Digital publisher Crossroad Press has embraced ACX since our launch, and has now successfully grown its once-tiny audio catalog to over 150 titles, with many more to come. Check out the below post by Crossroad Press publisher David Niall Wilson, on how the publisher’s growth in audio has given its authors greater visibility. Authors and publishers, take note!
Crossroad Press started out in audio as a very, very small company doing one or two titles. We had a sort of “ahead of the curve” business model whereby the author, publisher, and narrator would share in both the risk, and the profit, involved in producing and marketing the audiobook. Needless to say, I was a little too idealistic, and way too optimistic, but that’s how ideas become something more. You poke and prod them and figure them out, and that’s what we were in the midst of doing when Audible developed its ACX system, and changed our world.
ACX offers a very fair royalty percentage to publishers, authors, and narrators who use the system. This is key in a royalty share situation, because when you’re not paid up front – as has been the practice in traditional publishing and traditional narration work – the compensation has to be there at the tail end of the job. ACX not only offers a good chunk of money through its royalty system, but it’s tiered, so if you can get your book to take off and do well, your percentage increases.
I think it’s likely that most readers and authors have little or no idea how much work goes into creating audiobook files. My colleague, and (in my opinion) a world-class narrator and sound engineer in his own right, Jeffrey Kafer, once told me he estimates that it takes about three hours to produce one finished hour of audio. The files have to be recorded, and then they have to be carefully edited for errors, spurious sound, etc. This costs time and, if someone else does it for you, money.
Enter ACX again, with the various iterations of its stipend program. Under this program, narrators and producers choose eligible titles and receive up-front compensation for each finished hour – while still keeping their royalty share. This allowed us, at Crossroad Press, to work with some truly amazing voice talent that would have otherwise been well beyond our means. And that built on our business by allowing us to add another dimension to our authors’ visibility. Sales on Audible can lead to readers and listeners finding new authors, characters, series, and can bridge gaps between literary “worlds.” For Crossroad Press, it’s nice to open a book’s page on Amazon.com and find all of the editions available, in all formats, and with all formats listing Crossroad Press as the publisher.
Now we have begun, slowly and tentatively, to pay for some of our narration up front, and we have now expanded from our tiny audio catalog to over 150 titles. None of this would have been possible without the ACX system, the producers and narrators participating in that system, and the behind-the scenes help we’ve received along the way from the staff and technical support personnel at ACX. I’m very much looking forward to the coming months to see what ACX will offer next.
We have over 100 books available for audition at any given time, with another hundred ready to move into production, and new titles going live almost daily. It’s a brave new world out there, and thanks to ACX, we’re happy to have become a serious part of it.