Mastering My Domain – Week 20

My Weeks Stats

  • 262 Total Auditions
  • 39 Pending Auditions
  • 45 Offers
  • 16 Titles in Production
  • 27 Completed
  • 60 Sold

Those few of you paying attention would have noticed that last item, which was not included in last weeks stats. And don’t worry, I am not going to do these stats in every post, just once in a while to show you how it is working for me, and hopefully we will get some feedback from others with numbers to compare.

The Sold line above indicates how many audiobooks have been sold for only those project that were Royalty Share. ACX seems to think that if you got paid pfh, then you don’t need to know if the book is selling or not. But if you have a stake in it for royalties, you can see what is moving and what is not.

How does 60 units translate to money? After all, what is the final point of Voice over Work if we don’t get some income from it? Take the retail price of a title on Audible. If the book is over an hour long, the price might be $6.95 the copy. Sixty percent of that goes to Audible for the privilege of selling on their site. The remaining 40% is split equally between the Rights Holder and the Producer. For every copy of Shall I Pray or Watch TV? For example, my share is $1.40. It’s a game of attrition with Royalty Share.

ACX pays out every month, by direct deposit or paper check. If the total owed is less than $50, they hold on to it until the total grows past $50. They lag a month behind, so books I sold in June will be providing me royalties somewhere in the last week of July.

Mastered template with high/low pass, compression, limiter

I want to talk briefly about mastering, and will get into it more at a later time. At his point, my mastering is not a complex process. When you are producing music or other multitrack projects, mastering is a difficult and critical step in the process. If you get it wrong, you won’t make it in the recording world. At my level of experience, and knowing that my works will all be converted to MP3s (even if they are 192K for ACX) and listened to in the car or in earbuds, the demand for such a high level of professionalism in not called for. I will produce the best product I can, but I can’t pay an audio engineer the $300 per hour necessary to master my books.

My mastering at this point is four steps, sometimes three.

    1. High Pass filter – set to about 80 to 100 hZ, just to keep any low rumble or plosives out of the mix.
    1. High Pass filter – set to somewhere between 5K and 8K, depending on the production, just to trim out any sibilance that I might have left in due to poor mic technique.
    1. Compressor – Just a bit, as compression quickly can degrade your quality. Trigger at -25 to -35 dB, ratio of 2.5 to 3.5, and a little bit of noise gate from -30 to -40 dB that helps to quiet breaths but doesn’t completely remove room tone.
    1. Limiter – Most times it is bypassed, but sometimes if the dynamics are too much with some dialogue or emotion, the limiter keeps the dynamic range manageable beyond what the compressor does.

Some interesting things happened this week with offers. I got a cold call to audition for a title. I don’t know how the Rights Holder got my name – either from a looking on Audible or listening to the samples on ACX (which brings to mind that I never talked about uploading samples to ACX. New topic!) I also got a direct offer from a RH I previously did a book for. That’s the type of return business I am hoping to be able to generate. Beyond those two, I received offers for another five titles, and one RS book was approved by the author and is on the way to retail.

This one is called La Giaconda Alternative, by Maria K. If you ever have a chance to work with her, take advantage of it. She is very professional and very personable. She is also quite a blogger, and just overall a good person by all accounts. I mention this because this book is one of the few fiction titles I have done, and as a RS project, when it is on Audible, I will be providing some Promo Codes to those first few who ask.

I was listening to some podcasts this week, and heard one podcaster describing the EV RE20 as the worst possible VO mic. What? I just got mine! And it was recommended by many, many people. This kind of thing will drive you crazy if you let it, so be careful how willing you are to assimilate people’s opinions. I am pleased with my EV so far, and although I will eventually upgrade to the Neumann, I think this one does the job equivalent to my studio and processes. Any thoughts on the EV out there?

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