December 5, 2012

no. 2: make your story talk

Blogger's Note: It's day two of the 12 Days of Writing, and today Lauren Clark shares her experience turning her books into audio books. I loved both Stay Tuned (read the review here) and Dancing Naked in Dixie (and here), and I love that they're available on audio book, too. Comment on this post for a chance to win a prize package of books and writer swag.


No. 2: Make Your Story Talk
ACX - An Indie Author's New Best Friend

By Lauren Clark
Author of Stay Tuned and Dancing Naked in Dixie

I'll admit, I'm a bit of an audio book junkie. I've been a member of Audible.com since I can remember. I adore listening to a great story on long trips--and I've been known to sit in my driveway to get in "just one more" chapter.

When my publicist, Laura Pepper Wu, of 30DayBooks, told me that I could create Dancing Naked in Dixie and Stay Tuned audiobooks without major cost or hassle, I couldn't wait to find out more!

While there are many other companies you can use to produce an audiobook, I liked the idea of using ACX.com, or Audiobook Creation Exchange, because it really provides a collaboration between authors and narrators. After producing two audiobooks, I can assure you that the process is fun and interactive.

1. First, using your Amazon account, create a Title Profile for your book, adding a description, word count, and details about the genre of the story.

2. Next, (the really fun part!) search ACX’s database to find the perfect narrator to record your book. The site gives you the option of using a male or female voice, then you select an age range, a region of the country (Southern, Western), and the qualities you'd love in a book narrator (humorous, engaging, etc.). You can also choose to narrate your own book, but for my novels, I needed to stick with the professionals!

ACX.com narrators offer several voice samples, and much like iTunes, you simply click and listen. For me, several things were crucial:  Is there the right level of emotion and expression? Does the Narrator sound right for the part? Would readers enjoy his or her voice?

3. Then, approach your favorite narrators, and ask them to read a chapter from the actual book you want them to record. This was so exciting! Before I made a decision, I asked a few friends what they thought about the narrators I was considering. (It is also possible that a narrator or producer will approach you about your book)

4. If and when your favorite narrator agrees to produce your novel, there are several options to pay your "voice talent." You can choose to pay your narrator an hourly rate ($150-$400/hour) or agree to a Royalty Share Deal. I chose the latter, which meant no upfront costs for me, and that once the audiobook is produced, the royalties are split equally between author and narrator.

5. Once I had a contract with my narrator for Dixie, Deanna Moffitt, she recorded the first chapter of the novel. This was my chance to further review the style of her voice, tweak any pronunciation issues (Eufaula = You-Fall-A), and the pacing of her narration. Deanna, who was wonderful to work with, agreed with my suggestions and proceeded to record the remaining chapters. The entire process took about three months, with an agreed-upon deadline and distribution rights.

6. Once the entire book is recorded, authors okay the audiobook "as is" or can ask for changes (up to two rounds). One approved, your audiobook will then be made available on Audible.com, iTunes.com, and Amazon. Depending on the number of finished hours, your book will be priced between $10 and $35. ACX.com retains the right to sell your audiobook for seven years.

7. Again, while other audiobook production companies exist, I had a wonderful experience with ACX.com. I must applaud their customer service department, who cheerfully answered questions and (one day) tried to explain how to upload my cover art work for Dancing Naked in Dixie. Yes, too late I realized that audiobook cover art has to be square and there was a last-minute scramble to get the formatting corrected!

Overall, audiobooks are a fabulous way for any author to expand his or her knowledge base, make new connections, and find new "listeners." I highly recommend ACX.com and would love to hear about your experiences with the exciting world of audiobook production.

About the Author
Lauren Clark is the author of Stay Tuned, Dancing Naked in Dixie, and Pie Girls (March 2013). She writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.

For More About Lauren
Lauren Clark Books Website
GoodReads Lauren Clark
Twitter Lauren Clark
Facebook Lauren Clark

Buy the Audio Books
Dixie on Audible
Stay Tuned on Audible

Get a Copy of Stay Tuned and Dancing Naked in Dixie
Dancing Naked in Dixie for Kindle
Dixie Paperback
Dixie for Nook
Dixie for iTunes, iPad, iPhone

Stay Tuned
Stay Tuned for Nook
Stay Tuned for Kobo


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10 comments:

  1. I love synchronicity! Just two days ago, I was wondering how hard it might be to make an audio book! This is so timely, and the specificity you provided is amazing. Thank you, thank you. I always learn something from your posts, but you're going to have to up the ante to top this one!!!

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    1. Thanks lovely Sharon Moore :) I actually worried a little about balancing this post -- too much information, too little. Please email me at laurenclarkbooks@gmail.com to discuss it further at ANY time :) Would love to chat more!!!

      xx, Lauren

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  2. I admit this is not something I have given enough consideration. Thanks for the info.

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    1. Thanks Mama Hen! It is such LITTLE work on the author's part (HEY, the book is done ... right?)

      It's a great venture and the checks in the mail make everything a little nicer!!

      xx, Lauren

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  3. Wow, I had no idea you could opt to split the royalty cost and therefore get an audiobook set up for no upfront costs. I assumed it would cost a fortune. Thanks for the useful info!

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    1. Dear Jackie - I am so glad you found it useful :) I adore audio books because I travel A LOT and they get me through the loooong hours.

      Please email me at laurenclarkbooks@gmail.com to discuss it further at ANY time :) Would love to chat more!!!

      xx, Lauren

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  4. This was incredibly useful and interesting information. Thanks, Lauren, for explaining it so clearly.

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    1. Thank you Samantha! It was a great experience and I will be doing it with ALL of my upcoming books!

      Please let me know if you decide to go that route -- would love to compare notes! laurenclarkbooks@gmail.com.

      xx, Lauren

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  5. Very interesting information. I recently starting listening to books on long trips I take in my car.

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    1. Christine ~ I can't get through 3-4 hours without a few audio book chapters. Narrators can make ALL of the difference. Glad you found the information interesting!

      xx, Lauren

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