I booked an ACX job the other day for a PFH rate that was well above what most people make to read audiobooks. More than triple.
And I had already offered the client a 50/50 royalty split, because it was a really popular title on Amazon (top half a percent – I mean really popular).
He declined. And in asking him why, I found out that authors are being told some very interesting things by their coaches about how to work with voice talent.
I shared a really big item with you in another 60 SECONDS.
But there’s more. Read on.
Authors are also being told to write with audio in mind.
Creating characters that leap off the page is one thing, but creating characters that will also sound good will help tell a better story, and provide a better experience for the listener.
That means more sales, since the actual writing itself will be better.
They’re also learning to put the retail sample of the book everywhere, and not just allowing it to live on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.
Putting their samples on their own websites, on themed and review sites, on sites that deal with the subject matter they’ve written about, even on fan sites, leads to more exposure, and more sales.
And authors are being taught to promote not only their written books, but anywhere they link to their Amazon hardback or paperback editions, to also add their audiobook links.
This is particularly important to us as VO talent because of the Audible bounty program and the royalty share you get on non-PFH books you produce.
They’re upping their game, those authors.
If you want to up your game as a VO talent, join me this month for class or take them online.
If you want to review that other 60 SECONDS newsletter article for other things he said, here it is.
Hope this helps.
Thanks, David! I just had to take a moment between the recording and editing session to let you know I so appreciate all your efforts on our behalf to keep us updated on the current trends in the biz. I especially enjoyed these two articles regarding audiobook authors. Very informative and it’s a relief to know there’s a silver lining as it pertains to us narrators.
Looking forward to your upcoming classes on audiobooks and recording for ACX with Audacity!
All the best,
First David, congratulations on booking another ACX book!
Second, I’m sorry you didn’t take the 50/50 royalty split. I suspect you left a lot of money on the table. Here’s why.
Your performance will last in perpetuity just as the authors words written on the page will. But, this is no longer a page of written words. It is a fully realized performance that, as you say, “sound good, tell a better story, and provide a better experience for the listener.” That’s YOU. You as a VO performer are adding value to their work. You’re bringing it to life. Not only are you bringing it to life, your performance is being used to sell not only the audio book on their own websites, themed review sites, fan sites an really anywhere else. They probably did a jig when you said you’d do it for the 3X rate. They’re looking at sales over the next 5, 10 to 20 years and so many VO are simply looking at next month’s rent, mortgage or car payment. The higher the Amazon rating, the more likely you’ll be making more down the road in sales than if you just took the money upfront to record. I have a friend who’d done a number of beer commercials over a decade ago when she was very pretty and sexy. And to this day she still gets checks residual checks in the mail for $10 or $20 for them because they’ve aired in tiny markets someplace. Not much? Some months she may get as many as 10 of those checks. How many books do you think you’ll record in the next 10 years? How many combined sales per month do you think they’ll make? Once you record it, it’s out there. FOREVER. The authors know that. The agents know that. That’s why they offered up a much higher rate to you to record. Next time just tell them this:
“Thank you SO much for choosing me to record your audio book but I’m sorry I’m going to have to decline your offer. I only work for 50/50 split. Like you I’m an artist and will be brining my considerable talents to add to your excellent work to create a separate independent performance that is all my own. That performance will forever be associated with your work and it with mine. You will use my performance for marketing for both the audio book and paper. I appreciate you seeing the value in my performance by choosing me record your book but as I said, I feel my talents deserve and equal standard split.” Then walk if they don’t say OK to the split. What you give up today you probably will never get back.
It’s a bit of a wild west at the moment in the audiobook land. By VO artist standing their ground and asking for equal share for their performance, their art, it’ll ensure that stays a standard rate. Otherwise if people just take the money upfront that’s all that will eventually be offered. Then it’s a race to the bottom. If we keep the standard offer in place then VO artist who excel will not only be able to get that but also money upfront as well. There will be stars in the audiobook world just as in film, tv and radio.
That is usually what I do – but in this case, I chose to make much higher than union scale. The audiobook world doesn’t usually include residuals, but with ACX they do. And I don’t usually take just royalty shares, I usually only (and counsel my clients to) take stipend books.
I just submitted for my first stipend project, after my first 15 which are royalty share….fingers crossed!!!!
Thanks so much for your helpful emails. Just wanted you to know that you are appreciated!
I totally agree with everyone here with sharing your knowledge with us.
After reading your last 2 articles, I’m still not 100% clear: does this mean that more authors are starting to decline hybrid stipends?
No, that’s not the case at all. What about what I wrote led you to unnecessarily be concerned about that?
Thanks for another great insight into the other side of the audiobook creation realm. But, as with all things in the real world, the times they are a changin’. Two such were mentioned here: Stipends and Bounties.
Now, dear reader, this is a great example for why you should be joining David’s ongoing programs. He will always kee[ you in the loop.
Case in point, Stipends. ACX/Audible has pretty much cast them aside. Audible is now the 800 lb. gorilla and no longer has to entice actors to narrate their books. David has developed a way for Narrators to create their own stipend system.
Now comes Bounties. ACX has completely changed how they award Bounties. They have also upped the ante by offering up to $75. Narrators, however, can no longer rest on their laurels and hope for the money to roll in (they never really could, but marketing is another subject.)
You can learn about all of these and more by joining up with hundreds of David’s students, like me. Why? Because things change and David will never leave you behind.