Category Archives: Using ACX

Picking the Right Royalty Share Projects

Like to listen? Click on the player below to hear this post in audio.

 

As an author, actor, and audiobook producer, Craig Tollifson brings a unique perspective to ACX. His publishing industry background has allowed him to make the most of the time he spends auditioning by putting his effort into the most promising titles. He joins us today to share his tips for picking the best Royalty Share projects.

Craig Tollifson_Headshot

ACX Author/Narrator Craig Tollifson (aka Andrew Tell)

The first audiobook I narrated went on sale in early 2015. It sold 11 copies. Since then, I’ve narrated 19 other titles, learned a lot about narrating, and learned even more about choosing good Royalty Share projects. This month I’ll pass 10,000 total sales, and recently averaged over 1,500 sales a month. And those numbers just keep going up. Not bad for a beginner!

I got my start on ACX as an author. I had my novella, The Junior Arsonists Club, produced as an audiobook by the talented Amy McFadden. I was interested in eventually narrating my own work, and had experience as a stage actor, so I decided to jump in and try it myself. Now I’m a full-time audiobook narrator and no one can say it’s weird that I sit in a giant box and talk to myself all day.

Having been on the other side of the fence as an independent author has helped shape my choices as a narrator. I knew from the start I wanted to pursue Royalty Share projects. For years I’ve followed the indie publishing scene and noted a parade of successes, like Hugh Howey, Michael Bunker, and many more. The potential to earn more than a regular Per-Finished-Hour rate over the long term and gain passive income was very appealing. I also knew that I had to be smart in choosing the right projects. I had to get good at picking the books with the most potential for success.

ACX gives you the basic research right on the project page. Now, let’s assume you’re skilled at narration, you’re interested in the project, and your voice is a good fit for the work. Here are some of the key points to consider:

  • Genre makes a difference. Fiction accounts for nearly 80% of audiobooks sold, with mystery/thrillers and sci-fi/fantasy being near the top. Stick with popular genres if you want to sell.
  • The Amazon sales rank can be very important for predicting success. This number represents sales per day compared to every other book in the Amazon store. Audiobook and eBook sales tend to rise and fall together. Remember, this is one product on two platforms. The lower the sales rank, the better! Without going into too much detail: a sales rank under one hundred is amazing. Run to the booth and start auditioning! A sales rank in the thousands is pretty great (remember there are over a million books in the Amazon store!). When you get over a hundred thousand, or two hundred thousand or more, well…that’s not so great. But remember: this rank is only a snapshot of one moment which represents that day’s trend. Message the Rights Holder on ACX to see how the book has been selling historically. Oftentimes, a great rank can be the result of a recent promotion, and when the promotion’s over it can completely sink again. Also, make sure the number you’re looking at is the paid rank. If the book is free, the rank loses a lot of its meaning and is not a good predictor of audiobook sales.
  • The more reviews thJunior Arsonists.jpge better, and the reviews should be mostly positive. Take some time and read some of those reviews. I recommend reading the most recent reviews, as early reviews are often solicited. Click through some of the reviewers themselves and check their profiles–if it’s the only book they’ve reviewed, it’s likely they are friends or family of the author and shouldn’t be considered. Reviews are also great for quickly getting a sense of the story, often more so than the author’s description, or first few pages of the book.
  • Length of time on sale is a great metric when combined with the number of reviews and sales rank. A book that’s selling great, and has been on the market for, say, two years may have better potential than a book that’s only been out for two weeks with the same sales rank.
  • Evaluate the rest of the author’s catalog–every last book–with the same criteria as the one up for production: sales rank, reviews, etc. If they have other audiobooks, even better. Ask the Rights Holder how many copies the other audiobooks have sold. Or, check to see how many ratings the other audiobooks have on Audible. More ratings mean more copies have been purchased.

Now that you’ve done your research, you need to define success. Though you’re not working for a Per-Finished-Hour (PFH) rate when producing Royalty Share projects, you should still be thinking about how much you hope to earn. What is your time worth? Recording usually takes around 2 hours in the studio for every finished hour of audio. Then there’s editing, proofing, and mastering, which can add 3-4 hours (or more!) per finished hour of audio. You could easily be putting in 6 hours for every finished hour.  With all that in mind, come up with your ideal PFH rate for the project. Multiply it by the length of the book in hours. Now, divide that total with a ballpark royalty and you’ll see how many copies you’ll need to sell to be satisfied that you’ve made a good decision. Do you really think the audiobook can sell that many copies? Does the Rights Holder? If you’re on the fence about a project, I find that thinking about earnings goals can help cement a decision.

Once the book is produced and on the market, you and the Rights Holder both have a stake in its success. Before you jump into your next production, spend some time marketing. I spend time every week promoting titles via giveaways and soliciting reviews. Social media can be a great resource if you find the right communities. There are a ton of places online that fans gather to discuss their favorite genre, like Goodreads, reddit, and many Facebook groups. Get yourself into those communities. You’ll meet fans and authors, both of which will help your audiobook career.

The last thing you’ll need is a little bit of luck. All the points of research can add up to the best looking potential project on the planet, and you can do great promotion, but still…the audiobook may not sell well! Royalty Share comes with an element of risk. Your job is to find the ones with the best odds.

I hope that the research tips I’ve given you today can help you choose the best bets for success.

Craig Tollifson is the author of the Kindle Single the Junior Arsonists Club, the forthcoming novel Happy, and has written for Mystery Science Theater 3000. When he’s not writing or performing on stage, he narrates audiobooks under the name Andrew Tell. He lives with his wife and kids in sunny Los Angeles, California.

Get by with a Little Help from Your Friends at ACX

At ACX, we know that audiobook production can be a complex process, so we’re always here to help. Today, we’re excited to share a new way to get answers to your questions: our new Help Center!

Help Cntr

The improved Help Center features new Search and Browse tools to help you find the information you’re looking for. Here are just a few things you’ll find in this improved area:

  • Checklists for Rights Holders and Producers: Set yourself up for success with step-by-step instructions for starting and finishing your audiobook projects.
  • Answer Ratings: Was this answer helpful? If not, tell us why. We’re listening to improve your experience.
  • Plus, dozens of new answers to your most frequently asked questions!

Visit the new Help Center today, and share your feedback with us.

Get the latest on enhancements to ACX.com by subscribing to the blog!

Now On ACX: “Offer Pending” Banner

Have you searched for an audition-ready project on ACX recently? You may have noticed a new banner labeled “Offer Pending” in your results. And if you’ve seen this new feature, you might have a few questions about it. Lucky for you, we’ve got all the answers.

Offer Pending_01

Q: What does “Offer Pending” mean?

A: “Offer Pending” means the rights holder of that title has made an offer to produce it to another ACX producer.

Q: What if the offer was made to me? Will I still see the flag?

A: Nope, but others will.

Q: I’d really like to produce this book. How long does the other producer have to accept the offer?

A: Depending on the offer, the producer who received it has from 24 – 72 hours to accept or decline the offer.

Q: So can I still submit an audition even if a title has the “Offer Pending” banner?

A: Yep, you can.

Q: Is that a good idea?

A: That depends. Preparing, producing, and uploading an audition takes time. If the rights holder is negotiating with another producer, you might do that work only to find the book has gone into production. We suggest you message the rights holder to introduce yourself and request more information if you’re dead set on auditioning.

Offer Pending_02Want to stay up to date on new ACX features? Subscribe to The ACX Blog!

The Four Agreements

As an ACX Producer, you’re responsible for editing, mixing, and mastering your audio, in addition to reading and self-recording. While you may possess both the artistic talent and the technical skill required to handle all of these tasks, you might find you prefer to focus on your performance. Other factors—like a tight production schedule or lack of a home studio—may require you to seek professional assistance. ACX independent contractor agreements can help ensure both parties are clear about what’s expected when it comes to things like due dates, payment terms, and ownership of the finished product. Here are the four types of agreements that ACX offers:

Audiobook Narration Services Agreement

Helping hand shakes another in an agreementWho it’s between: A studio and a narrator, a producer and a narrator, a narrator and a fellow narrator.

Why you may need it: You’re a studio or producer hiring a narrator, or you’re a narrator subcontracting another narrator to work on your multi-cast audiobook recording.

What you get: A professionally narrated audiobook with up to four rounds of correction (aka “pickup”) sessions.

Audiobook Engineering Services Agreement:

Who it’s between: A narrator and an engineer, a narrator and a studio, or a studio and a freelance engineer.

Why you may need it: You’re a narrator without a home studio, or a studio owner working with a freelance engineer.

What you get: A professional engineer to record your (or your narrator’s) performance and provide you with the raw recorded files ready to be edited and mastered.

Audiobook Editing Services Agreement

sidebarWho it’s between: A narrator, producer, or studio, and an audiobook editor.

Why you may need it: You’re a narrator or producer on a tight schedule, or you have a number of productions to complete back to back. Perhaps you prefer to focus on performing rather than audio editing.

What you get: Professionally edited and QC’d audiobook files, ready for mixing and mastering.

Audiobook Mastering Services Agreement

Who it’s between: A narrator, producer, or studio, and a post-production engineer.

Why you may need it: You’re on a tight schedule, or you have a number of productions to complete back to back. You’ve decided to focus on performing rather than mastering your audio.

What you get: A professional mix and master of your audiobook files, delivered ready for upload to ACX according to our Audio Submission Requirements.

Armed with one or more of our independent contractor agreements, you can do your best work and rest assured that your collaborators are keeping up their end of the deal. Be sure to download and use them the next time you need to outsource an aspect of your ACX production.

Have you outsourced the editing, mastering, or post-production of your audiobooks? Tell us in the comments below.

Search, Enhanced

You asked, we listened. Actors and authors using the ACX search may have noticed a new look and some new features this week. Here’s what’s new, what’s cool, and how to make the most of the enhanced ACX search.

What’s New: Multiselect Search Criteria

SE_03

What’s Cool: Rights Holders and Producers can now choose multiple attributes when searching for their next voice or project.

For example, Producers have the ability to see all books needing a New York or Boston accent simultaneously. Rights Holders can find a flirtatious cowboy for their latest romantic comedy or search for a voice that’s both upbeat and authoritative.

How to Make the Most of It: Start clicking! When using either the Sample Search or the Title Search, make sure to select all of the criteria that fit your needs. Play around with different combinations until you find the voice or book of your dreams.

What’s New: Recommended Search

SE_04What’s Cool: Recommended Search means Producers are presented with audition-ready titles that better match their voice, which helps Rights Holders get auditions from the voices best suited for their books.

Producers, we now preset your default search criteria based on the attributes you enter into your profile. If you excel at business and self-help books, or prefer to work within a certain Per Finished Hour range, we’ll remember those details from your profile and set them as your default search. Less time searching means more time auditioning and producing!

Producers who prefer to voice more family friendly fare can also choose to exclude books in the Erotica & Sexuality category from their search results. This feature is “off” by default, so you’ll need to set the filter under the “Genre” section in your profile.

How to Make the Most of It: Make sure you’ve fully filled out your producer profile. Start by clicking on your name in the upper left corner of any page on ACX. On the next page, click “Edit Profile.”

Look for the following section on the “Describe Your Expertise” page. This is where you’ll set your preferences.

SE_05

Finally, find the section pictured below on the ‘Choose Preferred payment” page.

SE_06

Once you save your profile information, your search will default to showing you just the titles that fall in your wheelhouse (as long as you’re logged in). Of course, you can always uncheck those boxes to widen your search if you decide to see what else is available.

Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of the enhanced search, head over to ACX and put these new features into practice. You’ll find discovering your next audiobook project or voice easier than ever!

The ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist

Authors, do you think of yourselves as audiobook publishers? You should! When creating an audiobook through ACX, you cast the title, set the schedule, control the quality and promote the finished product. So, we think you can safely add “Audiobook Publisher” to your job title.

Being a publisher might sound daunting. Many tasks are vying for your attention, and at the end of the day you are responsible for the quality of the finished product. That’s why ACX Rights Evangelist Nicole joins us today to share her ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist. Follow her the steps to ensure you stay on the path to successfully publishing your books in audio.

The ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist

nicoleop

An author’s best friend: ACX’s Nicole

Working with authors, publishers, and agents all day, every day, I’ve discovered that in audiobook publishing, there are optional items as well as critical items that must be checked off before proceeding from one step to the step. Here’s my handy check list for every step of the audiobook publishing process on ACX.

Stage 1: Before You Begin Production.

Verify Rights

checkbox-unchecked Confirm you have audio rights for your book by checking your print or eBook book contract. If you’re self-published (say, through Kindle Direct Publishing or CreateSpace), you’ve retained your audio rights. If you do not have audio rights, and the current rights holder has not produced an audiobook of your work, consider pursuing rights reversion like author Marta Acosta.

checkbox-unchecked Ensure your book is appropriate for audio. Click here for a list of books that usually do not turn into great audiobooks.

Claim Your Title on ACX

checkbox-unchecked Create an ACX account. You can use your existing Amazon email and password to log into ACX. It is important to fill out your name and address, bank information and tax information up front because I don’t want incomplete info to delay your payments once your audiobook is complete!

checkbox-unchecked Claim the best performing ASIN/version on ACX. Many rights holders have more than one version of their book (eBook, paperback, hardcover), and ACX will pull in certain metadata from your Amazon listing, such as the summary and current rankings and ratings. Potential audiobook producers will use this information when deciding if they would like to audition to narrate your book, so put your best foot forward.

checkbox-unchecked Start drafting your audiobook marketing plan. Keep your fans up to date throughout the production process to build anticipation for your audiobook. Your audiobook marketing plans can help you set due dates for your production and the time line in which you want your audiobook to go on sale.

Post your book for auditions on ACX.

checkbox-unchecked Create the title profile for your book. Creating a robust, specific, and accurate title profile is important. A book description that’s detailed and compelling helps producers get excited about working on your project. I always tell my authors to include some performance notes (characters, accents, overall tone, etc.) and to mention if the title is part of a series.

checkbox-unchecked Choose the right audition script for your book. This portion should be about 2-3 pages, and should include some dialog, some descriptive text, and any important accents or character voices. Don’t worry if you can’t find all of these things in one scene – you can build an audition script that includes a few shorter passages that cover the items above.

checkbox-unchecked Decide the payment method for your production. Do you want to pay your producer for their efforts upon completion of the audiobook (a fee per finished hour, as part of a Pay For Production deal) or do you prefer to split your royalties with them 50-50 (as part of a Royalty Share deal)? Learn more about payment options on ACX here.

checkbox-unchecked Make an offer! Clicking this button will start the process of making an agreement or deal. I recommend opening a dialogue with your narrator before or during the offer stage to ensure you are on the same page.

checkbox-unchecked Set a proper production schedule based on your needs and the narrator’s availability. Make sure to leave yourself time to review your final audio and communicate  any corrections to your producer.

Stage 2: Time to Produce

checkbox-unchecked Send the manuscript, and decide on a 15 minute checkpoint once your producer has accepted your offer. You can piece together the 15 minute checkpoint script from multiple parts of the book if need be. Make sure to include main characters, dialogue as well as descriptive text, any particularly tough scenes or tricky pronunciations. If any portion of the book seems likely to trip up your narrator or deserves extra attention, include it in the 15 minute checkpoint.

checkbox-unchecked Request clear and specific corrections to the 15 minute checkpoint as necessary. Once you approve, you narrator will have the green light to produce the rest of the book in its entirety.

checkbox-unchecked Secure and upload your audiobook cover. Cover art should meet our cover art requirements and should make your book attractive to potential listeners.

checkbox-unchecked Line up promotions. I’m constantly telling authors to think about marketing from the very beginning. Are you blogging about your upcoming audiobook? Are you alerting your fans or newsletter list that they will soon be able to hear your book? Keep whetting their appetite for audio and ensure they’ll be eagerly anticipating the day your audiobook becomes available for sale.

Stage 3: Review, Approve, and Pay

checkbox-unchecked Request clear and specific corrections to the final audio as necessary. Don’t be unreasonable, but don’t be shy. This is your audiobook, and sometimes corrections are necessary.

checkbox-unchecked Approve and pay for your audiobook (unless it is a Royalty Share, of course). Your title will be submitted to ACX and receive a quick quality assurance check and, if all is well, should be available for sale within 7 business days of your approval.

 checkbox-unchecked Finalize your marketing plans for when…

Stage 4: Your Audiobook is on Sale!

checkbox-unchecked Use your codes to drive reviews and sales of your audiobook. Once your audiobook is on sale, you will receive 25 free promotional codes via email to distribute to fans and reviewers.

checkbox-unchecked Update your web site, blogs, and social media accounts to reflect your new audiobook. I think author Barbara Freethy’s audiobook section of her website is a great example of how to feature your audiobooks.

checkbox-unchecked Check your backlist, and do it all over again! The only thing better than having a book made in audio via ACX is having ALL your books made in audio via ACX!

Download a printable version of this checklist.

How to Pick the Right Royalty Share Project

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.

Royalty Share Advice 01

 

 

 

 

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.

Royalty Share Advice 02

  •  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.

Here's an example of a strong ACX title profile (click to expand)

Here’s an example of a strong ACX title profile (click to expand)

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?

Mastering the $50 Bounty Program

Today, we’re talking bounties, more specifically ACX‘s $50 bounty program. If you hadn’t heard, bounties are a great way for rights holders and producers to maximize the earning potential of their audiobooks. Let’s review some bounty basics, and then we’ll hear from an ACX user who found success driving new Audible listeners to purchase their book.

The ACX $50 Bounty Program

Under the $50 Bounty program, users can get – or split in the case of Royalty Sharing partners – a $50 bonus payment every time a qualifying audiobook they’ve produced through ACX is the first purchase of a new Audible listener. This money is on top of any royalty earnings from your audiobook sales. Think of it as our thanks to you for helping new audiobook listeners discover Audible!

Profitable_rightDriving New Audible Listeners

Here are some quick ways to get the word out about your audiobook and start racking up those $50 payments.

1. It’s never too early to start promoting! You needn’t wait for your audiobook to be published to start spreading the word! Authors, let your fans know when you post your title to ACX and update them when you cast a narrator, and as production progresses. Producers, spread the word when you’re cast on a new title, and let your fans know when it will be out.

2. Use those promo codes from ACX. When your production is completed, you’ll get 25 free download codes right off the bat.  Use these codes to get people listening to and reviewing your book. Seek out audiobook reviewers and offer them a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Host a giveaway for your fans on social media, or trade codes with a fellow ACX user and review each others titles on your website/blog. Word of mouth marketing is a more powerful tool than ever!

3. Mention your audiobook every time you promote your book in ANY format. General book marketing is great, but to maximize your bounty payments, make sure you consistently talk about your audio version. A number of your readers may not yet be audiobook listeners, and a reminder that your book is available in this awesome format might be just the poke they need to visit Audible and start downloading.

A Bounty Success Story – Frank Eakin, 12 Years a Slave

FE_LGJ

L to R: ACX rights holder Frank Eakin and narrator Louis Gossett Jr.

“We produced the official movie tie-in audiobook for 12 Years a Slave, and we published the top-selling edition of the e-book and print book. I believe that relatively few authors and publishers truly grasp the importance of audiobooks in driving sales across their portfolio of products related to a title.”

“When you are ready to launch your audiobook, be sure to cross-sell your audiobook inside your book. For example, in one of the front pages of our e-book and on the back cover of our print book, we try to excite the reader about the audiobook, and we usually pitch it as a different and unique way in which to experience the story. We mention that the book can be purchased at Audible inside our book and in our materials. Also, in our e-book and print book, we plug our free Audiobook Extra, which can be downloaded exclusively from our product page on Audible. A free digital extra, which in our case is a unique map related to the story, will draw many potential customers to your Audible page; by engaging readers in our free map, we help to convert them into customers of our audiobook.”

“In social media, including Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., we plug Audible and provide some of the benefits of becoming a regular audiobook listener, which helps to drive memberships and thus increase our number of bounty payments. Our Facebook ads bring potential customers to our Audible page (to download the map) and to our unique website, which features audiobook clips in a multi-media format, and engages readers so they will want to click on our Purchase Now page, which provides a link to our Audible page.”

Are You The Next Bounty Success Story?

Have you been successful at driving new listeners to Audible and collecting your $50 bounties? Tell us in the comments and help your fellow ACXers learn from your efforts. We just might feature you in a future post!

Full terms and conditions on the $50 Bounty program can be found on ACX.

I Submit! I Submit!

We’ve recently revamped our Audio Submission Requirements for ACX (formerly known as the Rules For Audiobook Production), and we’re highlighting some of the changes. Rest assured that most of the requirements remain the same – we’ve just made them easier to understand!

The importance of the Audio Submission Requirements

You’re in competition with the best!Audible has over 150,000 audio programs for sale, with recordings from both the biggest studios in the business and ACX users’ home studios. Both recording environments can sound great with the right settings, and our submission requirements help ensure that your titles meet the same specifications as all of Audible’s providers.

You want to get your title on sale as quickly as possible! – Books created through ACX are distributed to Audible, Amazon and iTunes, and the sooner they’re available for sale, the sooner you can start racking up positive reviews and generating sales. Our Quality Assurance process is streamlined to get your titles to Audible’s audio processing teams efficiently, and your title may be held up if it doesn’t meet our audio specs.

As ACX Audio Production Coordinator Andrew Grathwohl, puts it

Familiarizing yourself with our Audio Submission requirements will help ensure that your title passes our QA screening without a hitch. In doing so, you can be confident that your audiobook will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other titles in the Audible catalog.

What’s New About These Revamped Requirements?

Glad you asked! Each aspect of production is now headed by the requirement and explained with a straightforward description. Requirements are broken up between broad, title-level items, and specific file-level details, and they are given to you in bite-sized, easily digestible prose that everyone from audiobook experts to brand-newbies can understand.

We’ve also simplified a few key points in the production process. We’ve eliminated grouping of chapters once and for all (so don’t even try it!), and we’ve given you a bit more leeway in the spacing at the top and tail of each file.

A Few Quick Examples

You can find the new Audio Submission Requirements page over on ACX, but here are a few sections of note that you might find helpful:

Your submitted audiobook must:

Be consistent in overall sound and formatting.

Why? – Consistency in audio levels, tone, noise level, spacing, and pronunciation helps give the listener a great experience. Drastic changes can be jarring and are not in keeping with a professional production. Extreme fluctuations in volume means the listener will have to keep a hand on the volume control of their listening device. This detracts from the listening experience and may lead to poor reviews and reduced sales.

Include a retail audio sample that is between one and five minutes long.

Why? – The retail audio sample used on Audible and Amazon is a preview of your audiobook. A great sample will show off your material and attract paying customers! (Note: iTunes automatically uses the first five minutes of the book as their sample.)

Each uploaded file must:

Contain only one chapter or section.

Why? – This ensures listeners can easily navigate between sections, and that skipping forwards or backwards moves them forward or back one section. Combining multiple sections in one file creates a confusing navigation experience. If the audiobook is not in a traditional chapterized format and you’re unsure how best to separate your files, please contact audio@acx.com for guidance.

Be 192kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR)

Why? – Before going on sale in the Audible store, titles are encoded in a variety of formats that customers have the option of downloading. 192kbps (or higher), Constant Bit Rate MP3 files are required so this encoding process works without error. You may upload 256kbps or 320kbps files if you’d like, but the difference in quality heard by listeners will be negligible.

Have our submission requirements made it easier for you to produce and upload high quality audiobooks to ACX?

Sample, Sale.

Marketing your ACX titles to potential listeners starts with a dynamic audio sample: in just a few short minutes, Audible listeners will decide if your audiobook is their next great listen. So what makes a great audio sample? Join us as we cover how to get the most out of this brief sound snippet.

A great sounding sample comes from the same place as the rest of your great sounding audiobook – your narrator! Make sure to cast thoughtfully, and don’t be afraid to be proactive by using ACX’s narrator search to find actors and invite them to audition for your title.

As your narrator begins producing your book, give some thought to 3 – 5 minutes of audio that will best represent your title and make it desirable to Audible’s listeners. If you can find one representative scene of this length, great! Or, select more than one interesting passage, and have your narrator edit them together. If your title has action and romance, feature both scenes to really whet your fans’ appetites.

If you’re not sure how to best represent your book, ask your fans for their favorite scene from the print or eBook version. Or, ask your narrator for her recommendation. After all, collaboration is the name of the game on ACX!

Once your narrator has finished your book and uploaded the audio for review, you can approve the production and let us worry about getting the sample on Audible. In the meantime, you can download the retail audio sample file from ACX to your computer, then upload it to an audio sharing site like SoundCloud*. Share the link in your newsletter and on social media. SoundCloud even has a widget that you can place on your own website, further showcasing your audiobook to your fans.

The retail audio sample is a key part of your promotional efforts for your audiobook. Combining a little taste of what’s to come with your other promotional efforts should start to generate some buzz about your book, and set you on the path to strong sales and reviews for your title.

How do you select the perfect retail audio sample?