Friday, August 2, 2013

Another Update on ACX and My Thoughts so Far

 by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
It’s time for another update on ACX—the audiobook platform that distributes to Audible,  Amazon, and iTunes. I first wrote about ACX in an April post, so if you’re interested in getting details, take a look. Basically, ACX is your audiobook option if you’re self-publishing.
I also wrote a follow-up to the April post a couple of weeks later, talking about how the audition process had gone.
Where I am now in the process:  I’ve got two titles for sale as audiobooks and 1 title in production (which should be released in the next week or so).
What I like:
I like that I’m opening up another venue for sales.
I like that sales seem to be a lot brisker than I’d thought (I’m around 177 sales for the past month and sold copies even a day or so after the audiobook’s debut).
I like that the process was very streamlined and that there were many FAQs if you got confused.
I like receiving a monthly statement from Audible which includes sales figures for all three platforms (,, iTunes.) You can also check sales during the month on ACX’s site.
What takes a bit of working through:
The audition process.  I think it’s good to take breaks.  I had quite a few auditions to work through.
Rejecting narrators (bleh).  Writers aren’t exactly naturals when it comes to rejecting others.
Editing the finished narration (because, honestly, all you can think about is why you chose that particular word, why you didn’t add more conflict to the scene, what you were thinking…and this is not the point of what you’re doing.)
The audio cover.  It’s a bizarre bit of squatty square.  Somehow I decided that I would work on making it fit their specs myself, with PhotoShop.  Many hours later, I finally realized that I would much rather pay somebody to do this for me. 
What I learned for next time:
I’ll start earlier.  When I’ve published a book, I’ll find a narrator for the audiobook right then.
I’ll think about the narrator stipend before I contact my narrators or open a book up for audition.  My books do seem to qualify for the $1000 incentive for my royalty-share narrators.  What I really haven’t seen mentioned…an email to ACX where you brag a bit about your numbers and the size of your social media platform seems to make a good deal of difference as to whether your book has a stipend attached. I didn’t know this until one of my narrators pointed it out. The email is rights(at)acx(dot)com.
A nice touch:
ACX provided me with five free downloads for each of my audiobook titles—for giveaways and to increase awareness.  I wasn’t expecting this and I was impressed.
What I hope ACX will soon change:
I’m hoping it will open up to non-US residents soon.  They appear to be working on it (their website states: “We hope to open up to a wider global audience in the future.”)
And, yes, I’ll complain a bit more about the odd cover requirements.  That’s because I lost quite a few working hours while trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.  There must be a reason for this cover art requirement…except I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.  It’s not like these are CDs we’re talking about. These are digital downloads.
Have you taken a look at ACX for your own books?  Do you listen to audiobooks?  Have any questions for me? (I’ll try to answer them.)