Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
Forum rules
ImageIf you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like
kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69969
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by kozikowski » Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:25 pm

turned out to be a scam... I had a complete manuscript, blah blah, but I ended up chatting with the REAL author and her Producer so at least I made some contacts
Someone commissioned you to read their manuscript pretending to be a different author?
I ended up chatting with the REAL author
How? Real Life? Zoom? That's probably a story, right?

I can think of one way around the scam. ACX demands that your audiobook be already for sale in either paper or eBook on Amazon. This manuscript wouldn't qualify.

Koz

drzolla
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:15 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by drzolla » Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:26 pm

It was someone who commissioned me to read the manuscript pretending to be the REAL author. They sent the manuscript with cover art, etc. After ACX spotted and flagged it as a scam, I contacted the real author through Facebook and she messaged me through Messenger, then had her Producer get in touch with me. He said he will keep me in mind for auditions (put me on a list of narrators) because he is always booked and has extra work. I should have contacted her before I accepted the job to verify her identity...lesson learned.
The book was and is on Amazon with hundreds of reviews. I don't know of any way I could have known it was a scam except to have made sure the RH contacted me through an email I could definitively associate with them. ACX apologized and said next time I could call them to verify the authenticity of the RH, but other narrators in a FB Narrators group questioned if they could really do that, and that if they could, EVERY narrator should call for EVERY book. ACX is slow to spot and overwhelmed with scams. In fact, I asked ACX when I spoke to them why it took them so long to spot the scam and they said (basically) that it was so common these days they were constantly working on verifying RH bona fides.
The scams are getting more sophisticated and this has happened to many other narrators, so much so that one person in a group said getting scammed was like a rite of passage on ACX! Other members said that just seeing such an established author on ACX asking to have an audiobook produced for Royalty Share was a red flag, and they were correct. This author sends her books to her producer and he takes care of the rest. She jokingly told me her books “magically appear in audiobook format.” She doesn't deal with ACX, he does. Everyone was helpful and supportive though.
Looking on the positive side, I made contact with the real RH... a very nice, very talented and very successful author, as well as her producer who I may be able to get more work from....yay for networking, lol!

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69969
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by kozikowski » Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:57 pm

made sure the RH contacted me
It's a shaky idea to use abbreviations on the forum. Who is RH?
FB Narrators group
Face Book Narrator's Group.
they were constantly working on verifying RH bona fides.
ACX instantly went underwater when the virus hit and everybody on earth wanted to submit for publication (and half the staff called in sick). That's for valid writer/readers. I didn't think of what would happen if scammers got into the act.
just seeing such an established author on ACX asking to have an audiobook produced for Royalty Share was a red flag
What does that mean?


There is a standing joke between some cross-word buffs that the easiest way to leave us in the dust is dig into current popular apps.

4-Down. "Treasure Chest from the Fourth Facebook Level."
...
...
...
..Whut?

Koz

drzolla
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:15 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by drzolla » Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:56 pm

RH = Right's Holder (Author, Publisher, etc)
This author is a USA Today and New York Times best selling author...she has used mostly the same narrators for her books. She isn't as big as James Patterson, but she isn't the type of newer or Indie (Independent) author one usually sees on ACX. It also means that if someone as big as her picked someone as new as me (4 books on Audible) ...well, that's probably unusual as well. She pays 2 narrators a substantial amount to produce her work (easy to research) and then sells a lot of books, so why would she be advertising for Royalty Share with a newbie? I thought, "Wow, I guess she liked my voice!" I should have ben asking, "Hmmm....why me and why Royalty Share?"
Yes, the pandemic has turned ACX into a vipers nest of scammers. ACX (I hope) are doing their best, and of course I want them to succeed but a lot of people won't even deal with them because of the scamming pitfalls. It's generally agreed on Face Book narration groups that narrators/producers need to do their best to verify the identity of every Rights Holder who posts an audition on ACX, and try not to get fooled like I did. One member even wrote that their book was auditioned for, accepted, and completed on ACX, then went up for sale on Audible, etc before they realized that the supposed Rights Holder was not who they claimed to be! When the REAL author (RH) found out, legal action ensued!

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69969
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by kozikowski » Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:31 am

why would she be advertising for Royalty Share with a newbie?
That part. What's that?

Koz

drzolla
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:15 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by drzolla » Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:21 am

I wrote a couple long paragraphs in response to that question and then lost them. I don't know if my finger accidentally hit submit or not. Let's assume I didn't and I'll answer the question here:

There's two main ways to get paid: Royalty Share which is 20% of the audiobook sales for the next 7 years or PFH which stands for Per Finished Hour, which is a one-time payment for the finished audiobook.

I know this author usually uses experienced narrators that charge high PFH prices for their books. When I asked, "why would she pay a newbie like me royalty share?",
we can safely assume she sells a lot of audiobooks. Royalty Share would give me 20% of all her audiobook sales for the next 7 years. She would probably be better off paying a one-time Per Finished Hour fee like I assume she's been doing.

Royalty Share is usually for an author that wants an audiobook produced for no money down and is willing to part with 20% of its sales for the next 7 years. For example, my first 4 books only sold 100 or so copies total. I'll get royalty share for 7 years but it still won't be much and it didn't cost the author anything. But hey, you have to start somewhere... and I was fine with that.
I'm a MUCH better narrator than a was a year or even a few months ago, but I know I'm not as good as the narrators that this author has been using, so maybe I should have written, "Why would a successful author like her be interested in me?"
I fooled myself into thinking I was actually as good as the narrators she's been using.... I'm not. 4 books is still brand new and her narrators have done hundreds. Getting picked up by an author like that was (in fact) too good to be true!
A narrator more humble than me might have thought, RED FLAG!

ON A DIFFERENT BUT RELATED TOPIC: I've been hearing since I started that you should position the microphone about pinky to thumb (hang loose) distance away from your mouth. Other people say 12 to 18 inches.
I recently saw a drawing (I believe it was yours) where the person had the microphone positioned in front of them and off to the side. It got me to reexamine my microphone position which was more than 18 inches away, and now that I've moved it closer to my mouth, my audio sounds MUCH better. So much so that I'm in the process of making all new samples for ACX, and I'll be auditioning soon with renewed knowledge and confidence.
So once again... THANK YOU!

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69969
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by kozikowski » Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:29 pm

Other people say 12 to 18 inches.
That's good if you're performing in front of a mind-meltingly expensive microphone, or an old, very rare microphone, with a sound engineer in a soundproof studio at Glen Glenn sound.

GlenGlennSound-650T.jpg
GlenGlennSound-650T.jpg (94.18 KiB) Viewed 764 times

Home performers need not apply. Through some marketing decisions, home systems are almost always quiet. Microphones have restrained volume and interfaces have less boost than they need. I called Shure and complained about their X2U interface.

Image

"I would give anything," I said, "for just 10dB more volume boost." "Sorry," they said. "That's the way it is."

I put it in the Garage.

It got so bad, (how bad did it get?) It got so bad, you had to yell to get any good recording volume (never blow into a microphone), and Microsoft started including "Microhone Boost" settings in their sound control panels. That created its own set of problems. That boosted everything including the natural microphone noise (shshshshshshshshsh), air conditioning noise, and the Metrobus in front of the house.

You get closer to the microphone to try and override the noises and start P-Popping and recording mouth noises. That's where the Hawaiian Shaka came from.

Image

That turns into a Power Fist if you're using a pop and blast filter.

Image

Nobody wins here.

That brings us to Oblique Positioning (B).

Image

Since mouth noises tend to go straight in front of your face and downward, don't put the microphone there. Place it off to one side (roughly opposite your cheek) and level. You can get it a lot closer (and louder) without mouth noises.

Given this is not going to sound anything like Glen Glenn sound, proximity effect, etc, but it will get you through a voice-over or audiobook. Just don't move around a lot while you perform. Real-time monitoring on good headphones is demanded with this technique.

Image

That's David Greene and his Sony MDR-7506 sealed headphones. One caution. Those headphones will show you errors before anybody else can hear them. That's why Hollywood uses them. They're not designed to settle in and watch a movie.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69969
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by kozikowski » Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:39 pm

... Hawaiian Shaka came from.
I guess it would be "Hang Loosely," right? It's the adverbial form?

Someone will correct me.

Koz

drzolla
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:15 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Audiobook-Mastering-Macro

Post by drzolla » Sat Sep 18, 2021 3:25 pm

I love when your responses include diagrams, pictures, etc! It was that same diagram that inspired me to change my microphone position!

I'm using an AT2020 condenser microphone with a Focusrite Scarlet Solo interface with Samson SR990
headphones. The gain is positioned at around 2:00 o'clock.
I don't know why it took me so long to get closer to the microphone, and I also use the oblique positioning. As I mentioned earlier it's improved my audio quality exponentially. When I was farther away from the microphone and it passed ACX check every time I thought I was doing everything right, but moving closer to the microphone was a game changer.

I would be thrilled to record at a place like Glen Glenn, or any other professional studio for that matter!
For now, I'll continue reading, chatting, learning and experimenting while I practice the art of narration.
I really enjoy the whole process, editing and mastering included.

As always, I'm grateful to you and everyone else on this site. I'm sure I wish I knew as much as you've forgotten about audio engineering. A lot of people with your knowledge wouldn't bother with newbies like me so I appreciate your seemingly unlimited patience and support! 👍🏻
Attachments
20210918_111925.jpg
Poor pic of my booth
20210918_111925.jpg (1.64 MiB) Viewed 581 times

Post Reply