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EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 04:51 PM
Overview
I have just approved the audio files for BLACK KNIGHTS OF THE HUDSON BOOK I: SHADOW OF THE FLAGS. Now that I’m about through with the process for the first audio book, I figured it was a good time to discuss my experience in getting my story from one sense/format (seeing/reading) to a different one (hearing/listening). Please don’t hesitate to ask questions as the topics unfold. I’m no expert, by any means, but I may be able to answer some of your questions to help you get started on your own journey.

To make it easier for everyone to read, I am going to break this into several posts within the topic so that readers don’t have to wade through numerous paragraphs to get to the part of the topic that may be of interest to them. This process can be used for self-published and trade published books. The key is that the book’s Rights Holder needs to be the one to initiate the process. In a self-published book, the Rights Holder is the author. For trade published books that can be more difficult to determine so make sure that you determine who the Rights Holder is for your book before you plunge into the process.
I never gave much thought to audio books. They have always been rather expensive and, while I love the experience of listening to a loved one read aloud to me, I never made the transition from reading a book to hearing a book. A couple of months after the release of the first five books in the series, I received an email from a lady who is no longer able to read due to blindness. She had heard about the series from her nephew in the military and had her daughter download the first book to a Kindle to read aloud to her. She recently joined Audible.com (http://www.audible.com/) and indicated that it would be a very fine thing indeed if she could have my books available in audio format so that she could listen to them at her convenience without having to wait for her daughter to come by to read to her.

Not one to shy away from a new idea, I promptly went to Audible.com to investigate. My initial reaction was, “Oh, it must be very expensive to produce an audio book. Just look at some of the names of the narrators - when you have time, just take a leisurely stroll through some of the titles; you may be surprised at the famous actors and actresses who turn up under the narrator credits.” I’d about decided to abandon the idea when I came across a little blurb about Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX (http://www.acx.com/)) on another forum. After poking around the site, it soon became apparent that the audio book format was undergoing a significant evolution of its own. Audio books are no longer confined to expensive tape or CD production methods. Instead, book audio files can be downloaded into an IPod, Smart Phone, IPad, PC, or other devices that support digital music files.

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 04:59 PM
About ACX
ACX (http://www.acx.com/) (a subsidiary of Amazon) appears to function almost like an old-style Guild Hall where different skill sets can be matched to each other in order to produce an audio book. ACX supports individual authors, agents, publishers, narrators, and production studios. The Rights Holder (author, publisher, or agent) lists a title to be produced. Narrators and production studios list their availability, experience, and rate structure (more on that a few paragraphs down).

The advantage of going through ACX exclusively is that the audio books are distributed through Audible.com (http://www.audible.com/), Amazon, and ITunes and provides a 70% royalty on those sales. The Rights Holder may choose to go with a non-exclusive agreement for broader distribution channels but that will translate to lower royalties. For a self-published author just venturing into the process who does not have access to those other distribution channels, it may be wise to stick with the exclusive arrangement initially to ensure the full benefit for using ACX.

The experience has been interesting and, for the most part, fairly smooth. My only complaint is that ACX is not entirely intuitive so that sometimes the user flounders a bit trying to track down information or perform a function. For example, there is a point where the audio files are “locked” and cannot be accessed by the narrator for corrections. ACX indicated that, if I wanted changes, I would need to “unlock” the files in the Production tab (which is actually called PRODUCE AUDIOBOOKS). Ooookaaay. It took me several minutes to figure out that “unlock” meant clicking the “REQUEST CHANGE” button. I’ve been a technical writer for thirty years and I tend to get a tad cranky when instructions in an email tell me to perform an action that is not supported by the device/button/etc. as it is labeled and/or called out.

There are a lot of little minor irritants of that nature and it isn’t always easy to track down information in the ACX FAQs (click the ABOUT ACX (http://www.acx.com/help/about-acx/200484860) tab). On the other hand, the process is fairly idiot-proof (as in, you can’t “break” anything) so, just exercise a bit of patience and you’ll be fine. I will say that ACX’s customer service has been prompt, professional, and pleasant when I’ve had to contact them with questions. As long as their service group is on the ball, I’m a lot more forgiving of less-than-stellar online documentation.


Another potential drawback for some is that the Rights Holder does not set the price the way one does for eBook or Print. The retailer determines price based on the length of the audio book (length = number of listening hours). ACX does not guarantee price but, currently, the prices appear to fall within this range:

under 3 hours: under $10
3 – 5 hours: $10 - $20
5 – 10 hours: $15 - $25
10 – 20 hours: $20 - $30
over 20 hours: $25 - 35
The rationale for this is that Audible.com supports both single purchases and member purchases. ACX also makes it very clear that they cannot dictate ITunes pricing so just keep in mind that you don’t have the same amount of control over your titles as you do via Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, etc. The advantage for this is that all audio books match others of the same length in price regardless of self-publishing or trade publishing origins.

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 05:03 PM
Pre-Production Decisions
The first step in producing an audio book is to determine if you want to handle it yourself or contract with a narrator/production studio. My first inclination was to tackle it myself. ACX provides extensive information with regard to the process and even provides a recommended equipment list. After an hour of studying the requirements, equipment, and process, I decided reluctantly that I’d be far better off working with an experienced narrator/studio professional. The equipment can be somewhat pricey and the process seems to have a somewhat steep learning curve. Also, my voice isn’t what it once was and I can’t trust the consistency/quality of it over a period of many hours. I was surprised to discover that my 93,000 word novel translated to about 10 hours of recording time. When you prepare your title for production, ACX provides an estimated calculation for transcribing the number of words into recording hours. Thus, daunted by the combination of equipment, lack of experience, and time involved, I opted for contracting with a narrator. Some authors also have access to narrators or musicians with the proper equipment and experience to convert the necessary files. If that is your situation, you will want to take a look at the “Author as Narrator (http://www.acx.com/help/authors-as-narrators/200626860)” section to see if this approach will work best for you.

If you opt to go with a narrator as I did, your next step is to decide if you want to pay a flat, upfront fee or agree to a royalty share arrangement. There are advantages and disadvantages either way. Narrators listed with ACX range from $50 to $400 an hour (that is, the number of hours cited by the ACX estimate). For example, with my book (estimated 93,000 words @ 10 hours) the flat fee would have ranged from $500 to $4000. The obvious disadvantage is that it’s a great deal of money out of pocket from the start. Another disadvantage is more esoteric. With that arrangement, your book is just another project and the narrator has nothing vested in the book other than the necessity of providing a professional job. The advantage is that the Rights Holder doesn’t have to share the royalty with the narrator/production studio.

Fortunately, there are many narrators willing to take a project on spec for a share of the royalty. In this case, the Rights Holder (remember, this can be the author, agent, publisher) splits the royalty with the narrator 50/50 (amount after ACX takes its percentage as the distributor to Audible, Amazon, and ITunes). The disadvantage here is obvious. You have to split the royalty on every audio book sold. On the other hand, your narrator has a lot more invested in the success of the book and may bring that subtle artistic difference to the project since he or she shares in the ownership of that final audio book. If you check Audible.com, you will see that most of the books list both the author and the narrator and provides search criteria for either. Some of the narrators have a following all of their own so this is a good way to reach an audience your book might not find otherwise when listeners check to see what their favorite narrator has done recently. Also, don’t assume that only the young, enthusiastic amateurs are the ones available for to work on your audio book. There are some very experienced actors, radio people, and studio professionals who will work on the royalty share arrangement.

The next step is to decide what sort of narrator you want. ACX provides a wealth of information for narrowing down narrator style. You can choose the genre (fiction, non-fiction, biography, mysteries, romance, teens, children, etc.), gender (male or female), language (English, French, German, Spanish, etc.), age (young child, adult, elderly, etc.), accent (American-General American, American-Southern, British-General British, British-Cockney, Australian, Russian, etc.). Note that many narrators can provide multiple accents and are accomplished with “character” voices so you won’t be locked into a specific choice.

Finally, and this is where I had a lot of fun in narrowing things down, you can select the style of the narration. Again, many of the narrators are capable of different styles so be sure to listen to their samples in all their ranges. The style seems to me to be the most important aspect of the narration for this is where you set the entire tone of your audio book. Choices range from Announcer to Booming, Flirtatious to Rough-Edgy, Spooky to Storyteller, and everything in between.

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 05:11 PM
List Your Project
I’m not going to provide a huge amount of detail here. ACX is very clear on the step-by-step of this process so I’ll just touch on the major points for you with any commentary I feel might be helpful.

Major Caution: ACX recommends that all communication with your narrator be handled via their message system. Anything that may impact the project legally should never be discussed off-line (e.g., personal email, phone call, etc.). This ensures that the project has full documentation in order to protect the Rights Holder and the Narrator/Production Studio in case of any disputes. You are entering a legal contract and ACX serves to provide oversight.

2. Once your register with ACX, you are ready to proceed with listing your audio book project. Type in the author’s name of the title you want to produce.

Reminder: The Rights Holder is not necessarily the author. If you are trade published, there is a good chance that your publisher or even agent holds the audio book rights. In that case, you will not be able to proceed on your own but will have to either regain the audio book rights or direct the Rights Holder to ACX so that he/she can initiate the project.

3. Once you plug in the author’s name, all of their available titles should be listed.

Note: I’ve heard that some of the eBooks, particularly those not uploaded directly to Amazon, may not be available. Mine were in paperback via CreateSpace as well as eBook format and showed up just fine. For those in that situation, you have a couple of options. You can contact ACX to see if the title(s) can be added manually or you can go ahead and use CreateSpace to generate the paperback version. I’d recommend the latter since it is an easy process that doesn’t cost very much and it will provide another venue for your book sales.

4. Once the title is “acquired” in the search, you will go through the process to turn it into a “live project”. This includes verifying that you are the Rights Holder, number of pages (ACX will calculate an estimate of length), distribution, type of production contract (Flat-Fee or Royalty Share), book description, etc.

Note: The cover will be the art work from the listing that ACX used to generate the information. This will need to be changed since the audio book thumbnails have a different ratio than those used for eBooks or print books. Once the book is in production, you will be able to upload a new cover that has been formatted to fit ACX specifications (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Audible/en_US/acx/pdf/OfficialAudibleCoverArtRequirements._V151173312_.p df).

5. In the set up process, you will also create the narrator specifications (this is to enable narrators to find your project but the parameters aren’t final and can be changed). I found that going to the SEARCH button at the top of the page and selecting “Narrators for Hire” helped me fill in this information since I was able to sample many different styles, accents, ages, etc. in order to get a better idea of what voice type seemed to suit my book.

Tip: When comparing narrators, see if they are on Audible.com and then listen to some of their published audio books. This can provide you with a greater range of their skill than the samples.

6. You will need to prepare an audition sample script and upload it to your project. You can use the first few pages of the book or a specific scene in a later chapter. I just used the opening of Chapter 1 since it provides straight narrative and several character voices. Keep in mind that audio books are not radio programs. You will either have a woman handling character voices for men as well as women or a man doing women’s voices. It can be a slight shock the first time you hear a man voicing a beloved female character so, if you have a mix of characters, try to select a sample script that will reflect that to ensure that you get the full effect of how a narrator will portray your book.

Noah Body
07-24-2012, 06:22 PM
Fantastic breakdown, and very, very helpful. Thanks!

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 06:39 PM
Thanks, Noah,hope it helps everyone. More to come shortly.

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 07:03 PM
Produce the Audio Book
1. When your project is “live”, you don’t have to wait for the narrators to come find you. While they can search for open projects, you can also search for them. This is especially important for self-published authors who don’t have name recognition just yet. There are many audio books seeking production offers at any one time and it may take awhile for narrators to filter through to your project.

Once I got everything set up, I used the “Narrators for Hire” search to generate a list of narrators that seemed to best suit the book. I was able to choose the “Royalty Share” option as well so my results did not include any of the “Flat-Fee Only” narrators. The narrators’ information section includes vocal samples, experience, other titles narrated, awards received, etc. On the first pass, ACX generated a large number of narrators who met my parameters. I narrowed those down to about 30, hopeful that I could come to an agreement with at least one of them. Then, using the links provided on their Profiles, I sent an invitation to the first four on my list to audition for the book. Truly, I had no idea what to expect and I don’t know if my results were average or not.

Of the four invitations, three narrators responded almost immediately by uploading audition samples. I never heard from the fourth. I spent a day listening to their samples and eliminated one of them immediately based on the quality of the recording (lots of odd pauses, background noise, quality issues). With regard to the other two, it was a tough call. One of them had an incredible voice. One of the loveliest speaking voices I’ve ever heard that seemed almost tailor-made to give vocal life to my main character. The other seemed to have a greater range for characterization although his vocal tone wasn’t quite as rich.

2. For me, it came down to a couple of things. The “perfect” voice sounded more like a narrator. His inflection was what you’d expect in a voice over (think the narration that a lot of epic films have at the beginning). The voice was strong but the cadence was slightly detached; well suited to non-fiction but a bit disappointing when I listened to a sample of one of the audio books he had already narrated. It was a tense scene in a crime novel but he didn’t quite capture that excitement. The other narrator had a real handle on the story-telling style. He pitched his voice so that it was clear where the narration left off and a character’s speech/thoughts began. He was particularly adept with dialogue between two or more voices by changing pitch and modulation so that it was very clear that more than one character was involved in the scene.

It was one of those quandaries where you wish you could blend the voice of the one with the style of the other. The final decision rested on the experience level of the two men. The “story-teller” had far more experience and a solid presence on Audible.com. He has narrated several books of varying genre (fiction, non-fiction, mystery) so I was able to get a broad sense of his narrative style. With a story spanning multiple books, generations, and characters, this capability is important to me. Finally, the quality of the audio books was stellar with no hissing sibilants or a trace of background noise (I learned later that he as an audio engineer for quality control). I selected this story-teller, we set up the production schedule, agreed to contract terms, and away we went.

3. When you set up the contract with your narrator, you will also set the production schedule. There are two milestone dates: the first 15 minutes and the finished audio book. I was fortunate in that I had an experienced narrator who told me what dates to set so that the milestones were realistic to his workload. The first 15 minutes was set for two weeks after the contract agreement. The final audio book (this is the date for the narrator’s finished recording, not the final approved version) was scheduled for a month after the 15 minute sample milestone.

4. You will also need to upload the full manuscript for the narrator. I took my master copy, added a list of characters with a brief biographical sketch of each; including ages and personality traits (in order to help the narrator voice them). I also added a pronunciation guide for those names that were not common. I saved the file in pdf and uploaded to ACX.

Tip: To make it easier for your narrator, make sure to double-space. I didn’t do this on the first script I created but my narrator suggested, for future books, that it is easier to read a double-spaced manuscript and the extra spacing provides room for notes right at the line of narration. If you use internal character thoughts as well as dialogue, it helps the narrator spot it if you set in a separate paragraph with an identifying tag. For example:

[Timothy Thought] Even a brand-new Plebe has sense enough to kick his feet out of the stirrups when his horse falls. Yet, here I am, four years out of West Point, battle-tested, but trapped under a dead mount. [End Thought].

The purpose in using this offset is to alert the narrator that a change in pitch or tone is warranted. Remember, you are creating a script at this stage and need to think of ways to make it easier to read it aloud. Before you set up the script though, you might contact the narrator to see if he or she has style preferences or other requirements for the script.

5. The day before the due date for the first 15 minutes, I received an email from ACX that the narrator had uploaded the sample. I also received a separate message from the narrator that confirmed the upload.

I can’t even begin to describe the shock of hearing that first chapter. Even the audition sample didn’t have quite the impact that this full chapter did (my narrator actually went ahead and did the entire Chapter 1 which worked out to almost 40 minutes). It was wonderful, a little scary, exciting, and eerie all at the same time. I’ve heard these characters’ voices in my head for quite a few years and a strange voice bringing them to life in vocal tones that didn’t match my head voices at all seemed to generate a state of shock as well as an odd sense of sadness. It took me a bit to realize what caused that sensation of loss. Someone else had brought my people to life in a way that I could not. I waited about half an hour and then listened again. This time, I was far more comfortable with the concept and was able to focus on the quality of the recording and what it did accomplish as opposed to comparing it line by line, character by character, to my own imagination. I also made the transition from “Dang, that’s not how I visualized it!” to, “Hmm, interesting how he’s approached that scene. Yeah, that works great!”

I approved the sample with just a couple of notes (slight tweak to some voices that I didn’t feel were quite representative of the characters). Then, it was a matter of waiting while the narrator completed the audio book files.

6. During the wait, I reformatted the cover to fit the audio book cover specifications (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Audible/en_US/acx/pdf/OfficialAudibleCoverArtRequirements._V151173312_.p df) and uploaded it. To do this, just go to the PRODUCE AUDIOBOOK tab. Below the current picture of your cover, there is a little blue REPLACE link. Click on that and you will be able to upload the replacement cover.

EngineerTiger
07-24-2012, 07:10 PM
Final Audio Book Files
At last, the day arrived when ACX sent a message that the completed audio book was available for review. Depending on the length of your book, you are looking at hours of review so plan accordingly. Just as with text, you cannot assume that everything is correct. In other words, don’t just spot check the audio files or you run the risk of missing something. Just as you polish your text for eBook and print, you should show the same dedication to quality for the audio book. This means listening to each file at least twice.

Caution: I recommend strongly that you do NOT do a line by line review with the text version of your book in your lap. Reading a book and listening to it require entirely different senses and, if you read along, you’re apt to miss something that a listener may catch later on. On the first run through, listen to the narration as if you had just purchased the audio book. Initially, you should listen for mispronunciations, odd cadences or tones, characterizations that don’t seem to match the mood of the scene, overall quality and consistency of the narration (e.g., does the sound quality vary significantly, is there background noise, is each character voice consistent throughout, etc.).

I kept a pad and pen handy to note anything that didn’t seem to make sense or sound quite right. I listened to the entire book, straight through, without stopping or going back.

Tip: Each chapter was in a different file which made it easier to identify areas that needed correction. Also, the files had the time signature (a small bar that indicates the minute/second time location of each word/sentence.) Make sure to note those time signatures with the corrections to make it easier for your narrator to make changes. Otherwise, he or she may have to re-record the entire chapter or spend a lot of unnecessary time hunting down the location of the desired change.

After the first run through, I listened again. This time, I kept the text version handy (although closed) and used it to verify suspect word misusage or odd breaks, sentence structures, etc. Narrating has just as many pitfalls as writing, apparently, and the verbal equivalence of typos. My narrator did a great job but still generated about five pages of errors in a 10 hour book of 23 chapters. Most of the errors were minor (wrong last name for one of the characters in one particular scene with the correct last name showing up a paragraph later, a couple of mispronunciations, one strange re-arrangement of words that changed the entire meaning of the sentence, etc.). I took issue with only one character vocalization. Fortunately, a minor character so he only needed to correct a single scene of about five minutes in length.

Once I had generated my Correction Log, I went back to those spots to verify that they were really errors that needed to be corrected and that I had cited the appropriate time signatures. Due to the length of the Correction Log, I had to email it separately to my narrator (the ACX message window is limited in character space). However, even though the log was sent “unofficially” and not through ACX, I also sent my narrator an ACX message that the Log was on the way in order to keep the step under the official process.

When the audio files are uploaded, they are locked and cannot be accessed by the narrator. You will need to authorize or unlock the files when you are ready for the narrator to make corrections. To unlock the files, go to the MY PROJECTS tab. Select IN PRODUCTION and click on the title. Under the FIRST FIFTEEN MINUTES due date, click the REQUEST CHANGES button. This will unlock the files so that your narrator can upload the corrected files.

Side Note: In addition to the audio book, the narrator will also record the retail sample of your book. This serves the same purpose as the description/blurb of an eBook/print book. Keep in mind that the sample must be five minutes or less. It does not have to be the first few pages, however, but can be any part of the audio book that is likely to catch the attention of a potential listener. In my case, my narrator selected the sample with the caveat that I had the final say and could select something different. It would not have occurred to me to use that particular scene but, listening to it, I think he chose wisely. Remember, audio books appeal to a different sense and what may catch the eye of a reader may not be the same thing that appeals to a listener. If you have an experienced narrator, don’t hesitate to listen to his or her recommendations. Especially if you are brand-new to the audio book concept as I am. The final decision is yours, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to have some advice along the way.

It took about a week to get the corrections done. Everything was handled very well and I was able to approve the audio files. Now, the book is in final production with ACX where the audio files will be compiled into an audio book and put through a final quality check (this has to do with production issues, not the actual story). It takes two to three weeks to complete this final step. As soon as the audio book is available, I’ll add the link for those who are interested in seeing the results of this process. As to what is next - Steve, my narrator, is already working on Book II.

For now, please feel free to ask any questions. I’ll try to answer or provide a link where you can obtain more information.

merrihiatt
07-25-2012, 08:37 AM
Wow! Beverly, thank you for writing all this out and sharing it with us. The process is fascinating. Can't wait to hear a portion of your book!

SBibb
07-25-2012, 09:19 AM
Great information, thanks for sharing. Hadn't thought of doing audiobooks before.

Good luck with it. :-)

Dani
07-25-2012, 03:57 PM
Thanks SO much for this information. It's people like you who make AW so incredibly terrific. Really really wonderful!

Wesley Kang
07-25-2012, 06:21 PM
Thank you SO much Beverly. You answered a slew of questions I had about this process! You rock!

EngineerTiger
07-25-2012, 06:53 PM
Glad to be the "pathfinder" for our group on this one. I've had so much help from those in our group who paved the way in eBook self-publishing that I wanted to try to return the assistance.

Just approach ACX and the concept the way you do everything; with baby steps and caution. It can be a bit overwhelming if you try to rush.

There are also some blog articles out there about audio books and ACX so be sure to search for them so you don't have to rely only on my reference.

Katallina
07-25-2012, 11:15 PM
This is fabulous. :) I may have to look into it further. Worth a thought, anyway.

I am glad to hear things have gone well with your experience. Let us know when this is ready. :) I'd love to check out a sample of the finished project.

Have a great day!

WeaselFire
07-25-2012, 11:27 PM
This is really cool to walk through the process. I've only piad attention to audio books in my peripheral vision, the tech books I normally write don't lend themselves to that format.Eventually... :)

Thanks.

Jeff

EngineerTiger
07-27-2012, 03:38 PM
Good morning. I've just received an email from ACX. BLACK KNIGHTS OF THE HUDSON BOOK I: SHADOW OF THE FLAGS is now available at Audible.com. It will be several days for the audio book to cycle out to Amazon and ITunes.

For those who want to see how the finished audio book is listed or who want to hear the retail sample, here is the Audible.com link to BOOK I (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B008OXZDKM&qid=1343387532&sr=1-1).

bearilou
07-27-2012, 04:38 PM
Fabulous information, thanks for laying that out and good luck!

merrihiatt
07-27-2012, 05:26 PM
Drat! It won't play on my iPad. I'll have to listen to the sample when I get home tonight. So exciting!!!!

MMcDonald64
07-28-2012, 06:32 AM
Thanks for the information! I've been on the site a few times and listened to voices, but haven't done anything with it yet.

PortableHal
07-31-2012, 05:01 AM
Even before this review, Beverly was kind enough to PM some of the baby steps to me, providing some solid information about ACX and the audiobook process.

Much of what happened to her also happened to us. Thanks so much!

EngineerTiger
07-31-2012, 03:26 PM
Hi PortableHal, glad the PM helped you get started. If anyone has questions, don't hesitate to PM. I check AW a couple of times a day so I will answer (although, it may be a few hours so don't fret if I don't answer faster than "instanter").

Wesley Kang
08-03-2012, 12:13 AM
I'm sure some of you are trying to estimate how long your books might be if dictated as an audiobook. Roughly from a few sample novels, I'm estimating that a novel of about 100k is 11 hours. Of course it depends on the speed of the narrator. So just for really rough estimation, take the length of your work relative to 100k to ESTIMATE the time.

Such as... your novel is 120,000 words.

Estimated time of your audiobook is 1.2 x 11 hours = 13.2 hours.

My book currently is 91k, so my imaginary audio book would be a little over 10 hours. I'll be shooting for under 10 hours for the lower price point. I had no idea until Beverly made this awesome thread that the prices on Audible are somewhat fixed based on length. Again, thanks for the info, Beverly!

EngineerTiger
08-03-2012, 03:30 PM
You are very welcome, Wesley.

Just to reiterate, ACX does the calculation for you based on the number of words so you don't input the duration of the narrative yourself. Just a heads up for those who want to shoot for the lower price point like Wesley.

Wesley Kang
08-03-2012, 07:02 PM
You are very welcome, Wesley.

Just to reiterate, ACX does the calculation for you based on the number of words so you don't input the duration of the narrative yourself. Just a heads up for those who want to shoot for the lower price point like Wesley.

Oh okay, thanks, Beverly. Must have missed that part. I thought the price point was based on the actual length of audio. But good to know! I wonder how off my own estimate was. :)

mogajones
08-04-2012, 08:54 AM
Hi all. A general question. Do most books get made into audiobooks? Or is it only a select few?
Thanks...

Wesley Kang
08-04-2012, 09:36 AM
My guess and experience says most do not, just because it tends to be a bigger investment to do so. That is starting to change and with audible, the popularity and accessibility of audio books is surging, so it may be changing.

EngineerTiger
08-04-2012, 09:25 PM
Not so far due to the expense. ACX is just over a year old which has opened up a very expensive process to a broader range of authors, smaller presses, and production talents (studios and narrators). The other key to ACX is that it provides a distribution channel to those smaller players who could not break into the libraries/major distributors for the same reasons it is so difficult for print books to break into the major stores and chains.

It's too soon to know what impact ACX will have but judging how quickly my audio book slid off the "just published" first page, I'd say audio books are starting to take off a bit as more and more folks start to give them a try.

merrihiatt
08-04-2012, 09:51 PM
Hi all. A general question. Do most books get made into audiobooks? Or is it only a select few?
Thanks...

If you're asking about self-published books, it would depend on the author and what format they choose to make their book available in (paperback, mass market paperback, e-book, large print, audiobook, etc.).

If you're asking about trade published books, it depends on the publisher and genre. I know most of Nora Roberts' romance novels are available in audiobook format. I purchased the Sisters Trilogy in audiobook because I wanted to hear the spells. I know how I imagined them while reading the book. They are different when spoken.

mogajones
08-05-2012, 03:11 AM
Thanks all. So basically, if a book that's about to be published (by a publishing house) gets sold to an audiobook company, that's a good sign ???

merrihiatt
08-05-2012, 03:26 AM
Yes. It's another format for people to access your title.

Old Hack
08-05-2012, 12:11 PM
Hi all. A general question. Do most books get made into audiobooks? Or is it only a select few?
Thanks...

In trade publishing, audio books are usually subsidiary rights. So a book will be sold to a publisher first and then, depending on which rights were sold, the author's agent will look for an audio book publisher to sell those subsidiary rights to, or the publisher will do it.

Audio books can be produced in different languages, so these subsidiary rights exist in each territory.

How many books get made into audio books? I'd guess a minority (but you could probably search Amazon and work out a rough proportion for yourself).

In self publishing it's much rarer, because it usually takes a lot of money to pay for a good quality recording to be made by a talented voice artist, and the return on that investment is going to be poor for most self publishers as audio books sell in relatively small number.

EngineerTiger
08-22-2012, 03:44 PM
Just a heads up. For those interested in sampling an audio book but have hesitated due to the expense (pricey compared to eBooks), Audible.com is having a big sale starting on Saturday that will run the week. My understanding is that you don't have to be a member but will be able to buy the audio books for $5.95 from 25 August through 02 September. Members will receive a 30% discount on top of the sale price.

Audible books can be downloaded for a variety of devices. Here's the link to Audible's (http://www.audible.com/) home page.

Jacci
08-17-2013, 06:41 AM
I had just been reading about this topic when I decided to look here and see if anyone had tried it. Thank you so much for writing all this down!

Literateparakeet
08-10-2014, 01:58 PM
I've been looking for some information/ideas about marketing--specific to ACX. I found it! Then I wanted to share it here. While looking for a previous thread about ACX, I found this gem buried in the archives. EngineerTiger offered so much great info that this seemed like the best thread to add on my new find.

The first one is from Joanna Penn (I think she is amazing--check out her books, blog, podcasts or Youtube videos for authors!) Here's her blog post about ACX, which includes some marketing advice.

The Creative Penn Audio-ACX Marketing (http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/05/01/audiobooks-acx-marketing/comment-page-2/#comment-156427)

Here's one from the ACX blog (http://blog.acx.com/2014/05/15/guest-post-karen-commins-on-marketing-audiobooks-part-one/)

Book Marketing Buzz Blog (http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/hear-me-out-26-ways-to-promote.html)