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I kept listening to other female narrators and not connecting with them. Taking a look at the next book I wanted to upload to ACX, I auditioned male narrators when I found the book was very much the hero’s story. This book was also royalty share.

For the next few books I knew I needed female narrators. One, which was a new release, would need a more mature woman’s voice different from my younger heroines. I believe at this time more authors were finding ACX. I went through hundreds of audition samples on the site by narrators who were accepting royalty share terms, unable to match voices to books. Or if I did find someone, I would message them. Many were busy. Two told me they would only look at royalty share projects with stipends. So I decided to explore samples from pay-for-production narrators. I ended up with four at various fees--$100, $125, $140 and $225 per production hour. You’d think with paid production there would be no technical problems. That wasn’t true. After we started the project in two cases, hearing the recording machine go on and off and echoing sounds was something I had to note. These were eventually corrected thanks to the professionalism of the narrators.

I want anyone deciding to develop audiobooks to understand excellent narrators with excellent technical skills can be found in both royalty share as well as paid production. And vice versa.

Shared royalties drew my attention first because my investment in the projects was time rather than money. But then, I rather liked the idea on the pay-for-production projects that I wouldn’t have to share royalties with my narrator, just ACX. I look at this whole audio adventure as an investment in my future earnings. And, as with any investment, I believe diversification is the way to go. I’ve diversified with my narrators. If a listener doesn’t like one, hopefully they’ll be drawn to another. I’ve diversified utilizing both payment options because seven years is a long time.

I still have books which need narrators. But now I’m easier with the whole process. Five are live and six are developing in stages. I do need time to write for other deadlines! So I’m biding my time for the next books to be put into audio. I’m waiting for two narrators who were booked when I wanted to collaborate with them. One is male and is a pay-for-production rate, the other is female and will participate in royalty share. They both will be worth the wait.

So... After reading everything on the ACX.com website, after deciding whether or not you have time to give to this venture--listening to sample of auditions, uploading books with a marketing plan, listening to the finished product in stages--should you enter into a royalty share plan or a pay for production agreement? Analyze your goals, your finances, the voices you hear on samples, then jump into the audio waters with whatever you’re more comfortable with and can afford. Then sit back and wait for your book to really come alive.

Karen Rose Smith’s 80th novel will be published in 2013. Her latest, Her Sister, is a women’s fiction indie-published e-book. In December, Staged To Death, her first mystery, will be released from Kensington books. For details, see www.karenrosesmith.com. This article first appeared on the author’s blog.

Business Briefs

Moving Up

Christian Trimmer moved from Walt Disney Co. to senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in mid-April. Irene Goodman Literary Agency’s Barbara Poelle has changed her name plate from senior agent to vice president. PW Daily

Harlequin the Winner in Royalty Dispute

Federal court judge Harold Baer, Jr. ruled in favor of Harlequin in a dispute over e-book royalties. Barbara Keiler vs. Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. dealt with net receipts on digital editions. The three authors asserted the royalties should be 50 percent for e-books editions, not 3 to 4 percent of the cover price for contracts signed between 1990 and 2004. Harlequin stated the royalties given were based on the three authors’ contracts. The suit was dismissed because they “failed to state a claim” according to reports. PW Daily

 

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