I never could have imagined that my self-published YA novel Falling would be out in both ebook, paperback and audiobook formats. I had no idea where to start and imagined it would cost way too much to produce an audiobook.
After listing to some podcasts on the subject, I learned that ACX, an Amazon company, allows you to create an audiobook using a royalty share arrangement. Once your audiobook is complete, it becomes available for sale on Audible/Amazon and Apple.
What is royalty share?
There are a variety of companies that will help you produce an audiobook. But ACX gives you the option of finding an audiobook narrator and asking for a royalty share contract. This means that there is no upfront fee paid to the narrator. But who would do so much work for nothing up front? That's what I wondered. Some new narrators are looking to gain experience and build their portfolio.
It can take hours to produce just one finished hour of audio, so it is a big commitment for an ACX narrator to produce your audiobook.
As an author, once you find a narrator through ACX, if you both agree to a royalty share, you will each get fifty percent of whatever the audiobook earns.
What is pay per finished hour?
There is another option through ACX. An author can pay an up front fee per finished hour and keep one hundred percent of their royalties for audiobook sales.
A finished hour is one hour of listening time. That can take multiple hours to record and edit. Fees for per finished hour range from $100-$500 or more. Every narrator is different and rates may be negotiated.
My book was five finished hours and 50,000 words. If I had chosen a pay per finished hour agreement it would have cost me $500 or more to have it produced. That was out of my budget.
How do I find a narrator?
Simply list your book project on ACX. Your book should already be on Amazon as an ebook. ACX will take the metadata from there and create your project. You will also need to upload a page or two of your book that you would like used as an audition script.
Next you'll select your preference for royalty share or a pay per finished hour contract.
Then you can wait for auditions to come in or you can search for narrators in the system that you like and ask them if they are interested in auditioning. Most of them have samples of other audiobooks you can listen to.
I had three good auditions come in right away. I chose the best one for my project and made her an offer through the ACX system and she accepted.
The audiobook narrator will submit the first fifteen minutes for the author's approval. This is the time to ask for any changes. Do you like the voices, inflection, etc? Be clear about changes now because once the rest of the book is done it is harder.
Once that is finished your narrator will know what your expected completion date is. I believe it was about four weeks before the book was ready.
After the narrator sent it to me, I had to listen to it and approve it. Then ACX had to approve it. That can take a few weeks.
Now I'm thrilled that "Falling", my YA coming of age romance/road trip novel is now available as an audiobook! There is nothing like hearing your words read aloud. It's exciting and nerve wracking.
I wish you the best if you embark on making your own audiobook a reality on ACX!