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The Craft > Audio Books - Who Provided the Voice?

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message 1: by Lee (new)

Lee Dunning (maraich) | 56 comments I recently got a request for an audio version of my book. This is not something I've ever considered doing as I think my speaking voice is nasally. Plus, I'm female and I think a male voice would sound better reading my book.

Have any of you put out audio books? If so, did you read your own? Did you find someone else to read for you? Does anyone know of folks out there just dying to put their voice talents to work for cheap?


message 2: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments Yes, I have and no I didn't.

You can specify what you'd prefer - Irish female, Mid West male etc. Of course this does limit the pool somewhat but if you are fairly flexible then you should be OK.

If you ARE planning to do it yourself you'd need to have good kit, and at least acting/speaking experience, I'd say. The book will go through quality control - if there is too much silence, or too little, buzzing, or whatever it will sound crap and probably be refused. Put it this way - if YOU bought an audiobook for 30 quid you'd want it to sound professional.

ACX has hundreds of narrators - some of whom you can listen too and approach, or just wait for auditions. It is a really time consuming business but I'd say worth it.


message 3: by Lee (last edited Oct 24, 2014 09:59AM) (new)

Lee Dunning (maraich) | 56 comments ACX sounds very interesting. Any idea how this affects a KDP agreement? For the audio book do you have to distribute it through Amazon only? Or can you use the other outlets like iTunes ACX utilizes?

Oh, wait, I finally noticed it's yet another facet of Amazon. So, if I go exclusive with them that should fulfill my KDP obligation.


message 4: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) The cheapest way, as in free, is to go to http://acx.com, list your book and then see if you get any auditions.

If you do, you and the narrator can split royalties and it will cost you nothing to have it produced.

(New posts have come in since I started composing this, so to answer a new question) your KDP Select exclusive agreement is only in regards to your ebook. An ACX audiobook will be distributed via Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com.

ACX has it's own exclusivity options. If you go exclusive, you'll get a higher royalty.


message 5: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments ACX offers either exclusivity for higher royalities (40%) or 25% for non exclusive.

The exclusive contract basically means you can't also have your book made into audio by anyone else (similar to Select). As far as I know ACX is Amazon, Audible and I-tunes.

It won't affect KDP Select - that is E-BOOK only. KDP is the publishing system, so long as you aren't in Select you publish the e-book where ever you like.

The ACX FAQ are pretty comprehensive.:)


message 6: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 27 comments Lee,

I presume a new ISBN would be required for an audio book??

For ease of checking reading standards go to Youtube, type in audio and this will bring up heaps of examples of how professional readers sound.


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Beverly (writesistah) | 42 comments You can hear samples from ACX as well.


message 8: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments No I don't think you need an ISBN.


message 9: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 258 comments I am going through ACX at the moment with my first book. I have had two excellent auditions - just trying to decide between them. The process seems very simple so far i.e. uploading a sample for the audition agreeing to the royalty share or offering to pay. Not sure of the next steps and how long the process might take but it has been an interesting experience listening to a different voice of my story. I went for the royalty option because of the investment needed otherwise. I see it as another route to readers as well as a service to blind and partially sighted readers.

There also seems to be a growing bad of people who listen in cars or on commutes which hopefully might get attracted by more titles on audio.

If you have text to voice on your computer then you get an indication but it is nowhere near as good as hearing an actor read.


message 10: by Simon (new)

Simon Denman | 102 comments If anyone's interested, I wrote about my own experience recording an audio book here: http://www.simondenman.com/2013/06/17...


message 11: by L.G. (new)

L.G. | 13 comments Lee,
I just released my audiobook using ACX and a wonderful narrator. If you click on me and go to my author page, I just posted my experience and an interview with my narrator this week on my Goodreads Blog. You can read about it there. You don't need an ISBN, and it in no way conflicts with KDP. Audio and eBook distributon is complimentary. One of the benefits is the Whispersync option that allows a reader who has purchased both your Kindle version and audiobook to go from one to the other without losing their place in the story. They 'sync' since they are both on the Amazon platform.

One more thing not mentioned above - if you do an exclusive rev share - your 40% is split 50/50 between you and the narrator/producer - so you only get 20%. Also, if you don't have a solid sales record it will be difficult to attract a narrator for a pure rev share, you might need to pay a stipend. But it is definitely worth a shot. If you are not a professional voice actor, don't have any experience, or don't have the professional level equipment required, I'd heavily advise against it since ACX would probably reject it for quality.

Also, my book is almost 15 'finished' hours, that translates into almost 75 elapsed hours to tape and edit into a production version...

Best of luck!


message 12: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Simon wrote: "If anyone's interested, I wrote about my own experience recording an audio book here: http://www.simondenman.com/2013/06/17..."

Simon, The recording quality is good, and the reading is good, but I have to say that I don't think a 40 second musical intro was a good idea. I was expecting it to last maybe 5 seconds or so, but it just kept going and going, and then finally the opening credits came in and I was relieved, only for the recording to return to even more music, making me wonder how long it would go on. This served to put me in an unreceptive state of mind by the time the narration actually began.

The blog article is nice, and it's great that it includes reasonably priced equipment for those looking to get started, as well as advice from your experience.

I agree with your decision to not try much with accents. Anyone considering doing their own audiobook just has to recall how it sounds when a friend tries an accent and fails. You definitely don't want people who buy your audiobook to have that cringe-evoking experience. If you can do it, that's great. But if you can't, it's best to not try and end up failing.

I'm producing my first audiobook now, and learning how as I go. I'm doing someone else's book, so by the time I get around to doing my own, I'll know what I'm doing. ;)

If anyone would like to hear a sample, I put it on my website for the author to review for errors or feedback before I upload to ACX. http://edwardmwolfe.com/audio.html


message 13: by Simon (new)

Simon Denman | 102 comments Thanks Edward,
Yes, I kind of agree with you there. The music was put in by the publisher and although it only happens at the start of the full 9 1/2 hours of audio, it is a bit much on such a short demo clip :)
In fact on Audible.com they use a different music-free sample from a little later in the first chapter.


message 14: by Lee (new)

Lee Dunning (maraich) | 56 comments L.G. wrote: "Lee,
I just released my audiobook using ACX and a wonderful narrator. If you click on me and go to my author page, I just posted my experience and an interview with my narrator this week on my Good..."


Thanks so much, L.G.! Wonderful information, and exactly what I needed. I'm getting kind of excited about this new venture now.


message 15: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 32 comments This is certainly another avenue worth investigating. Thanks for all the wonderful input so far!


message 16: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Quindlen | 1 comments Wow everyone, thanks for the information! I'm reading Simon's post now. What an exciting option for my book. I am posting to my Tumblr now to gauge whether or not my readers would want an audio book version of my novel.


message 17: by Lee (new)

Lee Dunning (maraich) | 56 comments I went ahead and submitted for folks to audition. We'll see if anyone bites.


message 18: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 27 comments A.L. wrote: "No I don't think you need an ISBN."

Morning A.L,

I've been thinking about the ISBN for the Lee's audio book.

If the audio book is to be sold in a book shop they will require an ISBN for tracking etc.
Each publication of a book requires a new ISBN e.g hardback of a title has a different ISBN than a paperback version of the same book, and an e-book version has a different ISBN again.
The bookshop orders books by using the ISBN, so they have to make sure they order the correct version of the book - hardback, paperback, e-book, audio etc.

If the audio version is not for sale via a book shop, then an ISBN is not required.
cheers, Geoff


message 19: by E.N. (new)

E.N. McNamara (ElizabethMcNamara) | 82 comments Simon, your demo was inspirational. I didn't mind the music and I liked the sound of your voice.
This whole thread makes me want to jump up and start production. Thanks.


message 20: by Simon (new)

Simon Denman | 102 comments E.n. wrote: "Simon, your demo was inspirational. I didn't mind the music and I liked the sound of your voice.
This whole thread makes me want to jump up and start production. Thanks."


That's so very kind of you, E.N.
You absolutely should and then you can add these extra editions to your books on Readers in the Know :)
I should probably add that I rarely sell more than a handful of audio editions each month, so it's not an enormous revenue stream, but it was lots of fun and I think it also adds a certain credibility to your book to have it available in audio as well as Kindle and Paperback.


message 21: by E.N. (new)

E.N. McNamara (ElizabethMcNamara) | 82 comments Well, that was not as easy as I'd hoped! Reading my own book made me want to rewrite the whole durned thing. Doing my own engineering was tricky too. I found it easier to read using an italk app, but I'm not sure if the voice quality will be sufficient. This venture will take some experimentation.
Simon, have you ever considered a monthly fee for your service? Some of us have a hard time coughing up more than 10 bucks at a time.


message 22: by Simon (new)

Simon Denman | 102 comments E.n. wrote: "...Simon, have you ever considered a monthly fee for your service? Some of us have a hard time coughing up more than 10 bucks at a time"

I thought about it at the beginning, but then decided that £20 for 3 books for unlimited promos for a whole year was actually pretty reasonable - especially to anyone who has used any of the other promo sites available. I'm also pretty confident that by the end of the year, any decent books will have seen a very good return from this - assuming they run a few promos.

The other main reason of course is that I've already spent thousands of my own money advertising and promoting the site and wouldn't be able to continue this without the injection of capital that is now coming in from these fees :)


message 23: by E.N. (new)

E.N. McNamara (ElizabethMcNamara) | 82 comments I was under the impression that the fee was 50 quid, which translates into about 80 american dollars. Either way, I respect your business sense - it was just a suggestion.


message 24: by Simon (new)

Simon Denman | 102 comments no it's £20 i.e. about $32 :)
The Book of the Day ad is £50, although you get a free one when you first sign up, and another free one when you renew. And you can earn another free one for every 5 authors you recommend.
Sorry if my previous reply came across more defensive than informative. This was not the intention.


message 25: by E.N. (new)

E.N. McNamara (ElizabethMcNamara) | 82 comments Not at all!
Thanks for the info :)


message 26: by Josie (new)

Josie Whitehead (josie607891) | 23 comments My children's poems are published on the internet and from five huge websites it goes out to children in their classrooms worldwide and, last year, into 188 countries of the world. I add my voice recordings and if you Google JOSIE'S POEMS and go to my listening page, you can hear a few of them, although they are with the poems. There are 1,200 new poems I've written for children and they're performance poems, which is what schools are looking for now. With regard to publishing: I've had 344 poems published in five books by an educational publisher who made such a mess that I had to have to books stopped and my copyright returned. Now on p.218 of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, under "Flying the Poetry Flag" children's poets are being told that because publishers don't want children's poetry any more because it isn't selling, we must self-publish, send our work out to children from websites, or make Ebooks that probably won't sell. With between 500 and 1000 visitors a day to my website, I know that children's poetry IS wanted and all over the world.


message 27: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Lee wrote: "I recently got a request for an audio version of my book. This is not something I've ever considered doing as I think my speaking voice is nasally. Plus, I'm female and I think a male voice would s..."

We have done 4 audiobooks now - each by the same voice talent - Stewart Campbell - and all through ACX - where we also found Stewart. We did consider doing our own voice work but the set up was expensive, and to be honest, voice work is too time consuming and a lot harder than imagined. A professional voice talent is going to make all the difference to the end product.

Alp Mortal


message 28: by Jim (last edited Nov 22, 2015 09:20AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic The audio book formats (CD & Download) of Levels are narrated by Stephen Rozzell.

The publisher provided samples of three contracted narrators' previous works - two male and one female. All three were very talented; however, since Levels is written in the first-person from the main character's point of view, who happens to be male, and the majority of the primary characters are also male, it seemed appropriate that the audio format be narrated by a male. I felt that Mr. Rozzell's style best suited the main character's personality.


message 29: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Top three lessons learned from doing 4 audiobooks through ACX, with a professional voice talent sourced through ACX.

1. Once the offer is accepted by the voice talent (called the producer by ACX) agree a schedule for the delivery of each chapter, even if the deadline has been agreed to - reviewing the draft chapter recordings and processing/re-processing edits is a very time consuming business.
2. Be prepared to offer a private stipend to the right talent because the ACX selection process for offering a stipend does not guarantee that one will be offered, and the scheme expires on 31st January 2016.
3. If you find a talent that really works for your stories, invest in the relationship - believe me, a good talent, who is committed to the project, and who delivers, is worth the investment.

Alp Mortal


message 30: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Hollingsworth | 253 comments I published my audiobook through ACX and I couldn't be happier with it. Essentially you post your book on ACX, actors audition for the part, you make an offer. The cost is $100-200 per finished hour (or more, if you want to pay more. For $400/finished hour, you can have just about anyone you want). My book is about 8 hours. I thought, rather than having 3-4 expensive ads I would rather have an ad that is still a product when all is said and done. The "finished hour" sounds high, but a lot goes into that; each finished hour probably represents 5-6 hours. I haven't quite made all my money back, but I expect to eventually. Joel Froomkin, a professional actor, narrated my book, and he was incredible (he received higher ratings than I did as the author. it's all good, though, he turned my book into theatre, into something better than I wrote). Joel read about 26 voices, and they all sound like separate people. No, a new ISBN is not needed, and, yes, you can stay with KDP, it's all under Amazon's umbrella.


message 31: by Larry (last edited Dec 13, 2015 07:10PM) (new)

Larry Pinsky | 57 comments If I may asked, you spent $800 to 1600 to have your book narrated for eight hours by this actor Joel which sounds awesome. How long did it take for them to complete your novel? How many pages was your novel? Was there any additional expenditures that you didn't expect to pay? Any advise on why you picked ACX OVER others would be really appreciated? Thank u Larry


message 32: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Hollingsworth | 253 comments ACX is awesome. They handle everything and even upload to Amazon (all you must do is provide the cover art) once you have accepted the performance. Yes, that is correct. It is a contract, so no hidden fees (except the cover art). You bid, the actor accepts or rejects. Some authors are able to negotiate royalties (no out-of-pocket expense). Timing: it depends on the actor's schedule, Mr. Froomkin is pretty booked out. For example, I want him to narrate #2, and he cannot begin until March 2016. Once he starts, it is 4-6 weeks. (He is very professional and works long hours) There is a formula on ACX which estimates the # of hours for your audiobook based on the word count. My book was 67,940 words, about 8 hours. I suggest you go to the ACX website, they answer a lot of questions there. Also, if you upload your book with the price range you expect to pay, various actors will audition for your book. You are under no obligation to accept any of them. Naturally you don't want to waste anyone's time if you aren't serious, but neither would you make an offer to someone who didn't fit the bill.


message 33: by Larry (new)

Larry Pinsky | 57 comments Thank u for sharing. Larry


message 34: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Hollingsworth | 253 comments Good luck! It is a wonderful thing to experience your own book as theatre.


message 35: by Sally (last edited Dec 15, 2015 08:19AM) (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 261 comments Here's a rough gauge for determining audio hours based on book-length/word count:

My husband gives speeches as part of his profession, and he has found that it takes about one minute to read/perform 100 words.

So, if you have a 100,000-word book, divide that by 100 (words per minute) = (1000), then again by 60 (to get hours) = 16.67 hours.

Different readers/speakers/narrators have different styles of delivery, which may affect speaking time, but this is a good estimate to use, to get some idea of the kind of time you can expect your finished product to take.


message 36: by Jim (last edited Dec 15, 2015 08:29AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic The audio book format of the abridged version of my novel (85,000 words), narrated by Stephen Rozzell, provides 8 hours listening time, including the brief introduction and closing credits.


message 37: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Hollingsworth | 253 comments Jim wrote: "The audio book format of the abridged version of my novel (85,000 words), narrated by Stephen Rozzell, provides 8 hours listening time, including the brief introduction and closing credits."

My ACX produced audible book is close to Jim's: 67,940 words, almost 8 hours. The ACX website has a more exact formula, but a close estimate is to divide the word count by 10,000 = # of finished audiobook hours.


message 38: by A. (new)

A. Rose (katierose7) | 3 comments I have a question regarding the producer who auditioned for my novel. I had asked for (and wanted) a male narrator with a British accent. I received one audition from this fellow, and while I loved his accent, he seemed rather flat. Not much fluctuation in his speech. It didn't change during the fight scene. Is this the norm? A flat, non fluctuating tone? Or should I expand my horizons with ACX and perhaps garner the attention of another producer? Any ideas are welcome and thank you.


message 39: by Blair (new)

Blair Howard | 89 comments Katie Rose. I suggest you try Jack Wynter. He narrated my guide to the English Cotswolds. He's very good. Do a search for him on AXC.


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