This is part 3 to the audio book creation posting.
Once the voice talent has the initial recordings “in the can,” then they work with their own producer to assemble the final cut and perform their own QA process.
After Kyle and his producer wrapped up their part, they posted it to the ACX.com site for my review.
I then began the process of reviewing all 11 hours and 45 minutes of final audio.
In a perfect world I’d be sitting in front of a computer, the original script in view while listening to the recording.
Initially I was curious what it sounded like, wanting to hear it “organically” without following along with the voice-in-my-head that would be reading my manuscript while listening to Kyle. I found that I remembered, word-for-word, the manuscript without having to see it in Microsoft Word.
I actually found it better to listen to it without my script. Believe you me, after working so long on a book, you’re going to remember what you wrote.
I easily caught a few mispronunciations, some extra long pauses, even three words that were missed from the beginning of a character’s statement. I documented out the chapter, what the issue was, and the words around it so he could find it easily. In hindsight, I could have added a time index as well for them.
I actually wondered how things would be handled when an important name was mispronounced, and worried it would be a good deal of rework. It’s one of those things where you want your fans to hear the words as they were intended, while also not wanting to burden your voice talent. However, I am paying for the audio book’s production, and I do want it to be the best quality and most representative of my work as it can be.
One thing was crystal clear: Kyle was the right choice! He did an amazing job. I loved the way he voiced the many characters, and really brought the story to life.
I sent my notes off to Kyle. He was professional and easy to talk with about the issues I found. In a matter of days they were fixed–even the mispronunciations (where one alone had 18 instances across multiple chapters).
I then worked on the cover. The Audible.com format requires a cover that’s 2400×2400 pixels. That’s very different from my soft cover size. So I needed to rework it a bit. I did an initial design, uploaded it to ACX, and hit approve. I made the assumption it would be easy to change like it is in “Seller Central” on Amazon.com.
Once I approved the book it then brokered the payment for services. It actually let’s you pay outside ACX. I ended up using PayPal. You hit a button that says you paid, the provider clicks a button that says you paid, and it’s done.
Next the book moves into an approval cycle with ACX itself. They review the book for quality before putting it live. That’s great! I totally understand why. Their email said it could take up to about 14-20 days. My day 1 was Feb. 27th.
I wanted to tweak the cover design before going live. I did a few iterations, had my fans on Facebook provide some feedback, and locked in a final cover. The problem was, there’s no way to update your book once you hit approve. NONE. I sent a message to ACX and they said I could send them the new cover and they’d manually update it. WHAT? That seems really strange, but okay. I sent the update off to them.
On March 4th (6 days after the review started by ACX) I received an email from ACX that D’mok Revival: Awakening was approved and release live for sale.
WAIT! For how much? What was the product copy being shown with it? Was the new cover there?
I had no idea! So I logged in. I went to the “Completed Projects” tab as instructed by the same “you’re on sale” email. All it showed was how many books were sold (zero). There’s no clear way to get at price, or channel. Remember they also sell on iTunes and Amazon. So confusing!
I replied to the email from acx.com asking how to set the price, and when the new cover would be posted.
I went to audible.com and searched for my book. Surprise! It was out there. The cost set by audible was $24.95. Not sure where that came from or if I can adjust it. Then I noticed the “Publishers” copy and the mini-promotion by the cover. They simply took the text I used to attract voice talent and plopped it out there! I was shocked and horrified. I never intended the public-at-large to see that?! Nothing I read said that’s what would be taken.
Knowing ACX didn’t have a real editing system for published books (since you had to send them image updates for your book and have them do it), my assumption is I’d have to go to them to change the publisher copy too.
Wow. It’s not the end of the world, but come on! I knew something seemed wrong when I couldn’t find any information or posts about what happened outside of the production process.
We’ll see how fast ACX.com can get back to me and how quickly I can correct things. GREAT lessons learned! 🙂
Overall, I still love the ACX process. Next time I know what to watch out for right out of the gate.