Saturday, May 26, 2012

Marigny: The Making Of My First Audiobook


Gerard de Marigny writes:
... I went to ACX and followed their simple directions. Within a few hours I had posted my first two novels to the exchange. Next, I had to be approved - probably just a authenticity check performed by the ACX team, but I was still excited to be accepted. I began receiving auditions from some wonderfully talented actors and production companies.

Yet, I had my heart set on one particular actor - Elijah Alexander. I contacted the production company that Elijah used for previous audiobooks he narrated, but they weren't interested in royalty-share deals. Then, in a MOST BLESSED act of kindness and support for a neo-pro writer like me - Amazon/ACX offered a stipend for the production of my audiobooks! What that means is - on top of my royalty-share deal with the narrator/production company of my choice, Amazon was willing to PAY a stipend to the narrator/producer as an incentive to get the audiobooks made! Amazon/ACX wrote to me that, because they felt my novels would be popular in audiobook form, they were willing to pay for their production.

That act may have only been a business decision on the part of Amazon but from my prospective, it was a great blessing! I'll tell you this - I have n-e-v-e-r seen or dealt with a better (super-mega-enormous-big-successful) company than Amazon, especially when it comes to partnering with small entities, like my little indie publishing house.

The stipend allowed me to contact Elijah and offer him a direct r-s deal. The stipend allowed him to record it outside of the big production house he normally utilized. The end result ... just over a month later, my first audiobook has been published! And the audiobook edition for the 2nd novel in the series (CRIS DE NIRO, Book 2 - SIGNS OF WAR) will be released in a few weeks.

So without further ado - the audiobook edition of (CRIS DE NIRO, Book 1) THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM is available at Amazon here. Narrated by the fantastic actor, Elijah Alexander - it's an awesome 9 hours of action thriller entertainment. Please check it out and spread the word about it.

... And hey, thank you all for being a part of the greatest community of talented artists in the world - the Indie Publishing community. Whether you create or support, I'm humbled to be part of the family.
Read the rest here: Journey to my 1st Audiobook, THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM!

Wow! I'm sure Amazon's act of kindness was motivated by business considerations but, still! Time and again Amazon has made decisions that have helped indies earn a living.

As readers of this blog know, I've flirted with the idea of creating an audiobook. I think it would be amazing to be able to listen to Until Death as a series of audio files but, for me, the hurdle to clear is to find a narrator with a voice that works for my protagonist, getting her to agree to undertake the project (always a plus!) and arranging appropriate payment. After reading what Neil Gaiman had to say about ACX I'm seriously considering going that route.

Neil Gaiman's words of advice to authors:
[I]f you are an author, Get Involved in Your Audiobooks Early. Get your agent involved and interested. Talk about them at contract stage. Find out if you're selling the rights, and if you are selling them then find out what control you have or whether you are going to be consulted or not about who the narrator is and how the audiobook is done.

Also, make sure that your publisher has worked out a way to give you free copies (obvious if it's out on CD, much less so if you're on download-only platform).

If you're an agent, notice that we are not living a decade ago, when audiobooks were expensive bells and whistles that meant very little, that normally wouldn't be done for anything outside of major bestsellers, when abridgments were often the order of the day: we're entering a golden age, in which there is no reason that any book shouldn't be available in professionally produced audio. Unless you know that the audio rights are going to be used and used well, keep them for your author. And if they are being sold with the book, then guard your author, and make sure that she or he gets rights of approval.

I love, am thrilled with, and am getting a huge kick out of the ACX way of doing it, where authors (or rightsholders), producers and voice talent sign up and get together and make audiobooks that Audible put up. It's there for you if you're an author, an agent, a publisher with lots of rights you don't know how to exploit, a director/producer/studio engineer, or an actor, and interested. (Right now, it's US only, but they are working on that.) (Find out more at http://www.acx.com/) (End of plug.)

But this isn't an ad for ACX, either. Honestly, you can do it on your own, if you want: Find a narrator or a studio; you can release it through the web; you can give it away as a promotional item, or because you can. Or you can make sure that if your publisher is putting out an audiobook that you have a say in it, and it's the book you want it to be.

Because otherwise it might be you writing to friends telling them not to listen to the audiobook of your book. And that would be a terrible thing indeed.
Read the rest here: Audiobooks: A Cautionary Tale

I won't quote from it, but here's a great article about Neil Gaiman over at Salon: Neil Gaiman’s audiobook record label.

I think sometimes the best advice is to stop thinking about doing something and just do it. Whatever you decide, best of luck!

Related reading:
How to record an audiobook at home
Milton Bagby talks about recording an audiobook
Auxiliary Rights: To Keep or Not To Keep?

"Marigny: The Making Of My First Audiobook," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

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