Tips from CZYK Publishing for Narrators

 

Interview 

As you may know, I have started and operate the company CZYKPublishing. I currently hire about 40 authors a month on ACX to create audiobooks.  I thought I would share some tips to help you get more offers and hopefully complete more audiobooks.  These are my personal thoughts and others may feel differently when they hire narrators. 


1. Interview with part of the script

I get questions many times about what part of the script to read.  Sometimes I get asked what part to read, but by the time I get back to narrators, I may have already hired someone else.  Just read some of the script so we can get an understanding of your tone, speed, and inflection. 

2. Write a Message


In ACX you can leave a message for the people listening to the audion.  This is a great way to scan why you are interested in this book.  The thing that I look for here is how you have a personal connection to this book and why you are a perfect fit as the narrator. 

This is an example message from Haley Palermo auditioning for : 
Greater Than a Tourist- Austin Texas: 50 Travel Tips from a Local
By:  Noelle Minor

Message: I feel like I wrote this book! I am an Austinite - and have been for my entire life. I know an extensive history of Austin, as well as the local favorite eateries such as Fukumoto, Sandies, The Salty Sow, and Franklin's BBQ. My palate has grown as a pescatarian in Austin, but with a husband who competes in brisket and barbecue competitions, I genuinely understand the appreciation for good meat. My brother is a musician and I have many memories of him playing at Antones and me being invited to sit up in the VIP section above the crowds as a 14 year old, or listening to him play old Stevie Ray Vaughn songs on stage at Threadgill's - the same stage where Janis Joplin would develop her iconic brassy rock sound. If you were to allow me to narrate your book, you would get nothing but authenticity and I would help with promoting this book to friends who live in other states and countries. And we all know locals who don't get to "visit" the town nearly as much as vacationers get to!

3. Length 

I am not sure the perfect length but I only listen to these audions for about ten seconds each. 

4. Keep Trying

Some books have up to 30 auditions.  Others may have one. The more you apply for, the higher chance you will be hired. 

5. Use the Right Equipment

I have received auditions that are made on different equipment than the narrator wants to use to record the book.  This does not give a very good representation of what the book will sound like when it is finihed. 

6. Know the ACX Rules

ACX has very specific rules for sending the approving audio. The more you know in the beginning the better.  I think it is a learning process for everyone. 

Good Luck! 

Tips for Narrators

1. Please review.  This is the biggest reason why files are being sent back from ACX.

Issue: The production files do not meet ACX spacing requirements. All files must be revised to ensure they contain the proper amount of space at the start (0.5-1 seconds before narration begins) and at the end (1-5 seconds after the last spoken word).

2. Announce Each Section


Please narrate the book in sections with chapter announcements in front of each section.  Add every 10 tips to a file.  An example of a heading that would work would be, first file: “Chapter 1, Tips 1-10”, second file: “Chapter 2, Tips 11-20”. Some authors include headings and you can group them by the headings suggested by the author. There needs to be some space at the beginning of each file.  


3. Help from Other Narrators


If you can not pronounce the author’s name please make your best try. If there is something you don’t want to say or does not sound right you can make small changes.  If there is something that I should be aware of in the book please let me know so I can change it. CZYK Publishing Secret Group (Please join this group even if you don’t accept the job or cancel the job.  All are welcome). https://www.facebook.com/groups/CZYKPublishing/



Delivery: Professional but fun.  


Example of order of audiobook.


Our Story Introduction (If there is one).

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5

Additional Tips

Top Reasons to Book This Trip

Did You Know

About the Author

Dedication

Our Story

From The Publisher


Other Tips


  • Do not include the table of contents, reviews, or the book description. You may make some small changes to the script. If there is text in parentheses, you will need to say it in the title.
  • Make the sample a few tips that you find most interesting. We want the listener to want to listen to more. If there are temperatures in the book, you can include them if you like.
  • Please say your name as the narrator as the name listed in the closing credits on ACX. This is the name I will use as the narrator on the cover of the book: Example: 50 Things to Know About Teaching Steam: An Art Infused Approach To Teaching Science, Technology, Engineering & More (50 Things to Know Becoming Series) Written By Kelly Brewer Narrated By Marie Horne Wikle
  • You don’t need to send a message saying that you have completed the first 15 minutes. ACX sends me a message saying that the file is available for my approval. My approval does not mean that ACX approved it. This just means that I have listened to the file and you can move forward to the next step. I am just listening for tone and content. 
  • I do not mind if you cancel for this reason. 
  • After you are finished I will have the cover made which includes the author and your name as it appears on ACX. The timeline for ACX approval has taken months for some books in the past. I don’t have control over that but I try to get your cover made and approve your book within 1 week of receiving the finished work. 

Past Problems

Here is a list of past problems from ACX. You can review them how and hopefully learn from them. 

  • Issue: The retail sample is the title credits. Please choose a sample from the body of the book.

  • Solution: Resubmit a sample between one to five minutes. Make sure that it does not start with opening credits, music, or contains explicit material. 

  • Issue: The submitted files contain multiple sections per file.
    Requirement: one chapter/section per file
    Solution: Each file must only contain one chapter or section. Please separate each chapter or section into a new file and upload them in their respective order. Don’t forget to remove the original files when re-submitting these new files.

  • Issue: The submitted files have sections headers that are missing

  • Solution: Please add chapter headers at the start of the files. For example “chapter 1 – couponing tip number one”, “Chapter 2 – couponing tip number eleven”, “Chapter 3 – couponing tip number 21” and so on. This will make it easier to navigate the book. Learn File Management with Alex the Audio Scientist, which includes some tips on how to manage section headers.

  • Issue: All files have a low RMS and are too quiet.

  • Solution: Please raise the overall RMS level of each file to within our requirement. For example, if a file's RMS is -30dB RMS, it must be raised +8dB to be within our -18dB to -23dB RMS requirement range. Learn Mastering with Alex the Audio Scientist.

  • Issue: The submitted files do not have required spacing. Please revise to the requirement below.

  • Issue: The retail sample does not meet requirements because it contains the opening credits.  

  • Issue: In the closing credits, the narrator is incorrectly credited. (written by Belinda Smith)

  • Solution: Re-record the credits according to our requirement so that the title, author, and narrator are credited. Visit our Basics of Recording page to read up on the keys to a good recording.

  • ssue: 6 files have a low RMS and are too quiet: 13 Diners.mp3, 31 Bricktown.mp3, 35 Scissortaik Park.mp3, 39 Date Night.mp3, 41 Fair Food.mp3, 51 Adult Beverages.mp3

  • Solution: Please raise the overall RMS level of each file to within our requirement. For example, if a file's RMS is -30dB RMS, it must be raised +8dB to be within our -18dB to -23dB RMS requirement range. Learn Mastering with Alex the Audio Scientist.

  • Issue: The sample does not meet our length requirement.

  • Issue: 17 files have a low RMS and are too quiet: Please see attached document for a graph of affected files.

  • Solution: Please raise the overall RMS level of each file to within our requirement. For example, if a file's RMS is -30dB RMS, it must be raised +8dB to be within our -18dB to -23dB RMS requirement range. Learn Mastering with Alex the Audio Scientist.

  • Issue: The title is repeated in the intro file. Please revise.





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