Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Samples (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Today we bring you tips and info on the audio samples you upload to your producer profile on ACX. Your samples are the backbone of your ACX profile, so devoting some attention to this is a good idea.

With that in mind, here are the important things to know about your samples on ACX:

1. If you don’t have at least one sample uploaded to your profile, you are not searchable on ACX.

  • Sure, you’re able to search for great titles on ACX and submit auditions for them without including a sample[s] in your profile. But what about the other side of the equation – all those rights holders using our narrator search to find the right voice for their book? Without a sample, you’re invisible, and potentially missing out on booking that next great project. 40% of projects on ACX are booked without an audition, which means without a sample, you’re cutting your chances to produce that next great title almost in half.

2.  Your sample should be audiobook-specific.

  • ACX rights holders are here for one reason – to get their books made in audio. Those radio spots you did for Shea Cocoa Butter are nice and all, but they don’t shed much light on what kind of audiobook producer you’ll be. Skip ‘em. If you haven’t yet produced a full audiobook, or you want to post a sample that represents a different vocal style, it is ok to use a small portion of a book from your shelf.  (In the rare case that the book’s rights holder notices and contacts us, we reserve the right to remove the sample.)

3.  Get right into the material.

  •  Don’t slate it much, if at all. The rights holder will be able to see your name, credits and awards as you’ve listed them in the text portion of your profile. If your sample opens with 30 seconds of slating, the rights holder may not listen long enough to get to your actual narration.

4.  Note what the sample represents in the “performance notes.”

  • We provide an area for you to add a description next to each sample you upload. You can use this space to showcase aspects of the performance, explain where it was recorded, on what equipment, etc. You should also be sure to mention whether the sample represents your current and final production abilities. At least one sample on your profile should be indicative of the current final audio quality a rights holder can expect to receive from you.

5.  Don’t include music or sound effects.

  • We strongly advise against using music and/or sound effects in your ACX production. Our listeners often find these more distracting than enhancing, and rights and clearances can get very tricky when it comes to music. Your production won’t have these elements, so your sample shouldn’t either.

6.  Upload as many relevant samples as you’d like.

  • ACX does not limit the amount of samples your profile can include. As long as they adhere to the other guidelines listed above, feel free to upload multiple samples that showcase your varied vocal talents.

The above covers what you need to know when it comes to samples. If you need some more basic info on home studios and the art of recording, editing, and mastering audiobooks, check out our Video Lessons and Resources page, as well as our Submission Requirements. And be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

25 responses to “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Samples (But Were Afraid to Ask)

  1. I am still trying to learn how to upload. My learning curve is like Mont Blanc.

  2. I just auditioned for the Tender is the Night competition but was not picked. I have uploads. Should I upload that audition? I am just putting together items for a demo. Should I put the demo up instead?

    • Nadine – Two authors reached out to me, solely based on my Tender is the Night audition, which I used as my sample. I ended up accepting an offer off of that, and when I have a moment, I’ll be uploading a new sample. But since it worked for me, I wanted to share that with you, since you asked in this thread. Good luck!!!

  3. my browse button doesn’t work when trying to upload my cover art and my audio book chapters, intro, etc. HELP.

  4. I love what ACX is doing! The concept is really exciting and inspiring to me and makes me want to learn more about and possibly pursue opportunities in audiobook production. Hope there’s a future blog post with info and resources for those outside of the US! Until ACX goes international, where could non-American narrator/producer beginners break into the digital audio market?

  5. Please post exactly where to upload. I have not been able to find where that is. WHile in my profile setting, there is not link to do the uploads.

  6. I know this is an old post, but it’s helpful! Question: Is it okay to use part of an ACX audition as a sample?

    • I’m wondering this as well. Did you ever get an answer?

      • Hi Shawn, MT,

        It’s acceptable to use an audition as a sample on ACX. However, at the author’s request we may ask you to remove it. This is a very rare occurrence, though.

        Happy auditioning!

        – Scott

  7. How long (time duration) should the samples be?

  8. I’m looking to record my first samples as a narrator but I am unsure what to use? I looked on the ACX resources and there was mention of using Public Domain titles. In another ACX resource, there was the discouragement using the Public Domain titles. I have read here that auditions can be used as samples? Basically, I want to build my profile, can I use my auditions for double purposes? I don’t want to offend authors, which I suppose I could always ask them, duh 🙂 I’m just looking for any advice on building my profile. Thank you!!

    • Hi Kari,

      You can definitely use portions of titles in the Public Domain as samples in your profile. You may also use auditions you submitted for ACX books, though in the rare instance the author asks us to have it removed, we will ask you to comply.

      – Scott

  9. This was incredibly helpful to me! I am narrating and producing an audio book for my brother and he wants to use ACX. There’s so much information in here to help me get set up and running. Thank you!

  10. How can I remove samples I have put up? I feel my abilities are improving and do not represent m. I really want to change them.

  11. Annette Tucker

    I don’t see a browse button for loading samples, only text boxes to fill in. Not sure how to load. Help would be greatly appreciated! Thx!

  12. Typically, how long should an audio sample be that is uploaded to one’s profile?

  13. Is it appropriate to use audition pieces as Samples in my profile? Or pieces from any published material? I’m concerned about plagiarism.

  14. Hi how long should my samples be ?

    • When I went to upload my first sample, I thought I saw it written that it should at least be 1 minute. After I uploaded, I went back to see if I could find it again, but the page displayed differently and now says, “Must be a mp3 and should be no more than few minutes long.” But before I uploaded anything I was sure I saw something about it being at least 1 minute.
      If you haven’t uploaded a sample yet, you can probably click on “Add Your Sample” on the top right and see what it says … if it still says the same thing.

  15. I have new books with 2019 copyrights that I want to record samples from. Am I restricted from using books not in the Public Domain? Where do I find what titles ARE in the Public Domain?

  16. Hello there! I wish to become a audio book narrator. I’m trying to subscribe to ACX but, for some reason my country (Venezuela) doesn’t appear enable on the Countries listing.
    I do have an account as publisher at KDP, were I do have published a series of Interior Decorating Books, may this account be valid for ACX ?

  17. May I use books that are current as sample material (in other words, not in public domain)? I was told by an established narrator that it is ok as long as it’s not a book that is really current and hot. Also, what about books that have already been made into an audiobook? Is it ok to do a sample from that book? Thanks!

  18. I’ve recorded a handful of audiobooks – is it ok for me to use the Retail Sample file from the published audiobook as a sample in my profile?

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