Showing posts with label ACX audiobook creation exchange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ACX audiobook creation exchange. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ACX Update and a n audible.com Tutorial

The last known activity on both books - State of Successes and Finally Home - was that the books were submitted as finalized by me on June 4.  The note you get from ACX is that they have to validate the books.  I searched the site, al the FAQs and every place I could think of to search for the answer to the question, how long does it take to validate and go live with projects?, to no avail.  I finally emailed support and was given the answer of it takes 10 to 20 days to validate.  Suffice it to say, the process can be longer on their part than on the author's part once all the edits and revisions are made. 

Overall, if you are planning on going the audio book route with any or all of your books, expect the process from finding a narrator to approving and validation by ACX to take up to 3 months or longer, depending on the length of the book, the amount of editing/revisions needed, and of course the time you have to dedicate to get the book out there in another format. 

I did email my narrator for the state book to let her know that I had posted on my blog about the books, et cetera and she did get back to me stating that she has told all her friends and family, a good many of them who are teachers, and the responses so far has been that everyone is anxiously awaiting hearing/reading the books in the series.  I've also posted in several places about the books going live soon.  I hope this will generate some interest and that the series will start picking up.

I will start the process for another state book once the first one goes live, so hopefully before the end of June, State of Wilderness will be on its way to the narrator and by end  of August or the first part of September should go live barring any complications on my end. 

I know once the books go live they will be available on amazon.com, audible.com, and itunes.  Audible will set the retail price and the price will vary from all three depending on whether discounts are offered to members or if each site decides to price differently.  Remember that there is a good bit of work that goes into producing an audio book and that is why the price can be a lot more than print or ebooks.  The coolest thing about the audio books is that if you have a kindle (and this is true for all of them, not just the newer ones out) you can buy the ebook and the audio book and listen and read while the book is actually being narrated.  So for those of you who like both sensory stimuli, you can as long as the books are available in ebooks.  In the case of my state books, they are only available as print books and soon to be audio books for now.  Maybe when I get a sponsor or have more books out in the series, I will consider putting them up as ebooks.

How audible.com works:  Audible.com is a subscription service.  Basically, you sign up, start an account, pay the monthly fee (when I registered and started, my fee was $7.49 for the first 3 months and then will go up to $14.95 thereafter) and earn credits that are good towards the books available.  What I've seen so far in searching for various books in various genres is that no matter what the retail cost of the book you can get the books for 1 credit (which is basically your month's credit).  I picked up The Help which is an 18-hour+ recording for 1 credit while it retails for $26.60 and is available to members without credits for $18.62. As you can see, I got a $27 retail book for $7.49 or my 1 credit for the month of April.  Audible.com also runs specials like in April it was purchase qualifying books for $4.99 (I think you had to buy 4 during the 2-week period) and receive extra coupon monies (I don't remember what I purchased during that special deal but I have available to me 2 credits (May and June monthly member payments) as well as a $10.00 coupon.  I don't know if once my books go live that they will be automatically put in my library or if I have to "purchase" them or what, but once I know that, I will let you all know.

I hope my little bit of insight into the overall process of producing audio books has been helpful to all you authors out there who are thinking of going this route.  E :)

EARN TWO CHANCES FOR THE CROCHETED RED/WHITE/BLUE AFGHAN DRAWING:  For everyone who comments on this posting or any posting on either of my blogs (see below for links) between now and the end of June, you will receive 2 entries in the afghan drawing which will be done December 1, after all my events are completed for the year.  The chances normally sell for 2/$1 or buy a book and receive 5 chances, but I will put everyone's name who comments in the drawing.  Please make sure you provide me with an email address to be able to contact you for information on where to send your chances and/or afghan if you are the lucky winner.  Good luck to all.  E :)

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA myster
Elysabeth's Blog
Elysabeth's website

Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
Where will the adventure take you next?
JGDS blog
JGDS website

Friday, April 12, 2013

ACX - Narrator Sienna Beckman - Guest Blogger

Guest Post by Sienna Beckman
Posted by Elysabeth Eldering

Since I've been posting my progress with the audio book side of things, I thought I'd let my narrator for Finally Home show you her side of things.  I have received the files but haven't had a chance to go through it yet as work has been rather hectic.  I'm shooting to go through the audio files this weekend and possibly the first part of next week.  For the release of the audio book, I've put Finally Home back in the KDP select program.  I'm offering it as a free download Monday and Tuesday, so if you haven't already purchased a copy or would like to gift a young girl who enjoys Nancy Drew mysteries my book (which is similar to a Nancy Drew mystery), next week will be the time to do so.

GUEST POSTING - SIENNA BECKMAN

My name is Sienna Beckman and I’m an actor based in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been recording audio books for about 4 months and have loved all the learning experiences. Both of my parents read aloud to my brother and me when we were growing up, so telling stories has always been a big part of my life. I studied music (piano and trumpet) and played soccer growing up and was very focused on those activities. When I was required to be a part of my 8th grade operetta, Guys and Dolls, I discovered my love for being on stage. I was in several plays in high school and my passion only increased. I attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts.


Becoming a narrator through ACX was very easy. They make all of the audition files and contracts very accessible and straightforward. When I’m looking for a new project, I will search through available titles for books that fit my voice type. It’s especially exciting when I find one that requires an accent, because I love accents and it always adds an extra challenge for me. Then I will record an audition file and send it in to the author via the ACX website.  (Audition files are submitted by the author and are usually a few pages or a chapter to get a feel how the narrator will read the characters and the story itself.)

(Of note, Sienna does read the books first before she starts recording.)  When I hunker down with each new book I’m going to record, the process is always slightly different. Depending on the amount of time I have, how long the book is, and how many characters, my process always begins with notes. I make a list of all of the major characters, some minor ones too, and decide how I’m going to shape their voice. Because audio books have no visual aid, it is up to me to create a very distinct line between characters, so the listeners don’t get confused as to who is talking. In my notes I also make notes of pronunciation questions I might have. My voice is best suited for young adult fiction and some fantasy novels.  If there are unusual names or countries or worlds that I don’t know how to pronounce. I always like to check with the author beforehand, if I have any questions.

When I actually get to recording, the chapter breaks are perfect break markers for me. I will record each chapter and then be able to take a break and rest my voice for a few minutes before continuing. There are several techniques to recording audio books, but my method is as follows: if I misspeak or make a mistake, I allow the software to keep recording and simply back up to the beginning of the sentence, or to the last logical point where I can easily make an editing cut, and begin again. This way I can keep my rhythm and continue along with telling the story. If I were to stop the recording and delete the outtake right then, I would lose momentum and the story telling would suffer.

After all of the tracks are recorded, then comes the editing and mastering process. This is the most time consuming part of being an ACX narrator by far. As the narrator, I am also the producer and editor, and must be responsible for making the completed files sound professional and ready to be sold online. I have to go back, listen to all of the tracks, and delete all of the outtakes. Or if I say a sentence or a phrase two different ways, I have to decide which way I like best. Then I have to go through the tracks and take out any background noise there might be, soften any speech plosives or mouth sounds I might have inadvertently made, and make it all sound seamless. Then I export the files as mp3s, and they are ready to be uploaded to ACX.

Along with audio books, I also write, produce, and record my own audio podcast, called “At the Beep.” It is a passion project that I began in the New Year that is about environmental and social awareness. Each week I highlight a different individual who has dedicated his or her life to making the world a better place. There is so much negativity and selfishness and greed corrupting the world in this time, and the premise of my podcast is that, on the flip side of that, there is also so much love, conscientiousness, and dedication to peace, health, and happiness. There are so many people out there who are so passionate about finding innovative, intelligent, and accessible ways for the general public to learn to live a green, healthy, clean, and un-wasteful life. A few of my highlights have been the Straus Family of Straus Family Dairy and Creamery, Medea Benjamin of the women’s anti-war organization Code Pink, Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, and Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.

Please subscribe to my podcast by searching “At the Beep” on iTunes. I aim to spread happiness, helpfulness, and awareness in the most accessible way possible.

Please visit my website for more information or if you would like to contact me.  You can also follow me on Twitter @siennagrace89

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Posted by Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery
blog
website


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ACX Update

Last month I posted about the process of turning your print/ebook into an audio book using ACX.  I've now contracted a narrator or producer as they are actually called and she is perfect for the reading.  I've checked out her website and she looks exactly how I pictured Kelly looking so her voice and looks actually are a perfect fit for Finally Home.  I posted on my blog this past Sunday a bit about my narrator and links to her website and twitter as she has a podcast going and would like some followers. 

I will tell you  this, if you are considering putting your book(s) up as audios, the process is not a fast one because the narrators actually get offers during times they are working on projects.  If you plan on going this route, remember that the word of the day is PATIENCE.  If you don't get any auditions in the first couple of days, persevere and listen to more sample files and contact several narrators.  When contacting them asking them to audition for your book, mention what caught your attention on their sample files, tell them a little about your book and what you are looking for for the final book. 

Several folks have commented that the process has gone rather quickly for me, but in reality, I started looking for a narrator right after hearing Nina Bruhns from Entangled Publishing mention it at our local Sisters in Crime meeting, the 7th of February.  I listened to over 50 samples and contacted my top 3 choices (including the one I've actually contracted), and after getting their auditions, listened to a few more voice samples and contacted about 3 or 4 more before I actually got the audition from the producer I settled with.  By that time, I had already made a contract.  Before narrowing my choices down by genre, gender, payment type, the options were over 10,000 narrators.  When I narrowed it down by genre (teens), gender (female for obvious reasons - a male wouldn't be able to do Kelly and Emma Louise justice), and payment type (royalty split opposed to upfront payments),  I ended up with  79 voice files to listen to, but two of those were actually male (and how they slipped in there with me specifying female, I'll never know).  Of those 79, there were several samples by the same person or people, so I didn't really have 79 files to listen to.  Once I listened to the files and if something piqued my interest, I would then go to the narrator's page and check out  their other sample files and their credentials and all the other things in their profile.  Then I made contact if I liked what I saw and heard. 

I think this is a great route to go and if you  are not in the United States or probably  in North America (I think Canadians are included in the ACX process), I hope there are other platforms out there for you to get your books out as audios. 

For the release of the audiobook I've taken Finally Home off smashwords and Nook and put it in the KDP select program.  I will be offering the kindle version as a freebie on April 15 and 16 and again the end of May/first part of June (May 31-June 2).  I hope to have the audio released about the same time as my first freebie offering and hopefully more projects will be in the works by then.  I hope to get back to my state stories soon, trying to raise money via a funding campaign on IndieGoGo, to pay my illustrator so we can get the series completed in the near future, and maybe look into doing more of a series with my characters from Finally Home so there are a lot of pokers in the fire, I just need to get myself in gear and get to work.  I'm still looking for some story ideas to turn my character-driven story into a series, so if anyone would like to brainstorm some ideas for the characters, I'm open and can be reached at eeldering (@) gmail (dot) com. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home,  a middle grade/YA mystery very much like a Nancy Drew mystery
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series - Where will the adventure take you next?

http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
http://eeldering.weebly.com
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

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Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests).  Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave".  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ACX - Audiobook Creation Exchange

As a member of Sisters in Crime and havig a fairly close local chapter, we have guest speakers each month, alternating mystery authors and "professionals".  This month our guest speaker was Nina Bruhns, Sr. Editor of the Entangled Suspense line.  Entangled Publishing (previously Dead Sexy) offers a variety of ways to get books with a romantic element in them, ranging from 20 to 80% romance to suspense/mystery/thriller/whatever line you choose, published digitally (they aren't doing print books because they believe that the print books and brick and mortar stores are going by the wayside).  Nina really only looks at suspense or thrillers but there are editors for each of their lines and publicists that go along with that.  While Nina was talking about publishing through entangled, she also mentioned audio books.  She said she listens to audio books all the time when she is traveling.  Of course Amazon is the forerunner in this area as they have bought out audible.com which is the leader in selling audiobooks.  I know several places audiobooks are used- the state libraries use them for the blind patrons but they are still using bulky cassette machines with the books being on tape.  Audible.com will now sell audiobooks on amazon.com and itunes.com as well as on their main site audible.com. 

I wasn't really thinking of doing audiobooks at this moment but I need some sales and I figure - adding audiobooks can't hurt.  So I went to the website and decided to see if it was a simple process, like the KDP is, or how much time it would take to get an audiobook produced.

So far, the process isn't that difficult but there are a few things you must do before actually set up  your profile and start putting your book out there for auditions and a finished product.

When you sign onto the website, the first thing you will see is a big search box kind of in the middle of the purple colored box.  You need to search for your book by title and if there is more than one book with your title, find your book.  Claim your book as your book (I own this book or This is my book - something to that affect).  Once you have claimed your book, you will be asked to sign in to your amazon account, which most of us alreadyh have established as we have posted books on the KDP program or we have made purchases on amazon.com.  After you sign in, you will be asked to set up the book's profile and to upload your sample for auditions.  I would recommend loading the first chapter, or if it is fairly short,  the first two chapters.  I uploaded the second chapter of Finally Home and the auditions I've asked for and gotten back I realized that my chapter 2 wasn't the exact chapter from the book (apparently I had used Chapter 2 for a workshop or reading of some sort prior to really completing the book).  It's okay  that this isn't the completed chapter as you are just giving them a sample to read from to see how they handle the content of your book.

Once you have  completed the profile and uploaded your sample for auditions, then the fun begins.  This can be a very time consuming part of  the production of the audiobook process unless you narrow your search down.  When you get to the "auditions page", you are informed that there are something like 10,930 narrator files to search from.  There are options to narrow the field down.  So for my book, I opted to narrow down to genre, gender and payment type - genre - teens - this is my target audience; gender - female (since my characters are basically female and are teenaged girls); and payment type - royalty split.  The payment type should be indicated when you set up your book's profile and you have 2 options - you can pay the narrator a straight fee (this is based on hours to produce the book and can range from $50 per produced hour on up the gamut to over $1000 per produced hour.  The second option is a 50-50 split royalty on every book sold through audible.com, itunes. com and amazon.com - Audible will set the retail price (there is a formula based on number of hours the book takes to produce to get the price).  Since I don't personally have over several hundred dollars to pay someone to narrate the book, I opted for the royalty split option.  To me this works out best.  Anyway, after narrowing down what or who I would like to narrate the book, I dropped from 10,930 to 79 options. The next thing to do is listen to the  sample narrations that are available.  I found four or five within the first 3 pages of samples (there are usually 12 per page and I only 7 pages to go through), and basically within the first couple of pages that I was impressed with. 

After listening to the sample narrations, then I started checking the profiles of the ones I liked and sent them each a message indicatig that I was looking for a narrator for my book, Finally Home, and if they would be interested in auditioning for me.  At the time of this writing, I had requested auditions from four ladies and had received two back.  The first one I received, she wasn't too bad but she read the main text very quickly - I almost felt like she was on a speeding bullet.  She did get Emma Louise's personality in her reading rather well, so that was a good thing.  The second one I received, I really liked how she got the gist of Kelly's character but she seemed a bit too southern (yes, I know Emma Louise is southern and all but she's not quite that southern).  Basically  I have two good readings of my sample text but neither are quite right.

After I get the other two back, I'll either search for more readings, maybe narrow it down to only females and payment type as opposed to genre and see what I come up with.  It may actually take the longest to find the right narrartor for the book than anything else.  I'll probably update the status on my blog as I get closer to getting an audiobook produced of Finally Home

That's my experience so far with ACX and creating an audiobook to sell and hopefully start seeing some profits on my book sales. 

Since it is almost Valentine's day and this is the last of the "giving holiday season", how about give your loved ones a good book to read or listen to.  Pick an ebook or audiobook or even a signed copy of one of the authors from this group and show them you love them.  I have one Melonberry bookworm left and can't find that yarn at any of our local Walmarts, so in honor of Valentine's day, I will do a drawing from the comments on this posting for that particular bookworm.  All you have to do  is comment and leave your email address in the coment (in the format of email addy (at) whatever (dot) com if you don't want to be spammed) and I'll do a random drawing on Friday, the 15th for the bookworm.  Don't worry if  you  live outside the United States as you a re eligible also since the cost of sending overseas isn't really that high.  Good luck to all and see you in the postings - E :) 

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery

Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests).  Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave".  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.

You can find more information about the JGDS series on the JGDS website or follow the JGDS blog.

You can find out more about Elysabeth and her other writings on her website or follow her blog.

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