• StevenF

Another Audiobook

After several audition rejections, I was beginning to wonder if my first audiobook was a fluke. But I am happy to announce that I received an offer yesterday to produce another book.

Unlike my first one, which I will give more details about once it is released, this second one is a "paid upfront" project.

So through ACX, I can get paid three ways, depending on the agreement made with the rights holder.

The first way is called Royalty Share. That means I only make money if the book sells. The rights holder and I split 40% of the books sales and ACX gets the rest. My first book was under this agreement.

So depending on if the book sells well or not, I may or may not make any money off of it.

The second is called Per-Finished-Hour. That means I get paid my current rate of $200 per hour. That's how many hours the book ends up being, not how many hours I actually work on it. So for a book that ends up being 10 hours long, I would earn $2000 even if I spent 30 hours working on it.

The third payment arrangement is kind of the best of both worlds. It's a combination of Royalty Share and Per-Finished-Hour called Royalty Share Plus. So I get paid per hour of the book, plus I collect royalties (oh, and did I mention that's for any book sale for a term of seven years?) Some producers will even negotiate a lower Per-Finished-Hour deal with the rights holder (Example: charging $150 per hour instead of $200 since royalties are a possible form of payment as well).

This current book I've accepted is under the Royalty Share Plus arrangement. So we have negotiated my normal fee plus I will receive royalties if the book sells—and I have a feeling this book will do well.

So yeah, it actually feels like I have a potentially lucrative business or side-hustle happening now, and that excites me, especially since I am using my acting skills to do something enjoyable.

But I'm really excited about this next book. It is quite different from the first one I did. For one, it is six hours longer. Two, it is a much different genre.

Whereas my first book was a sort of melodramatic, sentimental, slightly erotic gay Christmas romance, this new book is a piece of historical fiction based around a true event. It takes place in 1844, and the language is much more heightened and poetic.

With my first endeavor, I didn't have to look up how to say various words. The biggest vocabulary questions I had were whether the rights holder wanted the word "culinary" pronounced "cull-i-nary" or "cue-li-nary" or "caramel" pronounced "care-uh-male" or "car-mull."

This new production has words like "lachrymose," "dyspneic," "apokaluptein," "Artaxerxes," and "exegeses," of which I will need to verify the pronunciations. The language is sweeping and rich, like a Poe or Hawthorne novel or a Shakespearean sonnet.

And the story is engaging, interesting, and in my opinion, serves as an apt metaphor for the times in which we live. The characters are well defined, and as a reader currently in the middle of the book, I am eager to keep reading it.

The writing is really well done, and the language fun and challenging to read. I actually feel honored the rights holder felt my audition merited the job.

I actually recorded my audition twice. Typically, I just record the audition and then fix things I don't like about it. But I was just unsatisfied with my first go and re-did the whole thing from scratch. It looks like it paid off.

I am truly excited about this one. Not that I wasn't excited about my first book. I was. A lot. And for a first audiobook, I felt that one was actually ideal. And I liked that book a lot too. But I feel truly lucky to have gotten this one and under the pay arrangement I'm under. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be a more challenging endeavor than the first book, although for different reasons. The first one was challenging simply because it was my first one; this one, I think, will just be more challenging to get done as quickly.

I plan on starting production on it on Monday, hopefully. Maybe tomorrow. I'm still waiting for my first book to clear technical quality control. I need to make some minor changes to my audio setup for this next book but don't want to do so until the first book clears because if I need to re-record anything, I need it to sound the same as the original recording setup, because even seemingly small technical changes can make a big difference in overall sound quality.

I will also say that even my rejections have often been pleasant. Sometimes you're just not the type of voice they are looking for. One rights holder said my voice was not quite what she was looking for but that the reading itself was "exceptionally good," and another—a book I was really interested in doing—sent me a "thank you," which isn't always the norm. Most of the time, you just never hear back at all.

But if I had gotten that book, I wouldn't have been able to do this one, and so where one door closes, another truly does open.

It's funny, I had really intended on focusing on nonfiction, but I find the nonfiction selections overall haven't been attractive, and I find I am enjoying doing fiction, even just audition samples.

Anyway, feeling good.

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