Seeking Advice regarding neogiations for an AudioBook that went wrong


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Thread: Seeking Advice regarding neogiations for an AudioBook that went wrong

  1. #1
    WF Veteran Galen's Avatar
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    Seeking Advice regarding neogiations for an AudioBook that went wrong

    Hello:

    I wondered if I could get an opinion from others regarding a situation that has occurred while negotiating for services for an audio book.


    Here is how it went:

    Prior to seeking services to produce an audiobook for my book which is about 100pgs published, I feel I had done all I could to understand the audiobook process and price range. But, I had no idea of the costs for my book.

    I found a narrator by chance. I knew a bit about his work, so I felt comfortable. I thought I had supplied all the necessary information including a link to the book.



    I was given a price, a timeframe and the format of the deliverable.

    I was not asked for the book in any particular format, so I assumed the link and the mobi file were sufficient.,



    Then, I get an email where the service provider told me he miscalculated the price. Now, the price was double the original because he did not realize the size of the book. While the cost was affordable and reasonable, it was an amount I could not pay at one time.



    What hurt was I felt he implied I was trying to cheat him.



    Given that we had not started the project, if I choose to go forward, I would still need to work with him and I feel the final product would be flawed.

    If I do not go forward, I will probably end up paying more for an audiobook but what I seek is a professional relationship where the price, timeframe, process, and deliverables are made clear. And, the process for QA is made clear as well including any additional costs. If a service provider has my eBook, I do not understand why there should be any surprises.

    I really wanted to work with this particular narrator. It pains me to have to terminate the project but I do not know how to deal with this. Negotiating using email has its flaws. I feel that if we had been talking face to face, much of this could be resolved. Now, I am not sure, what to do. I want to terminate the project so I can avoid all the negative feelings I have.

    After writing this post, I could use a video call but I still don't know how to deal with someone who thinks I am trying to cheat them.

    I would be grateful for any ideas.
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  2. #2
    He gave you a price. If he wants to back out, you should allow it, but that's really his problem, not yours. It is highly unprofessional to try to get more money after you've already agreed to do it for a set price. You didn't mislead him, he screwed up. Even if you like this narrator, it sounds like they have some problems.

  3. #3
    Doubling the price he quoted you and having the nerve to play the victim while he does it?

    That sounds like too much BS when you haven't even gotten started yet.

    I think I'd start over with someone else. If you go on Audible (connected to Amazon) they have a list of narrators, along with their experience and their fees. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    Then, I get an email where the service provider told me he miscalculated the price. Now, the price was double the original because he did not realize the size of the book. While the cost was affordable and reasonable, it was an amount I could not pay at one time.
    What happened is he read somewhere about the price he should be charging and that made him want to retrospectively requote you. He was probably pricing himself a little on the cheap side in the first place. Which, I assume, is one of the reasons why you picked him...

    ...but that's his problem. The fact he doesn't want to work for you at your price, however, is your problem.

    I'm not sure there's even a question here, is there? You can't force him to agree to the project, he can't force you to agree to his price. It sounds like no money has been exchanged yet, so nobody is on the hook for anything. If you had paid him a sum up front I would understand, but you haven't?

    So you really want to work with him? Okay, maybe give him one last chance. Offer him what you think is reasonable, what you can afford and what you think he is worth, and tell him it's that or nothing. If the answer is not 'yes', that's it. Don't negotiate further, don't beg, don't get angry.

    I will say the use of terms like 'hurt', 'pained', 'negative feelings' and the 'if he could only see my face on a video call' thing...concerns me a little. It sounds like you're taking it all a little personally. It sounds like you have some kind of emotional response. If so then no offence - that's silly. This isn't a friendship (hopefully), it's a business arrangement. He might have a really lovely voice, but I'm sure there are other good narrators out there. This is not personal, or it shouldn't be.
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  5. #5
    Did you give him a final word count or a final page count? Most will work with a final word count, that way there's no leeway for mistakes on page counts when in different formats etc. There can be potential discrepancies with page counts, so it's why most go by word count.

    Did you sign any contract? If there's no contract, just say 'sorry for the misunderstanding, but there has been a misunderstanding, so no thank you.'

    I'd recommend ACX (a part of Amazon who distributes through Audible, iTunes etc): they go by word count and you calculate exactly how many hours it will take to produce before you approach a narrator. You can pay upfront, do half royalty, half upfront, or you can 100% royalty share. And they have a host of narrators to choose from and a contract, with ACX there to help mediate if things go wrong.

    I've done three audios through ACX now, and I couldn't be happier with my narrator Dan Calley.
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  6. #6
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    Hello Cephus:

    Thank you for such a succinct and appropriate answer. I figured as much.

    I have worked with publishers, editors, book cover artists, and others and no one ever implied I tried to cheat them. Plus, I pay what vendors tell me their services cost. I guess somehow, i hoped I could salvage this situation. Don't why I can't find the words or approach that could change this.
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    Hola Ma'am:

    Thanks for your perspective. I do not know why I struggle to convert a negative situation into a positive one but I keep trying because this didn't have to be the outcome. Somewhere, somehow, I need to figure out what flags would alerted me sooner to a possible negative outcome. I always blame the email environment for bad outcomes.

    Or maybe, I am a sucker for poor communicators
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    What happened is he read somewhere about the price he should be charging and that made him want to retrospectively requote you. He was probably pricing himself a little on the cheap side in the first place. Which, I assume, is one of the reasons why you picked him...

    Hi Lucky:

    Thanks for your observations.

    --------One point to clarify. No, I did not choose him because of lower prices. I choose him based on reputation. I did not know the prices he would charge when I contacted him. Given the price ranges I was aware of for audiobook creation, he could said $1000 and that would made sense to me but he didn't, he gave me a price I could afford. There was not discussion over price. I gave him what I thought were the materials he needed to establish a price for his services. The problem appears to stem from the fact, he did no research on my book. It's like he grabbed the first cost out of the air. Then when he got around to looking at the materials I sent, he changed his mind.



    ...but that's his problem. The fact he doesn't want to work for you at your price, however, is your problem.

    -----------It is not my price. I had nothing to do with the price quote he gave.

    I'm not sure there's even a question here, is there? You can't force him to agree to the project, he can't force you to agree to his price. It sounds like no money has been exchanged yet, so nobody is on the hook for anything. If you had paid him a sum up front I would understand, but you haven't?

    ------I was not going to "force" him to agree to anything.

    So you really want to work with him? Okay, maybe give him one last chance. Offer him what you think is reasonable, what you can afford and what you think he is worth, and tell him it's that or nothing. If the answer is not 'yes', that's it. Don't negotiate further, don't beg, don't get angry.

    ----Hmmm, what I wanted was for him to apologize for implying I was trying to cheat him. I am more than willing to pay the price he requested. I did not negoiate this price. Price has been in his ballpark. There is more to working with vendor than price.



    I will say the use of terms like 'hurt', 'pained', 'negative feelings' and the 'if he could only see my face on a video call' thing...concerns me a little. It sounds like you're taking it all a little personally. It sounds like you have some kind of emotional response. If so then no offence - that's silly. This isn't a friendship (hopefully), it's a business arrangement. He might have a really lovely voice, but I'm sure there are other good narrators out there. This is not personal, or it shouldn't be.
    I can see your point regarding "feelings" but when someone implies you are cheating them, I feel that is a negative remark and does not create a good working environment.

    ohhhhhh, I just hate coming to this conclusion. I have seen misunderstandings get worked out. I just wanted work this one out.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Did you give him a final word count or a final page count? Most will work with a final word count, that way there's no leeway for mistakes on page counts when in different formats etc. There can be potential discrepancies with page counts, so it's why most go by word count.

    Did you sign any contract? If there's no contract, just say 'sorry for the misunderstanding, but there has been a misunderstanding, so no thank you.'

    I'd recommend ACX (a part of Amazon who distributes through Audible, iTunes etc): they go by word count and you calculate exactly how many hours it will take to produce before you approach a narrator. You can pay upfront, do half royalty, half upfront, or you can 100% royalty share. And they have a host of narrators to choose from and a contract, with ACX there to help mediate if things go wrong.

    I've done three audios through ACX now, and I couldn't be happier with my narrator Dan Calley.
    I would have to go back and look at our emails. What I did give him was a link to my eBook which I thought would provide him with that kind of information. He could have asked for the word count but he didn't. I guess I just feel that the email environment does not lend it self to constructive conversations when dealing in details.

    I think you bring up a point I need to address. I need to make a list of the characteristics of my book. I do have a list somewhere I used for another purpose. I think I will need the list in future negotiations. Thanks.
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  10. #10
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    Thank you everyone for all your comments, suggestions and observations. I am so glad I asked members of the Writing Forums for advice. It has all been quite helpful. Thanks.
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