01 Oct Self-Publishing on Audible.com Part 2
In Part One of Publishing on Audible.com, I wrote about how I used Amazon’s ACX to locate two talented narrators to produce two of my novels, Hattie’s Place and Rising Above It, for Audible.com., to be released in November 2019. In this blog, I’ll tell you the steps I took to get there.
ACX, or Audiobook Creation Exchange, is a marketplace where Authors and other Rights Holders can connect with Narrators and other Producers to produce a finished audiobook. My interest in ACX was as an Author and Rights Holder of four published novels which I wanted to make into audio books.
ACX provides a number of choices for producing an audio book, depending on how much of the production work the author wants to take on, and the percent of royalties the author expects to receive. I approached the task guided by two restrictions: (1) I had limited upfront capital to invest and (2) I lacked the technical skill and equipment for producing a professionally done audio book. Thus, my pathway to publishing an audio book on ACX became obvious, as you’ll soon see.
The sign up process is simple and easy to follow.
Set Up Account
Here’s the link.
- First, you must confirm that you have audio rights to the book. I publish all my books through Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, which means I have complete rights to all of my work.
- Next, you create a Title Profile by describing the book and the type of narrator best suited for it. Then, you post a 1-2 page excerpt from the book to serve as the Audition Script for potential narrators.
- All of this information is saved on the Author Dashboard. If you’ve ever published a book on KDP, It’s similar to that.
- After all information is completed, you can post your book.
Find A Producer
- When your book is posted, it becomes available for audition by any of the thousands of ACX Narrator/Producers who have signed up on the website.
- You can also scroll through the sample narrations, reach out to the narrators who are a good fit, and request an audition. You can even filter the names according to the kind of narrator you’re looking for. I used the filters female, Southern accent, Enthusiastic style, and type of compensation. That’s how I found Analisha Menefee and Kelly Jackson. However, I also got several unsolicited auditions, some of which were quite good.
Make the Deal
- Once you settle on a narrator, it’s time to make the deal.
- Contact the narrator through ACX and make the offer, specifying the time frame for completion.
- If it is accepted, you’ll sign a contract provided by ACX. If not, you can keep on negotiating by rejecting the current contract and making another.
The two choices for compensation are Pay for Production and Royalty Share.
Pay for Production means that the author agrees to pay the narrator a specified amount per finished hour (PFH) to produce the book. The average narrator charges from $200-400 PFH, but some of the highly sought-after ones charge much more. My books run eighty to ninety thousand words, which translates to around twenty finished hours. As I did not have $4000-8000 to invest, that was not an option for me. Pay for Production allows the author to receive 40% percent royalties as well as the freedom to distribute the book to all markets.
Royalty Share means that the narrator will do the work without compensation, but will receive one-half of the 40% royalties from the sales of the audio book. In that case, the author and the producer/narrator split the royalties, each receiving 20%.
In order to enter into a Royalty Share agreement, the author must select exclusive distribution, which means that the audiobook will only be available on Audible, Amazon and ITunes.
- Royalty Share Plus means that the author and narrator split the royalties. However, the author agrees to pay an upfront stipend to cover the narrator’s production costs. For a book the length of mine, that would amount to $400-800, depending on whether the narrator hires a producer. Most of the narrators I negotiated with required either Pay for Production or Royalty Share Plus. Since the former payment choice was not an option for me, I selected the latter. By using the Royalty Share Plus, my total expense for the two books will be around a thousand dollars.
Checkpoints and Approvals
- Next, the narrator records and uploads a 15 minute checkpoint of the book which the author can approve and/or provide feedback. When the sample is approved, the narrator records the full project.
- The author may ask the narrator/producer to make up to two rounds of corrections to the finished audiobook.
- When the author is happy with the book, the stipend is paid to the narrator and the Royalty Share deal goes into effect.
I am still in the production phase of publishing. I’ve received and approved the first fifteen minutes of Hattie’s Place from narrator Analisha Menefee, and the first fifteen minutes of Rising Above It from narrator Kelly Jackson. When the final installments arrive at the end of October, I’ll be ready for the last two steps:
- ACX distributes the audiobook through Audible, Amazon, and ITunes under both exclusive and non-exclusive contracts. With non-exclusive contracts, the author is free to sell the book through additional channels.
- Audible sends a monthly digital royalty statement to the author.
- Payment from Audible goes via direct deposit.
- Authors can track progress on their Sales Dashboard.
I’m excited to work through AFX to offer this new format to my readers. Stay tuned for updates.