Turn Your Book Into An Audio Book For Free
As an avid Audible listener, the thoughts of having my book ‘Paranormal Intruder’ available for download has always filled me with wistfulness. Audio books are not cheap to produce, and like most things, you get what you pay for. Therefore I was very intrigued to hear about ACX from Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn blog. I am a long time fan of Joanna and she has guided me through the writing process through her helpful podcast on writing and publishing. Joanna explained how indie authors could turn their books into an audio book for free.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about who ACX are, as you can see for yourself. Suffice to say, they are an Amazon platform and a great source for authors wishing to open up another avenue of income. Up until recently ACX was not available to UK authors, so we are very fortunate we can join this growing industry. And if your book is doing well in the charts, it doesn’t need to cost you a penny.
Claim Your Book
The first thing you need to do is to sign up and claim your book. This is very simple and only takes a minute. The ACX website is pretty easy to navigate, but if you are a complete newbie you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. Their help page can be found here. When you claim your book, ensure you choose your best selling format. For example, if you put in your ISBN number for your paperback book, it will show your rankings. Most people find download sales far exceed their paperback, so ensure you choose that format. It’s difficult to change it afterwards, you have to take your book off and put it on again. If you do it by mistake don’t worry, as they do take both into account and merge them together in the full report. You also have the opportunity of ‘selling yourself’ in your profile. This is well worth doing and may earn you a great producer, so don’t be shy, share your success.
Your book should be doing well in the charts before you begin, otherwise it may be difficult to get someone of value to royalty share with you. You have the option of funding it yourself, and producers can be hired from around $100 to $400 per hour. Depending on the size of your book, this could work out at several thousand pounds. You also have the option of doing a royalty share with a producer, and they pay the extra fees involved. However this is risky for them and you are far better off trying to get a stipend for your book.
What’s a stipend? If your book is selling well or has a large following, then you may be lucky enough to be awarded a stipend. It shows up like a green ribbon on your book. Producers are particularly keen on these as it eliminates an element of risk. After all, an audio book can take up to sixty hours to produce, with fees for editing on top of that. ACX will pay them up to $2,500 to cover the cost if you go for the royalty share option with the producer. There are different options available, which you can see on site. Most people go for the 40% royalty option, with the producer and author getting 20% each. It’s a great deal for no initial outlay to create a quality audio book.
The beauty of ACX is that you can work with producers from across the globe. We were thrilled to receive an email from ACX which stated as our book was deemed ‘noteworthy’ and sent out to over 10,000 producers to view! Needless to say we received lots of auditions after that. When you add your book and go through the process of opening it up to auditions, you will get emails updating you when you receive a new one. It’s great, because you can narrow it down to male or female narrator, as well as different genres, accents and types of voices – even spooky! I didn’t narrow it too much as I wanted to hear from a variety of people. I didn’t choose a particular accent either. I just wanted someone who could tell the story well. I sat with my family as we went through each audition. It was great fun, and we felt like the X Factor judges as we pressed the ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ button for each one. Out of courtesy I messaged each one we turned down, thanking them for their time. We knew the second we heard our chosen narrators voice that she was the one.
You get to choose which piece of manuscript people use to audition, so pick a challenging piece with dialogue so you can see how it flows. If you don’t get auditions straight away don’t worry, you can search for producers and ask them to audition for you. First check out their sample auditions of other pieces to hear how they sound. Narrow it down by genre, voices, etc. Don’t be shy to message them as I built up a bit of a relationship with my narrator before I choose her, I could tell she was a lovely person to work with, which is so important as you are both in it for the long run once you decide to share royalties and produce further books.Have you produced an audio book? Any tips or advice to share? All questions, comments and tips are welcome.My little disclaimer: My blog is based on my own personal experiences. Contracts within ACX are binding so read them carefully before agreeing. I am not from ACX and do not claim to be an expert, so if you mess up it’s not my fault 😉