Category Archives: Using ACX

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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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?

Cashing In On The Checkpoint

Of all the steps in the audiobook production process on ACX, the 15 Minute Checkpoint may play the biggest role in ensuring that the final product turns out as the rights holder envisioned it. Today, we’ll explain the basics of the 15 Minute Checkpoint and go over the key aspects of this important step.

Why Have A Checkpoint?

On ACX, a rights holder and producer team up to bring the author’s vision to life. In an effort to make sure the production gets off on the right foot, ACX requires the producer to create a roughly 15 minute section of audio and upload it for the rights holder’s review. From the producer’s side, this audio should be indicative of the quality you’ll deliver when submitting the completed audiobook.

First Thing’s (Aren’t Always) First

The 15 Minute Checkpoint doesn’t have to be the 1st 15 minutes of the book. If there is a particularly difficult section later on, or an important character that’s not introduced in the first few chapters, ask the producer to tackle that portion first. As a rights holder, this is your last chance to review the audio and ask for changes before giving the producer the go ahead to record and produce the entire book. Changes that you’d suggest at this point include pacing, pronunciation of names, character voices/accents or how the narrator handles dramatization. Listen closely while reading along with the script, noting any issues with the read as well as the sound quality. Communicate with the producer and request changes to anything that’s not quite right. ACX producers are professionals and can handle direction. They usually even welcome it, as long as you’re constructive and specific.

Finally, make sure to schedule time around the due date of the 15 minute checkpoint to listen to this audio. Approving or requesting changes should be done in a timely fashion to keep your project on schedule and your producer focused on your book.

Once both sides have reached a consensus on the sound of the 15 Minute Checkpoint, the rights holder can approve it on ACX and the producer can begin producing the final audio. Now is also the perfect time to start getting your audiobook marketing plans in order. That final audio will be uploaded to ACX before you know it!

What do you listen for when reviewing the 15 minute checkpoint on your ACX productions?

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Earlier this week, we discussed selecting an audition script for your book once it’s been posted to ACX. Today, let’s tackle the next step for authors and rights holders: casting your title and making an offer. This is an important step that can ensure that your production goes smoothly.

Casting the right producer.

mike-charzuk-exec-prod-audible-com

Mike Charzuk

Only you know who has the perfect voice for your story or characters. Among the 10,000+ producers on ACX, you’re bound to find some fantastic narrators. Mike Charzuk, Executive Producer/Sr. Director of Audible Studios, advises you to know your text well and cast to your narrator’s strengths.

When casting, it is important to know the text inside and out. If the text is complex with many characters, then an actor that is facile with character delineation and accents would be advised. Remember, subtle is the way to go with accents and character choices; you don’t want the narrator to sound to cartoonish and over the top. If the text is nonfiction, then a voice that is engaging is optimal. Remember to cast nonfiction to the strengths of the actor. Someone that might be not be good with complex verbiage may not do well on a book about ancient Greek language, for example.

You should also be listening to the technical aspects of the audition. The auditions you receive should be indicative of the final audio quality your producer will deliver once they begin producing your title. We recommend listening to some samples of well rated audiobooks on Audible to get a sense of what a good production sounds like. If you have reservations about the sound quality, feel free to politely discuss them with the potential producer or pass on the audition.

Making an offer.

Consider a few things when making an offer on ACX. As you post your title, you may have already chosen what payment method you’ll use, but if you’ve offered your title as royalty share or pay-for-production (P4P), you’ll now need to commit to one or the other. Next, you’ll choose exclusive or non-exclusive distribution, and offer due dates for the 15 minute checkpoint and final audio.

It’s important to understand the amount of time that goes into producing an audiobook when deciding on due dates. See this post for information on how long it can take to produce your audio. Based on this, a good estimate for the length of time needed on an average ACX production is roughly 45 days. It’s always a good idea to discuss the production timeline with your potential producer via the ACX messaging system before making an offer.

Help your producer help you.

One final thing to note is that you should be prepared to send your producer a copy of the final, published version of your book as soon as they accept your offer. You should also include any additional notes that you can regarding character voices and pronunciations. Putting your producer in the best position to produce your title ensures that you’ll end up with a great audiobook.

Are you ready to make an offer for your book? Tell us how you set yourself up to get the best audiobook possible from your ACX productions in the comments!

All About Audition Scripts

Casting the right producer for your ACX audiobook production may be the most important step in creating an incredible-sounding audio version of your title, and a good audition script can ensure that you’re hearing what you need to hear from a producer. Today we’ll cover the three do’s and one don’t of selecting the right audition script

Do: Pick the right text.

Make sure you’re using passages of your book that are representative of your book. For nonfiction, pick a selection that contains obscure or foreign pronunciations from your title, and provide direction on how to voice them in the audition. The producer will need to know what they’ll be reading, and you’re going to want to hear their pronunciation of these tricky words. For fiction, pick a section that has both dialog and prose. Try to include as many different characters as possible, so you get a true sense of the narrator’s range and various voices.

Don’t: Automatically use the first few pages of your title.

The first few pages of your title might seem like a natural starting point, but if they don’t contain the sections mentioned above, the auditions you get won’t tell you very much about the future voice of your book. Feel free to select a portion from the middle or end. In fact, you could even mix and match a few short scenes from various places in the book that will give an overall sense of what’s involved.

Once you’ve decided on the audition script, you can either enter it into the text box as you set up your title profile or upload a .pdf, .txt or.doc file right to ACX.

Do: Value an ACX producer’s time

In most cases, you’ll probably only need an audition script that’s 2-3 pages long. Audiobook producers can take up to an hour (and sometimes more) to produce an audition from these pages. They’ll familiarize themselves with the material and record it, then edit, mix and master that recording. After that, they’ll upload it to ACX, perhaps with comments or a note for you about the audition.

Do: Listen to the auditions submitted for your title in a timely fashion.

As a courtesy to the producers who are interested in working on your title, you may want to respond to those you’d not consider casting to let them know, and to thank them for their audition.

Armed with the information in this post, you should be set to choose a solid audition script. Next time we’ll cover the next step: what to consider when making an offer to the perfect voice for your title.

Tell us what you think makes a good audition script in the comments!

Money Talks – Paying, and Getting Paid, For Your Audiobook.

Authors, publishers, agents, circle up. Today, we’re going to talk money. ACX offers two different options when it comes to paying for your audiobook. You can also choose between two distribution options, which affect how much you stand to make from your audio sales. So let’s take a start-to-finish look at the different options you have on ACX when it comes to dollars and cents.

Planning Your Budget

Budgeting is one of the first things you should think about when preparing to get your book produced in audio. ACX offers two ways to compensate your producer: pay a “per finished hour” rate (PFH) when you approve the final audio, or enter into a royalty share agreement, where you pay the producer nothing up front, but agree to split your portion of the royalties 50-50 on the back end. The biggest consideration here is whether you have the funds to pay for your production up front, or whether you’d prefer to share royalties from sales. Both have their benefits – one allows you to keep your full portion of your royalties, the other gives you a marketing partner who is equally invested in the project, but it’s important to know which is right for you.

P4P: Is it 4 You?

Paying a per-finished-hour rate, what we call “pay for production” (or P4P) on ACX, is the traditional model of paying for an audiobook production. A good estimate of industry standard rates for retail ready audiobook production breaks down as follows: roughly $200 PFH for narration and another $200 PFH for the post production work (editing, QC, mixing and mastering). Rates can vary from producer to producer and from project to project of course. It’s also important to understand what you’re paying for, and the skill and time that goes into it. On average, it can take about four hours of work to produce one hour of finished audio. Your narrator is usually spending two hours reading in the booth and another two to three hours editing, mixing and mastering for each finished hour of audio. So while a rate of $300-$400 PFH may seem high, it makes sense when you understand the works that’s gone into it.

When budgeting for a P4P deal, the other factor to consider is the length of your title. We estimate that about 9,300 words equals one hour of finished audio (you can learn how to get an accurate word count for your title here). So, with that in mind, you can contact producers on ACX and negotiate  a fair rate for producing your title.

The Revolutionary Royalty Share

Of course, not everyone wants to pay their producer up front. For those that want to go a different route, ACX offers the royalty share payment model. Under these terms, you, the rights holder, forgo up front payment. Your producer will do the same work described above, and deliver the same retail-ready audio product. The time spent, and the value of the producer’s work is the same as if they were being paid up front. That’s why it’s extra important to have a solid plan for how you’ll market your title, and how your producer can fit into that plan. Choosing to split the royalties can get you a “partner in crime,” and double the marketing force behind your audio version.

It’s important to note that the royalty share option is only available when you grant ACX exclusive distribution of your title. Which brings us to:

Distribution – Exclusive or Non-Exclusive

The other big consideration for an ACX rights holder is whether to choose exclusive or non-exclusive distribution. This is a very in-depth topic, and much more detailed information on distribution and royalty rates can be found on our site. In brief, ACX will distribute your title to Audible, Amazon and iTunes. If you choose exclusive distribution, we will make your book available through these three channels and pay you an escalator royalty rate that starts at 50%, and increases in your favor the more you sell. With non-exclusive distribution, your book will still be available for purchase though the sites above, but you retain the right to sell or distribute it in any other way you wish. As we mentioned before, the royalty share method of paying your producer is only available with exclusive distribution.

Which combination of payment and distribution is right for you? Only you can know for sure, and it can vary from project to project. But with the information above, you should be well situated to make an informed, intelligent choice!

Which payment and distribution methods have you worked for you on ACX? Tell us in the comments!