Audiobook Production with ACX Part Five (Reviewing Audio Files)
In this blog post, I'll discuss the final steps in the ACX audiobook production steps for my book, The Asset. This is where I review the audio files and decide on approval.
Full Production Ready
Once the narrator completes the recording he begins uploading the files up to the ACX website. The files are uploaded as individual chapters, so depending on how many chapters in your book you could see your ACX dashboard full of audio files to review!
The Asset has 39 chapters, plus an epilogue and prologue, so I had to go through each files. The total recording time for The Asset came to 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 7 seconds. I was very pleased that ACX's word count to audio minutes estimation was right on the money. I was worried that if that was off my budget for the audiobook creation would be out of whack, but it was spot on.
At this juncture, it's up to me to go through the recording. I listened to the entire recording. I mention this because I've heard on the writer forums online that sometimes they don't even bother. That's a bit nuts. You're paying for the production, you better make sure it's up to snuff before expecting customers paying for the audiobook!
I read along with a paperback version of my book as I listened to the narration audio files. I had a legal pad with a pen for notes. I wanted to make sure I was alert when listening, so I staggered it out for three days (2-3 hours per day).
Here is what I was listening out for during this process:
- Is the audio quality excellent throughout the entire production(note: read this post as to why I recommend downloading the audio files)
- Is the storytelling compelling (if you took the time to audition and screen your narrators you shouldn't have to worry about this too much)
- Any missing paragraphs, chapters, lines, words, etc.
- Pronunciation mistakes
Once I listened to my audiobook I ended up with a few notes on my legal pad. There were two issues that needed to address.
There was a word that was mispronounced. There were eight instances of that word in the book so that needed to be fixed. Side note: my narrator scheduled two telephone calls with me where we went over pronunciation questions he had. My book is set in Latin America, so I have several instances of Spanish words and names throughout the book. Since he did this call with me it eliminated possible headaches at this point since there just one word pronunciation incident at this stage. So make sure you cover any possible pronunciations right from the start like my narrator did.
The second issue was a bit mind-boggling for me. During the writing process, I changed the name of couple characters during the writing of the book, and I somehow missed that in two scenes, so I was calling the same character by two different names! This was also missed during the editing and proofreading process. It happens, so having the book read back is a great way to catch possible mistakes that were missed during the editing and proofreading process. I've already fixed those in my manuscript so I can re-upload to KDP and CreateSpace.
The good news was that those were easy fixes for my narrator. I was worried that he would start the recording process over for that chapter, but he told me he would just re-record the corrections and it would be seamless, and he was right! The audio flowed flawlessly, you couldn't tell that there had been an edit done to that recording.
After the corrections were made, I was thrilled, excited, and ready to approve the audio files!
The approval process is pretty straight forward. I told my narrator I was ready to approve the audiobook, he went back and hit "I'm done" on his side of ACX and they send me an email letting me know it's ready for my approval.
I click on the "Approve" button and then... well, gulp, it actually made me a little nervous to read the "are you sure" notice:
It made me nervous so twice I clicked on "No, not yet" and I went back to quadruple checked everything. Finally, my third attempt was the charm. I felt confident enough to click on "Yes, I approve"!
Approving the audiobook leads to the final step before ACX moves this into sale and that's paying the narrator. I'll cover that process in the next blog post.