One of the enigmas in the publishing industry is quoting for long form narration and audio books. Let’s figure this one out together!
Quoting for audio book recordings can be a tricky business. There are so many factors to consider when embarking on an audio book recording, including the length (total word count), complexity of the book, artistic direction, consistency, and technical requirements. After those formalities are accounted for, then follows the herculean task of bringing the audio book through all of its ups and downs to a graceful completion, including extra time spent editing, mastering, etc.
From what we’ve heard, the average word costs a client somewhere between .01 and .05 (basically, anywhere between a penny to a nickel USD / Canadian).
Obviously, if certain words are irregular, of foreign origin, or of a technical nature, they will be more expensive per word than regular words like ‘tree’, ‘love’, ‘apple’, or ‘shopping’. Examples of irregular or specialty words could be ‘ubiquitous’, ‘lieutenant’, or ‘behemoth’. Foreign words could be ‘connoisseur’, ‘gnocchi’, or ‘rooibos’. Technical or medical words could be ‘tetracycline’, ‘idiopathic pericarditis’, or ‘Lymantria dispar’. The voice talents’ professional responsibilities set aside, the greatest, or, one could say most gargantuan challenge lies in educating people about how much it costs to record an audio book.
Some clients honestly have no idea regarding what an audio book recording should cost. All they are thinking about is selling the book after it’s recorded at a competitive price. Many audio books are sold online at websites for a fraction of the price that one would suppose, simply because the file is available as an MP3 download, an electronic product that costs nothing to reproduce and close to nothing to maintain.
Also, the cheaper the audio book, the more people are likely to buy it, and perhaps, they may buy multiple books while they are there. As I said before, it’s a simple download or file transfer with little to no exertion for the buyer or seller.
While these merchants make money off of the product in small increments, the sales volumes are high. Sales are made over and over again at no additional cost to the merchant save for any advertising they may do to sell the audio book and potential web hosting / accounting fees.
Now, this isn’t the case for all audio book companies. There are some that recognize that they need to properly compensate the voice actor for their work and sell the product for a premium. The fact of the matter is that voice actors everywhere need to remain steadfast regarding what they charge so that there is no confusion where the client is concerned, particularly individuals whose only goal is to make a quick buck.
In one of my posts this week, I asked you to give your opinion on the current standard rates sheet at InteractiveVoices. We are going to revise the rate sheet for Voices.com with your feedback. What have your experiences been recording audio books? Has proper compensation been an issue? Looking forward to hearing from you… Comment on this article!