I began my ACX adventure by scouring the website to try to understand the process. How do I, as a self-published author, find a narrator? How do they get paid? How do I get paid?
Amazingly enough, I wasn’t the only person who had questions. On the ACX.com site, there is a dropdown menu entitled “How It Works” that gives options like “I am an author” or “I am a narrator.” And then it explains the entire process step by step. I will not drag you crying and screaming through my learning experience, but allow me to give you a few quick thoughts.
As a author, first I set up my book, which was easy because it was already on Amazon, so all I had to do was look it up and claim it. Of course, there’s the obligatory financial/bank account information you must provide so you can be paid when the process is done. I also had to choose whether or not to offer payment only, or allow the narrator to profit share.
Now, let me stop for a second. A narrator’s work is extremely difficult and requires a large amount of time recording, editing. They cannot use sub-par recording equipment and get by. ACX’s Quality Assurance department has some very strict rules concerning narration. So, unless you are selling 10,000 books a year, profit-sharing is not beneficial for a narrator. It is better to pay them. That way, they can continue in this dream of theirs to narrate and not have to also work 8 other jobs to put food on their tables.
Then on to choosing my Narrator.
This was the fun part. I had to decide what type of voice I wanted. Young, old, male, female, British, Southern, Northern, Western. It was almost dizzying, but because my protagonist was a young woman, I chose to ask for a young woman’s voice. Next, I had to submit an audition script for the narrators to read. No more than two pages of text, so I had to be selective. Because my book was a fantasy and action book full of characters, I needed an audition script that allowed my narrators to bring them to life. I chose an action sequence and an early introduction to my characters. Yes, TWO scenes. After submitting my audition script, I gave a little information about the scene and myself then submitted it for auditions.
Then I waited.
Within hours I had my first audition. I was so excited. As I listened to the first narrator speak, I was absolutely convinced that this was the one. Then the next one popped up. And I realized that the first one read too slow. The second one read too fast. The third one sounded like she was reading a newspaper. And on and on. That’s when I first realized I was in over my head.
What was I asking for? What did I expect? I wanted my characters to come to life. I wanted my brainchild to live and breathe and throw fits and fall in love. And some of these were good, but I couldn’t hear my book. I couldn’t hear my characters. The auditions kept coming in and although I was star struck by hearing actual voice actors speaking for my characters, I was torn. But then Julie T. Kinn left an audition and everything seemed natural. She had the timidness of Tessa, the audacity of Megan, the quiet strength of Gabriel. And I knew that I had found my narrator.
So, October 16th I submitted an offer with a due date on it, November 30. Julie accepted my offer and The Mage Destinies began.