When you’re working on a platform like ACX, Spoken Realms, Findaway, Authors Republic or some other freelancer site, you are not just an audiobook narrator, you’re also a producer. That means you are responsible for full production: from receipt of the PDF to delivering a retail-ready audiobook for sale on the largest online retailer in the universe. No pressure, right? But let’s consider outsourcing some of those tasks that perhaps you aren’t totally schooled in.
Most people who get into audiobook narration don’t want to be producers. They want to be narrators! They want to walk into their booth, read the book, and call it a day. But if you’re working the indie scene, you’ve got to do all that and edit and proof and master. That’s a lot of hats to wear for someone who just wants to share the gift of narration.
That’s where outsourcing comes in. Send your narrated files to a professional and trusted editor! Let them handle the work. They will save you time, money, and make your productivity soar.
Here’s why you should outsource:
1. It’s cheaper than doing it yourself. Ok, hold the phone. How is it possible to pay someone $75 pfh (per finished hour) when you could be doing it yourself for free? Because when you do it yourself, it’s NOT free. It’s actually very expensive.Think back to high school economics class to a term called opportunity cost. The more time you spend doing work that could be outsourced, the more time you lose that you could’ve spent narrating at a higher rate. Why spend two hours proofing your own book when you could pay someone $75 PFH and narrate for $250 PFH? This is really a no brainer.
It’s the same reason I hire a guy to mow my lawn. In the hour it takes him to mow my lawn, I could easily make $250. The $30 I pay him is well worth it. And I don’t get sweaty. Win-win.
2. You will not catch every mistake you make. Despite how much of an eagle eye you think you have, you will miss things in your narration that a third party proofer will not. Why? Because you’re too close to it. Many times your eyes will glide over a sentence that you said incorrectly and not tell your brain that you made a mistake. You’ll very often read that sentence just as you narrated it, mistake and all. I cannot tell you how many times my proofer has flagged a mistake and it takes me three times to realize that “Oh wow, I really did make that mistake.” You just don’t see it!
3. There’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re doing. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but think about it: You’re a narrator. You’re not a trained audio editor. These people go to college to learn this and often have hundreds of books under their belt. They know pacing, pauses, breathing, etc. They know the nuances of how to make you sound the best you can. I’ve heard many audiobooks that were self-edited by someone new to the business and it shows. Hire a pro, it’ll make you money in the end.
4. Make your workflow consistent with how you’ll work with publishers. When you get a book from a major publisher, you’ll have a specific workflow and they all basically work the same way. You’ll punch and roll* your audio and then export to a shared location such as DropBox or FTP. That’s it! There’s no editing. No going back and listening. You’re basically done. And it’s so liberating to work that way! So it’s in your best interest to set up your workflow the exact same way. Punch and roll and then off to your editor who will do the rest. Easy peasy.
I can hear it now, “But Jeff, I’m doing this on royalty share! I can’t afford to hire an editor and outsource my audiobook post!” Right, I get that. You don’t want to be out a few hundred bucks without knowing if it’s going to make any money. But, change the phrase into a question. Don’t say, “I can’t afford it.” Instead change it to, “How can I afford it?” That makes it interesting, doesn’t it? And if you go the less expensive route and just hire a proofer at $25 PFH, that “How can I afford it” sentence becomes something attainable. Hit the Starbucks drive-thru less. Maybe forgo that massage. Wash your car instead of taking it to the car wash. Mow your own lawn :-). Mind the opportunity cost, though. The point is, there are ways to afford things.
This isn’t a luxury. This is a necessary business expenditure. Remember: This product is going to be on Amazon for a minimum of 7 years and will represent who you are as a narrator.
Outsourcing is about more than just saving time. It’s about creating a world-class retail product that shines. Doesn’t your career deserve to have the best quality portfolio possible?
*Punch n roll is the industry standard method of audiobook recording in which the narrator stops recording after a mistake, backs the cursor up to the previous good sentence and then begins recording. The audio will pre-roll to the point where recording begins and the narrator continues the narration. This ensures a clean recording without multiple takes or flubs.
About the Author
Jeffrey Kafer is a full-time SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator and consultant. He has narrated over 500 books in almost every genre for such authors Clive Barker, Steve Alten, Maya Banks, Gregg Olsen and many others. He has 2 degrees in cinema and broadcasting and spent the first part of his career as a video game tester for Microsoft before following his true passion of acting. He’s been on stage since he was 13 (his mom still has the bellhop costume she made) and currently lives in Los Angeles with his family and dog. Visit him at http://audiobookmentor.com or checkout his audiobooks at http://audible.com/