Here's the fourth part of my audio-book creation series. In this article, professional voice artist Ray Greenley discusses distribution options, the importance of having your manuscript edited prior to narration, and briefing your voice artist or producer. Here's Ray ...
So you’ve listened to your auditions, you’ve researched your potential producer and think they’re the one for your book, and you’ve come to an agreement on payment terms.
There are a few other bits you’ll need to work out before you can offer the producer a contract.
One is whether you want to distribute exclusively through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes for a higher share of the royalties from sales (royalties are 40% of sale price), or non-exclusively, which means you can set up distribution yourself through other platforms, but you’ll get a smaller share of royalties from sales through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes (royalties are 25% of sale price).
Note that if you want to do a Royalty Share or Hybrid contract on ACX, you MUST do exclusive distribution.
There’s some other information you’ll need to work out with the producer:
Different producers work at different paces; and many will have other books already waiting to be recorded. They might be able to start on your book right away and have it done in a week or two, or they might be scheduling out months in advance.
Talk to your producer and let them know if you have any schedule in mind, but be ready to be flexible.
Once you have those dates, you can offer the contract, and when it’s accepted you’re almost ready to go! There’s just one more thing you need to do, and that’s provide the producer with your final, ready-to-record manuscript.
Editing your manuscript
Now, I promise this isn’t just me sucking up to my gracious host, but please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, make sure your manuscript is edited and proofed by someone who knows what they’re doing.
It makes the project many times more difficult when we have to struggle through bad grammar, missing punctuation, and poor formatting. In some cases (as happened with me early on), we can’t do it and the contract has to be canceled.
If you find a producer who you like working with and does good work for you, then you’ll want to build that relationship into something ongoing. Handing them a manuscript that they can barely get through isn’t going to help.
And while those grammar errors may seem innocuous enough on the page to your eyes, they’re VERY hard to hide in audio.
Now, we producers know enough to not expect perfection. We can handle a reasonable number of errors in a manuscript. But in the end, it’s best for you, for us, and for your readers to get your manuscript properly edited, so please do it before sending the manuscript to us.
Briefing your producer
From here on out, it sort of depends on you and the producer.
One thing that’s often very handy for a producer is to get some additional information about the characters in the story, including:
Also, if your book has words that your producer might have a hard time finding pronunciations for (particularly with made-up names in science fiction or fantasy books), having a key is really helpful.
It’s really important to get this sort of information as early as possible while the producer is preparing to narrate the book, but before they’ve actually hit ‘record’.
None of that stuff is vital; if you picked your producer well, they’ll be ready to handle all of that on their own. But having some guidance can definitely help.
In the final article, we'll look at evaluating the first 15 minutes and production approval. Until then ...
Contact Ray Greenley
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Louise Harnby is a fiction copyeditor and proofreader who specializes in helping self-publishing writers prepare their novels for market.
She is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors, and runs online courses from within the Craft Your Editorial Fingerprint series. She is also an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. Louise loves books, coffee and craft gin, though not always in that order.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader & Copyeditor, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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