I decided to invest the time and effort to make the first book in my Lycan Legacy series available in audio format. I chose Findaway Voices to handle the conversion of Lycan Legacy – Prey to audio format.
Finding the perfect voice for Luna, my main character was tough. I submitted an audio sample to several voice actors. All of the voice actors were very professional and submitted excellent samples for me to review.
I narrowed down the field by eliminating the voice actors whose accent and tone did not match the voice I hear in my head when Luna speaks.
I then asked my two finalists to submit a longer sample to see how they sounded.
I chose my voice actor and submitted a full manuscript for her to read from. I don't want to reveal her name just yet, as the contract is not yet completed.
She did an excellent job and I was given the opportunity to review her work for ten days and submit any needed corrections.
I have to admit, I did not schedule enough time for the review. Due to my work schedule, I only had three days for the review. For the next book, I will spend more time on this section. There will always be pronunciation errors. For example, a character with an unusual name who shows up in the latter part of the book might need correction. I also had one entire chapter that had a strange echo effect.
So I pointed out any corrections I wanted made to my audiobook and my voice actor answered immediately that she would complete the corrections as soon as possible.
Note that up until this point, I have not paid any money. The bill for the voice actor's work is due upon completion of the project.
There are two pricing models available. Either a royalty percentage of all sales, or a flat fee paid to the VA. I chose the flat fee arrangement. Although it's much more expensive, I prefer to retain all rights to my audiobook. This will allow me to give away copies or sample chapters without worrying about royalties.
The flat fee for voice actors range from $150.00 to $300.00 per finished hour of recording. My VA is at the high end of that range.
The one problem I have with this method is that until you receive the final product, you won't know how much it will cost. My chapters are usually between 2500 and 3500 words and each finished chapter in this project came to approximately 30 minutes of audio. I have twenty-two chapters, so the total should be less than $3,000.00. Findaway's project page gives a total runtime of almost eight hours for my project right now. However, that number can shift, as my voice actor is still working on my corrections. I will know the exact amount once I receive my invoice.
However, now that I have done the first project, I will have a baseline for my next audiobook.
One thing an author should be wary of when starting an audiobook project is how many changes you will want to make once you hear your story read aloud. I had the assistance of a great editor, so there were almost no grammatical mistakes in the book. But I cringed at some of the clunky phrasing that I had used.
But I had to resist the urge to meddle. This is the book I wrote, this is the book that made me fall in love with the characters, and this is how the book should be read.