I love all things Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. But I especially love it when someone is reading it to me while I’m running. There’s just something about a really talented voice actor or actress that can bring life and vitality into the writing. Right now, I have 4 audiobooks with 3 in the pipeline or production process.
Finding The Narrator
Send a scene in your book that involves dialogue of several of your key characters.
You want to learn the inflections/tones of the narrator if you’re going to have them act the characters out. If you just want a consistent rhythm without changing accents/vocals (I had the narrator do that in Mildred’s Resistance) then this may not be as big of a deal.
When I found Becca Ballenger to play Bianca, I knew it right away. She has a very edgy, Bianca-y feel. I asked her to do one other short scene to check more voices (I have an all-female cast and was concerned about how they would change). And she was fine with that.
2. Don’t be afraid to wait.
For my first book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, pulled in auditions for almost two months before I found someone that I really loved. After that, the books have been the simple matter of sending her the manuscript. Keep in mind that you don’t have to respond directly to the narrators, but you certainly can.
3. Shop around.
You don’t have to wait for the narrators to come to you. Listen to the clips on their profile. The wider range of voices you hear, the better choice you can make so you know what’s out there. If this is your first time doing the audiobook process through ACX, I absolutely recommend listening to all kinds of narrators, male and female, to make sure you know what you want.
4. Keep your series in mind. And definitely do a series.
If you have a series planned, I’d work with your narrator on what the future of the books contain, so they can plan ahead for accents, locations, and how they bring the character of life. This can help a lot with how they bring that character to life. Since the narrator is already doing the first book (and you love them) then you’ve cut months out of the process and can just feed books through the process faster.
5. Create an Audiobook manuscript
This can make a huge difference in how the book reads. For example, when you have a thought offset in italics in the novel, but no preceding dialogue tag then that doesn’t come out in the audiobook in the same way. Also, dialogue as it’s read is not the same as it’s stated, so reading the dialogue out loud and making a few tweaks can go a long way in creating a smoother listening experience. This takes a little more time, but this audiobook will be around for the rest of your life, right? Let’s make it great.
A Few Extra Tidbits
– When ACX says that it takes 6 weeks to process, it literally takes six weeks to process.
– ACX requires a specially made cover that you can’t really fudge on your own. (Use Canva if you need it, but just be aware that it’s not the same book cover or size).
– You have to have all your tax information entered before you can proceed with final steps.
– I would suggest not doing a royalty share and just paying upright only because that way you can take a long-term approach to it. I think it’s better to pay more upfront and not owe half your royalties to someone for the rest of your life. If your audiobook starts selling 10,000 per month, that’s a lot of lost money.
– ACX has a QC person listen to the entire book to ensure there were no errors on the narrators part on top of the author giving final approval.
– ACX sends out 25 free codes to get the marketing going. If you don’t get them within a week, just email them and ask. They’ve given me US and UK codes.