Hey there reader-friendly face! You look eager for some noggin knowledge. Are you ready to get out there and work it facing a sound-treated wall? Excellent.
Rhetorically ask and you shall receive!
Today, I wanted to go over some tried and true sites that house auditions and other ways that I've found audiobook work. I like the number five... it's digestible and it's more than four so...
Here are the pros and cons of FIVE ways to get audiobook work... that work!
ACX (The Amazon Creation Exchange)
We'll get the most well-known one out of the way first. ACX.com is Amazon's platform for producers (that's us narrators) and Rights Holders (that's publishers and authors) to post profiles, list auditions, and negotiate rates and contracts.
PRO: It's pretty new user-friendly in that it walks you through pretty much everything you need to do to set up a profile, add tax info, etc. And there are tons of youtube tutorials, including their own branded ACX University, that fill in any gaps.
CON: You need to know how to not only narrate but produce or outsource the editing and mastering of your files so that they meet ACX's requirements for submission. That can be a tricky situation for someone just starting as it's an additional learning curve to narrating and requires some outside help (i.e. training or sub-contracting).
Coming in second for the largest platform is FindawayVoice.com They are similar to ACX where a producer can create a profile and list samples. The difference is they send you auditions instead of listing them outright.
PRO: The contracts that come in are specified to your pre-designated rate so there is less rate negotiation that needs to take place. They also have a better alternative to the royalty share and give more revenue to the narrator in those contracts.
CON: Like ACX, they want fully produced audio. The auditions aren't always forthcoming and if you're not on their radar, you can go months without receiving one. I suggest constantly uploading new samples and updating your profile as I've heard that helps you get to the top of the potential hiring stack but IMO - I've still only got a few auditions from them. I HAVE created relationships that have led to much more work down the line. (soo... 1/2 credit as a pro?)
Number 3 is the new kid on the block of audition platforms, AHABtalent.com. This is Penguin Random House's new launch that is looking to connect actors to various voice-over producers. Like Findaway and ACX, a talent creates a profile using their searchable terms and list samples.
PRO: The platform hosts a lot of Penguin titles, which were not previously available as general auditions. They ask for talent only, no need to produce finished audio. They are usually auditions in the top tier of payment, and it often asks for talents that are skilled in a specific thing or are culturally diverse to tell their stories.
CON: They boast that casting professionals outside of audiobook narration can use this platform to search for several different types of voice-over opportunities.... but it's still pretty new and not a large source for that, yet. The auditions can be pretty niche and the competition is fierce.
Over the past few years, there have been a ton of small publishing companies that work in specific genres. They offer independent authors the option to outsource the production of their audiobook to a company that will handle all the in's and out's of distribution, narrator contracts, and audio mastering. There are a lot of them, but a shortlist is available at the IAA-approved publisher list. https://www.independentaudiobookawards.com/approved-publishers
PRO: These people are GREAT. A lot of them have been working in the industry for a long time and are constantly looking for new talent to add to their rosters. They send out lots of auditions that are usually Per Finished Hour contracts and know how to market the release.
CON: Each Publisher has different requirements and specialties so make sure you research. Some require proof of previous work or auditions to get on their rosters and even once you're in, sometimes you'll go months without booking anything.
Big Publishing Houses
This includes, but is not limited to, what audiobook biz people call the "Big 5." Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, and Macmillan Publishers. These big cheeses are obtained by audition invite-only.
PRO: A lot of well-established narrators work constantly with these houses and don't even bother with places like ACX. They also only require raw audio and have their own in-house producers to handle the tech. Most have on-site recording studios as well as allow for at-home studio use for different projects.
CON: It's tough to get these Titan's attention if you're just starting. They also usually are pretty fast-paced and don't always allow for part-time timetables in their deadlines. They expect you to know what you're doing and do it well.
Did I say FIVE ways? Oh, what the heck, if you've made it this far - REAP THE REWARD of an EXTRA way to make that mouth money... ( ... that came out.... ugh. You know what I meant).
BONUS!!!! - Author Outreach
Okay, because I like you and because I know you'll only use this power for good, here's my sneaky extra way of nabbing narration. I go onto Amazon and begin in a genre I like to narrate in... then I go to the "recommended" books and start digging. I look if they have any audiobooks already produced and if they don't and the book looks independently published and decent, I go to the author. I find their public email (usually on their website), and message them with a 3-minute excerpt of their book from the "Look Inside" feature. Best case scenario (that has happened!) I GET BOOKED! Worst case, I tell them to consider it fan audio art and to enjoy my small snippet.
PRO: Yo - this WORKS. Once they say they are interested, you can take them to several different distribution platforms (historically I've taken mine to ACX but there are a lot of others.) And I've gotten a higher rate and better marketing on these books. It's good stuff.
CON: You need to know how to hold an author's hand through this and be the point person for their questions. That means a little more communication, a little more teaching best practices and that equals more time needing to be invested in the project.
ALLLRIGHT. There you have it. Fiv..er...SIX ways you can get work in the audiobook industry. Are these the only ways? Nooooooooope but they are great avenues to get started with. Have any questions about these or want to delve deeper into other avenues with One-on-One Coaching? I'm always here and until then,
Stay hydrated and healthy dear friend,