fun in your weekend with H. John Benjamin’s hilarious voiceover horror stories.

This Week in Links: December 19 -December 23

FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS:

How I Chose a Narrator for My Audiobook – via Josh Steimle – Josh provides great advice on how to pick the right narrator for your project and how to choose when you receive numerous auditions.

Build An Epic Visual Strategy for Your Author Brand – via Your Writer Platform – Branding has become as important as the words contained in your book. See how to properly brand yourself to ensure you reach your target audience.

What Are You Thankful For? (Here’s Why Each of Us Is a #ThankfulWriter – via Writer’s Digest – Tis the season to be thankful for all the things we have. Take a moment to reflect on what makes you a #ThankfulWriter.

Is Your Plan For Success “I Just Want to Write My Books”? – via The Book Designer – Marketing a book once it’s completed can sometimes be harder than actually writing the book.  TBD has helpful advice for what happens after “The End”.

FOR PRODUCERS:

9 VO Hacks to Sound Better and Save Money – via Voices.com – Who doesn’t want to sound better while being more productive and saving some money all at the same time?

A Client’s Guide to Selecting the Right Voice-Over Talent for Your Project – via Debbie Grattan – Getting picked for a project can be difficult. Check out this great article about how to turn that audition into an offer.

Drink Up for A Better Voice – via VoiceOverHerald.com – Magic potions, snake oil, bizarre concoctions? Nothing works better for your voice than a tall glass of H2O. Discover the benefits of being (and staying) hydrated.

4 Ways To Get From Good To Great – via Nether Voice – Paul shares tricks of the trade that you might have overlooked or never thought of that can make you a better narrator.

This Week in Links: October 31 – November 4

For Producers:

Secrets From Successful Voice-Overs – via Paul Strikwerda – It’s easy to view your path as a Boulevard of Broken Dreams; your peers offer their best advice to make sure you don’t get stuck there.

How Punctuation Marks Help You Read Voice Over Scripts Better – via Voice Over Herald – “Punctuation is important for voice overs as it works as an aid in reading, phrasing, and in the overall interpretation of the script.”

How To Pick A Voice Over Conference To Attend – via Marc Scott – Learning and networking at an industry event is a great way to advance your career. Might we humbly suggest you join us at That’s Voiceover next week?

5 Things You Should Do for Your VO Business Before the End of the Year – via Dave Courvoisier – Don’t wait until January to take stock and set yourself up for another successful year.

For Rights Holders:

Which Demographic Do You Promote Your Book To? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “When promoting – and writing – a book, one must always think about the readership demographics.  Which types of media will you pursue?  What kind of fan do you hope to create?”

Book Marketing Success & Failure [PODCAST] – via Book Marketing Tools – Bestselling author A.J. Cosmo shares what he’s learned from his promotional efforts that worked… or didn’t.

Favorite Ways to Promote a Virtual Book Tour – via Build Book Buzz – Learn how to make the most out of your online book tour efforts without ever leaving your office.

Simplify Your Social Media Marketing: Set Up Outpost Channels – via Smart Marketing for Authors – Build a presence on your lesser-used social platforms in order to boost your efforts on those you can dedicate more time to.

This Year in Links: 2015

Here at ACX, we’re proud of the work you’ve done creating thousands of audiobooks in 2015. We hope the education we’ve shared this year has helped make you a better audiobook producer, publisher, and marketer. Before we look forward to 2016, we’re counting down the top links – based on your clicks – published in our This Week in Links series this year.

For Rights Holders:

5. Where to Find Free Images Online to Use in Blogging & Social Media – via The Write Conversation – Visual marketing content has been shown to be at least two to five times more effective than text alone. Boost your efforts with these free resources.

4. The Twitter Secret – via BadRedheadMedia – Learn how online fan acknowledgement could be secret ingredient in your successful author platform.

3. Six Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books – via where writers win – Learn key words to use in your “Amazon sales page, your website, your book announcement press release, your e-mail announcement, and other promotional materials that will help you sell more books.”

2. How To Promote Your Self-Published Book On The Cheap – via Book Marketing Tools – New authors may not have the robust marketing budgets of the established players. Use these tactics to jump start your promotions.

1. 25+ Ways To Market Your Audiobook: A Quick Guide – via Kate Tilton – A distillation of our #TalkingACX Twitter chat features a trove of audiobook-specific marketing ideas.

For Producers:

5. Potato Chips Required – Who Would Have Thought? – via Mike Lenz – Can you believe that the fix for common in-booth issues could be so delicious?

4. 3 Things That Define A Successful Audiobook Narrator – via Dane Reid – Veteran Nashville-based audiobook producer Joe Loesch shares the three pillars of his successful career.

3. What is the Best Microphone for Voiceover Work? – via Voice Over Herald – Five solid options for getting professional-quality recordings without breaking the bank.

2. What’s Your Production Process? – via Wayne Farrell – The Audible Approved Producer shares a step by step guide to his production method. A must-read for new narrators.

1. The 7 Most Overlooked Daily Habits of Successful Voice Actors – via Dave Courvoisier – The top spot goes to the veteran “CourVO” and his reminder of the little things that can lead to big successes in the voiceover field.

Get all the best audiobook-related links in your inbox – subscribe to the ACX blog.

Highlights From The 2014 Narrator Knowledge Exchange

At the end of May, 50 ACX producers joined us for a day of learning and networking at our Newark, NJ offices. These lucky attendees were treated to a day of hands-on training in audiobook production techniques and performance skills, and had the chance to audition in person for Audible Studios’ award-winning production team.

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Author Julie Ortolon and ACX head honcho Jason Ojalvo.

Best-selling author Julie Ortolon kicked off the day in a brief interview about her experience in the audiobook industry. Then, breakout sessions let attendees dive deep into performance and technical topics, featuring small-group instruction from the Audible Studios staff, and everyone got to audition for an Audible Studios producer before heading home.

Check out our video recap of the event, then tell us where you’d like to see our next Knowledge Exchange via the poll below.

We truly enjoyed spending the day with these wonderful producers and are already working on ways to make the next Knowledge Exchange even more fun and informative.

Bonus question: What would you like to learn about at the next Narrator Knowledge Exchange? Tell us in the comments!

This Week in Links: March 24th – 28th

Did you know that as of this week, over 16,000 audiobooks have been created through ACX? That is a lot of books! Thanks to all of you, the actors and authors, who made this milestone possible!

Here’s to the next 16,000… and beyond! This week, we’re highlighting our favorite inspiration you’ll need to keep your audiobook game sharp.

Enjoy the weekend reading, and join us next week for more audiobook action!

For Rights Holders:

Hillary Clinton’s Four Lessons for Authors – via Digital Book World – The former first lady and secretary of state is also an accomplished author. Read the tips she recently shared with the Association of American Publishers.

25 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Be A Fearless Writer – via Buzzfeed – In need of a pick me up? Check out these uplifting quotes for authors, by authors.

Writing: Why You Need An Editor – via ALLi – Great advice for authors on “how to choose and use an editor to improve their writing craft and the quality of their books.”

Book Cover Design: The Creative Process – via Chameleon Ink – Can you judge an article by its advice on cover design? If so, you’ll deem this article extremely helpful!

For Producers:

Seven Great VO Success Questions – via vo2gogo – David H. Lawrence XVII brings you 7 important questions every VO should ask themselves.

Audacity: Free Video Tutorial – via Teacher Training Videos – Here’s a detailed walk-through of the popular free recording and editing software.

Networking Tips for Voice Over Talent – via The Great Voice Company – If you attend industry events like workshops, mixers, or conferences, Susan Berkley’s got some good advice to help you make the most of your time.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Audiobook Professionals

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

1. Don’t skimp on equipment. If you have poor sounding audio equipment, nothing else will matter to your potential clients. Not your talent, not your professionalism, not your beautiful head shot. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a good sound either.

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!

ACX Studio Gear Series: Home Studio Setup – Part 1

If you’re a regular reader of the ACX blog, you know we’ve been working our way through the list of items you’ll need for a professional sounding home recording studio. But what about the setup of the studio itself? Over the next few posts, we’ll be joined by expert and prolific producers from Audible Studios and ACX, who’ll offer their tips for the essential elements of home studio construction.

Today, we talk to ACX engineers, an author who built a home studio to narrate his own books, and our own Audible Studios staff about the importance of using high quality equipment and working with the noisy quirks of your unique recording space.

ACX: In your opinion, what are the most important elements of home studio construction?

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Peter A. Rohan’s Queens, NY home studio

Peter A. Rohan, ACX Producer: You’ve got to start with the right equipment. Use a “quiet” mic that gives you the best frequency results for your voice.  Choose an interface with a good preamp that provides quality analog to digital (a/d) and digital to analog (d/a) conversion and that will not introduce a lot of noise. A budget mic and inferior interface can introduce an amount of noise and contribute to your overall noise floor.  I found that out the hard way, after exhausting all my energies in soundproofing and absorption only to find that it was the cheap mic that I was using that was generating most of my noise floor.

Darren Vermaas, Audible Studios Post-Production Associate:  Definately don’t skimp on the equipment.  Using proper gear in the first steps of recording is going to make your life a lot easier in the end.  Besides saving you time in post-production editing out noises and trying to figure out how to bring your overall noise floor down, it will simply make your book sound more professional.

Rob Granniss, Brick Shop Audiobooks: Get as good a mic, headphones, preamp and DAW as you can. Then get to know them as well as you can. Compare them with every other reference possible, including your laptop speakers, your cellphone, your audio geek friend’s sound system, etc. Listen to the same source material on each and note differences. Listen to your own recordings on those sources, as well as professionally produced recordings (voice as well as music if you’d like). The comparison isn’t to find what you like or what is “true” but rather to find what’s missing or is too enhanced about your own setup.

The "Brick Box," Brick Shop Audiobooks custom self recording studio, in Brooklyn, NY

The “Brick Box,” Brick Shop Audiobooks’ custom “self-record” studio, in Brooklyn, NY

Peter:  Also, be wary of cooling fans and keep them away from your mic.  Avoid recording with your laptop near the microphone or anything else with a cooling fan that turns on and off as the temperature fluctuates.

Darren: Get away from noises. That ticking clock, running refrigerator, dogs barking outside your window at the loud trucks driving by, and (of course) that fan running in your computer are all potential hazards.  These are all real things I’ve heard come through in recordings here. The last example is one of the most important to consider.

You will discover a lot of things about your room while you’re setting up a home studio.  Noises you’ve never paid mind to are going to start jumping out, and you’ll have to figure out how to deal with them.  When I needed to record vocals in my noisy 5 story apartment building with window AC units, you could find me hanging packing blankets and winter coats in my closet, positioning a microphone in there, and sweating it out while recording to make sure it sounded good. Not glamorous, and not comfortable, but it did sound good!

Stephen Woodfin’s home studio

Stephen Woodfin, ACX Author/Narrator:

Without a doubt the single best thing I did was to read and study the information on ACX about what is involved in the process of setting up a home studio.  I found that information practical and concise and used it as a blueprint each step along the way. I supplemented the ACX material by watching YouTube videos about the construction of home studios. In addition to watching videos, I read blogs and bought several books that provided more in depth discussions of audio production and equipment.  From these books I was able to determine which equipment was essential for my purposes and which optional. I also learned that it wasn’t necessary to buy the most expensive equipment available because there are economical ways to build a studio capable of producing first-rate audio without skimping.

Check back with us next week for more for more expert discussion on home studio setup!

What do you think is the most important aspect of building a home studio?

Sneak Peak – ACX Audiobook Production Terms Glossary

How do you define success? Our latest effort to educate ACX actors and help them become better audiobook producers is an audio terminology glossary coming soon to the ACX website. But first, we wanted to give blog readers a sneak peek of a few key definitions.

  • Artifact:  Undesirable sounds around words, such as random, humming noises and metallic sounding breaths. Artifacts can be added to the original audio from excessive or incorrect noise reduction resulting from technical limitations.
  • Decibel (dB):  The standard unit of measurement used to represent sound volume or sound level. In the digital audio world, it is often assumed that when referring to “dB”, it actually refers to decibels relative to full scale (dBFS), where “0dBFS” represents the maximum possible digital level. This means that measurements in the digital audio realm are generally represented in negative values (-).
  • Edited Master:  Raw audio (unprocessed) that has gone through the editing/quality control pass (QC pass) stage. This form of audio has not been processed a.k.a. mastered, but has been edited and corrected (QC pass).
  • Headroom:  A term related to dynamic range expressed in decibels (dB), as the difference between the typical operating level, and the maximum operating level in an audio system. The maximum output level of a Digital Audible Workstation (DAW) is 0dB, though many DAWs have additional headroom built into the master fader which allows sound to be output between +3dBFS and +6dBFS. At Audible Studios, audiobook recordings are limited to a maximum peak of -3dB in order to leave headroom and avoid clipping (distortion caused by audio peaks exceeding 0dB). This limit allows for 3dB of headroom, leaving room for any surprise peaks that may occur when converting or exporting audiobooks to audible.com.
  • Limiter:  A type of compressor with a fast attack and release, and a fixed ratio of 20:1 or greater. The dynamic action effectively prevents the audio signal from rising above the output ceiling setting. See “Brickwall limiting” also.
  • Normalize:  The process of increasing all digital samples linearly, by the same amount, in order for the largest original sample to reach a given level, based on a peak or RMs value.

Which audiobook production terms do you think should be included in our glossary?

Social Media Tips For Voice Actors

We recently attended a webinar broadcast by the APA, hosted by Tavia Gilbert and featuring a panel of veteran narrators and publishers discussing social media for narrators. Today, we’ve selected our favorite tips that will help audiobook narrators navigate an online landscape that can at times seem overwhelming.

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  1. It’s better to do a few platforms, and do them well, than try and be everywhere. There are many social media networks out there, from Facebook and Twitter to Google+, Pinterest and others. People can sometimes feel the need to be everywhere, but it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew. You don’t have to be on any social media sites. Only branch out to social platforms you’re comfortable on.
  2. Build your brand. As an audiobook narrator/producer your brand should be your efficiency and skill, colored by your personality. For more established narrators, your brand is also your body of work. Everything you do online should be tie back to the image you’re trying to project to potential employers.
  3. A good website will help the less established get more work.  Make sure your site is professional looking, uncluttered and easy to navigate. Feature a raw, uncut video of yourself narrating on your site. This will show potential clients that you’re fluent and work quickly.
  4. Promote your client’s work. This is especially true for royalty share projects, where you have a vested interest in the sales of your titles. But even if you’ve been paid on a per-finished-hour basis, you can add to your value in the eyes of those doing the casting if you’re willing and able to help spread the word about their productions.
  5. Keep track of metrics, but don’t be a slave to the numbers. Track things like how many times your posts are shared or retweeted, and how many followers you’re gaining (Hootsuite and TweetDeck are two good services for tracking metrics). Make note of what types of content do well with your network and look to recreate those successes. But don’t get discouraged if you’re not adding followers as quickly as you’d like, or if your posts don’t immediately “go viral.”
  6. Be positive! Never post anything that could be interpreted as negative about your work or clients. It’s ok to vent about a long day in the studio or the neighbor’s lawnmower, but don’t complain about the book you’re producing being boring, or poorly written, or your employer being late with payment. The things you say online live forever, and are only a quick Google search away. Employers won’t want the hassle of dealing with a “loose cannon” on social media.

With these six pointers, you should be able to confidentially establish yourself on social media. Remember: keep it professional, keep it positive, and look at social media as a tool you use, not a slave driver you have to put all your energy into.

What have you done to find success on social media?