So after I fell in love with Michael’s audition for the book (see last week’s post), I sent him an offer through ACX, again using all their standard contracts and forms. He accepted and we were off. I e mailed him the entire book, which as he said in my interview with him, he then read through, as part of his preparation. He had a few questions and we e mailed back and forth a bit. Since the book is a published work, we couldn’t collaborate the way a playwright and an actor might, and change actual lines of dialog BUT listening to the book as he worked his way through recording it was an amazing experience. Some scenes were hard to listen to for me because of the gritty reality he brought to the action I’d written. Others were “aww” moments, hearing my characters interact, especially Nick and Mara.
He completed the first fifteen minutes, which I then had to approve as a gate required by ACX before he could proceed, kind of a quality control. Once we passed that moment, he’d notify me if a chapter was finished and up on ACX for me to listen to. I would rush home from work on those days, believe me. It is SUCH a treat hearing the world of your novel brought to life by a trained, skillful actor. If I could afford it (and he had any interest in doing it), I’d have him read all my novels for me from here on out, before I sent them on submission! I picked up things I’d missed when the book was in edits, I had flashes of totally new ideas, things I thought I knew about the characters changed a bit as a real person embodied them…it was magic! Looking back over our e mail traffic, I see that while listening to Chapter 6, I solved a big plot problem for the eventual sequel – nothing to do with the events IN chapter 6 itself, but hearing my characters talking and interacting sent me down other trains of creative thought.
I listened to Chapter 7 three times – it’s got some very emotional moments in it. As Michael said in his interview, even he was affected by the death of one character, and had to stop recording and do that part over, which was the highest praise I think I’ve ever had.
The ACX contract does provide for the author to request do overs and rerecording in a strictly limited amount, or even to cancel the entire contract if they’re unhappy with the end product. (Although there are protections written in for the artist to receive fair compensation.) Obviously that wasn’t an issue with Michael and me.
When the book was fully recorded, which took approximately two months, I officially approved it and zap, ACX sucked it into their system. They perform a quality validation activity of their own and would have notified Michael as the Producer if they’d wanted anything changed about the sound. About ten days later ACX notified us the book was now available through Amazon and Audible.com. We’re still waiting for it to arrive on iTunes (no idea why that part is taking so long).
As the rights holder, when the audio book went live I had a few wrinkles with the meta data, no idea if that was my mistake up front when I entered the book into the ACX system, but their Customer Service is trying to fix it for me. Nothing earth shattering but it affects those famous Amazon sales algorithms LOL.
I would do this again in a heartbeat. ACX made it extremely easy and straightforward and, as I mentioned last week, once they offered to pay a stipend, I received a large number of auditions, although at the risk of sounding like a totally broken record, Michael simply was Nick. Having the opportunity to collaborate with a fellow artist was an incredible experience and I am so hoping we can do another audio book together in the future. I’d love his input on the characters up front, before the final draft of the sequel, since he’d be revisiting them with me!
So, are there any questions I didn’t cover in this series of posts that you’d like me – or Michael – to address? Thanks for your patience with the topic!