It is still surprising to me that as I browse around the VO community online, the mention of ACX is pretty sparse. In my own opinion, I kind of rate ACX as the WalMart of Voice over Work. I find the website is flaky, frequently down for maintenance or upgrades, and it just has a bit of a flea market feel to it. Not in all transactions, but in general. I have dealt with some very professional authors and publishers, but in equal number are the brand new self-published authors that are just learning the process, as well as a few Rights Holders that range from title hustlers looking cashing in on an audiobook for cheap to jerks and creeps that I rather would not have gotten involved with in the first place.
So, I was a bit surprised in my weekly podcast downloads to see the VO Success Formula podcast to have Episode 007 billed as discussing ACX and eLearning. In general, VO Success Formula is a fair podcast on its own. Not well produced, mostly extemporaneous in its commentary, the host has a very informal approach that I find a bit off putting because of his frequent use of phrases like “cool beans” and “super cool” as well as in general an air of almost knowledge. Frequently there are references like “I heard somewhere that something like more than half of those might be less than good.” Not exactly a definitive statement, and IMO something that could have been researched before the recording of a podcast to find out if it is an opinion, or if factual maybe cite some references.
If I understood the history correctly, the VO Success Formula podcast was initially started as a tutorial slash marketing tool for Voice over Workers looking for work on Fiverr. There are frequent plugs for listeners to check out the VOSF website and subscribe or purchase a product to help you succeed on Fiverr specifically. I don’t know anything about this product or service, and it may be great information. Those of you that are on Fiverr or have participated in VOSF seminars or process, please share your insights.
As you might expect, if that is the approach of the host, the same is generally true of the guests. In this case, the guest was Allen Logue, a Voice over Worker with some work done on ACX. You can find his profile easily on ACX and his audiobook credits on Audible, as well as his VO homepage. If you are newer still to ACX of Voice over Working in general, give this podcast a listen and let us know what you think. The info is generally accurate, if not professionally packaged, although his experience and list of credits for audiobooks seemed a little sparse to be a featured guest.
Again this week I was reminded of the benefit and/or risk of trying to negotiate on ACX. I received two offers – one for $45 for a 15K word book, and one for $35 pfh. These were both shorter titles, easy reads, and quick hits, but even so approaching fast food wage levels after post-production, so for both I indicated I was interested in their project but not at the offered rate. Both then asked for what I was looking for, and when I responded with what is still a low-ball mark of $50 pfh, one never responded and the other made the offer at that rate.
Yes, I am still taking books at $50 pfh under some circumstances. Both of these books would have been very similar to titles I have done recently – one on Intermittent Fasting and one on Bitcoin. There wouldn’t be any new terminology or phrases that I would have to deal with, and frankly just now I need some PFH work to supplement several long Royalty Share projects I have going, so I am slumming!
And, lastly, my concluding gripe of the week has to do with Edge Studios, whom I have mentioned previously. I was interested in their offer of a technical evaluation of a recording, and submitted a short audio clip along with my $30 payment to have their whiz bang audio engineer give me some pointers on improving my sound. In short, I was extremely disappointed with the process and the information I received back, and have crossed Edge Studios off my list of resources for Voice over Work information. Rant follows, so skip to the end if you want.
I chose one of the sample scripts on their site and recorded it without any processing, uploaded it as directed, and requested all the available options: technical evaluation, performance evaluation, and forum member evaluation. Point by point, here is what I got back.
- Paraphrased, “Your upload file was recorded in stereo, with only the left channel present. This is the sign of a true amateur. Therefore, I didn’t do anything else with it because I am a professional.” Is it possible I sent a file that badly presented? Possible, but not likely. I listened to and looked at my original WAV file, same thing with the converted MP3 file, and listened to the MP3 file from their website, and all of them were mono in both ears. But even so, if I had sent a file in the wrong format, the point was to get technical feedback, which could have been something along the lines of, “Hey, change your DAW settings to mono,” or something helpful rather than an insult.
- No feedback was given on the performance itself. I guess if he couldn’t hear it in both ears, it wasn’t worth commenting on further. Nice,
- The forum posting gathered one comment that said, paraphrased, “Not bad. Sound quality is acceptable but performance is a bit stiff.” And that from an unpaid public forum member. I should have sent this guy the $30. At least he put forth a modicum of effort.
Not a bad deal for the professional at Edge – I would estimate to listen to even the whole sample and type in the 50 word response took in total three minutes. That gives him an hourly rate of $600! You would think with that income he could get a set of headphones in which both ears worked. Anyway, my recommendation is to stay away from at least this process on Edge. Have any of you used this or any other service from them? Please let us know.