As a child I fell madly in love with audio books. I had always loved reading, but there was, and still is, something about audio books that just gets to me. I love to hear different narrators and experience how they imagine the characters are and how they would react to the story. Considering my love for audio books, naturally when I began to publish my own books I wondered how I might go about getting them recorded so that people all over the world could listen to them, including me.
One day while I was online, I came across a post in one of my writing groups about audio books. They were talking about something called ACX. Out of curiosity I checked it out, and I am so glad I did. ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is a fantastic website owned by Amazon, much like Createspace. The site allows you to create audio versions of your books, and is accessible to self published authors and publishers alike.
I am now in the process of producing the audio version of my first book Through the Paper Wall, which was released everywhere in paperback and ebook formats in February. Most authors or publishers would probably wait longer than I did to pursue an audio version, but I couldn’t help myself.
Here is a little bit about the site and what you can do there:
First, you sign up, and it is completely free. Once you accept the terms you can get going. You enter the ISBN of your book and claim the book as yours and state that you have the rights, etc. Next you fill out information about your book and upload an excerpt for narrators to use as their audition. Then you have some choices:
· Produce the book yourself – If you have the recording equipment and would like to narrate your book yourself, you are more than welcome to.
· Enter the information about your book and wait for narrators to audition for you
· Search the hundreds, probably thousands, of narrators on the site. You have so many options when doing this. You can select voice type, accents, age, etc. It’s really quite fantastic.
I ended up doing a combination of the bottom two bullet points. In all honesty, I would love to narrate my second book, Ontario, on my own, but I don’t have the equipment, plus, while searching for a narrator for Through the Paper Wall I came across the most perfect person for Ontario! You really never know what you will find. My mind was certainly opened as I searched through the numerous, and very talented narrators.
A word about the narrators that are available: most of them are professionals. That’s the amazing thing to me. There is such a pool of talent available for you, depending on what you are willing to put out, and by that, I mean what you are willing to pay for.
So, let’s talk about payment. Surely this great of a thing can’t be free, right? Well, yes, and no. There are two options you can choose when it comes to payment.
· Pay the narrator per finished audio hour. Depending on the narrator, you could have a pretty varying cost here. I’ve seen anywhere from $50 per finished hour to several hundred dollars. Again, it depends on how badly you want someone in particular. Many of these narrators are in high demand, thus they are able to charge more.
· Pay nothing out of pocket and simply split the royalties of your audio book 50/50 (after ACX takes out their portion, of course)
I chose the second option, mostly because I don’t have any money to speak of at the moment, and also because I am not too worried about getting a ton of money from this. Creating this audio book is more of . . . a bit of indulging for me, I guess you could say.
Alright, so you’ve decided how you want to fund your project, and you find a narrator you like. Now what? Well, you can send an offer to any narrator you would like. The offer includes how you are willing to pay, your timetable, etc. Narrators can then accept your offer or reject it. I sent an offer to a narrator and we ended up talking a bit back and forth before I realized it wasn’t going to happen, because clearly this guy was top of the line and lots of people wanted him. He had little time for close to no-name projects like mine because he had so many more prominent ones that were paying him the big bucks.
Cool. I was a little bummed, but it worked out because I really liked the second guy who sent me an audition. He pronounced some things in weird ways, and made some characters sound different than I would like, but that doesn’t matter. I sent him an offer, and he accepted, and I have since sent him character and pronunciation notes, and he’s ready to go.
So what happens now? Well, my narrator, Andy Mack if you want to check him out, will record the first 15 minutes of the book and then send them to me. Before anything else can happen, I have to accept and approve of the first recorded 15 minutes. I can request changes, and suggest things. Once I have approved that, my narrator will finish recording the entire book. I will then have the chance to listen to it all and approve it or request revisions up to two times.
I have yet to hear the first 15 minutes, since production is just starting, but I am very excited for when that time comes. Karen has requested that once the process is finished I write a follow-up post, which I am happy to do. I have found little about this site outside of trying it myself, so I hope this helps anyone who is interested in using the site!