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I learned about ACX and producing audiobooks here on the boards, as well as the royalty share option. My book is brand new, and I realized that paying up front would net me better odds at getting auditions. But, I looked into the costs, and I just can't afford to do that at this point in time. So, I thought I would put the book on ACX as a royalty share option for awhile and see if anyone would be interested. I posted it last night and woke up this morning to my first audition. And I quite like it. She has the right voice for the book, and the sound quality is good.

My questions are about the right etiquette here. I like the audition, but I feel I should leave the project open for at least a week to see if anyone else auditions in order to make the right decision. Am I thinking about this the right way? Should I message her to let her know I like her audition? How long do people usually leave their projects open for auditions?
 

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CadyVance said:
I learned about ACX and producing audiobooks here on the boards, as well as the royalty share option. My book is brand new, and I realized that paying up front would net me better odds at getting auditions. But, I looked into the costs, and I just can't afford to do that at this point in time. So, I thought I would put the book on ACX as a royalty share option for awhile and see if anyone would be interested. I posted it last night and woke up this morning to my first audition. And I quite like it. She has the right voice for the book, and the sound quality is good.

My questions are about the right etiquette here. I like the audition, but I feel I should leave the project open for at least a week to see if anyone else auditions in order to make the right decision. Am I thinking about this the right way? Should I message her to let her know I like her audition? How long do people usually leave their projects open for auditions?
This is what I did:

1. As soon as an audition arrives, send a message to say thanks for the audition, and that you'll be in touch after reviewing.
2. If you don't like the audition, don't leave them hanging. Message to say thanks, but their audition didn't make into into the final 3
3. If you do like it, don't leave them hanging, message to say you like their audition very much, and that its on your short list. Say you'll be in touch.
4. Don't accept ANY audition until you have a few to choose from. Never accept the first one. If you only get one, still DON'T accept.
5. If you only get one, there is something wrong with your proposal. Rework it until you get a handful, then choose the best from that group.
6. If you're not an audiobook buyer, listen to a bunch of other people's audiobooks and samples to get a feel for what you like and don't.
7. Listen for background noise, breathing sounds, speed of reading, accents, age (don't have a kid voice for a middle aged character etc)

Hope this all helps. I know it's all obvious stuff.
 

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I also contact people who might be a good fit and ask them to audition. I was very happy with what I ended up with for my first book. And it wasn't the first person who auditioned in spite of my excitement over the first audition :). (I very nearly accepted it too and now I'm glad I didn't.)
 

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Cady, I followed your plan almost exactly. I forced myself to leave it open for a full week and I'm glad I did. One of the very first auditions was great and I almost accepted it, but the last person to audition blew that one away. He's the one who ended up narrating the book and it was absolutely worth waiting.

Mark's advice on contacting each narrator after they audition is great. There's a like button too, but I felt a personal message was a nice touch.
 

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To add to what others have said, you might check the track record of the narrator(s). Have they completed novels before, or is this their first? Check out the titles they've narrated and see what listeners thought.  If the narration rating (on Audible) is rated equal to or higher than the story or the book overall, that's positive. If it's significantly lower, that means the narrator might be a drag on your book's success in audio. Sometimes listeners leave comments in reviews about the narration, and that could help you decide as well.
 

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Mark E. Cooper said:
This is what I did:

1. As soon as an audition arrives, send a message to say thanks for the audition, and that you'll be in touch after reviewing.
2. If you don't like the audition, don't leave them hanging. Message to say thanks, but their audition didn't make into into the final 3
3. If you do like it, don't leave them hanging, message to say you like their audition very much, and that its on your short list. Say you'll be in touch.
4. Don't accept ANY audition until you have a few to choose from. Never accept the first one. If you only get one, still DON'T accept.
5. If you only get one, there is something wrong with your proposal. Rework it until you get a handful, then choose the best from that group.
6. If you're not an audiobook buyer, listen to a bunch of other people's audiobooks and samples to get a feel for what you like and don't.
7. Listen for background noise, breathing sounds, speed of reading, accents, age (don't have a kid voice for a middle aged character etc)

Hope this all helps. I know it's all obvious stuff.
This is a great list! Bookmarked for when we get that far...
 

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So I am going to disagree a little with Mark, though he is the one that taught me all I needed to know to get started.

ABSOLUTLY contact the narrator right away, and do not leave them hanging. ALMOST NO ONE DOES THIS. I know that because when Amazon offered a stipend on my books, I had a lot of auditions to work through, and I did contact every narrator and kept them in the loop and most of them remarked it was refreshing to deal with someone that cared enough to send them a message and they ALL said the almost never hear back about their auditions. Be polite and professional even if they really suck.

Where I disagree with Mark is on this point:

4. Don't accept ANY audition until you have a few to choose from. Never accept the first one. If you only get one, still DON'T accept.
Sometimes the first one is the best. ABSOLUTELY wait for more offers, but if the first one is the best, take it.

Also finding narrators that will work for ONLY royalty share is MUCH harder than it used to be. You might only get 1 or 2 offers. You might get zero. That is the new reality we live in. If your books is a big name, or your author name is well known for selling big, that is different of course. But for most of us, zero offers is not unrealistic.

Finally, as someone else says - do not be afraid to be proactive. Seek out voice styles you like and contact the narrator directly.
 

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I'm doing my first ACX audio book now, and it's pretty cool. I've just approved the first chapter (which the narrator did in lieu of the first fifteen minutes).

It's for "The Atomic Sea: Part One" (see my sig line below). Some of the voices are different than I'd imagined, and I've asked him to tweak one or two, which he's very kindly done, but other than that I'm letting him do his own thing, just as long as it stays true to the spirit of the book.

So far it's awesome. Fingers crossed for the final product!
 

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Hey, Cady,

Was curious––what did you do for the 'audio script?' Just take the first chapter and create more paragraph breaks? Wanted to know what your approach was there... Can I just paste in the first chapter from a Word doc, for instance?
 

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I'm not Cady, but I can answer. I just uploaded the word document with the chapters I wanted read. Most narrators can work with the raw manuscript and you shouldn't need to make any changes.

You should also create a style sheet showing pronunciations for characters and odd words, as well as any specific accents you want.
 

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Chris Fox said:
I'm not Cady, but I can answer. I just uploaded the word document with the chapters I wanted read. Most narrators can work with the raw manuscript and you shouldn't need to make any changes.

You should also create a style sheet showing pronunciations for characters and odd words, as well as any specific accents you want.
Yeah I did the same. A pronunciation guide is a big deal though. I even recorded the right pronunciation of some names for him and sent them. I also sent "this is an old fart that sounds like he was a heavy smoker" or whatever. Sure he could pack that stuff up by reading a head, but the easier you make it for your narrator the better.

But 9.9999 times out of ten - TRUST YOUR NARRATOR. This is what they do, let them do their thing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the tips, everyone! This has been super helpful. I've had a couple more auditions roll in, which is very exciting.

Matt - I just uploaded my first chapter as a PDF file, as is, and said which scene I was hoping to hear. It seems to have worked out fine.
 

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VydorScope said:
Where I disagree with Mark is on this point:

Sometimes the first one is the best. ABSOLUTELY wait for more offers, but if the first one is the best, take it.
You're not disagreeing with me, you are making my point FOR me Vince. Sometime the first one is the best you say, and you obviously should take the best one. BUT you can't know it's the best one if it's the ONLY one can you? That's why you have to a few few in hand before you can take the first one and be sure it is right.
 

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matt44west said:
Hey, Cady,

Was curious----what did you do for the 'audio script?' Just take the first chapter and create more paragraph breaks? Wanted to know what your approach was there... Can I just paste in the first chapter from a Word doc, for instance?
A lot of scripts I see are really long. What you need are a short narration plus some dialog from the key characters in the book, so you might need to take some paragraphs from different chapters and make a composite. It doesn't have to make sense, just put little asterisks where you are introducing a new sample paragraph or dialog. A whole chapter is too long.
 

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Cady--
Some random thoughts.

A whole chapter is way too long for an audition. You can get what you need in no more than 5 minutes of selected text.

I would go to several big-selling audiobooks in your genre and listen to the samples. Hear how the narrators (generally) tell the story rather than just read the words. You probably won't hear any mouth clicks or air conditioning running in the background. No traffic, no vacuum cleaners. It will sound very quiet. And intimate. This is what you're competing with.

If you do find a narrator you like, you may be tempted to direct her, to tell her how to speak certain words and phrases. You may want her to redo whole sections. Such micromanagement won't work in your favor. It will only muddy the waters. Trust your narrator. She'll know what to do.

Set a realistic deadline. Remember, your narrator will be doing about 4-6 hours of work for each finished hour of narration. She's not going to just plop down in front of her computer and dash off your book. In addition to the actual recording, she has to edit and master the whole book, as well as upload it in finished form to ACX.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Mike Dennis said:
Cady--
Some random thoughts.

A whole chapter is way too long for an audition. You can get what you need in no more than 5 minutes of selected text.

I would go to several big-selling audiobooks in your genre and listen to the samples. Hear how the narrators (generally) tell the story rather than just read the words. You probably won't hear any mouth clicks or air conditioning running in the background. No traffic, no vacuum cleaners. It will sound very quiet. And intimate. This is what you're competing with.

If you do find a narrator you like, you may be tempted to direct her, to tell her how to speak certain words and phrases. You may want her to redo whole sections. Such micromanagement won't work in your favor. It will only muddy the waters. Trust your narrator. She'll know what to do.

Set a realistic deadline. Remember, your narrator will be doing about 4-6 hours of work for each finished hour of narration. She's not going to just plop down in front of her computer and dash off your book. In addition to the actual recording, she has to edit and master the whole book, as well as upload it in finished form to ACX.

Best of luck.
Oh, I totally agree that an entire chapter is too long! I only asked for one scene, which was about a page and a half.

I would be interested to know what a realistic deadline is.
 

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CadyVance said:
Oh, I totally agree that an entire chapter is too long! I only asked for one scene, which was about a page and a half.
For the audition script, I misspoke above (I mis read the statement - my bad) - I uploaded a document with TWO kinds of scenes.

1) Narration heavy. No dialog and all descriptive text.
2) Action/dialog heavy with multiple speakers

I shot for a total of about 5 minutes of audio. That sampling gave me a good feel for how most of my book would sound if done by that person. I also prefaced my audition script with notes tell the reader about the characters so they would have a good chance at picking the right style/etc for each character.
 

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CadyVance said:
Oh, I totally agree that an entire chapter is too long! I only asked for one scene, which was about a page and a half.

I would be interested to know what a realistic deadline is.
This was one of the most important questions I asked my top three choices. The whole process took about four weeks for a 14.5 hour book, which I gather is pretty fast. After that it took another two weeks for ACX to get the book live on Audible and iTunes.

One way to expedite this is making sure you have a good means of communication outside ACX. Both you and the narrator need to advance the book to the next stage at various points, so you can really cut down that bottleneck if you work together.
 
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