My Journey with ACX
A few months ago in a conversation with a friend, he mentioned that he hadn’t read my book because it wasn’t an Audiobook. This was all in jest. At first thought, I blew it off. My book on Amazon has slowed to a crawl in sales. I was spending a lot of time formatting it to meet EPUB specifications for other markets. Creating an audiobook just seemed like another daunting task. However, it sparked my interest and I started investigating audiobook creation.
I’ve listened to audiobook from iTunes before and that really was the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I did what all writers do when they need to know something – Google. After a few clicks on the keyboard – I discovered ACX – The Audiobook Exchange.
My world opened up.
The ACX site listed all kinds of intriguing facts about audiobooks. The three tidbits of information that stood out:
- The ACX produced 10x more audiobooks in 2012.
- 2353 titles were open for audition and there were 12381 narrator samples.
- iTunes has an exclusive relationship with Audible
- Audiobooks produced through ACX will be pimped on iTunes, Audible, and Amazon.
This information told me that ACX was getting popular and that if I needed a narrator – I shouldn’t have an issue finding one. The most important part of this information was that I could create an audiobook in on place and it be sent to three different markets.
That is awesome!
The more I explored ACX the more I was truly amazed at the possibility of creating an audiobook. By far, the most enticing aspect of ACX was the ability to do what they call Royalty Sharing. Royalty sharing allows producers and authors to create an audiobook without any upfront costs. When the book sells – the author and producer shares the profit.
I created my account and sent in a W-9 (I think it was a W-9).
Working my very first project was a little daunting. I was new to the site and really didn’t understand some of the options that I had to pick. Thank goodness, the ACX provided a plenty of links to answer most of my questions.
I will say – the ACX does good walking you through the creation process. ACX even scanned Amazon and found my book and imported its details.
However, I will pass off some learning experience in this process.
Royalty Share is a blessing and a curse.
If your book is hugely popular on other markets and you have a huge social following – producers have no issue with bidding on your project. They know that the book is a proven performer and they will make money off the audiobook.
However, I’m not a hugely successful author. I’m a typical indie author with some moderate sales under my belt. I have a very small social following and limited marketing budget. Producers have to eat too. Taking a royalty share project from a lesser-known author is a gamble.
Weeks went by with my project posted under the Royalty Share plan and not a single offer. I finally realized what the issue was and changed my production type to a per hour basis. It didn’t take long before I had a few offers. Now, ACX will estimate the how many voice hours your book will be – by its word count. My book was estimated at 3.5 hours, which I think might be small. However, it meant if I was willing to pay $50 per hour – my out of pocket cost would be $50 x 3.5 = $175.00
I really don’t know the max or min but I believe the majority of producers were in the $50 range. I listened to a narrator by the name of Jonathan Waters and was amazed. I awarded him the project and sent him the full script of my book (pdf version). It took him a few weeks to finish it with minor edits.
Once the book is fully completed and approved by ACX – it took about two weeks to hit the retail outlets.
My experience so far – my audiobook went for sale on 04/05/13. Between 04/05/13 to 04/08/13, I sold 10 copies through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. Now, this is ground breaking but if you take in consideration that I didn’t market this at all. I posted on my Facebook that I created an audiobook and was amazed that it sold a copy. Other than that, ACX moved 10 copies in 3 days.
To me – this was fantastic!
I love ACX!
There are a few issues I have that I would like to see addressed. When I sold 10 copies, I wanted to know where and what the reviews were. I had to dig through Audible, Amazon and iTunes (which is a pain in the ass). Links to your book in these other markets would be god-send on the ACX Sales Dashboard.
Also, from the ACX Sales Dashboard – you can’t tell how much money you’ve made.
Other than that – I suggest ACX to everyone.
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I’m an avid movie buff and video game player. I see humor all around us in life and really don’t have a problem commenting on it. I am a fun and easy going dude who just likes to write from time to time.