Saturday, September 28, 2019

In search of a voice

I made the decision the other day to venture into the world of audiobooks. It's a frightening thing really. I'm not really sure I even want to do it. In fact, I didn't choose my favorite book of the whopping two I've published, I know, I shouldn't have favorites. I suppose I don't really. I simply wanted to choose the book that I thought might really translate well into audio.

So having made that decision, I now need to find a narrator/producer who can bring my tale to life. It's truly not that easy. I discovered thousands upon thousands of voice-over talents looking for work. Great I thought. Until I saw what they charged. I don't have that kind of budget! Now some authors narrate their own work. I'm not an actor. I'm not good at it. I don't have the perfect voice. My story deserves better! I went to my favorite talent to see what he would charge, and it was sadly far beyond my reach. But I hold out hope. Miracles do happen.

I went to my writing community network on twitter and asked for advice. Thankfully I found some. Directing me to www.acx.com where I could find an affordable way to produce the book. In fact they have several budget-friendly options. I am not looking to demean or devalue the worth of the narrator. I want to make that very clear. This is a big task, huge, to narrate a book. And I want them to be well compensated for it. It's a tricky balance. Thankfully ACX makes this easy.

I loaded up the title, and opened it up for auditions. I've heard it can take anywhere from a month or longer to get any responses. I am perfectly patient in this regard. In the meantime, I can browse their sample recordings and look for someone that might be exactly right for the job.

I need to explain however that I've a background in casting voices. Not to brag, but I'm good at it. And that might actually be my downfall here. I'm very particular. I hear every nuance in a voice. I have exceedingly high standards and I admit it freely. I'm a fledgling novice author, and one might ask what gives me the right to be so picky? It's my book, my sweat and tears, my story. I cannot for a minute allow it to be simply read out loud. I need it to come to life.

So far I've listened to over 100 sample recordings. And each one that passed my screening ended up being way more expensive than my budget allows. I filtered it with my budgeted rates, but the filter on ACX isn't very good. It did of course confirm my selections were spot on. Nothing like finding close to the perfect voice, clicking and learning it's because it's some well-known actor or voice talent. Of course it is. I think I've mentioned I'm pretty good at screening voice talent.

So for now, the only thing I've accomplished is confirming that I'm really good at finding the perfect voice. In fact I know exactly where to find it. I've also confirmed that I can't afford it. So I need to up my game and be really good at finding a perfect voice I can afford. You see it's not enough to share royalties. What if it doesn't sell? As the author, I am willing to write a novel and take the risk that it doesn't sell. But asking someone else to put their hard work and talent into it and take that risk is something else entirely. They all deserve better.

So I wait for the perfect affordable audition. The perfect affordable voice. It will come. I have to believe.



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