To Have An Audiobook Made - Or Not!
After deliberating for a long time, I signed up to have one of my books done as an audio book on ACX.com. I added the book to their site and waited for narrators to sign up for an audition. And waited. And waited. ACX recommended I listen to samples from various narrators and ask the ones whose work I liked if they would be interested in recording my book.
There are two ways of paying a narrator. The first is by a percent of the royalties received, which is 20%, (the author also receives 20%) or pay them an hourly wage rather than a royalty. Narrators who only work for an hourly fee specify that in their information. If you pay the narrator an hourly rate, then you will receive the entire 40% royalty.
Narrators who only work on a PFH rate, per finished hour, charge anywhere from $50 to $200 or more PFH. So the longer your book, the more expensive to pay by PFH.
After making two separate attempts to get my book narrated by splitting the royalties, both narrators fizzled out after a few chapters! Then, by surprise, I got a message from ACX that my book had been awarded a stipend. I knew about stipends as one of the narrators I’d tried to work with had asked me if my book had one. I applied to ACX for a stipend at that time and was turned down.
Suddenly, I had dozens of narrators asking to audition for my book. A stipend, paid by ACX to the narrator, gives them a salary of $1,000 for narrating the book and they also get paid the royalties. So for a narrator, a good deal. For the author, it is an opportunity to have a really great narrator record your book.
I listened to dozens of voices before selecting a narrator, and oddly enough, I chose the very first one who responded, KC Cowan.
KC did a lot of theater acting in the 90’s and believes that her acting talent really helps her do all the voices in a novel. It’s quite different from the “instructional” voice she uses for animated training videos. KC says, “No matter HOW GOOD an audition I do, if my voice doesn’t match the one in the author’s head, I won’t get the gig! But when I do get hired, invariably, the author will at some point say, ‘your voice is JUST how I hear my heroine in my head.’”
I can certainly confirm KC’s quote. Her voice was perfect for my main character, Lisa Rayburn, who is a psychologist and in her early forties. The book has another main character who speaks with an unusual dialect, and KC did a super job with it. And with male characters! I was thrilled with her abilities for narrating my novel, She’s Not There, which was my first suspense novel, and first in the TJ Peacock & Lisa Rayburn series.
A few tips on using ACX
- I didn’t find their site to be very user-friendly. But they do give their phone number and their customer service is excellent.
- When you contract with a narrator to do your book, get an agreement on when the book will be finished. Don’t lose touch with your narrator, check on the progress regularly.
- ACX lists the requirements for a book being considered for a stipend. Check them to see if your book is eligible.
- I highly recommend picking up a copy of the eBook, Audiobooks for INDIES, by Simon Whistler. He explains in great detail all the steps involved in doing an audiobook on ACX. http://goo.gl/gMbLYJ
A lot more could be said here about doing audiobooks, but I didn’t want to bore you with too much information. Please comment if you have a question or an opinion. Again, download a copy of Whistler’s book if you’re considering doing one. It has a wealth of information on the subject.