Huddle up, producers. We’ve got some guidance for you on how to pick the best royalty share projects to audition for on ACX. Choosing to forgo up front payment and counting on sales of the audiobook to pay you back can involve a leap of faith, but with a bit of planning you can tip the odds for success in your favor.
What Makes a Top Selling Audiobook?
While there is no single answer to this question, here are five factors that can help you predict how likely a title is to sell well in audio.
1. Are you the right voice for this title?
Before you can consider the sales potential of a book, you have to consider your own ability to do the material justice. You’re a talented audiobook producer, but even the best don’t have the right voice or style for every book. Few things can sink a good title’s sales potential faster than narration that’s just not right. Check out our post on knowing which title to audition for here, and take the advice to heart.
2. What can you learn about the title’s print/eBook versions?
Once you’ve decided you’re the voice for a book, it’s time to determine the book’s sales potential. Every title profile on ACX has a “Title Information” section that contains metadata about the text editions’ histories.
Let’s break these sections down:
- Date posted to ACX: If this date is months in the past, consider sending the rights holder a message to confirm he or she is seeking auditions before submitting yours.
- Original publication date: Knowing when the book was first published puts the other information that follows in the title profile in perspective. While a “frontlist” book can capitalize on the momentum built around the launch, don’t dismiss midlist or backlist titles, as they can expose a whole new audience to a certain author or series once the title is available in audio.
- Published by: Information about the publisher of the print and eBook editions can be helpful when researching the title’s rights holder. Research the publisher to get a sense of what kind of titles they publish and what kind of effort they put into promoting them.
- Amazon sales rank: Lower is better in this case, and by clicking on “view this title on Amazon,” you can get a more specific picture of how a title is performing in its categories (example below). You may also consider the book’s price with its sales rank.
- Amazon rating: Note how many reviews it has received in relation to how long it’s been available for sale. The amount of reviews can be one indicator of how hard the rights holder is working to promote their book, as few readers discover a book by accident, and even fewer leave reviews unless they’re passionate or have been asked by the rights holder.
- When it comes to the content of the reviews, remember that opinions about the writing style or the story can be subjective, but reviews that cite poor grammar, spelling, proofing, or editing could indicate a manuscript that’s not quite ready for prime time, or a rights holder who may need to pay a little more attention to detail.
3. What other information is the rights holder giving you?
The “Comments from the Rights Holder” section is the rights holder’s chance to sell you on their title. They can use this space to give you more information about character voices and the tone of the story. They can also list their promotional plans, social media accounts, awards and recognition, etc. This section is optional for rights holders, so if no information is provided, you may want to message them with questions.
4. What else can you learn about the rights holder?
Google is your friend. Do a little research and get a sense of how much work the rights holder is putting into promoting themselves and their titles by answering these questions:
- Do they have a website?
- Does it feature audio versions of their other titles (if available)?
- Do they provide audio samples on their site, or link to their Audible product pages?
- Do they have a blog?
- Do they have social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest that are updated regularly (and not just with sales pitches for their books)?
You’re looking for a motivated, savvy rights holder who will work with you to promote the audiobook.
5. Are you prepared to contribute to the success of this book?
The beauty of a royalty share production on ACX is that the producer and rights holder become partners, equally invested in the success of the book. In addition to bringing the story to life with your wonderful voice, you should be prepared to help promote the title on your website, social media accounts, email list, etc. Work with the rights holder to come up with creative ways to combine your powers. Interview each other for your respective blogs, record a brief audio-only bonus scene written by the author, or co-host a Twitter chat.
Picking the right title is an importation first step towards audiobook sales success. Delivering a great production and working to help promote the book ensures you’re doing everything in your power to maximize the earning potential of your work.
What factors do you consider when choosing a royalty share title?