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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Contemplating Remix the audio book

Now ACX has opened its doors to UK authors, I've decided to commission an audio version of Remix. It's a big step into the unknown, but an exciting one. Though producing an audio book is expensive, there is a growing demand for them. Of course, there's no guarantee one will make a profit, but any self-publisher is well used to taking risks. I believe in selective extravagance, and am prepared to scrimp in some areas so I can splurge in others.

For those of you unfamiliar with ACX's process, the author puts his book up on the site with details and a brief audition script. (I used a conversation between Ric and Caz, as it's vital they sound right.) Actors, known as producers, who are interested can make a recording of the script and send it to you. Also, you can choose producers whose samples you like the sound of and ask them to audition. It's a good idea to go to Audible, look up the narrator, and if she has recorded audio books, check out her reviews.

You can pay the producer an agreed amount per finished hour, or offer a royalty-split deal. If your book is currently selling well, ACX may offer a stipend to encourage producers to audition.

It's interesting, hearing an actress read your lines. I have a very, very clear idea of what my characters sound like, and would find it impossible to accept anything much different from my conception. It's essential the actress is able to read intelligently, or she will stress the wrong word and change the meaning of a sentence. On the other hand, a good narrator will surprise you with a slightly different interpretation which you may quite like.

11 comments:

Timberati said...

Exciting. I look forward to hearing out it works out.

Lexi said...

Me too :o)

Mary Smith said...

Look forward to hearing how it goes, Lexi.
I understand what you mean about the voices. I used to write dramatic monologues and was so lucky when the first one was performed on stage and the actor sounded exactly like the voice I heard in my head. It was actually a bit creepy! It didn't always work but if the director was happy the writer had no say in the matter!

M T McGuire said...

I have to say that an audio book has been on my list of desired but hopelessly expensive options for some time. Good luck I hope it works out. I think I'll have to try my own version first on my website and if it goes down well get it some professionally.

Cheers

MTM

Lexi said...

Mary, I often am unable to watch Jane Austen adaptations because the actors are not the way I imagine the characters - and with my own books, it's even worse. I admit to being obsessive over detail. I'm a jeweller.

MTM, it might be worth looking into ACX, as the costs are variable depending how you do it. You might find someone talented wanting to break into audio books and prepared to charge less, or work for a share of the royalties.

fairyhedgehog said...

It sounds exciting.

I'd never thought about how expensive audio books might be to produce! I like listening to them in the car on long journeys.

Quantum said...

I love listening to audio books for relaxation, and it saves tired eyes for technical reading. As you know, I frequently create audio with computer voices, for personal use.

These voices have a few rules, like raising the pitch when a question mark is found, but in general the pitch and volume are kept fairly uniform. This clearly wouldn't satisfy your requirement:

I have a very, very clear idea of what my characters sound like, and would find it impossible to accept anything much different from my conception.

If however one introduced a scheme for improving pronunciation,indicating where a word should be stressed for example .... a little like a musical score ... then it would help a narrator and the text to speech community could also capitalise.

I taught my young grand daughter (who has learning difficulties) to read using a book with an extended orthography. It used marks above/below letter combinations to indicate the different phonetic sounds used in different contexts. As skill builds one relaxes back to the normal alphabet.

In a similar way a book could be prepared for audio.

Just an idea ..... you could become famous for developing it ..... not that you aren't already famous! :)

Lexi said...

Ha! People keep thinking up extra jobs for me to do, Q.

I think it's easier to find an intelligent actor/producer able to discern and express the meaning in the words. After all, readers do this in their heads without any help.

Good actors are remarkably good at what they do.

FH, I hadn't considered the cost till now. There's not just the actor's time, but also the cost of hiring a studio or having their own studio set-up. Once they are established, it must be a reliable source of income.

Quantum said...

I think it's easier to find an intelligent actor/producer able to discern and express the meaning in the words. After all, readers do this in their heads without any help.

Even intelligent actors/readers may interpret your characters in ways that you might not approve of!

Actually I listen to a lot of audio books from Audible and frequently disagree with the actor's interpretation, usually through a lack of emotion in the speech.

I find that my own mind is an amazing tool though, and will re-interpret from the words. This may come from listening to computer voices where all the words are clear but there is no emotion portrayed. Just like reading words in a book, the mind automatically injects the emotions required.

So I wouldn't worry if the actor disagrees a little with your intended meaning .... there are many ways to interpret a sunset. LOL

Lexi said...

I'm sure you are right - as long as the narrator's voice isn't downright irritating.

I think I'd prefer too little emotion to too much.

Anna Faversham said...

I await further news with relish. I love audio books. They are my bedtime stories.