Mail Chimp

Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Prepare for an Audiobook on ACX

Releasing an audiobook is right up there with going to paperback, in terms of excitement for an author. But be warned, it's a long, sometimes agonizing process. It takes almost as much time to bring an audiobook to market as it does to write a novel in the first place. Here are a few things I've learned that can make the process easier.

1. Listen to your book first.

You can read your work out loud, and you should, when revising your draft. It might be even better to have someone else read it to you, if you can pull that off. As an author, you know every detail of how things should be read. It may not be as obvious to someone else. Alternately, there are many pieces of software that will read your book to you. I find that there is no substitute for the human mind and voice, myself.

2. Make sure you've exhausted all editing possibilities.

Things are pretty much set in stone by the time you reach the audiobook stage of development. At that point, it's too late to make changes. A good narrator will work around a typo or two, but technically, their job is to read what you have in your draft. You don't want errors in your text anyway, but having them makes it more difficult for the narrator. If you didn't listen to your work before, and you hear sentences or phrasings that fall flat, it's beyond rude to expect your narrator to make those sort of edits for you.

3. Make a pronunciation list.

You would be surprised at how many words in your text are difficult or ambiguous to pronounce. Assume nothing. Even it's a polysyllabic word from the dictionary, if you think there might be a question, your best bet is to send the narrator a list of pronunciations in advance. This goes double for important things like character names, places, and words you've invented. You know what they should sound like, but that doesn't mean anyone else does.

4. Find a great narrator.

Common sense, right? I say this because it's possible to like the first fifteen minutes of someone's work, and then find out that the other three hours and forty-five minutes aren't up to par. Working with someone of a known quality can alleviate this greatly. There is a tendency for indie authors starting out to go with a relatively unknown narrator, because they are more likely to accept your proposal, and they work for royalties. I'm not saying this is a recipe for disaster, but it does increase the likelihood that
the end product will be less than stellar.

5. Pay your narrator.

This is a tough one. Indie writers tend to work with little or no budget, and, honestly, aren't necessarily going to make their money back. But at $400-$800 per audiobook, it's still a smart decision. For one thing, it insures you're get top-notch talent narrating your story. Beyond that, you'll also get to keep all of the profits from sales, and the margins on audiobooks are slim. When you divide slim by two, you're getting next to nothing for a sale. I submit that you're more likely to actually generate significant profits if you pay for the narration.

6. Research

Before you rush into audiobook production, read all you can about the process. There are many articles like this on the web, and reading them will help you avoid the pitfalls and gotchas inherent in the process.

Good luck, and have fun...