I’ve written and published over a half a dozen books of my own in the past ten or fifteen years, and helped more authors than I can count publish their books as well. But I’ve never worked with an audio book until now. Why? Well mostly because I didn’t see that there would be a return on my investment. Creating a professional audiobook is expensive—or it used to be. I have looked into having audiobooks made for myself and my clients in the past and found that the average cost of about $7,000 meant the potential return on investment never made sense. But then I learned about ACX.
Developing Your Audiobook
Amazon ACX is Amazon’s audiobook version of KDP. As I did my research, I found it is the most cost-effective way for independent authors to create an audiobook. Users can receive royalties of up to forty percent. The website (www.acx.com) is designed as a “marketplace” where authors put out their requirements for a book narrator, and voice artists bid for the job. You can arrange with a producer to pay upfront for production, or you can contract a royalty-sharing arrangement, where you pay nothing up front and the producer receives a share of your royalties. This was the option I chose when I decided to turn Self-Publishing: You Can Do This! Into an audiobook.
I began the process in early March by thoroughly reading the ACX site. There is a lot of information on the site, so make sure you take the time to read it carefully. After creating my account, I made my “Title Profile” which describes my book and the type of narrator I wanted. You can choose from male or female narrators, and specify a variety of accents, also. The site also requires you post a one- or two-page excerpt from your book to serve as the “audition script” for potential narrators. It only took a few minutes to develop my title profile and upload my excerpt, and within a few hours the auditions began to arrive.
I was overwhelmed by the number of auditions I received in just one day. I had started the process on a Friday, and by Monday I had over 20 audition tapes to listen to. I decided I’d better make my choice quickly before I became overwhelmed by too many options. It was easy to click on the links and listen to the recordings.
Listening to someone read my words was interesting and it didn’t take me long to choose the right person. A couple of the potential narrators sent “stock” tapes of themselves reading other books, and I discounted those right away. I know I was not paying upfront, and they didn’t want to put a lot of effort into something they might not get chosen for, but since only two of the 20 didn’t send a tape of my own work, I took those two out of the mix. I listened to all of the others and chose someone who had a friendly, easy-going style that reminded me of the way I speak. I can’t explain it any better than that, I hope you’ll check out my audiobook and judge for yourself.
I clicked the appropriate boxes on the ACX dashboard and “hired” her. She responded by email, and we decided on a two-month timeline for the project. Within a week she had sent me a 15-minute sample of the first few chapters of my book. I learned that I needed to read the manuscript I’d sent her to make sure that her words matched the text. She asked me a few questions about whether I wanted sections such as Resources read (I decided no) and she was ready to complete the book. I also needed a change in the cover which my graphic designer, Eric Labacz, made for me. This did require a slight fee. I’ll let Eric discuss that with you if you decide to do an audiobook because it does require some changes in the cover and is not just simply resizing the original cover.
At the end of May I had an email saying my audiobook was ready. I clicked on the ACX link and there it was! I have to admit, I did not listen to it all, just the first few minutes. I then clicked “approve” and received a notice that my audiobook would be available on Amazon.com in ten days. I checked Amazon ten days later, and there it was! Ready for sale.
The process of creating the book was easy. I’m very pleased with the results. Now I want you to check it out. One more thing I found out is that Amazon sent me promotion code links so that I can distribute my book free. I hope you will email me and get a link for the book. And of course, I hope you will write a review on my Amazon page if you do.