Tales in Publishing: ACX And Audiobooks
Recently, I embarked on creating an audiobook. My publishers are in the process of doing three of my novels, but I had a book with a former publisher that did not hold the rights to audio which allowed me to do it myself. My writing group had informed me about Amazon's ACX, which stands for Audiobook Creation Exchange.
Pros to my experience:
1. It was so easy! So easy. You create an account once you have a book on Amazon. You select your book and fill out info. It's pretty self-explanatory, but I believe there was info to guide you too.
2. You upload the book cover and a sample and send it out for auditions. They come pouring in and you make an offer to a "producer" who is the narrator. I was ready to give up my dream of a male-female narrators for this book, but one audition had both. I jumped on it.
3. You get options. My budget was zero dollars. You can either pay the producer's studio time and keep more royalties for yourself, offer a portion of the costs, or offer simply to split royalties. I chose the last option so I didn't have to pay a dime. Note, if you choose my option, you get the least royalties.
4. Competitive royalties. Amazon takes 60% if you ask for exclusivity (Audible and iBooks). Sounds steep, but remember traditional publishers for paperbacks can take up to 92%. After Amazon's cut, the leftover 40% then was split between the producer and I. That can range if you put money up front to maintain your royalties and if you aren't exclusive to Amazon, it can be less than 40% to split. The price of audiobooks range, but mine is $19.95 so that royalty is roughly $4 which is much more than other formats.
There are more steps to the process like the producer checking in and you approve or tell them what to amend. Then when it's finished, you listen, mention issues (we had 2 tiny ones), then it goes to Amazon for approval and the baby is out there.
Here is how ACX works for authors.
My experience? Fabulous with the producer, the website, and everything else. I had an issue with my cover art being approved and then not approved once they wanted to put the Audible logo over my name, so it got delayed, but this was my issue in overlooking a stipulation in the directions (typical of me). A positive experience overall.
Negatives? My marketing. My audience is divided. It is an upper YA book that crosses over to adults. I literally only know two adults my age who listen to audiobooks. I have a continuous issue of reaching my younger audience. I'm just not attracting them because high violence and implied sexuality has me wary of targeting younger teens. The target audience is 16+ and the audiobook came out right while Covid school stress was starting. I completely understand how audio sales might dip for a moment with people not traveling, going to gyms, homeschooling, etc. I think once I get better at marketing, it will flourish. The audiobook industry had been booming and podcasts are going strong still.
On that note. I have free promo codes. DM me and I'll send you one (until I run out). My producer and I would love an honest review in return, even if it's just a couple lines about their talent and/or how you feel about my novel. Listen to a sample of Apidae or purchase Apidae in any format.
If you're an author, I'll be happy to answer any questions I can.