acx, Audiobooks, Author, Blog, Uncategorized

Book to Audiobook Check List

TO: AUTHORS or audio-right-holders who would like to use ACX to turn their book into an audiobook.

During the past couple months, I’ve turned Once Upon the Rhine and my puffin books, Iceland: The Puffin Explorers Series into audio books. I found some great advice on YouTube and a checklist on the ACX website for authors. However, I could have used a little more help and maybe a step-by-step checklist. As the process of turning my books into audiobooks progressed, I took notes and turned them into a checklist that I now follow and decided to share it with authors/audio-right-holders like yourself.

Hearing my characters come to life was one of the most exciting experiences. I can’t tell you how much fun I had! There are a lot of talented people waiting to produce your books!

ACX Production Check List

Verify Rights

Amazon Account

  • ACX is associated with Amazon – Audible family.
  • ACX account and password can be the same as your Amazon account log in

Claim Your Title on ACX

  • Search for your book(s) and click the Claim button
    • Your book must be available in Kindle, Print, or Audio CD within Amazon.com; visit https://kdp.amazon.com/ to learn how to sell your book(s) on Amazon.
  • Write the name of the verified rights owner of the book, year it was copyrighted and who owns the audiobook copyright.
  • Make sure spelling matches the official copyright papers.
  • Filling these names in holds you liable

ACX Account

  • In your ACX account, fill out your name and address, bank information, and tax information. This is important for ensuring your royalty payments can be processed once the audiobook is complete.

Post Your Book for Auditions on ACX

  • Narrators/Actors are called producers, they will be producing the audiobook.
    • Producers sometimes work alongside audio engineers, or do both themselves.
      • This information typically can be found when looking at the Producers profile found by looking under the Producers for Hire dropdown or clicking on their bold formatted name.
  • Create a profile for your book: Title Details
    • Describe your book for your audible retail page.
      • Your book description from Amazon should appear inside text box.
    • Copyright Information
      • Name of copyright holder for book, copyright year, and audiobook copyright holder
    • Fiction or Nonfiction (select)
    • Choose the best category for your book (dropdown menu)
    • Choose if you wish to receive auditions for your book or No, because you have selected a narrator and wish to send them an offer
    • Describe your ideal narrator’s voice
      • Language
      • Accent
      • Voice Age
      • Gender
      • Vocal Style
        • Additional Comments text box is for character types and traits; Give a brief character description in a few words, like age, temperament, gender, etc.
      • What is your media/advertising budget for the audiobook?
      • How many social media followers do you have?
      • Share a book review or two with the narrators
  • Choose an audition script from your book
    • Length of about 400 – 600 words
      • Too short and you might miss out on something in their audition
      • Too long and they might not read the whole script
    • Character(s)
      • Include the main characters for the reading. How will they handle the different voices, ages, genders?
    • Dialogue
      • Include dialogue between two main characters if possible.
    • Upload audition script: PDF, Word, or TXT file
    • Note: I used a couple paragraphs from two sections of the book in order to hear them read for Cody the Cockatrice from Basel, Switzerland and Brody, a fourth-grade American boy. I didn’t request any accents and that made it more open for reader interpretation.
  • Word Count 
    • A true manuscript wordcount will be needed
      • This will help the narrator with time management
      • ACX will calculate the price (PFH) with your wordcount
  • Choose exclusive or non-exclusive distribution
    • Audiobooks distributed exclusively through ACX earn a 40% royalty.
    • Non-exclusive means you are able to also sell and distribute your completed audiobook through other distributors and earn a 25% royalty on ACX.
  • Choose to Pay for Production or Royalty Share
    • With Pay for Production, the total cost is due after project is completed and before Audible approves your book for release. Price is PFH.
    • PFH is a one-time flat fee based on the rate multiplied by the length of the finished audiobook.
    • With Royalty Share, royalties are split with producer 50-50 (On ACX, an Audiobook Narrator is also called an Audiobook Producer)
    • These two choices may affect who auditions. If your book is a best seller, producers will be open for Royalty Share. A very important business question to ask yourself: What’s in the budget and what quality of producer are you looking for in this project?
  • Paying for Production or Royalty Share
    • Be confident with your choice because it can’t be changed unless you start over.
  • Choose what you are willing to pay
    • Examples: PFH ranges are $0-$100, $100-$200, $200-$400, and higher for SAG talent (Scene Actors Guild, union actors having had speaking roles in the film or radio industries)
  • Production Dates and 15-Minute checkpoint
    •  Plan for marketing and time for your review of the audio version
    • This will need to be set when making an offer.
  • Table of contents 
    • Must be typed manually, and double check against your print/eBook publishing file when done

Audiobook Marketing Plan – Pre-Auditions

  • This will help you set due dates for production and an overall timeline for your audiobook.
  • This is a good time to make sure your book cover can be square! If not, your book cover designer will need to make adjustments for the cover to display well in that new shape.
  • Make a list of marketing plan needs that you will want from your producer, and make sure these are covered before sending a contract or expect a fee.
    • Voiceover for book trailer or Soundcloud bit, or other audio-visual clips
    • Short videos of behind the scene production, like in-studio reading or bloopers, or both
  • If you have book fans already, generate excitement by letting them know you are in preproduction for your book. Blog and social media announcements.
  • Create content list for marketing materials for audiobook release date.

Reviewing Auditions

  • Listen to Auditions – this is the fun and terrifying part!
  • Listen for:
    • Pacing, timing, rhythm, tone, pitch, pronunciations, volume issues
      • Note: Volume is a pet peeve of mine. Tell producer up front by sending a note with the contract.
    • Extra noise, harsh Ts and Ps, equipment sounds like humming/ buzzing, echo, empty room
  • Video your reaction listening to auditions—good for marketing!
  • Don’t be afraid to message a producer and ask questions or ask them to read more or something else. Don’t buy the line: I thought I would make it sound like I am standing in an empty room. Message them for another sample without the sound effects if you really like their tone, but chances are that’s how their equipment sounds.
    • Note: I personally am not a fan of those who send a reading in from someone else’s book. If I wanted to hear them read someone else’s book, I could go to their “about” page and listen there. They are showing me that they didn’t have the time, nor did they care for my script, and how could I know how they will portray my characters? If they take this shortcut now, what kind of shortcuts will they take during production?
  • Remember: At this point, you can turn back. You don’t have to hire anyone.
    • Regroup
    • Adjust your book profile
    • Note: Knowing this helped me get through the very first not-so-great auditions. Then 39 really good auditions came in!
      • The same people, good or not so great, will probably not submit auditions if you pull the plug and regroup. However, there is a lot of talent out there.
  • Download your favorite top six-ish auditions
    • They disappear when you send a contract out!
    • Read all contracts and rules: You can’t share any of your auditions with anyone unless you have the producer’s consent.  

The Contract: Time To produce – You’ve Decided on a Producer

  • Take a minute to thank all of the authors for their time auditioning for your book with a quick note in messages. Remember to do this before sending a contract out—the auditions and names disappear when an offer is accepted.
  • Make an offer to the producer
    • Offer must be within the scale you chose when posting your title for auditions.
      • If you chose the $100 – $200 PFH, you may offer $100 PFH and negotiate from there.
      • ACX calculates the PFH from your book’s wordcount for an estimated time.
        • One person read so fast, I figured the PFH would be half, if I chose that person. However, reading fast probably wasn’t the best way to showcase their talent, nor did I feel it would be a selling point for my books, so I chose based on who brought my characters to life.
  • Set a production schedule
    • Take into account that your book is not the only one on their schedule
    • Leave time for you to review the audiobook, plus time for any corrections to be made
    • It takes 4 to 6 weeks for Audible to approve and post your book to sell.
  • ACX notifies all producers who auditioned for your book that a contract has been accepted. Not sure what it said, however:
    • Several producers messaged me asking why I didn’t choose them. I wasn’t sure I was qualified to give them advice, but I did send them a friendly thank you for auditioning.
  • Upload the manuscript
    • Manuscript must be the same as the eBook version of your book
    • If manuscript is more than 4% different, your audiobook can be declined by Audible
  • Open the conversation – give them your business email or another way to connect besides ACX messaging, but any and all changes to contract should be sent through ACX message system.
  • Send producer a list of character names, pronunciation, a short description of each character, including their personalities, accents, ages, gender.
    • They are the professional actor/narrator, so I chose to give them room for their own creative control.
  • Partner with producer for marketing. They should already know your requests prior to this stage, but now is the time to work out the details while still early in the contract negotiations.
  • Paying for production
    • PayPal is accepted by most producers
    • Communicate with producer about how they wish to be paid before starting the project.
    • Payment is due at completion of audiobook, before it’s uploaded to Audible
  • Declined/Accepted contracts
    • This is just a form of how you renegotiate an offer or move on to your next choice.
    • The producer will notify you of date issues or price and you can either make them another offer or move on to the next producer.

Upload Audiobook Cover

  • Double check that nothing important is covered by the little triangle in the bottom right corner of your book cover and make adjustments at this time.

15-Minute Checkpoint

  • Request clear and specific corrections
    • Pacing, timing, rhythm, tone, pitch, pronunciations, volume issues
    • Extra noise, equipment sounds like humming/ buzzing, echo, empty room
      • Remember though, if you heard these in the audition and you hired them, that’s what you will get.

Audiobook Marketing Plan – Post Auditions

  • Get on audiobook reviewers’ calendars!
  • Come up with a pitch-blurb
  • How does the audiobook elevate the book?
  • Get fans excited and reach for new readers/followers
  • Update readers throughout the production process to build anticipation

Review – Approve

  • Request clear and specific corrections
  • Read full script/book along with listening to the audiobook – carefully
  • Hire someone (maybe a college student studying to be a sound engineer) to do the same as above. Using a second pair of eyes/ears will help. [Email me for a recommendation]
  • Once you approve your audiobook – it’s done – make this step count!

Reviewed – Approved – Now Pay

  • PayPal or other previously agreed upon payment
  • Unless you chose Royalty Share

Audiobook Reviewed by Audible for release

  • This process takes approximately 30-40 days.

Audiobook is Now On Sale!

  • Earn Royalties
  • ACX Promo codes (First 10 free codes)
    • Send promo codes to professional audiobook reviewers
    • Social Media giveaway for fans or blog subscribers
    • Swap codes with other authors for reviews
  • Update website, blogs, Social Media
  • Get reviews
  • Promote! Promote! Promote!

Other Useful Links for Authors:

Audio Terminology Glossary: https://www.acx.com/help/audio-terminology-glossary/201456390#P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.