ACX: Audition on/for Audible

Apparently, the hunger for audiobooks is insatiable.  Even the undisputed leader in downloadable audiobooks — Audible.com — cannot keep up with its readers’ demands for new material.

Voice acting coaches have long been beating that drum…saying some of the biggest growth areas in Voice Overs are in audiobooks.

Audible itself has consistently been in the business of facilitating recordings for narrators with their own studios, but they claim they STILL can’t keep up with the demand.

Hence ACXThe AudioBook Creation Exchange.  Think of it roughly as a Voices.com of Audiobooks, with special enhancements.  The site premieres today (5-12-11) to the general public.

Once you create an account and complete your profile, you can post audiobook demos, and begin auditioning!  (there’s more to it, though…read on).

Audible has been working on this effort for quite some time, and it’s been in Beta for many months.  A few of us have had the luxury of playing with the format, and doing some early auditioning…kicking the tires, so to speak and feeding back with suggestions.  We all had to sign Non-Disclosure  Agreements (now released from that).

Audible (an Amazon.com company) did its homework on this one.  They’ve worked their considerable influence with name publishers to be a major portal for bidding-out audiobook work for narrators.  While at this point it there is no effort to filter the talent who are allowed on the site, Audible is confident the rigors of audiobook auditioning will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Audible has provided a wealth of information and explainers with this new service.  The site is replete with help files, explanations, charts, graphs, testimonials, examples, Q&A, FAQ files and more.

They’ve thought-out their compensation packages too…on a very basic level, here are the options:

ROYALTY SHARE – with exclusive distribution to Audible

PAY FOR PRODUCTION (Flat Fee) – with exclusive distribution to Audible

PAY FOR PRODUCTION (Flat Fee) – with non-exclusive distribution rights to Audible

Audible is stressing their associations with major publishers.  They claim to be able to put YOU in the pipeline to the big boys.  The unstated promise is that Audible gets you in the door, and if you do good work, then maybe the publishers will begin hiring you as a regular narrator for them.  It’s a big carrot to a lot of people hoping to break into the business.  In addition to the public domain and other titles that Audible posted to ACX and made available for production, titles from a couple of major publishers will be showing up on ACX, 1,000 titles so far.

Audible stated to it’s Beta narrators:  “To help get the wheels turning on Royalty Share deals, we’ll be paying the narrator/producer a bonus $100 per finished hour when the book produced under a Royalty Share deal is done.”  ‘Not sure if that offer is still good, but it’s worth asking about.

Regarding the Royalty model  (listed on the ACX site) basically is a generous 50 – 90% escalator royalty of which you get half… so that translates to 25% to 45% of Audible’s net revenues for you.   Plus you’ll get a bonus payment of $12.50 each time your audiobook is the first purchase by a new AudibleListener member.  So if you are the producer of the book, it really pays for you to promote it through your social media networks.

There are a number of innovative features of ACXs payment system:

  • Get paid more. The ACX escalator royalty system pays from 25 – 90%. The range is 25% – 70% for Rights Holders who choose the non-exclusive distribution option, 50% – 90% for rights Holders who choose exclusive distribution option, or 25% – 45% each for Rights Holders and Producers who enter into a Royalty Share agreement. The more units you sell, the higher royalty percentage you earn per unit.
  • And extra $25 per unit sold “thank you”. To encourage you to promote yourself and your new audiobook, Ausdible is offering you an extra $25 each time your audiobook is the first purchase made by a new Audible Listener member.
  • Work directly with Audible, a leading audiobook retailer.  By working with Audible, you’re not getting a-piece-of-a-piece… you’re working directly with a retailer so your royalty is calculated as a percentage is of what the customer pays, not the wholesale price.
  • Get paid more often. ACX pays you monthly, whereas most book retailers pay only quarterly.

Once an ACX audiobook is produced, approved by the Rights Holder, and delivered to ACX, Audible provides powerful distribution of the audiobook through three retail industry leaders: Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.

Across the board, the aim is to amplify the business opportunities for authors, publishers, and other Rights Holders, as well as narrators, studio professionals, and other Producers.

Sound good?  There’s much much more info on the ACX site.  Audible’s Blog has the official announcement. Also, there is no subscription fee.  Check it out!  (see video below)

Here’s another take on this announcement from the site: e-reads.com.

CourVO


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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks so much for the wonderful (incredibly comprehensive) news, Dave!
    Your “day job” certainly carries through with high flying colors!!!
    Always a great way to start the day.
    Nobody does it better :~)

  2. says

    Dave,
    Thanks for the great information! I do a lot of voice over. Many times with shorter projects, I can make nice dollars in a very short amount of time. What scares me a little about audio books is the cost to me in terms of time. Eight or ten hours of audio seems mind boggling to me. Even if it’s for what seems like a great guaranteed sum, the time invested seems huge. I’d love to talk with someone experienced in this media.
    Who?
    Thanks again!
    Dan Wachs

  3. says

    Dave – thank you both for this article and your comprehensive research by participation in the “test” before any of us heard from you! Thank you for your time investment in both.

    This sounds like a ground-breaking step by Audible, of whom I am an appreciative member as a listener of audiobooks… I am also breaking into the biz and very interested in their offering to VO talent. I will investigate and try this program.

    I look forward to updates on this topic.

    Hugz,
    Rebecca Michaels
    http://www.LoveThatRebecca.com

    PS Not sure if this is love or lust or luv, but it’s goooood! ;0)

    • says

      Hi Rebecca!

      ‘Glad you found something of use there. ACX is new, and even though Audible did their homework….there seems to be a slow logjam of the mechanics of their operation….starting to show signs now of easing up. It’s mostly good news, though…anytime there are more opportunities for narrators, it’s a good thing.

      Have a great 4th of July weekend!

      warm regards,

      Dav eC

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