Today, I want to share my #1 tactic for getting an author or publisher to say “yes” when I make a pitch to narrate their book. I’m also going to share my favorite free tool that I use to pull this off.
If there is a book that I really want to narrate, instead of just sending generic samples to the author, I’ll actually record myself reading a portion of their book.
Why record a "cold" audition?
By providing an “audition” upfront you are eliminating work for the author or publisher and making it easier for them to say “yes.”
Think about it…
If you were an author and I approached you out of the blue asking if you’d be interested in having me audition for your book, first you’d have to think about the offer in general, then you would have to listen to a few of my samples and consider whether my voice would translate well to your book. Then you’d have to prepare an audition script and wait for me to submit it back to you… and on and on.
For many authors, going through all of those steps might not seem worth all of the effort.
But… by providing an “audition” up front, you are saving them time and making the entire thought process easier for them, making it much more likely that they will say “yes” if they like your voice.
How to Prepare a Cold Audition
Most, books on Amazon have the “Look Inside” feature that let’s gives you a free preview of the book.
This free preview is usually just the first few pages of the book, but that’s more than enough for you to use to create your cold audition. In general, auditions usually only need to be a few minutes long, usually 3-5 minutes is enough for an author or publisher to decide if they like your voice or not.
One word of caution here – make sure that you read the book’s description on Amazon, especially for fiction titles. If the main character is female and you are a male with a very masculine voice, you might not be the best fit for the title. So make sure that you do a little homework on the book and use common sense before reaching out.
You can record your audition in any digital audio workstation (DAW) that you choose. I like to use Audacity because it’s free, fairly easy to use, and has all of the features that I need to create high quality audiobooks.
I wrote Narration: A Beginner's Guide to Creating Audiobooks for Audible & iTunes to show you the exact technical process that I use to record, edit and produce audiobooks and auditions in Audacity.
So if the tech side of audiobook recording has you a bit confused, consider enrolling in Audiobooks with Audacity for step-by-step instructions.
Once you’ve recorded your audition, you’ll need to host it somewhere. It’s not a good idea to send large audio files via email. Some people are really skeptical about downloading any type of file from someone they don’t know.
My Favorite Free Audio Tool
The best way that I’ve found to make “cold auditions” and audio samples available to the authors and publishers that I pitch is to upload them to SoundCloud and then share the link to the audio file in your pitch email.
You can create a free SoundCloud account by going to www.SoundCloud.com. With your free account, you can upload 180 minutes of audio for free. That’s more than enough to get you started. Once you hit 180 minutes you can choose to delete old auditions or upgrade to a paid pro account for $7 a month.
The other thing that I love about SoundCloud is that it makes it super easy to embed your audio samples into your website and to share via social media accounts. For example, if you couldn’t find an author’s email address but you did find them on Twitter, you could pitch them with a simple tweet and a SoundCloud link to your cold audition.
Want to learn even more about creating audiobooks?
If you’d like to learn how to break into this growing industry, I’d love to help you get started. I put together a free course that covers all the basics of audiobook recording.