Rights Holder Info
Thank you for choosing me to narrate your book! I’m grateful for your trust in selecting me as your narrator and excited to work with you on this audiobook.
The following information will help make the project go smoothly.
I’m mostly active on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to connect with me and tag me on your social media sites!
Phone 1.470.737.NAR8 (6278)
Please contact me by email for fastest communication. Also, if we are using the ACX system, we need to send any emails regarding scheduling changes through their message system as it is the official record of communications for ACX projects.
Most authors like to hear how the prospective narrator will perform their words. I will be happy to supply a custom audition lasting no more than 5 minutes from your text.
Choose 2-3 pages of your book for me to record. You may decide to choose pages from different scenes or chapters. For instance, I’d suggest an interaction between main characters in a fiction book.
When we agree that I will record your book, I’ll coordinate dates with my editor to establish 2 due dates for the audiobook:
- the first 15 minutes (see item 3 below)
- the complete audiobook
I ask new clients to pay 50% of the fee as a non-refundable deposit after approving the 15-minute checkpoint file. Once I submit the full, retail-ready audiobook to you, I’ll send an invoice for the remaining balance. Payment is due upon receipt.
The final invoice is based on actual finished time and may differ from my estimate.
If we’d be contracting directly rather than going through ACX or Findaway, I would withhold the end credits and retail sample until the invoice is paid.
I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my audiobook production process.
I. I receive the complete, recordable manuscript in PDF or Microsoft Word format.
I prefer to receive the complete book before I audition so that I can determine if I am a good fit for the material.
2. Once we have entered a contract for me to produce and narrate the audiobook, I read the manuscript cover to cover and make choices affecting how I will record the book.
If you have character bios, please send them to me! It’s particularly helpful when an author can tell me things that aren’t in the book, like:
- Who would you cast for this role if you were producing a movie? I don’t imitate people or provide a voice match, but it’s usually helpful to use other people as inspiration for a character’s voice.
- Is this book part of a series with recurring characters?
- Are there any pronunciations of words or names that are made up or not easily researched? Sometimes authors have a preference for a character’s name or have invented the city or world they live in.
This article and this one discuss my preparation and audiobook prep in general, respectively. I don’t mark pauses or emphasis, preferring those choices to be made organically while performing the text.
During my prep, I look for clues about the characters or people in the book, including:
- their age
- their socioeconomic standing
- their native region and/or specified accent
- their quirks and attributes
I do meticulous pronunciation research as I prepare the text. This 7:37 video shows how I manage my pronunciation list. You can view the Evernote used in the demo at this link.
3. I record the first 15 minutes and send it to my editor. We perfect it before sending it to the rights holder (RH) for approval.
This 15-minute checkpoint usually is the first 15 minutes of the audiobook. However, it could include passages taken later in the book if the RH wants to check certain character voices.
The RH should listen to this file and provide me with any feedback about pacing, tone, character voices, and pronunciations. This is your chance to offer any specific comments about the performance.
Once the RH approves this file, I complete the audiobook without further input.
4. I record the entire audiobook.
I perform the text in the book word-for-word as written. I must read the words on the page in the order they are written, without adding, subtracting, or transposing words while maintaining any character voice and using the proper inflection and emotion for the context. Narration is not as easy as it sounds!
I have a director on every project. He helps me to maintain energy, pacing, and voicings. He assists me with pronunciation research and guides my interpretation of the text.
I frequently find typos in the book and correct them in the recording as I am saying that line.
In order to improve listener comprehension, I will say the full name of an abbreviation or acronym the first time I come across it and use the initials thereafter. I may use contractions in fictional dialogue if it would be keeping with the character.
Non-fiction works may also require me to add clarifying transitional words or descriptions of material. If your work relies heavily on information contained in charts or sidebars, I recommend that you create a PDF to accompany the audiobook and change your text to indicate the page in the PDF to find the reference material. This site shows how to create the PDF, and this page from the ACX help system has instructions for including it with your audiobook.
Important note: Audiobook narration is a performance art based on my interpretation of the author’s text. As a result, I make integral artistic and directorial choices as I record. I therefore don’t accept artistic or directorial change requests past the 15-minute checkpoint. Thank you for understanding.
5. I send the audiobook and my pronunciation research to my editor for editing and proofing.
My editor adjusts pacing and eliminates noises that distract the listener. He checks the text as he listens to ensure that my read matches the authors words and notes any corrections I need to make.
6. I re-record the sentences my editor identified that require corrections.
These sentences are known as pick-ups. They may have technical errors, such mispronunciations and misreads, or noises that couldn’t be edited out, such as excessive mouth clicks or extraneous background noise.
This 2:26 video demonstrates the corrections process that one editor and I used. Other editors send the corrections to me in a spreadsheet with clips from my original recording. I need to hear how I performed the line so that I can repeat the inflection and emotion when re-recording the line.
7. My editor seamlessly inserts the pick-ups into the original audio and masters the files to give them a consistent and pleasing finished sound.
8. I upload the final, retail-ready files to the rights holder for approval and distribution.
Due to my research and the corrections process, I’ve rarely had an instance where a rights holder asked me to re-record a mispronounced word.
However, I will correct any technical errors of mispronunciations and misreads, even if it means fixing it multiple times throughout the book. As stated above, I do not make artistic or directorial changes after the 15-minute checkpoint.
Many authors are surprised or startled by the finished audiobook because it will never sound like the voices in your head, especially if you wrote about real people whom you know. These 2 resources may be useful to you:
- Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth sums it up beautifully in this 1:10 video.
- Author RC O’Leary wrote an excellent article titled What Happens When Your AudioBook Ends Up Sounding Different Than Expected.
Sometimes rights holders want to re-write passages after they have heard the audiobook. If my schedule accommodates me to re-do such sections, I will invoice the client for 1.5 times my PFH rate on the re-worked passages as I would be going through steps 4-8 a second time.
Other resources you may find helpful:
Audiobook Resources for Authors http://www.AudioForAuthors.com
My Audiobook Marketing Cheat Sheet http://www.AudiobookMarketingTips.com