It’s not personal, it’s business – Week 11

Ralphie got to tell Santa about the Red Rider BB Gun, and Santa replied, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Geraldo got Al Capone’s vault open and there was nothing in it. Al won the popular vote but didn’t get elected.

These disappointments are almost in line with opening my first email from ACX with a topic “Regarding your ACX Audition” and the message is:

“Thank you for auditioning for xxxxx. Unfortunately, you were not chosen to produce this book, but…

I didn’t actually cry, but still… It was a bit of a rude awakening after the way things were done at LibrVox! They were so caring and supportive, and now like a fledgling bird trying to make its way in the cold, cruel world, I have to fight for my very survival.

Here’s my week:

  • I find my first interesting book. A middle aged man like me (okay, over the hill – whatever) telling his story about raising kids on his own. I can relate. I do an audition and am ready to make my first monetary gain…
  • Okay, fine. I find my second interesting book. Intermittent Fasting – I actually know a little about that. I practiced it for some time when I was in a fitness fit. Now I can make some money…
  • Well, then. Here’s one – The City of Angels, a History of Los Angeles. I’ve been there. Went to Disneyland as a kid. Switched planes at LAX. Twice. I’m a lock.
  • And then, I got one! A contact from the Rights Holder asking about a rate of $40 pfh, then an offer. Very exciting!
  • Let me depart from this thrilling story for a moment to address something that has bothered me a bit as I have read about and listened to people talk about Voice over Work. There seems to be a propensity to talk in vagaries. People seem afraid to say, “I recorder a book called The City of Angels on ACX for $40 pfh.” They want to say, “I did a project on one of the big audiobook sites that was a fair wage for me as a beginner.” For my part, I don’t understand the need for such lack of information. One of the reasons I wanted to blog my way through this discovery process was to give others following a similar path some real life information on how to do this, what not to do, what to expect, and conversely to learn from those who have done this already and are willing to share. So, off the soapbox.
  • The History of Los Angeles was published under the name of in60Learning, and there seem to be a lot of these types of publishers on ACX that generate a lot of shorter titles. It seems to me like it might be a good idea to get in on one of these, as becoming “the voice of in60Learning” or something similar would be a nice resume booster. This book has a lot of Native American names, and I struggled with them a bit, but made it through well enough that the Rights Holder approved it. When you accept an offer to produce on ACX, the process goes thusly:
      1. The offer includes due dates for the First 15 and the completed audiobook. Make sure to do a sanity check on these before you accept the offer.
      1. The Rights Holder uploads to ACX, or in some other way makes available, a digital copy of the manuscript.
      2. The Producer records, edits, and masters the first 15 minutes of the book, which usually includes the beginning sections of the book, such as:
        • The Opening Credits, as required by ACX
        • Forwards, Prefaces, Dedications, etc.
        • Introductions
        • However much of the actual book that it takes to reach 15 minutes running time.
      3. The Producer uploads this portion of the book as the First 15, and waits for the Rights Holder to give the thumbs up to proceed.

        The Producer records the rest of the book, does final editing and mastering, and uploads it in sections.
      Be careful to meet ACX’s file specs for bitrate, beginning and ending silence, peak and average volume levels, and file type.
      Note that each section should begin with what that section is. That is, actually record the words “Chapter One” at the beginning of chapter one, etc.
      While the First 15 was probably several sections as one file, these will all be split into individual sections for the final upload.

    The Rights Holder can either approve the book (see step 7), or send it back for edits (Go to step 5. Go directly to step 5. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.)

      Here’s the best part – the Rights Holder makes payment to the Producer! I had to quickly jump over the PayPal to create an account, and within a short time, I had my first payment – $44.60. Real money. This could be fun.
      The Producer confirms on ACX that they have been paid in full.
      ACX does some magic behind the curtain, apparently, and eventually their process of “Audio Validation” verifies the book is valid and it will be made available for sale.

    Quite a week. I’m rather tired…

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