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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Posts Tagged ‘ACX’

Audiobooks with ACX – Optimize Your Novel for Audio

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 28, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Optimize Your Novel for Audio

This is part 6 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. Once I started listening to how my words sounded, I realized what worked and what didn’t. It made me change the way I write. Going forward, I’ll alter my writing with audio production in mind. It’s made a difference in many ways. Here are my tips on optimizing your novel for audio.

Avoid authorial phrases like “assailed her nostrils” or “attacked her senses.” Be more concrete and direct: “The smell of chocolate wafted into her nose.” Descriptions like “his aura of command” could be better written, as can describing food as “sliding down her throat.”

Get Rid of Adverbs

Remove adverbs in phrases such as “I thought irreverently” or “She thought sardonically.” The dialogue should speak for itself.

Don’t begin sentences with any of these words as it sounds awkward: abruptly, quickly, startled, evidently, apparently, depressed, inwardly, ignoring, hoping, wanting.

Be wary of starting sentences with “ing” words or short phrases. These sound awkward when spoken out loud.

Change this: “Focusing on the road ahead, she pondered their conversation.”

To this: “She focused on the road ahead while pondering their conversation.”

Change this:

Smoothing down her jeans, Marla emerged from their car. She wore a corduroy jacket over a pullover sweater, glad for the extra cover when a cool breeze stirred her hair. Fortunately, the cold spells only lasted a few days at a time in South Florida.

To this:

Marla emerged from their car and smoothed down her jeans. She wore a corduroy jacket over a pullover sweater, glad for the extra cover when a cool breeze stirred her hair. At least the cold spells in South Florida only lasted for a few days.

Change this: Inside the lounge, she paused to study the contemporary motif.

To this: She paused inside the lounge to study the contemporary motif.

Avoid stilted dialogue. Make sure that conversations among your characters flow naturally and sound smooth.

Try not to break up passages of dialogue.

Change This:

“Oh no?” Tally heaved a deep sigh. “Maybe he asked them to cover for him. He didn’t invite me to come along this morning.”

To This:

Tally heaved a deep sigh. “Oh no? Maybe he asked them to cover for him. He didn’t invite me to come along this morning.”

Use Facial Expressions Sparingly

His eyes narrowed; her mouth curved in a smile; he pressed his lips together. These can sound unnecessary with dialogue spoken aloud, so evaluate if you really need them. Same for “he nodded” or “She grinned.” Try to qualify these, like “She grinned as though she had something to hide.”

Change this:

“The killer is covering his tracks, but we’ll get him. Or rather, Mallory’s team will have the honors.”

She heard the resentful note in his voice. “You wish this were your case, don’t you?”

His jaw clenched. “Of course I do. Tally and Ken are like family to us.”

To This:

“The killer is covering his tracks, but we’ll get him. Or rather, Mallory’s team will have the honors.”

She heard the resentful note in his voice. “You wish this were your case, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. Tally and Ken are like family to us.”

Identify Speakers

Make sure it’s clear who is speaking. It is okay to stick in a “he said/she said” or an action tag now and then, but don’t overuse them. And yes, your narrator will speak every word aloud in the audio version if you want your book to be Whispersync ready.

Note Character Voices

Mention the person’s voice quality in your character profiles or as you write dialogue. Is it low and throaty? Booming like a radio announcer? A pronounced Southern drawl? A clipped tone? A high-pitched voice? Or perhaps a condescending tone? You’ll need these notes for your narrator when you’re ready to do audio.

Write Shorter Chapters

Each chapter is uploaded separately by your producer to ACX. My fifteen-page average chapters come out to around twenty minutes each. You’ll have shorter listening times with fewer pages per chapter. Hereafter, I’ll aim for chapters that average around ten pages each.

By keeping these tips in mind when revising your next work, your audiobook will sound smoother and won’t jerk the listener out of the story. So add these suggestions to your arsenal of notes on manuscript revisions.

CLICK TO TWEET

<><><>

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by Mary Ann Jacobs. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to Sample Clips.

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio (640x640)

BUY NOW

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 28 TODAY ONLY!
Killer Knots original edition ebook is on sale for $2.99 ONE DAY ONLY
Cohen_KillerKnots

Amazon
Nook
iBooks
Kobo

July 28
Let’s Talk post on “Early Role Playing” at
Booklover’s Bench

July 1- 31
BODY WAVEeBook (421x640)

Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11- Aug 8

Cozy Mystery - July 2016 - Cohen-Nancy
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Enter to win more 40+ cozy mysteries PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Fiction Writing, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Marketing

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 25, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Marketing

This is part 5 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX.

When you get the notice from ACX that your audiobook is ready, go to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes and get the buy links and/or affiliate codes. Add these links, your audiobook cover, and a story blurb, to your Website. Add the audiobook to your author accounts at Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, and LibraryThing.

Prepare a list of tweets and posts to promote your new audiobook. Use hashtag #audiobooks to gain followers. Post new release notices on all your sites and send out a newsletter. If you’re also an audiobook listener, post reviews of the books you’ve finished. On your various sites, put “audiobook” into the Search feature and add bloggers and reviewers to your promo list. Search for interest groups with this tag on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

Decide how you are going to give away your free promo codes. You can post a request for reviewers on your various social media sites or in your newsletter. You can go to specific audiobook sites as listed below and solicit reviewers there. Or you can hold a contest and give away the codes as prizes.

If you’re a blogger, post about your new release, the audiobook process, and working with a narrator. You and your producer can interview each other if she is interested.

Use Clips

https://blog.acx.com/2016/03/17/a-new-way-to-promote-your-audiobook-audibles-clips/?=blog

Clips are samples you can record while listening to your book on Audible. First, use one of your promotional codes to download your own book.Then either play your audiobook, or search ahead of time for passages in your pdf file that you’ll want to clip. Note the chapter, then bring up your book on Audible and click the Chapters button. Go to the chapter where the passage is located. Hit the Play icon.

When you hear the portion you want to keep, tap on the Clip button in the lower right corner. Pause the playback so the audio doesn’t keep playing. Click on the dots in the upper right corner and go to Clips. Click on the clip you just snipped, then hit Edit to change the start and end points. Label your clip in the box on top and then tap Done. There might be a simpler method, but this is how I did it. Each clip can be as long as 45 seconds. Do more clips until you have five minutes total, which is the limit. Use these clips in posts and tweets to provide samples of your audiobook. To Share the clip, click Share and choose your social media buttons. Also email yourself a copy so you can save the link and use it elsewhere.

Listen to Permed to Death Clips Here

Goodreads

Goodreads has a group for audiobook lovers. Be sure to read the rules, and only post promotions or review requests where permitted. https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/596-audiobooks

Audiobook Ads and Reviewers

When you go to these sites, read their submission requirements. Note the genres preferred by the reviewers. Keep track of your promo codes as you give them out. Later, check off which recipients actually posted a review so you’ll know who to approach next time. Be sure to post self-promo only in places where this is permitted.

http://audiobookboom.com/authors For $10, you’ll get an ad in their weekly email newsletter. Your audiobook is listed as available for a free download in exchange for a fair review. This ad did get me a number of responses.
http://audavoxx.com/ Your book must rate an average of 4.0 or higher on reviews to be accepted on this site.
https://audiobookreviewer.com/review-submission/ For $25, your book can be a Featured New Release in their weekly blog.
http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/contact/
http://www.eargasmsaudiobookreviews.com/
http://audiobookjukebox.squarespace.com/solid-gold-reviewer-program/
http://audiothing.blogspot.com.au/
http://booksforears.com/
http://www.audiogals.net/
https://theaudiobookworm.wordpress.com/
http://audiobookjungle.com/about/review-policy/
http://briansbookblog.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysteryaudio/
https://www.facebook.com/AudaVoxx
https://www.facebook.com/groups/AudaVoxx/
https://www.facebook.com/eargasmsaudiobookreviews
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EverythingAudiobooksE.A.R.S/
https://www.facebook.com/AudioBookReviewer/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1014732691885069/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/freeaudiobookgiveways/ This group is for you to offer your promo codes in exchange for a fair review.

Twitter (#Audiobooks)

https://twitter.com/acx_com
https://twitter.com/AudioBooksBS
https://twitter.com/audible_com
https://twitter.com/audiobkjkbx
https://twitter.com/audavoxx
https://twitter.com/AudioBookRev
https://twitter.com/AudioGals
https://twitter.com/audiobooks_com
https://twitter.com/AudioFileMag
https://twitter.com/Audiobook_Comm
https://twitter.com/AnAudiobookworm
https://twitter.com/listenbooks
https://twitter.com/grapeapril75

Audio Books and Libraries

Audiobooks are provided to libraries through OverDrive, Hoopla, and Recorded Books.

Resources

http://katetilton.com/25-ways-market-audiobook-quick-guide/ (Kate Tilton)
http://blog.acx.com/?s=marketing (Karen Commins)
https://twitter.com/KarenCommins/lists/audiobook-blogs-reviews (Karen Commins)
http://bit.ly/1QXFAhI (The Creative Penn)

CLICK TO TWEET

Coming Next: Audiobooks with ACX – Optimize Your Novel For Audio

<><><>

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to Sample Clips.

PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

BUY NOW
Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

BODY WAVEeBook (421x640)

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Enter to win 40+ cozy mysteries, PLUS a Kindle Fire! Click Here to Enter

Cozy Mystery - July 2016 - Cohen-Nancy

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Audiobooks, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 21, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

This is part 4 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. After you have hit the “Approve Audiobook” button, ACX will instruct you to pay your narrator, if you are paying per finished hour. The payment due is based on the finished length. Once you send the funds via the narrator’s preferred method, click on the button for “I sent xxx to my producer.”

When the producer confirms payment has been received, ACX and Audible will conduct a quality assurance review and prepare the title for retail sale. This can take up to two weeks.

Here’s an idea of how long this all takes from my timeline. My narrator was pretty fast and responded promptly to requests for changes. Hopefully, you’ll find someone just as responsive.

Posted Book Profile on April 12, 2016
First Audition Received on April 18, 2016
Received my narrator’s audition on May 2, 2016
She accepted my offer on May 3, 2016
Final Files Loaded on June 9, 2016
I approved Final Files on June 11, 2016
Production: 7 hours, 14 minutes, 24 seconds
Narrator confirmed payment
Six days later – Audiobook Release

There’s no warning when the audiobook will appear. I got an email from ACX that said: “Permed to Death (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Book 1) is now on sale at Audible, and it will be available on iTunes and Amazon within the next few days.”

Two days later, I also received my 25 free download codes that can be used for soliciting reviews.

If you have friends or relatives who have never received a book from Audible, you can send them a copy for free from your audiobook’s page on Audible. There’s a button for this purpose. This helps you save some of your codes for better use.

Now it’s time to start on your marketing plan.

<><><>

PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk

iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t

Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

Save

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Save

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 21, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

This is part 3 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. After a narrator has accepted your offer, she’ll send you the first fifteen minutes to review and approve. Thereafter, each chapter is uploaded by the producer as a separate file.

Follow along with the text as you listen and look for missing or extra words, wrong pronunciations, missing lines, or words that may be spoken too low to hear. You want as exact a match as possible if you intend for your book to be Whispersync ready. This feature allows readers to switch between reading their Kindle edition and listening to the corresponding audiobook across devices without losing their place.

Permed

Note if a character’s voice seems appropriate. Should he speak in a bolder tone or a softer one? Higher pitched or lower? Is the accent right? Is there enough emotion in his voice? Can you distinguish among the characters in a scene with two or more people present? Are your character voices consistent throughout the story? Does the narrator pause at a space break? Does she have enough expression in her voice during exposition to keep the listener interested?

Next, listen to the files without looking at the written text. Close your eyes and pay attention to the story as it unfolds. Note qualities in your writing that you might tone down next time because they don’t sound right when spoken aloud.

If you have corrections for the narrator, note them in a separate file. Write down the chapter number and the exact time in the recording where the correction needs to take place. For your own sake, also indicate the page numbers in your pdf file. This makes it easier to go down the entire list at the end to make sure all of your suggested changes have been made. Here is an example of the type of errors I’d found:

Chapter 1

20:33, “You think I’m meshugeh?” You pronounce the word okay, but you read the sentence as, “You think I’m ah-meshugeh.” Please correct.

Chapter 2

8:14, Moishe should sound like Moish, not Moish-ee
p. 26/267; Monkshood should be monks-hood, and not monk-shood.
31:44, p. 34/267; you say leather black handbag. It should be black leather handbag.
Dalton’s voice could be more expressive.

Chapter 3

18:39 Should be “Don’t think me rude”, rather than “Don’t make me rude.”

Chapter 4 is good as is.

Chapter 5

19:55: See this passage toward the end. A couple of words/lines are missing that I’ve bolded here.
“Yep, that’s me.” A frown creased her forehead. She didn’t recognize the voice, nor was she sure of the caller’s gender. The caller ID showed out of area.

“I have a suggestion for you,” rasped the person on the other end of the line. “Mind your own business, unless you want your next cup of coffee to be your last.”

Click. The dial tone buzzed, while Marla stood riveted with the receiver to her ear.

Chapter 6 is good as is.

Chapter 7

11:10 Afraid he’d probe, not afraid he’d probed. We can leave it this way if the sentence makes sense to you in past tense.

Chapter 8

17:40 With deft movements, not delft movements

And so on. You get the idea? To communicate these changes to the producer, go to ACX and click on your project in production where you see the list of chapter files. Click on Request Changes in the upper right to unlock the site so the producer can do a new upload. Then send your producer a message listing each change. Keep all messages within the ACX format so they are properly documented. You can also communicate via email if you wish and send the correction file as an attachment, in addition to the ACX messages. Keep in mind that each time you want changes made, you have to click on that Request Changes button.

While you’re on this page, upload your audiobook cover that must be sized 2400 x 2400 pixels. You can look up other cover art requirements on the ACX site. Make sure your cover artist hasn’t just stretched out your ebook cover. Some modifications to fit the square format will have to be made.

Next, click on the Edit Retail Information in blue toward the top right and under the Approve button. Click here and double-check the metadata info listed.

When no further changes are needed and your narrator has uploaded the final files, click Approve Audiobook.

CLICK TO TWEET: http://ctt.ec/UfgOY

Coming Next: Audiobooks with ACX – Production

<><><>

PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to sample clips.

BUY NOW
Audible:
http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Audiobooks with ACX – Auditions and Narrators

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 18, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Auditions and Narrators

This is Part 2 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. Once you’ve submitted your book’s profile, you are ready to accept auditions. Here’s where it gets hairy if nobody responds. Be patient. Eventually, you’ll begin hearing from narrators, also called producers.

woman headset

Soliciting Narrators

You don’t have to sit around and wait for narrators to contact you. You can search for your own on ACX. Click on Search and then Producers for Hire. Various filters are provided that will help your selection, such as genre, gender, voice age, and style. You can also fill in the type of payment you’re willing to offer.

Narrator Voice

The narrators list their websites, so you can see how many titles in your genre they’ve done. Their producer site on ACX lists their payment preferences and offers samples for you to listen.

Narrator Filters

See which voices strike you as matching your main character. Can you distinguish between different characters in scenes with more than one person? Can you hear the narrator’s voice well, or is it too low? Too raspy? Too fast, or too high-pitched? Too faltering? When you find someone you like, click Send Message from her ACX page and invite her to submit an audition.

When you receive auditions, you can click Like, Dislike, or Maybe to organize your selections. Narrators do not see this. When you want to listen again, click on the Like link for the samples to pop up. Be very discerning. Don’t take the first person who comes along.

Payment Plans

Find out what payment plan is acceptable to the narrator you like the best. Is she willing to work for royalty share alone? Some will only do royalty share if you also pay $100 pfh on the side or split the production costs. It’s not unreasonable on the narrator’s part to want to get paid, considering the hours and money she’ll put into production. Or is she only willing to accept an up-front payment of $200+ per finished hour? What’s the difference?

ACX sets the retail price based on finished length. They pay 40% royalty on retail sales. With royalty split, you get half (20%) and the narrator gets half (20%). The contract lasts for seven years. This is a good option if you don’t have the cash to pay the cost up front or if you’re not willing to take the chance that sales will exceed your initial expense. If you do royalty share and decide to cancel this arrangement after seven years, then you lose any rights to the recording. You’ll have to start all over again.

If you pay per finished hour (pfh) for the recording or have obtained a recording from another source, then you’ll retain rights. But you need to decide on exclusive or non-exclusive distribution. In an exclusive deal, your audiobook will be downloadable from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, but you cannot offer it for sale anywhere else nor will it be available in CD format. Your royalty is higher this way than for a non-exclusive choice where it drops to 25%. With royalty share, it’s automatically an exclusive deal.

Stipends

Another option for producers is royalty share plus a stipend, in which case ACX pays the producer $100 per finished hour. Each book, upon submission to ACX, goes into a set of algorithms that take into account publication date, reviews, ratings, and your social media presence. If you’re lucky, they’ll offer you a stipend. If your book is accepted, you’ll see a green banner on your title in the ACX system.If it doesn’t qualify, and it’s been active on ACX for a while, you can take it out of production and reactivate it later. The stipend algorithms may be applied again.

Choosing a Producer

Once you’ve agreed on a method of payment, ask the narrator if she’s willing to send you several chapters at a time for you to review while the book is in production. Also ask about her availability in terms of scheduling. Does she have a block of time free for when you’ll want to get started? Do you? Be prepared to commit your time for a month or two and agree on a set of dates. Do all this before you make a formal offer.

Making an Offer

When you are in agreement with a narrator you like, go to her ACX page and click on the “Make an Offer” button. You’ll have to set deadlines for the first fifteen minutes and for the finished book. Make these reasonable, because you’ll need time to review the files. This offer expires after a certain number of days. If the narrator accepts, you’ll be asked to upload a pdf file. Then you sit back and wait to receive the first 15 minutes for review.

CLICK TO TWEET

Coming Next: Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

<><><>

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to Sample Clips

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio (640x640)

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

GIVEAWAYS and BARGAINS

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire! Click Here to Enter

Cozy-Contest_thumb.jpg

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Getting Started

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 14, 2016

The audiobook process has been a learning experience for me. I approached ACX as a complete novice, knowing absolutely nothing except what I’d gleaned from fellow authors who’d posted advice online. A special thank you to author Terry Odell, who has been my mentor for this project. So now it’s my turn to pay back what I’ve learned. The Book of Knowledge hasn’t closed yet. I’m still fumbling my way along, but maybe these posts will help when you explore a similar path. This is Part 1 of a series on this topic.

Create an Account at ACX

P1030932

Go to http://acx.com and create a free account. You can sign in with your Amazon account. Then put your book’s ISBN or ASIN number into the box and claim the title as yours.

Set Up Your Book Profile

Now you’ll need to need to create a book profile. One section serves as a description of your book.

HairRaiser

Describe what type of voice you’re looking for in a narrator. Male or Female? Age range? Mood?

NarratorVoice

The other section is about you as the author. You’ll want to make this project appealing. List your awards, series accolades, social media sites, and marketing plan.

AuthorInfo

When you’re done filling in these boxes, you need to submit a script. This includes several minutes of representative conversations from your story. The sample passages you provide can be different scenes along with notes on context and brief character sketches. It’s good to have a variety, so you can hear how the narrator does the different character voices. Then you’re almost ready to submit your project.

Script

CLICK HERE TO TWEET

Coming Next: Auditions and Narrators

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Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions.

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Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

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Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries, PLUS a Kindle Fire. Click Here to Enter

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $1.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 21 Comments »

ACX and Audible

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 26, 2014

ACX and Audible
Novelists, Inc. Conference St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014

P1030932

What Sells in Audio? Teen and YA Fiction, Romance, Scifi/Fantasy, Mysteries/Thrillers, Business and History.

What do you need to get started? You need a published book on Amazon, audio rights, a manuscript, cover art and rights to the cover. There is no particular length requirement. Figure that 9300 words equals one finished hour of audio. In your profile when you apply to ACX, mention the main characters in your book, your awards and track record.

Options include paying the narrator upfront based on book length or sharing the earnings 50-50 and paying nothing up front. This latter term lasts seven years. Thereafter, you can renew each year or remove the audio book from distribution. A third option is to upload your own audio file.

Royalties are 40% for exclusive distribution and 25% if you go nonexclusive. For the former, you and the narrator split the royalty, meaning you’d each earn 20%. Distribution is to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Make sure you grant world rights for global reach.

You can earn a $50.00 bounty when someone joins Audible and purchases your book first. The person must stay in Audible for 30 days after the trial period.

The author gets 25 download codes for promotion but these don’t count toward your bounty. You can request more. How can you use these? Use them to generate reviews. Check out these sites: Audiofile, AudioGals, Books for Ears. Offer giveaways to your newsletter subscribers and social media fans. You can use Audible’s gift center to send a book to a fan.

If you already have an audio file, make sure it meets the requirements. It takes about three weeks after uploading to become active. Royalties are paid monthly via check or direct deposit.

Selecting your Narrator

Is she too fast? Too slow? Too cartoonish? Just right? Keep in mind that the listener can speed the audio with a tool in the app. You’ll want to give your narrator about three pages to read. These can be different paragraphs along with the context. In a series, continuity of narrator is important. A single voice is more popular than a multi-cast. Any additional material should come after the credits at the end.

One tip: use fewer dialogue tags. Various checkpoints occur in the process: the initial audition, and then a 15 minute sample which does not have to be the first pages of your work. You can request two rounds of revisions. Listen for the quality of sound during the longer samples. You can terminate the contract if you do not like the results. If approved, you can request three chapters at a time from your narrator.

Check the performance rating with each narrator, visit their website and note how many books they’ve done. You can click Like or Dislike to organize your selections. Narrators do not see this. You can send sample clips to friends for their opinions. Ask the narrator about her editing. Will she allow you to review the audio chapter by chapter, or at least three chapters at a time? You want somebody who’s easy to work with. If you are not happy with the narrator and reviews reflect your views, you can ask the narrator to re-record and upload. Do the first book slowly and thoughtfully. Do not rush the process.

The speaker from ACX at Ninc who nominates audio books for promotion said she looks at the book cover first. Next she’ll check out the number of reviews and what they say. She will check out your social media sites to see if you are promoting your audios. If you have a series, getting a promo boost for book one is important. Branding and packaging should carry over from other series titles.

How to Stand Out

Consider adding teasers for sequels after the credits. Coordinate promo efforts with your narrator. Leverage SoundCloud for audio clips. Make a dedicated space on your website for audio books. You can distribute up to 10% of your audio on a clip. This can be embedded on your website.

 

Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

ACX and Kobo

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 24, 2014

Audio Books on ACX with Terry Odell and Neil Plakcy and moderated by Julie Compton

ACX Panel with Terry Odell and Neil Plackcy

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Note: Terry has many of the steps for creating an audiobook on her blog at Terry’s Place

Nowhere to Hide, an audiobook romantic suspense by Terry Odell

Why Audio?

Sales of audio books are growing in double digits. There’s extra money involved. You can reach another audience. And it’s not hard to do.

Why ACX?

ACX stands for the Audiobook Creation Exchange. It’s owned by Amazon, and it connects narrators, producers, authors, and the marketplace. It’s not hard to learn and has good customer service. They have a lot of narrators, and you don’t need a cash outlay. http://www.acx.com/

Getting Started

Enter your book in the blank box to find it on Amazon, who will fill in the description. Categorize your book. You’ll be presented with three choices. You have an audio book and you want to sell it. You wish to narrate your own story. Or you want to hire a narrator. For a producer, keep in mind the quality of equipment and if they fix glitches.

How do you pick a narrator?

Gender: Male, female, or either
Age: Child, Tween, Teen, YA, Adult, Middle Aged, or Elderly
Language: English, French, German, Spanish
Accents: Choose from a list
Narrative styles: Upbeat, sexy, frightened, etc. This should reflect the tone of the book.

Pitch your book

Market to the producer by mentioning your mailing list numbers, awards, reviews, and other accolades.

Let the narrator know what type of book it is (i.e. humorous mystery) and what types of characters are involved including special accents (i.e. Yiddish words or Spanish phrases).

The sample script is 5000 characters limit, but it does not have to be consecutive text.

Ask the narrator what kind of promotion they’ll do for your book.

Can you tell the difference with this narrator between the character speaking and thinking?

How about dialogue with “he said” and “she said?” If there are two female characters, can you tell which one is speaking? Are puns pronounced correctly?

Royalties

You can pay the narrator up front and keep all the royalties, or do a 40% split. If you do the split royalties, the audiobook will be sold on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes only. But there’s no cash outlay and the narrator is more likely to help in the marketing. That is, if you can find a narrator willing to invest their time in your project. Paying up front is more expensive, but you can sell your audio elsewhere and you have control over it.

Stipends

ACX may pay narrators a stipend to do your narration. This attracts more narrators, but you have to sell yourself when applying for this option. So consider the application form a “pitch” session and mention your readership and marketing basis.

Covers

These must be 2400 x 2400 square. You cannot resize your ebook, so ask your cover designer to provide a cover in this size.

What's in a Name by Terry Odell

Full Narration

Don’t have the narrator read your front or back material. They’ll upload the first 15 minutes to your dashboard for you to check the pacing, accuracy, etc. Have them upload chapters as they go so you can listen to the file. You may want to tell them to drop the “he said” or “she said” if they feel it isn’t necessary.

If you want a copy on CD, consider that the book takes about 10 hours or so to narrate, and so you’ll need a number of CDs for one work.

The file comes as a download. People listen to it on their mobile devices or on their cell phone.

Reviews

Reviews will show up on the audiobook’s Amazon page.

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Kobo Writing Life with Christine Munroe and moderated by Christine Kling

Kobo SleuthFest

Kobo has a blog, podcast, and social media sites. Check out Kobo Writing Life . They have a bestseller list on the blog with 30 titles. Kobo also has author collectives like the “Jewel” historical romances. They have a daily deal on the main page which may include boxed sets. Kobo Next is indie picks for new releases. You can also ask to be included in the First Free in Series.

If a book is to $2.99 here, then it’s $2.88 in Canada/Europe. Books priced at $1.99 are doing poorly. Customers like $.99 or $2.99. You can raise the price for full-length books up to $8.99.

You should link to Kobo on your website and other places online. Marketing opportunities include Book Bub, Story Finds, and Indie Bound.

For metadata, you’ll want to add the imprint or publisher name and the series title.

Indie bookstores earn a percentage of sales selling Kobo e-book readers and titles.

 

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