Creating an Audio Book
My writing professor recommended that I create an audio version of Busted. As I embarked on another expedition that I knew nothing about, I discovered that a company called ACX, (Audio Book Creation Exchange) which is owned by Amazon, dominates 95% of the market. Through ACX, an author can have an audio book created and distributed through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I found two other companies—Listen2Book.com, which is designed for authors outside of the U.S., and FindAWayVoices.com, which is a newcomer designed to compete with ACX.
I decided to use ACX, filled out their questionnaire, and submitted two of Busted’s chapters for narrators to read. I specified a male reader without an accent and requested they also speak Spanish. (For anyone who hasn’t read Busted, two of the three main characters are Hispanic males.)
Most of the narrators are out of work actors, and I received eight auditions. One gentleman had a southern drawl; one had a Texas twang; one was classically trained which didn’t jive with the commercially suspense genre; one was Hispanic, but his interpretation of my female character made me want to strangle him and my female character; and one gentleman sounded like he lived in the U.K. There was one narrator who had good tone and pacing; however, he massacred all the Spanish, including the word “Sinaloan.” (Having grown up in SoCal and watched Breaking Bad and The Wire, I’d expected this to be one of the easier Spanish words.) There were a couple of gentlemen whose voices and interpretations I liked, but one had a better interpretation of Gina (the female protagonist). Over the course of three days, we exchanged e-mails then finally connected on the phone. Having been through the process numerous times, he educated me about the sequence of events. Impressed, I made him an offer through ACX, which he accepted. (There are pre-established cost options per hour, and I’d selected one that was in my budget.)
ACX uses an algorithm to calculate how much time it will take to make an audio book. Based on the number of words, (Busted has 89,759 words), ACX predicted it would take 9.7 hours to produce my audiobook. What I didn’t know is that for every hour of forecasted production, the narrator spends six hours preparing, recording, and editing. Whoa. That’s much longer than I’d anticipated. As a result, Busted’s audio version is scheduled to be available late September.
For the audiobook cover, I need to transform my e-cover from a rectangle into a square. Any suggestions on how to do that? Please keep in mind that I’m technically challenged.
Having never listened to audio books, I wasn’t familiar with a capability called Whispersync. For an additional fee (of course!), you can listen to the audio book, stop, then continue by reading the story on your Kindle. Is this feature important? What are your thoughts or experiences?
I welcome comments.
Warmest Regards, Michele Author, Busted www.michelekhoury.com