MAKING AUDIOBOOKS WITH AMAZON’S ACX

Hey peeps!

I’m making this post at the request of a fellow author, who like me when I first discovered ACX, walked away after reading the requirements and form filling on the site.

ACX is owned by Amazon, in case you didn’t kn12002805_876173979098508_7767250745983165917_now…and I can tell you that as far as I’m concerned, rocks. Why? Because it’s a great opportunity to put your books up there with the best, and I will hopefully changed your mind, if you’ve already been to the site at ACX and ran a mile after reading what’s involved. Here’s a screen shot I took of my own book, which reached number 29 at it’s highest position.

To begin…you first need a good story, and I know you all have one! You have three choices to make: 1.You pay a producer to narrate and produce your book. 2. You find a producer who will accept a 50-50 share of the royalties instead of a payment per finished hour. 3. You record and produce it yourself.

I know the majority of people would prefer to record their own book, for a couple of reasons. Obviously sharing the 40% royalty isn’t high on your list, and given a 12.5 hour book warrants $25.99, after everyone takes their percentage, you’re left with about $5.40 if you record yourself. Of course this is halved, if you opt for a royalty share with the narrator/producer. However, there are a few problems which you will discover, once you’ve decided you’re doing your own production.

You MUST be confident in your ability to read aloud, act where necessary, and produce a consistent, quality recording. No problem you say? You will need an editor program. I used Audacity for my own testing purposes, and found it useful, and it’s free. However you will need to record your work before you can edit, and this is where the trixie part comes in. The requirements for frequency settings are stated on the site at ACX, and those of us familiar to record, will understand what the figures mean, but not everyone does.

Each uploaded audio file must:

  • contain only one chapter/section that’s shorter than 120 minutes and the section header must be read aloud
  • have room tone at the head and at the tail and be free of extraneous sounds
  • measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS and have -3dB peak values and a maximum -60dB noise floor
  • be a 192kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) at 44.1 kHz

These settings are imperitive if your finished audiobook is to come over professional. You need total exclusion from outside sounds, and this is only achieved with a soundproof recording booth. You can make this yourself, and I’ve seen a photo of my own producers little box, which is kitted out with cone shaped foam.

So you have your room for recording, and your recording equipment and editing software. Now you begin. Are you confident? When you replay your recorded voice, do you cringe? I did. LMAO! I personally detest my own voice, and my accent. Coming from Hull, in East Yorkshire, England, I have gradually removed the extreme accent associated with my home town, but… there’s always a word that suddenly drops in making me cringe. Example…Sean Bean…we all know him…Lord of the Rings… he puts on a ‘posh’ voice for his character but…you can still here that Yorkshire accent and I personally find it annoying. But that’s just me and my little foibles. Do you have an accent?

It takes roughtly 3-4 hours of editing to produce an hours finished work. Astounding huh? I had NO idea there was so much work involved and only after I started narrating one of my short stories, did I appreciate how challenging it is to read aloud and not make a mistake, or slur, or stutter, or breath to much! Needless to say, I gave up.

You have to decide if you are willing to put an extraordinary amount of time into this project, if you’re recording yourself. Not to mention finance, which is why I opted for the 50-50 royalty share on ACX.

I confess, I fell on my feet with Scott Richard Ehredt, who does not offer his services for a 50-50 share. Commanding $100-$200 per finished hour, I learned why. He is awesome. I love this man with all my heart because he is amazing. An actor, narrator and public speaker, Scott is English though has lived in the USA since the mid 80’s where he moved to follow his acting career. His voice is fabulous and his professionalism is unquestionable. As I staded earlier, I was very lucky he auditioned for my project, and he said he doesn’t usually work for a royalty share but the section of my book that I posted, caught his attention. A friendship was formed! He is almost finished with the 2nd book in my series, Angel Within, and that will be available on Audible within 2 weeks, and I can tell you, I NEVER grow tired listening to this mans voice. You can find him on ACX here

Conclusion.

This is my own personal view of the site at ACX and the service they offer. I have nothing but praise apart from one or two niggling items, which is more to do with Amazon rather than the actual excercise of recording, reviewing work uploaded etc. I feel we should earn a higher percentage. 40% isn’t that good, but I do have to say if it wasn’t for this serivce, I wouldn’t be grinning at my bank balance.

If you’ve decided you’re going to put your book up for audition, you will recieve offers from narrators/producers who will read the selection of your book you post.  You will be able to request specific accents, voice types, female or male, that kind of thing. After filling out the form, word count etc…genre…any additional notes that you want the prospective producers to know, should be entered in the appropriate field. Press the button and sit back and wait.

I received a few offers for Demon Within, but they weren’t what I wanted, and so, bravely I rejected them, and shortly after, I met Scott.

You make the agreement via ACX, and the producer will then be required to record a 15 minute sample, which again, you review and accept or decline. Once this is done, your producer will start uploading the recorded chapters. You will download/listen and any issues must be addressed back to the producer, so they can make the necessary adjustments. Once they’ve completed the chapters, title, end credits etc, you upload your cover and wait for ACX to release your finished Audiobook.

ACX will you both you and your produce 25 free codes which you may give to help promote your audiobook to receive positive reviews.

Demon Withicoverasmallern has sold 251 copies since it’s release on Sept 4th. It still sells copies daily,and I can tell you, I expected 10! I’m not joking,  I was totally floored on the success of this, and would recommend ACX to all indie authors.

If you found this post helpful, and have futher comments, please let me know! I would happily engaged in additional conversation if anyone needs a little help, or more information which I failed to cover.

LINK TO ACX

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