Tags:
  1. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.

    Is anyone making Audio Books?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by exweedfarmer, Jan 22, 2017.

    Making an audio-book is not as easy as it sounds... no humor intended. A lot of people are using drive time as reading time, I was wondering if anyone was taking advantage of this?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,665
    I've had several audiobooks made of my work, but I haven't been the one to organize that.

    I think there's a program through Audible that's called ACX or something like that? As I understand it you can get narrators to work on your book in exchange for a cut of royalties? Maybe?

    I definitely think a good narrator is important. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I don't buy a single one without listening to a sample to make sure the narrator is professional.
     
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,135
    Likes Received:
    1,305
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    As BayView indicated, ACX is where many many publishers and self-published authors go to get their books recorded. There are options to pay per finished hour or royalty share. Going through ACX, the finished audiobooks will be made available via iTunes, Audible and Amazon.

    I've never recorded my own books. My publisher has arranged for the narration of them. So far all of my novels have been made into audiobooks, except for Thunder Wells. Recording/production for it will begin early February.

    Anyone seeking to get their books made into audiobook, like BayView said, needs to audition the narrators. There are some very good ones out there, and there are some not so good ones out there.
     
  4. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Central Florida, USA
    I was recently approached by a major audio book publisher about making an audio book from my latest novel, Glory Boy. I signed a contract with them and I also decided to go ahead and go through the ACX process for one of my earlier books. I will probably wind up making all of my books available as audio eventually.
     
  5. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Well I'm glad to hear that it's becoming more popular. Many heavy readers I spoken with have said that it's the way to go. I've done my last six as audio books. I'm not impressed with the audio quality of ACX. Mouth clicks rampant and over compressed IMHO. But matching a reader with a novelist and marketing are hard to resist. It's a pretty good deal.
     
  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    They'd better be because I love audiobooks!

    The quality is really important though, as is the choice of narrator. I've returned several to Audible for poor quality, and most of them were eventually removed from sale. I think producing a good audiobook costs a lot of money, which is why they're so much more expensive than books.
     
  7. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    15,206
    Likes Received:
    30,031
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    Can't speak as an author, but my best friend used to be an avid reader. Now he's got 3-4 hours of commute to (edit: round trip, not one way) work every day, and he swears by audiobooks, so there's definitely a reason for the market.
     
  8. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,137
    Likes Received:
    1,061

    Why on Earth would you handover your book to a middleman service that picks the narrator for you? That's insane.
    I've been more than curious to hear what the first chapter of my book will sound like when read by a professional voice actor... I went here https://www.voices.com and spent hours narrowing the field, and finely chose a young woman that I thought might be perfect for the story. She read the first chapter, and my god, listening to it the first time, a chill ran up my spine. Don't let some literary service hack make decisions for you. Take control of your work and hire the person you want as narrator. It ain't cheap, but believe me it is worth the cost and added trouble. Besides which, you can buy a sound editing program and add your own music fade-ins/outs, just like the pros!
     
    MarcT and David Lee like this.
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    I think she means her publishers organised it, not a literary service hack.
     
  10. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,137
    Likes Received:
    1,061

    That isn't true.
    A book of novella length (40k-45k words) will cost no more than $2,000 for a professional voice actor... of your choosing! Some are in more demand than others, and cost more, but as I've discovered the talent pool is vast and like with anything else, you can find up-and-coming talent just as good as the seasoned pros that hire on for reasonable rates. Besides which, you talk to them one on one, discuss the tone you'd like to strike, the personalities of the characters so that dialogue resonates the way you intended... it's an awesome experience hearing your story for the first time!
    There is absolutely no need to use a service. Do it yourself.
     
  11. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,137
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Again, why would you allow something as important as the person who narrates your story to be chosen by committee?
     
  12. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm not sure what you're arguing with. For a start I'm talking as a listener, not an author. I'm also talking about novels and sound quality, not just the voice actor.

    I have no desire to "do it myself". I'm very happy for someone else to pay the costs.

    I don't think you have much understanding of the publishing industry.
     
    BayView and Steerpike like this.
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,113
    Likes Received:
    7,635
    Location:
    California, US
    You sign a traditional publishing contract and you aren't likely going to be able to decide things like this, or even what the cover looks like. The publisher becomes your business partner and they have marketing people and others who will determine these things.
     
    BayView likes this.
  14. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Central Florida, USA
    Because doing it yourself costs thousands of dollars that most people don't have?
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    15,206
    Likes Received:
    30,031
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    Or, why the mousy, brown haired librarian heroine is suddenly a 36/24/36 redhead in a chainmail bikini, wielding a blaster and a battleaxe.

    Yeah, I think most of that's gone by the wayside, but as a reader, I do remember those days in SF/F.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,665
    For those interested:

    I haven't had audiobooks produced by a Big Five publisher. Based on my experience with cover art I'd assume Big Five would give less input to the author for audiobook narrators, but I'm not sure.

    With my smaller publishers, I was sent audio files of 4 or 5 narrators being considered for each project and asked if I had a preference. I was also told that if I didn't like any of them I could ask for other choices. None of this was contractually required, so if the publisher had wanted to make an arbitrary decision, I assume they could have done so. But publishers aren't the enemy. They don't wake up in the morning and plan a busy day of crushing authors underfoot. They want to make decisions that make them money, and I'm fine with that. Maintaining good relationships with authors is a good business decision.

    In my case, I rarely had a strong preference for one narrator over another. I'm just not good at making that kind of judgment... I'm a writer, not an audiobook director. I'm happy to let people with more experience and knowledge make decisions in their areas of expertise.

    So really, if you're comfortable with other aspects of working with a publisher, I can't imagine why you'd not be comfortable with the audiobook process. If you're not comfortable with publishers in general, I can't imagine you'd suddenly be comfortable with audiobook production through a publisher.

    And as a final note--I just checked Audible and I have ten audiobooks available. All but two are rated 4 stars or higher and they've all been available for at least a couple years. Over that time I doubt I've made $2K total from all of them put together. There are a variety of different publishers and contracts involved, but in general I make about 50% of net on audiobooks, so if I've made less than $2K that means the publishers have made less than $2K as well. So between them and me we've made about $400 a book. I'm glad I'm not the one who sank $2K (or whatever it was) into producing each book.
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  17. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Wow, looks like a lot of people are interested in doing this. I've been looking into going into the voice acting business and it's not as easy as you might think. There is a lot of audio recording software out there and NONE of it is made specifically for audio books. Recording and production time is at least, and I do mean at least, 5 hours per every hour of finished audio and the recording equipment is spendy.
     
  18. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yep, doing it properly isn't cheap and certainly not as cheap as $2,000.

    I've only bought one 'self-published' (self-produced?) audiobook, and it's one of the ones I returned for poor audio quality. The narrator was fine, but the actual sound quality wasn't. I can't get on Audible now but I think the author was Michael Bray. No idea if Audible have pulled it.
     
  19. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,665
    Michael Bray still has lots of books available on Audible... there are quite a few comments critical of the narration.
     
  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    Oh, well it doesn't even have that going for it then. :D
     
    BayView likes this.
  21. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.
    It doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars. I don't know if it's allowed to post external links on this board but this is the audio version of the first chapter of "Waldo the Incubus" that I've already posted here and you can download the whole book for free so I don't think this can do any harm. I made this on my own little computer with my own little ( not for sale) software. The audio quality isn't great because it's in MP4 format but you won't hear any mouth clicks... well... not many anyway.
     
    Iain Sparrow likes this.
  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    17,350
    Likes Received:
    26,175
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    @exweedfarmer Did you do the narration yourself?
     
  23. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Yeah, several years ago now. It seems rather slow and emotionless but it takes forever to re-do.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  24. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,137
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    I've worked in the Printing Industry nearly my entire adult life... I understand it fine. The Publishing Industry is akin to the Real Estate Industry, it's a fabulous bunch of nonsense! Both industries are pretty close to rackets, that is fraudulent enterprises that have no real value.

    It's so bloody simple; you hire a voice actor, whom you talk one on one with as to your expectations and how you wish the written material to be presented. The days of expensive studio time are done. Many of these voice actors have their own in house studio from which they produce professional level audio. If you want to add fade-in/fade-out music for opening a chapter you do it yourself with a sound app. If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you can use a sound app.
     
    MarcT likes this.
  25. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    607
    Location:
    Undecided.
    May I quote you on another board? I agree totally and could not think of a better way to put it.

    As for the do-it-yourself approach....you can look forward to recording three or four complete novels and the massive edit time before you get something close to right. The electronics are getting better all the time. You can still expect to pay at least $300.00 for a studio quality mic. Maybe the day of the studio isn't over yet. It would sure be nice to have an engineer in the next room to break in and say "you're getting close to clipping" or something like that. I think the fad in/out music sounds hoaky.
     
    Iain Sparrow likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice