How To Publish an Audiobook
Some online author friends have asked me how I had my book made into an audiobook. There must be other people wondering the same thing, so I thought I’d share my experience of the process here on my blog. I went through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). With ACX there was very little for me to do. I listed my book, posted a short excerpt to be used for auditions, invited some narrators to audition, listened to the auditions and selected a narrator, and approved the final product. After that, my part is done. I found the process very easy, and the people at ACX were professional and friendly when I emailed with questions. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I took a deep breath and plunged in.
First be sure you have audio rights to your book. If you’re self-published, then of course you have those rights. If your book is with a publisher, check your contract to see if they took audio rights.
If you have the audio rights to your book, then you are the Rights Holder. The Producer is the person or company who will record and create the audiobook. The Narrator is the person who will read the book. The Producer and Narrator may be one and the same and is usually called The Producer. For Sleeping With the Wolf I was intrigued by Brick Shop Audio and invited them to audition. They are professional, with excellent narrators. The narrator I chose was Clementine Cage. I love the way she changes her voice so the listener knows which character is speaking.
What do you need to do to have your book put into audio?
- A short excerpt of the book to be used for auditions
- A clean full manuscript
- Cover art
1. Go to www.acx.com and set up an account.
2. Click Add Your Title. It will bring up any books associated with your name on Amazon. Select the book you want to work on.
3. A box comes up with three options. You can narrate your book yourself, but unless you have great sound equipment I’d go with “I’m looking for someone to narrate and produce my audiobook.”
4. The ACX Book Posting Agreement comes up. This is a legal contract, just like one from a publisher, so read it. When you’re satisfied, click Agree & Continue.
5. A new page comes up: Create the Title Profile. Various fields need to be filled out. About My Book is auto-populated with the blurb from Amazon. You can edit it, add stuff, or even re-write it all together. You need to select what genre the book is, and then list your requirements for the narrator. Male or female? Southern accent, British accent? The Additional Comments box is important because prospective producers will read it to find out more about your book. You want to tell them things that will make them want to audition.
6. Upload the audition file. Unless the first page has great interaction between the main characters, don’t choose the first page. You want to hear how the narrator will speak various characters. Keep the audition file fairly short, just two pages. In the Note to the Producer field write anything you think will help them to understand the scene and what you want the voices to sound like.
7. Next choose the payment type and terms of distribution. Enter how many words are in the manuscript. That will tell you the estimated time length of your audiobook. Do you want to pay the producer up front? A producer may charge $100 to $400 per finished hour. So if your book will be 10 hours long you can expect to pay up to $4000 up front. The good thing about that is you receive the whole royalty. I chose to go with the Royalty Share option. I paid nothing up front, but I will split the royalty with the producer. You can learn more about how this works HERE.
8. Post the book. Producers/Narrators looking for a book to produce can see it and audition. You can invite narrators to audition, which is more effective than just hoping the perfect narrator will find it. Listen to the auditions. This was actually the hardest part for me. It’s thrilling and weird at the same time to hear words I wrote being read by a professional. You can sort them by Like, Dislike, or Maybe. When you choose one, you will make them an offer, listing the deadlines for production. If they accept, you send them the manuscript.
9. The producer records the first 15 minutes and send it to you. Do you want changes made? If you like it, approve it and wait a month or two for the finished product. HERE is where you can find out more about the production terms.
10. Upload the cover art. I am very fortunate in my cover artist, Lyn Taylor. She is willing and able to tweak my cover art to fit ACX’s cover requirements.
Once you approve the final product, it takes a few weeks for ACX to review it and send it to Audible for sale. For me, it took about 2 1/2 weeks for Sleeping With the Wolf to show up on Audible.com. It showed up about 3 days later on iTunes, and it took almost 2 weeks for it to go up on Amazon.
You can check your sales on ACX under the Completed Projects tab of your dashboard. These sales are a day behind and it is usually updated around 9pm. So tonight I should be able to see how many books have sold as of 7/12/13. These are only preliminary sales figures, and may not be accurate. Since my book has been live for only two weeks, I haven’t received an official Royalty Statement yet. I understand these come out monthly, as do royalty checks, provided I have $50.00 in sales. You can imagine I’m looking forward to that!
Well, this was a fairly lengthy blog post. Sorry about that! I found ACX made the process very easy and I plan to put all my books in audio format in the future. I hope that was clear and helpful for anyone who is thinking about having their books put into audio format. More and more people are using their smart phones, iPods and iPads to listen to audiobooks while they commute, exercise, clean and work. This is a great time to give listeners a chance to enjoy your books. Please feel free to leave a comment, or if you have questions you can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org