Audiobooks discussion

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Archives > Seeking advice ~ major project, low budget

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message 1: by Abby (last edited Nov 06, 2014 12:57AM) (new)

Abby Goldsmith (abby_goldsmith) | 5 comments Hi narrators and potential narrators!

I'm planning to indie publish an epic SFF series of 6 novels (each novel is 100k - 130k words). Since I love audiobooks, I'm determined to make audio versions. But my voice is wrong for this project; it requires a male. None of my male friends have a good reading voice or are otherwise unwilling, and my budget is limited.

I'd rather not use ACX because:
1) I want to make these audiobooks available on platforms other than Audible. I may want to make the first one permafree or cheap.
2) I want a narrator who will enjoy being a major part of bringing my series to listeners. In other words, the narrator should decline this job if he didn't like the first book.

My plan is to give away promo copies of Book 1 to anyone--like hungry college students--willing to narrate six novels. Those who enjoyed the novel will send me an audition. Whomever I choose will win the job.

I'll do all the sound editing, so the narrator doesn't have to worry about retakes or edits. I realize that $400 per book is too little, totaling $2400 for the whole project, but I really can't afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars. If my epic series takes off the way I hope it will, then I could write a clause into the contract agreeing to pay additional royalties in that event.

Does this plan sound doable? If you're a hungry college student, does this sound like 'No way' or 'Maybe'?

Thanks for any advice.
~Abby


message 2: by Erica (new)

Erica (RicoRedd) | 86 comments Sounds awesome to me. If their is a large university in your area that would be a great place to post. $400 is a lot to a college student, shit its a lot for anyone really! Good luck


message 3: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1522 comments i'd probably shelf in the maybe and here's why - from what people have said - 1 hour of final recorded time is approximately 3 hours of narration (i'm sure one of our pros can weigh in on that)

a 130k word book - roughly 433 pages - and about 15hours of final recording (most rough estimates are about 30pgs per hour)

so 15x3 - 45hrs roughly of work - which means you are offering them only roughly about $9 an hour - I don't know if the time committment/effort would be (honestly) worth that

while I realize you can't afford ten's of thousands of dollars - I think $400 is way to low for the amount of work expected - I'd offer more like 800 at a minimum (approx 17.50 an hour, working under the 3hr:1hr narration to final estimate)


message 4: by David (new)

David Dietz | 149 comments Hi Abby,

Although you're taking a MAJOR amount of work off the narrator's hands by offering to edit/master the audio files yourself, you still expect a MASSIVE time committment from your narrator for not a whole lot of money. As a narrator myself, I think what Dee suggests sounds more than reasonable.

Also, you might consider just releasing the first novel and seeing how it does before releasing any of the others. It will be incredibly demoralizing for everyone involved if you discover that there just isn't an audience for the book. (Remember, I'm sure Hollywood wanted to make more Eragon and Golden Compass movies, but it looks like that ain't gonna happen!)


message 5: by David (new)

David Winograd (david_winograd) | 9 comments Abby wrote: "Hi narrators and potential narrators!

I'm planning to indie publish an epic SFF series of 6 novels (each novel is 100k - 130k words). Since I love audiobooks, I'm determined to make audio versio..."


I have done 15 books, and I don't think your terms are reasonable or doable. For the amount of work it will take, you would be paying a fraction of minimum wage. A fraction of a fraction.
I'd propose a royalty split up front or slightly tilted with stipend payment first, and show the potential narrators a well thought out and realistic marketing plan.

The audiobook market is becoming a race to the bottom. Please don't speed the decent. You DO get what is fair and also what you pay for.


message 6: by Tjo (new)

Tjo | 56 comments As nothing but a listener, my feeling is that the quality of narration you'll get for $400 will turn off many potential readers. I'm not even that picky when it comes to narrators, but I've heard enough samples of books recorded on the cheap to avoid them (and the rest of the series) like the plague.

Professional narrators will bring your story to life and draw in more listeners to the rest of your series. I just finished a 17-book series in a genre I normally don't care a whit about primarily because the narrator was so awesome. Conversely, I've listened to a few first books that are in genres I love, but with less-impresssive narrators, and have never listened to another, even if the writing is fine and nothing was technically wrong with the narration.

An average narrator for a single, short book is tolerable, in my opinion. But for me to invest my time and money in a series, especially of longer books, I require quality. I don't think that view is terribly unusual among listeners.

It's your series, but if I were in your shoes, I'd be trying to find a talented but newer professional narrator willing to negotiate a potentially lucrative royalties deal instead of hiring a hungry college student with no experience on the cheap.


message 7: by Audiothing (new)

Audiothing | 210 comments Tjo wrote: "As nothing but a listener, my feeling is that the quality of narration you'll get for $400 will turn off many potential readers. I'm not even that picky when it comes to narrators, but I've heard e..."
I so agree.
I've listened to an awful lot of audiobooks, doesn't take long to differentiate between the trained professional and the self declared as trained "professional".
Some are so bad that one wonders if even the producer is a professional.
I would say do it right or not at all, otherwise you will lose future custom.
Good luck though


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