Thursday, January 19, 2012

Voice-Over Release and Audiobook Permissions

Dear Rich: How can I get permission to record a book for audio production? Do I write to the publisher and author? If the author has signed a publishing contract (that is, the book is not self-published), chances are good that the publishing company has the audiobook rights. That's standard operating procedure for everyone except superstar authors. If you're an experienced audiobook producer,  the publisher will likely respond to your inquiries. But if you don't have much experience --  for example, you haven't got any of your productions at audible.com --  chances are slim that a publisher will negotiate with you. If the book is self-published -- for example, it's offered via Createspace -- the author retains the rights and it should be easier to contact and negotiate.
What's a novice audiobook producer supposed to do? One way to break into the audiobook production world and acquire experience is to record public domain books (and there are a few centuries of good material available to download). (We just finished listening to Leo T.'s Anna Karenina and wow, that was amazing!!) Another possibility is to sign up with the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), sponsored by audible.com. That system pairs audiobook producers with established publishers and authors. We've prepared a free sample voice-over release to use with your narrators. You can read more about it, here.