Author Topic: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?  (Read 3463 times)  

Offline John Ellsworth

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$2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
« on: December 21, 2014, 11:51:45 am »
2015 is the year I would like to put out an audiobook or two. So, I went on ACX and asked for auditions. Had over 80 eighty auditions for The Defendants, a lawyer novel maybe 275 pages or so.

We picked two narrators and wrote to them for prices. They both said about 8.6 hours needed. Prices between the two ranged from $2375 to $2550. My question is, is this in the ballpark for a straight price, no royalty-split?

It's a lot of money, yes. When I heard the prices, my first inclination was to begin shopping for microphones for my DIY audiobooks. Or find a studio for hire and do my own.

I am not into sharing royalties and really don't want to go that route. 

I would be interested in hearing if these prices are in the ballpark. And maybe your thoughts on DIY.

TIA.

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    Offline Jj2011

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 11:57:50 am »
    2015 is the year I would like to put out an audiobook or two. So, I went on ACX and asked for auditions. Had over 80 eighty auditions for The Defendants, a lawyer novel maybe 275 pages or so.

    We picked two narrators and wrote to them for prices. They both said about 8.6 hours needed. Prices between the two ranged from $2375 to $2550. My question is, is this in the ballpark for a straight price, no royalty-split?

    It's a lot of money, yes. When I heard the prices, my first inclination was to begin shopping for microphones for my DIY audiobooks. Or find a studio for hire and do my own.

    I am not into sharing royalties and really don't want to go that route. 

    I would be interested in hearing if these prices are in the ballpark. And maybe your thoughts on DIY.

    TIA.

    $2500 for an 80k novel is a lot. I paid that much for a 150k novel. But the narrator doesn't dictate the total Number of hours ahead of time it will take to record. That's counted when he finishes and uploads the finish audio. Acx then gives u the total, then u multiply that by the agreed upon per hour rate  and u pay that.

    Offline Darren Writes

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 11:59:58 am »
    If you look on outsourcing sites like Elance you'll find people for half that if not less. You'll have to weed through a lot of poor quality applications, but there are people on there who do it for a good price with excellent quality home studios. No background hissing or anything.

    Offline John Ellsworth

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 12:07:49 pm »
    $2500 for an 80k novel is a lot. I paid that much for a 150k novel. But the narrator doesn't dictate the total Number of hours ahead of time it will take to record. That's counted when he finishes and uploads the finish audio. Acx then gives u the total, then u multiply that by the agreed upon per hour rate  and u pay that.

    Did not know this. Thanks so much!

    Offline Jj2011

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 12:22:41 pm »
    Did not know this. Thanks so much!

    I found a narrator I really liked and managed to talk his rate down by agreeing to put the rest of my series into production as soon as I made back my upfront cost. He is guaranteed additional jobs and I don't have to go through with it unless I am in profit/already break even on the first book. Might work for ur narrator of choice as well.

    Offline Pnjw

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 12:23:10 pm »
    $200 to $400 per finished hour is the usual going rate for professional narrators, so I'd say the quotes you got were in the ballpark.

    Offline Evan of the R.

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 12:42:04 pm »
    John, just in terms of background, you've read Simon Whistler's book on audiobooks for indies, right?


    Offline cinisajoy

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #7 on: December 21, 2014, 02:38:00 pm »
    To answer the title question.    Sure I would take $2,500 to read a book.   

    Oops, read the first question.    I thought you were going to pay people to read your book.   
    https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

    Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

    Offline John Ellsworth

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #8 on: December 21, 2014, 02:52:22 pm »
    John, just in terms of background, you've read Simon Whistler's book on audiobooks for indies, right?



    Evan: thank you, just picked it up.

    Cindy: I'm hiring you to title my posts  8)

    Offline zoe tate

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 02:53:05 pm »
    I think the quotations you have are probably very slightly above average for a good, professional job. They're not "clearly way too high".

    Offline simonwhistler

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #10 on: January 03, 2015, 09:56:28 am »
    Hey John. Simon here, author of the book you picked up Audiobooks for Indies.

    As others have mentioned, narration is paid for on a "per finished hour" basis. Essentially this means that the narrator will have a rate that they charge per hour of completed audio that is delivered to ACX. ACX are estimating this to be about 8.6 hours total - this is usually a fairly good estimate, so you can break it down like this:

    Cheaper narrator: $276 per finished hour ($2,375/8.6)
    Dearer narrator: $297 per finished hour ($2,550/8.6)

    Both of these are at the high end of the narration pricing spectrum. Given that you had 80 auditions and picked these out as the best, it's not surprising they are a bit more expensive.

    If those prices are too high for you, ask for quotes from narrators that were close to making the shortlist, you might find that their rates are lower.

    Negotiation is also a good idea as mentioned.

    I'll watch this thread so if you have any more questions, please just post them here :).
    I host the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast. Found at RockingSelfPublishing.com/blog. Every Thursday we interview self-published authors about their self-publishing journey.
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    Offline Edward Giordano

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #11 on: January 03, 2015, 10:07:39 am »
    Simon you are a god! And your podcast is gospel for indie authors, I haven't quite released stuff yet, but I am making a business plan with your podcast as my guide!
    Looking for a Narrator? Consider me.
    Open to all projects!

    Offline Richardcrasta

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #12 on: January 03, 2015, 10:19:28 am »
    If the quality of the voice impresses you, and you can afford it, go for the best one, regardless of a few hundred dollars more or less. Once it's done, it's done, and then you might regret not having given it a top quality narrator. I think of James Mason's dramatic, rich reading "Lolita"--I'd have paid him $100k, if I was worth a couple of million.
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    Offline Deke

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #13 on: January 03, 2015, 10:22:55 am »
    I'll do it for $1000.

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    Offline JMPorup

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #14 on: January 03, 2015, 11:56:29 am »
    I recorded three audiobooks myself, going the DIY route--home studio in my closet, mastering everything, doing everything myself.

    It is a LOT of work.

    If you're prepared to narrate your own book, a better compromise is to find a studio that specializes in audiobooks, rent the space and a tech, and let them do all the technical work behind the scenes.

    I found J. Daniel Sawyer's book MAKING TRACKS to be very helpful. Worth the coupla bucks it costs.

     
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    Offline Mike Dennis

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #15 on: January 03, 2015, 12:30:12 pm »
    John--
    $250-$300 per finished hour is about what you should expect to pay for a professionally-produced audiobook. There is no free lunch in this end of the business. You can do a royalty share and get your book produced "for free", but if you have plans for it becoming a big seller, fully half of everything you make goes directly to the narrator. You wisely said you didn't want to do that.

    You could find a narrator who works very cheaply. Listen to some of the samples of $50/per finished hour narrators. You can find them on ACX. Then go over to Audible.com and listen to a sample from, say, a John Grisham audiobook. You'll notice a major difference in sound quality. The Grisham audiobook is what you're competing against.

    Thinking about buying a microphone? Be prepared to spend upwards of $1000 for a good one. Then you'll need a preamp, one that does not produce any background hiss. Then, of course a microphone stand, a pop shield, and various other items to get started. And don't forget a soundproofed room. That will cost you anywhere from $1500 and up. Way up.

    Then, you'll have to learn how to record, edit, and master your audiobook. It's a steep learning curve.

    Rather go to a recording studio? Get ready to hand over $100-$200/hour of recording time (figure on 1.5-2 hours for each finished hour of the book). Then add in several more hours per finished hour in editing and mastering time.

    Paying an experienced narrator up front to professionally record and produce your audiobook is, IMHO, your most efficient path to having a top-drawer audiobook that can stand up in the marketplace. You won't regret it.


    Offline John Ellsworth

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #16 on: January 03, 2015, 01:46:46 pm »
    John--
    $250-$300 per finished hour is about what you should expect to pay for a professionally-produced audiobook. There is no free lunch in this end of the business. You can do a royalty share and get your book produced "for free", but if you have plans for it becoming a big seller, fully half of everything you make goes directly to the narrator. You wisely said you didn't want to do that.

    You could find a narrator who works very cheaply. Listen to some of the samples of $50/per finished hour narrators. You can find them on ACX. Then go over to Audible.com and listen to a sample from, say, a John Grisham audiobook. You'll notice a major difference in sound quality. The Grisham audiobook is what you're competing against.

    Thinking about buying a microphone? Be prepared to spend upwards of $1000 for a good one. Then you'll need a preamp, one that does not produce any background hiss. Then, of course a microphone stand, a pop shield, and various other items to get started. And don't forget a soundproofed room. That will cost you anywhere from $1500 and up. Way up.

    Then, you'll have to learn how to record, edit, and master your audiobook. It's a steep learning curve.

    Rather go to a recording studio? Get ready to hand over $100-$200/hour of recording time (figure on 1.5-2 hours for each finished hour of the book). Then add in several more hours per finished hour in editing and mastering time.

    Paying an experienced narrator up front to professionally record and produce your audiobook is, IMHO, your most efficient path to having a top-drawer audiobook that can stand up in the marketplace. You won't regret it.

    This is terrific. Thanks to all.

    Offline Deke

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #17 on: January 03, 2015, 02:37:21 pm »
    As with anything, you need to balance cost with potential income.  Grisham's people can afford top drawer production because they are fairly certain the end product will still turn a profit.

    Dale Kutzera | Website

    Offline simonwhistler

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    Re: $2500 for 80K Novel Reading. Reasonable?
    « Reply #18 on: January 04, 2015, 08:56:08 am »
    Quote
    Thinking about buying a microphone? Be prepared to spend upwards of $1000 for a good one. Then you'll need a preamp, one that does not produce any background hiss. Then, of course a microphone stand, a pop shield, and various other items to get started. And don't forget a soundproofed room. That will cost you anywhere from $1500 and up. Way up.

    While this is certainly true of some of the top audiobooks, there are many options out there for those on a budget. They won't produce the sound quality that you will get from a studio, but you will be able to get a great result that won't bother people for far cheaper.

    Whatever way you do things, recording the audiobook yourself is going to be a long process, especially if you don't have experience working with audio. It is not something I would recommend to fiction authors.

    I'd just echo Mike, and say that hiring in this case is likely your best option. Whether to royalty split or not is up to you :).

    Quote
    I found J. Daniel Sawyer's book MAKING TRACKS to be very helpful. Worth the coupla bucks it costs.

    Great recommendation. If you do go the route of doing it yourself, J Daniel goes way further down the rabbit hole of audio production than I do :)
    I host the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast. Found at RockingSelfPublishing.com/blog. Every Thursday we interview self-published authors about their self-publishing journey.
    You can reach me through a Kboards message, or through my email: [email protected]ockingselfpublishing.com.

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