Audiobooks Can Be Fun

July 13, 2020 Tom Kranz Season 1 Episode 5
Audiobooks Can Be Fun
Show Notes Transcript

You can convert your prized written work into an audiobook. It's all online, free if you narrate it yourself but most of us are better off using a paid narrator, and there's the rub.

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Podcast Audiobook Episode Transcript 

Hi everybody TK here. Today, I'm going to talk about audiobooks. I just put my second audiobook up on the market at audible.com, Time Travel Rescue my science fiction book. I decided since that one seemed to have some popularity well, you know relative to my other books anyway, had some sales and it's also the favorite of the ones I've written. 

I contracted to have somebody make an audiobook for me. That's a process that's accomplished through the ACX.com website. ACX is the kind of production side of Audible, which is a part of Amazon. And so you go on that site and the process itself doesn't cost you anything. You basically need to start out with a book and a manuscript. The part that costs is hiring somebody to actually be your narrator and do the production. You can also do it yourself. I explored that the first time with my first novel Budland, which has been an audiobook for a couple of years now. And the upside of doing your own narration, of course, is that you don't have to hire somebody to do it. 

The downside is that you actually have to do a good job and that reading seven or eight hours worth of book copy, you don't just sit down and, you know, crank out an audiobook. You end up even if you're reading a script you end up making mistakes even small mistakes your voice breaks, like mine does occasionally now that I'm an old guy and you have to stop and you have to correct and you have to edit and that's the time-consuming part of of the actual recording process. But it's a long process and it actually takes some patience and it takes I think some talent to be able to interpret different characters voices, especially if you're a male doing a female voice or a female doing a male voice that requires some nuance and a little bit of technique. You know, you can't just launch into a falsetto if you're a male doing a female voice. You have to actually, you know, kind of texture your voice to the different characters you're talking about. So I abandoned that after I did a couple of chapters and I hired I hired somebody to do it. 

So when you go onto ACX.com you basically need to find somebody who will narrate your audiobook and there are two ways you can do that. The first way is the way that I did it the first time which was to put a note up that basically says your work is available for narration. You're kind of putting on the site you're making your book available. You sit back and you wait for emails to come in from people who auditioned to do your project. And you know, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of people on ACX who want to narrate and produce your book for a price. So you can wait for those folks to come in and listen to the auditions until you hear one that you like and then negotiate with them for how much they want to do it. So once you find that person then you negotiate. 

The other way to find a narrator is to literally browse narrators and has ACX has a place where you can do that. You click the button that says browse and you are then faced with little tiny audio snippets by name of hundreds of narrators of all genders ages styles accents and you can choose them by age by accent by gender by energy level and that's a really time-consuming process because you can spend hours going through these auditions and still not find the right person. 

Anyway, no matter which way you decide to do it once you decide on your narrator then you have to figure out how much to pay them. And there are a couple of different ways to do that. It seems to me like the most common way is that people do a combination of a flat fee and what's called a royalty share. When you do a royalty share you make an agreement at the beginning that you and your narrator will split the royalties right down the middle. If you decide for example, as I have done. To market your book exclusively through Audible, you get 40% of the royalties. If you do a royalty share, you split that 40% with your narrator. So you're talking about each one of you get 20%. 5:04 But most of the time you're going to need to pay some money upfront and the narrators generally are looking for what they call a per finished hour fee, PFH, and they want anything between $50 and $200 per finished hour. If your audiobook is over eight hours long as my time travel rescue book is you know at fifty dollars an hour that's four hundred dollars at two hundred dollars per finished hour that's 1600 dollars. So you can see how hiring a narrator can get pricey. You can negotiate. You can make an offer. 

You know the budget way to do it is to share half the royalties and that's what I've done. So you just basically do it all through the website you click you communicate with your narrator and then you set a deadline for when you want the audiobook done ACX actually generates a contract for you. And away you go. 

As each chapter is submitted you listen to it and if you find mistakes or if you decide you want a certain word or a certain phrase to be delivered in a different way, you go back to your narrator and say can you make this change can you make that change? 

And that's the end of it. Once everything's been submitted and you're satisfied you arranged payment and that's the end. And then Audible checks it for quality control and then suddenly it shows up on the audible website and it gets paired with whatever book version you have whether it's a Kindle e-book version or a paperback version. 

So you can do it. It's not totally cheap and it's not totally free but it's very accessible. It's all done kind of automatically through the web and if you find a great narrator then you'll be in good shape.