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Hey guys. I'm mostly just looking for etiquette advice. I put an audiobook up for auditions, and received 20 or so. I narrowed it down, and eventually chose a narrator who, based on the audition sample, I loved their narration. I love their voice for character dialogue, mostly, and that alone blew me away to such an extent that I chose them.

However, about 6 days after making an offer and them sending me their first 15 minute recording, I regret my decision. Their dialogue is still great, but only now am I realizing how 'droning' and monotonous their overall narration is. All 15 minutes are the same. I went back and listened to the sample audition, and it's the same there, too. I guess I was just so impressed with their dialogue, the rest went over my head. It's a crime thriller, and the narrator seems to narrate with no inflection at all. Completely flat. If there wasn't punctuation and you were simply measuring the tone of their voice, it would literally be a flat line from beginning to end, sans dialogue. When key details are revealed in the story, the narrator's delivery is so consistently flat that as a reader, you would never know the information being read to you was in any way a reveal or a surprise.

Needless to say, I'm worried this is far beyond simply being able to give the narrator direction, and more just the narrator's style not being what I thought it was.

How common is it to cancel an audiobook offer after the 15 minute check-in? I feel bad, and I don't know how to turn the narrator down politely, after they've spent probably around an hour or so putting the 15 minute sample together.
 

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it's your last chance to bow out, if you accept the 15 minutes now, you're going to get the whole book in the same style

there's a lot of narrators on FB but i gather the usual way to bow out is to either tell them you've changed your mind & would like to dissolve the contract-- or to make so many criticisms/directions of the 15 minute check, that the narrator asks if you can dissolve the contract
 

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The fifteen minute audition is the last part of the process of selecting a narrator, so it is their last chance to get the gig. You can still cancel but if you accept it then you are stuck with them for the whole book.

When i did my first book I didn't know that the fifteen minute audition was the last part of the audition and that I could say no. If I had I would have said no but I didn't and because of the way he did the book and I cringe when I hear it. It hasn't done well.

Remember this is a business and they should understand that. This is an audition and if you say yes they become your creative partner. The narrator is as important as the words on the page. Listeners rate both the story and the narrator in their reviews. Look at some of the reviews and you will see how important a narrator is.

It is not always an easy choice. This is from someone who made the mistake.
 

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Your book, your words, your future source of income that may or may not be worth thousands to you IF the narration is correct. As I recall, Eric Stoltz was going to be Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" classics - but after a few weeks, the team of director/studio/producers decided to scrap the filmed parts and go with some other cat. It was a good decision. You should make the same decision.
 

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As an author who has narrated a few books myself and am now trying to break into narrating for others, I can tell you the narrator spent more than an hour on that 15 minute sample. I can also tell you, you shouldn't feel obligated to keep him/her if you feel it won't work. But the noble thing is to be honest about why when you void the contract and to offer a small stipend since he/she has put in some time and you are the one who made the mistake.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
 

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jdcore said:
As an author who has narrated a few books myself and am now trying to break into narrating for others, I can tell you the narrator spent more than an hour on that 15 minute sample. I can also tell you, you shouldn't feel obligated to keep him/her if you feel it won't work. But the noble thing is to be honest about why when you void the contract and to offer a small stipend since he/she has put in some time and you are the one who made the mistake.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
The last thing you want to do is send money to a narrator you met on ACX. If Amazon finds out , well, good luck.

I would simple say that you feel the need to move on and offer NOTHING else. Money or word wise. Your words of "I didn't realize how bad you truly were", no matter how nicely written is not going to help the situation. Dont make it complicated, move on.
 

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The last thing you want to do is send money to a narrator you met on ACX. If Amazon finds out , well, good luck.
Huh? This is the standard process.

You select the narrator and the narrator does the work. You approve the files and then pay the narrator. Privately. ACX doesn't take a cut and doesn't mediate. Amazon has zilch to do with any of this (apart from owning ACX, which they don't seem to care about)
 

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I have had a similar problem today. The narrator I chose for a three book series (out of 20 auditions) has done the 15 minutes but now told me he can't possibly speak words like pillock or pratt! Apparently, they are swear words. What you need to do is first off, contact your narrator and tell him you've changed your mind. Ask him to send a message to ACX at [email protected] and you do the same. If he doesn't agree, I don't know. But, I can't choose a new narrator until acx has the message from him because it's no longer open for auditions.

Another problem I am having is that I want someone English and I have a list of American speakers putting on an English accent. It shows.  :eek:
 

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Doglover said:
I have had a similar problem today. The narrator I chose for a three book series (out of 20 auditions) has done the 15 minutes but now told me he can't possibly speak words like pillock or pratt! Apparently, they are swear words. What you need to do is first off, contact your narrator and tell him you've changed your mind. Ask him to send a message to ACX at [email protected] and you do the same. If he doesn't agree, I don't know. But, I can't choose a new narrator until acx has the message from him because it's no longer open for auditions.
If he thinks pillock and pratt are swear words he must have lived a very sheltered life.
 

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If I were you, I WOULD give some explanation as to why you didn't choose him. Otherwise you look flighty.

Express it very politely, of course. But tell him that you felt the narration was flat, with no inflection at all.

It might help him do better next time. You might be giving him invaluable feedback that could help him improve and get more work. And it makes it clear you didn't reject him arbitrarily and on a whim; you had a good reason.

If you want him to “blame” you less, you could also say you sent his narration to a couple of friends and THEY felt it was flat, with no inflection at all. Shift the blame onto these mythical listeners.

But yeah, ultimately there’s no way out of it that will make either you or him feel good about the rejection. But it happens. Better to reject now than be even more dissatisfied later and mourn the poor sales.
 

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I had a similar problem. The narrator I chose for my first book was so good that I selected him without hesitation to do my second. But his delivery (the second time) was very flat. It was almost as if he had not read what had gone previously. Sadly, he'd done a lot of the book by the time I realised the choice was a mistake.

When I told him about how I felt, he described his process as reading each paragraph individually, and then recording it; and that's exactly as it sounded. Each individual paragraph sounded okay; it was just that the sum of the individual parts was not at all satisfactory. With the first book, he had read it in its entirely before starting to record, and that was clearly the reason for the variance.

Eventually he agreed that I should find another narrator and as soon as that information was copied to ACX support, they allowed me to terminate the contract. However, the whole experience has left me very reluctant to try again with another narrator. When I am ready, I shall probably record the book in my own voice.
 

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Kathy Dee said:
I had a similar problem. The narrator I chose for my first book was so good that I selected him without hesitation to do my second. But his delivery (the second time) was very flat. It was almost as if he had not read what had gone previously. Sadly, he'd done a lot of the book by the time I realised the choice was a mistake.

When I told him about how I felt, he described his process as reading each paragraph individually, and then recording it; and that's exactly as it sounded. Each individual paragraph sounded okay; it was just that the sum of the individual parts was not at all satisfactory. With the first book, he had read it in its entirely before starting to record, and that was clearly the reason for the variance.

Eventually he agreed that I should find another narrator and as soon as that information was copied to ACX support, they allowed me to terminate the contract. However, the whole experience has left me very reluctant to try again with another narrator. When I am ready, I shall probably record the book in my own voice.
I would love to do my own but I have neither the equipment or the time.
 

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Doglover said:
I would love to do my own but I have neither the equipment or the time.
The equipment is the easy bit - I acquired everything I needed for under two hundred pounds. A suitable space to record is trickier. The time required, especially for editing, is the biggie. I'm lucky - I took early retirement from my regular job in November, which freed up the time to allow me to do my own audio. I would never be able to find the necessary time otherwise.
 

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Sam Kates said:
The equipment is the easy bit - I acquired everything I needed for under two hundred pounds. A suitable space to record is trickier. The time required, especially for editing, is the biggie. I'm lucky - I took early retirement from my regular job in November, which freed up the time to allow me to do my own audio. I would never be able to find the necessary time otherwise.
I am retired, but between writing new books and walking the dog, I don't have the time. I also only have a bungalow with one bedroom so nowhere out of the way. One day, perhaps.
 

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Doglover said:
I am retired, but between writing new books and walking the dog, I don't have the time. I also only have a bungalow with one bedroom so nowhere out of the way. One day, perhaps.
Writing new books has had to take a backseat temporarily - I find the audio editing process so all-consuming that I can't devote the attention required to my WIP. I intend finishing producing the audiobook I'm currently working on and then go back to being a full-time writer until the WIP is done. I need to find a happy balance between the two.
 
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