Blogpost Replay: “Amazon’s answer to indie-audio publishing… ACX.com” Guest post on Audio book creation with Jeff Bennington.

Today I am so thankful to have Jeff Bennington, author of The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe (& more – see full list of books below), founder of The Kindle Book Review and all-round Indie author supporter on the 30 Day Books blog.

jeffbenningtonWhen I heard that Jeff was turning his books into audio books on Audible.com, I knew he would be the perfect person to share his experience with the rest of us. Here Jeff lays out a few options for creating audio books for free, which is certainly a great way to find new “readers” in a less crowded and up and coming space. Jeff will pop back to answer any questions so feel free to leave a comment. Take it away, Jeff!

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When I wrote The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe, I wanted to create a book that was authentic to my experience, transparent in my findings and genuinely helpful. That’s what publishing independence is all about. It’s in that spirit that I want to share the latest tool available for the indie author…

… free audio book creation.

Like all technologies, accessibility drives innovation and encourages success. Well we now have that same availability to produce and publish our work in audio book format.

Thanks to Gerard de Marigny, author of The Watchman of Ephraim, I was introduced to Amazon’s answer to indie-audio publishing… ACX.com. ACX stands for Audio Book Creation Exchange, a website where writers and voice professionals can hook up to create top-notch audio books.

ACX is actually a sister site of Audible.com, which is owned by Amazon. It is a website where voice-over professionals (VOP’s) and writers can do business within a simple and streamlined website. The site provides everything you need to download your “script”, sign official contracts, and produce your audio book(s) on time and to your satisfaction. Once produced, ACX will upload your audio books to their online retailing partners.

At ACX, you have choices, too. You can pay the VOP by the recorded hour and keep all of your royalties, or you can contract a 50-50 shared royalty at no cost to you. You can even record your audio book yourself if you want to. ACX has produced dozens of tutorials on youtube, so you can learn the ropes before you get started.

ACX offers two publishing deals: exclusive and non-exclusive. Non-exclusive simply means that once your audio book is complete, you can upload it anywhere, but you get a lower royalty. An exclusive contract means that your audio book is only available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes but you get a higher royalty. You can find all the details about the contracts, royalties, and how it works HERE.

This site is cutting edge, fun and easy to use. But like any platform, your book has to be well written and needs a good looking cover. Voice-over professionals do not want to waste their time on poorly edited books, especially if they are working for shared royalties. So make sure your work is the best it can be before submitting.

If you are ready for Phase II of your publishing journey, check out ACX.com. It’s time to open the audio book floodgates. It’s time for authors to break down the walls, swords in hand and assail our next treasure chest.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1.  Go to acx.com.

Step 2.  Click on the “Get Started” button.

Step 3.  Once you open an account, you go to your “My Projects” folder and start entering your book information.

Step 4. Once you have your book information posted, you either wait for a VOP to audition, or you can search for a voice professional by using ACX’s search tool. This tool will help you find the voice that best fits your book, mood and genre. But once you find that voice, you don’t have to wait. You can email the VO directly. Be warned, you need to use the ACX email system for all correspondence because they want to track the process of negotiations and keep everyone honest.

You will have to play with the system a little to figure it out, but you can do it.

Two weeks ago, I made all four of my books available for auditions: Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, Creepy, and The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. I contacted two authors and received several auditions by very professional VOP’s. I now have 3 audio book contracts signed, one by an award winning VOP, and three promising auditions for the fourth book.  That book will be signed within the week. By the end of the summer, I will have four books that were previously only available through Amazon, in audio format on the three largest audio book distributors on the planet.

This is a great deal for independent authors. So let this post serve as an invitation, a call to arms, a raising of the indie flag if you will. Indie authors are now invading audio books.

 

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, Creepy, and The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @TweetTheBook and read his weekly posts at The Writing Bomb.

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment!


Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.

 

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the insightful post! I’ve always been curious about audio books, especially for indie authors. Do you expect your audience on Audible to be vastly different from print or ebooks?

  • Melissa

    I found this post particularly interesting as I feel audiobooks don’t get the same “love” other mediums get. Did you find marketing your audiobook to be any different than marketing those published in more traditional ways? Any nuances? Thanks!

  • Jeff Bennington

    Hi Brandon,
    I thought I already replied, but now I don’t see my response… Anyway, I’m not sure what to expect. I do know that I have several friends that do not read print. They listen to audio books because they are on the road a lot. I suspect they are representative of that market… book lovers, but not book readers necessarily. like most aspects of indie publishing, this too will be an experiment.

  • Jeff Bennington

    Hi Melissa,
    As I stated in the post, I am just now entering the process. I have one title, out of four, fully recorded and soon to be published. But I think you are right, audio books are not as hot as ebooks or print, probably because they meet a niche in the industry, as stated in my previous comment.

    But what I think is important, is that indies share information and insight. This post is simply designed to inform authors that they can do this for FREE and get their work recorded by professionals, through a professional service, contracts and all. Perhaps, Laura will invite me back for a follow up post in a few months. I should have all 4 titles produced and published by the end of summer. I’ll know better how to approach marketing and my audience then… I hope.

  • Lauren Clark

    Loved this post – and I am a HUGE audio book lover as I travel so much! I posted Dancing Naked in Dixie and will be interested to see what happens :)

    It is an easy to use site — even for a non-techie like me.

    xx, Lauren

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Thanks again for this post, Jeff. I’d love to hear how the marketing aspect of audio books goes so yes please do come back for a follow up post :) It’s going to be a steep learning curve no doubt but being that you are diving in relatively early on, hopefully you can ride the wave while it’s still gaining popularity with book-lovers but not over-saturated by books yet. I’m very excited for you!

  • Karen Commins

    Greetings, all! As an audiobook narrator, I want to let you know that audiobooks are VERY popular! The Audio Publishers Association sales survey shows that audiobooks are approaching a $1 billion industry. According to the APA FAQ at http://audiopub.org/faq.asp:

    “Who are the primary customers for Audiobooks? The audiobook customer is a frequent book reader who sees audiobooks as a way to “read” more while pursuing other lifestyle activities. They are well educated, have higher incomes than non-listeners, tend to be older (30+) and are attuned to book trends through reviews and bestseller lists. Children’s audiobooks are also a formidable part of the market, as many families choose them for in-car entertainment or an at-home hobby, as well as many teachers and schools using them for educational tools.

    When and where do they use them? The primary usage is while traveling and commuting. Other uses revolve around lifestyle activities such as exercising, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, crafting, walking the dog, etc. People whose jobs involve repetitive manual tasks also report using audiobooks at work.”

    I love ACX and have voiced 5 books that were posted there. I recently wrote a blog post to help authors decide whether to list your titles on ACX:

    http://blog.karencommins.com/2011/08/authors-want-to-create-audiobo.html

    If you decide to post your book for auditions, I encourage you to read this excellent article from my colleague Jeffrey Kafer about reasons your book isn’t receiving auditions:

    http://myvoicetalent.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/7-reasons-why-your-book-is-not-getting-auditions-on-acx/

    Finally, let me add that flexibility on your completion timeframe and prompt communication will be appreciated by the narrators on the site. If I am voicing a book on a royalty share deal, I ask for several months to complete it so that I have availability to accept projects that pay up front.

    I hope these thoughts are helpful. Best wishes for your continued health, prosperity, and success!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins
    http://www.KarenCommins.com
    “A Vacation For Your Ears — Let my voice be your tour guide to another time and place.”

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Thanks for your thorough and complete comment, Karen! Lots of links and ideas to take in. It’s great to hear the perspective of a VO!

  • Maria

    How do you select a VO artist? What are you looking for in him/her? Don’t you think there is a a lot running on your decision here since it can put off certain readers who may love the book but not like the voice behind it?

    Thanks!

  • Jeff Bennington

    @Lauren ~ Thank you for the comment. Good luck with your audio book!

    @ Laura ~ You are very welcome. I appreciate the opportunity.

    @Karen ~ That is amazing information! I am so glad you posted it. I think you have provided some excellent and helpful information. Yet another reason why I love the site; the VOP and author collaboration are smooth and professional. Thank you.

    @Maria ~ You can listen to dozens of VOPs and select specific voice types like creepy, woman, male, older, younger, soft, gritty, etc. Each VOP has a profile page with samples, often with varying samples per their preferred genres. And you do not have to offer a contract with a VOP just because they audition. It’s your book and your sales on the line. Choose wisely.

  • Jeff Bennington

    Different, I think. I think there may be some crossover, but the audio listeners I know don’t have time to sit and read so they listen while driving or while on the go. Also…. a big thanks for @Createspace for tweeting this post today!

  • Nas Hedron

    This post is a great starting point for authors who are interested in creating audiobooks, although it might be worth looking into some of the other service providers too. Not that I have anything against ACX–they may well be the best choice for a given author–but it’s always worth comparison shopping. Spoken Word Inc. and Open Book Audio are two other sites with comparable services that people might want to look at.

    The creation of indie audiobooks also raises a broader issue, which is indie authors using *all* of their subsidiary rights to the fullest extent possible. (Subsidiary rights, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the terminology, means the rights to all the different forms that your book can take other than the original, like audiobooks, translations into different languages, film rights, and so on.)

    Traditional publishers always look to use subsidiary rights sales to increase profits, and in some cases the income they generate from sub rights is more than the income from the original book (even without a big Hollywood deal for the film rights).

    Putting your sub rights to practical use takes work–as with anything you do yourself–but it’s doable. It’s also getting easier as indie publishing matures and more service providers are created that cater to indie authors who want to go beyond paper books and ebooks. And some authors are using creative solutions, like offering translators a percentage of the profit from a book rather than an up-front fee.

    I hope to see more posts dealing with different sub rights on 30 Day Books since I’m especially interested in this area and it’s potentially a really important topic for indie authors (of which I’m one). If anyone’s interested, I wrote a brief outline of sub rights for indie authors on Indie Book Launcher that’s not a bad starting point. (http://www.indiebooklauncher.com/resources-diy/subsidiary-rights-for-indie-authors.php).

    If anyone else hears of a good post on this topic, I’d love to hear about it.

    Nas Hedron

  • Nas Hedron

    Sorry, that url doesn’t work when there’s a bracket at the end. It’s below without the bracket.

    http://www.indiebooklauncher.com/resources-diy/subsidiary-rights-for-indie-authors.php