We’ve Upped Our Standards, So Up Yours – Week 39

Recently, we discussed GFTB and its pros and cons from an inexperienced user point of view. Yesterday, my evaluation period of GFTB expired. You will recall that as a special promotional offer created specifically for me and no one else, after watching one of their webinars, they granted like 12 days of free trial membership and the chance to continue the subscription for a reduced rate ($35 US monthly instead of the standard $49 or so).

As my trial expired, I opted to continue on with a paid membership for a time. Long-blog readers here will know that I am basically liking of cheap, so paying for a subscription should give you a hint that in my opinion, a membership with them is a good short to medium term investment. There is a lot to learn and it is presented fairly well most of the time. If you haven’t checked it out yet, think about it.

During about the same time period as I was looking at GFTB, I also got back onto Upwork to see if I could find some work there. We talked about Upwork a bit quite a while ago, so here is a quick recap:

  • It is basically free. Non-paying members have full access to the jobs and such on here, but there is a membership upgrade that provides a few little extra perks.
  • It’s like Fiverr, but in a good way. It is open to all sorts of work, including Voice over Work, and clients post jobs for which you can submit a proposal.
  • Most Voice over Work postings are not bespoke auditions, per se. Most interviewing/hiring is Demo Reel Casting – that is to say, a proposal to a posting includes a cover letter and usually demos of similar work. Occasionally, the posting will ask to record their script for the proposal.
  • There is a fair amount of Voice over Work available here, and the competition is not as fierce as on Voices.com. The work is a fair balance between short-form (IVR, intros, etc.) and long-form (podcast, YouTube dubs) with some audiobook length projects in there as well.
  • You are given 60 Connects in a month, and these Connects are the token currency that controls your making Proposals. All the Proposals I have submitted required two Connects, so generally you can make one Proposal per day. This is the primary reason why competition is not as prolific here as some other sites.
  • The upgraded membership, which I believe is $10/month, gives you three main perks:
      • A few more Connects;
      • The ability to buy more Connects;
      • The ability to rollover Connects from one month to the next.
  • Jobs can pay hourly or by the project, and in a lump sum or incrementally through milestones. A nice flexible system that doesn’t require that you complete eight hours of recording before getting paid for any of it.
  • When a contract is entered into, the poster pays up front and their payment goes into escrow held by Upwork. As a producer, you are notified that the project or milestone is funded, so the money is there waiting for you when the milestone/project is completed.
  • Upwork skims off their 15% from the fees posters pay. So, if you are hoping to earn $100 PFH for your audio, you need to bid it at $115.

I have picked up a few jobs on Upwork. One was a Charlie Foxtrot for sure, but that was mostly my fault for not requiring the poster to tell me enough info. I thought I understood what he wanted, but I was wrong and had to take a bit of a hit time wise to get it done correctly. Even so, it was a decent first job on a new site. I am in the midst of one long term project that was posted as 30-50 hours, which is a plus for me because I like long-form, long-term work relationships rather than the shorter hits like you might get off Voices.com.

To sum up, if you haven’t look at Gravy for the Brain or Upwork yet, both can offer some good potential for learning more and worker more, respectively.

On the ACX front, I am fairly relieved this week as three separate books, each over 10 hours in length, all were approved to go to retail this week. Ten hours is a long book! And all three of these books had great Rights Holders, that wanted to be sure every word in the book was pronounced clearly and correctly, so a lot of prooflistening and edits went into this 30 hours of running time. When they hit retail, I will share their Audible links and some Promo Codes for two of them for those interested.

And finally, I would like to share a psuedo-metric that relates to my audition conversion percentage. I won’t list all my numbers from ACX, but at 561 auditions to 118 projects, my percentage has really jumped up. This is because 10 out of 17 books currently In Production and 22 of the last 30 completed books have been return Rights Holders that, for the most part, send me the offer without ever putting the title up for audition. That’s about two-thirds of my work coming from repeat customers. To me, that is huge:

    • It’s affirming that the process and quality of their previous books effectively made the sale for the following books;
    • It saves a lot of time not having to do auditions;
    • I know the quality of manuscript they will provide and how they want to books to sound and be produced;
    • I offer them a reduced rate to reflect these Producer side benefits, so they benefit financially as well.

Now, if I could just get some repeat business for a bunch of those high paying TV commercials we hear so much about!

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