Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ACX - Audiobook Creation Exchange

As a member of Sisters in Crime and havig a fairly close local chapter, we have guest speakers each month, alternating mystery authors and "professionals".  This month our guest speaker was Nina Bruhns, Sr. Editor of the Entangled Suspense line.  Entangled Publishing (previously Dead Sexy) offers a variety of ways to get books with a romantic element in them, ranging from 20 to 80% romance to suspense/mystery/thriller/whatever line you choose, published digitally (they aren't doing print books because they believe that the print books and brick and mortar stores are going by the wayside).  Nina really only looks at suspense or thrillers but there are editors for each of their lines and publicists that go along with that.  While Nina was talking about publishing through entangled, she also mentioned audio books.  She said she listens to audio books all the time when she is traveling.  Of course Amazon is the forerunner in this area as they have bought out audible.com which is the leader in selling audiobooks.  I know several places audiobooks are used- the state libraries use them for the blind patrons but they are still using bulky cassette machines with the books being on tape.  Audible.com will now sell audiobooks on amazon.com and itunes.com as well as on their main site audible.com. 

I wasn't really thinking of doing audiobooks at this moment but I need some sales and I figure - adding audiobooks can't hurt.  So I went to the website and decided to see if it was a simple process, like the KDP is, or how much time it would take to get an audiobook produced.

So far, the process isn't that difficult but there are a few things you must do before actually set up  your profile and start putting your book out there for auditions and a finished product.

When you sign onto the website, the first thing you will see is a big search box kind of in the middle of the purple colored box.  You need to search for your book by title and if there is more than one book with your title, find your book.  Claim your book as your book (I own this book or This is my book - something to that affect).  Once you have claimed your book, you will be asked to sign in to your amazon account, which most of us alreadyh have established as we have posted books on the KDP program or we have made purchases on amazon.com.  After you sign in, you will be asked to set up the book's profile and to upload your sample for auditions.  I would recommend loading the first chapter, or if it is fairly short,  the first two chapters.  I uploaded the second chapter of Finally Home and the auditions I've asked for and gotten back I realized that my chapter 2 wasn't the exact chapter from the book (apparently I had used Chapter 2 for a workshop or reading of some sort prior to really completing the book).  It's okay  that this isn't the completed chapter as you are just giving them a sample to read from to see how they handle the content of your book.

Once you have  completed the profile and uploaded your sample for auditions, then the fun begins.  This can be a very time consuming part of  the production of the audiobook process unless you narrow your search down.  When you get to the "auditions page", you are informed that there are something like 10,930 narrator files to search from.  There are options to narrow the field down.  So for my book, I opted to narrow down to genre, gender and payment type - genre - teens - this is my target audience; gender - female (since my characters are basically female and are teenaged girls); and payment type - royalty split.  The payment type should be indicated when you set up your book's profile and you have 2 options - you can pay the narrator a straight fee (this is based on hours to produce the book and can range from $50 per produced hour on up the gamut to over $1000 per produced hour.  The second option is a 50-50 split royalty on every book sold through audible.com, itunes. com and amazon.com - Audible will set the retail price (there is a formula based on number of hours the book takes to produce to get the price).  Since I don't personally have over several hundred dollars to pay someone to narrate the book, I opted for the royalty split option.  To me this works out best.  Anyway, after narrowing down what or who I would like to narrate the book, I dropped from 10,930 to 79 options. The next thing to do is listen to the  sample narrations that are available.  I found four or five within the first 3 pages of samples (there are usually 12 per page and I only 7 pages to go through), and basically within the first couple of pages that I was impressed with. 

After listening to the sample narrations, then I started checking the profiles of the ones I liked and sent them each a message indicatig that I was looking for a narrator for my book, Finally Home, and if they would be interested in auditioning for me.  At the time of this writing, I had requested auditions from four ladies and had received two back.  The first one I received, she wasn't too bad but she read the main text very quickly - I almost felt like she was on a speeding bullet.  She did get Emma Louise's personality in her reading rather well, so that was a good thing.  The second one I received, I really liked how she got the gist of Kelly's character but she seemed a bit too southern (yes, I know Emma Louise is southern and all but she's not quite that southern).  Basically  I have two good readings of my sample text but neither are quite right.

After I get the other two back, I'll either search for more readings, maybe narrow it down to only females and payment type as opposed to genre and see what I come up with.  It may actually take the longest to find the right narrartor for the book than anything else.  I'll probably update the status on my blog as I get closer to getting an audiobook produced of Finally Home

That's my experience so far with ACX and creating an audiobook to sell and hopefully start seeing some profits on my book sales. 

Since it is almost Valentine's day and this is the last of the "giving holiday season", how about give your loved ones a good book to read or listen to.  Pick an ebook or audiobook or even a signed copy of one of the authors from this group and show them you love them.  I have one Melonberry bookworm left and can't find that yarn at any of our local Walmarts, so in honor of Valentine's day, I will do a drawing from the comments on this posting for that particular bookworm.  All you have to do  is comment and leave your email address in the coment (in the format of email addy (at) whatever (dot) com if you don't want to be spammed) and I'll do a random drawing on Friday, the 15th for the bookworm.  Don't worry if  you  live outside the United States as you a re eligible also since the cost of sending overseas isn't really that high.  Good luck to all and see you in the postings - E :) 

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery

Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests).  Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave".  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.

You can find more information about the JGDS series on the JGDS website or follow the JGDS blog.

You can find out more about Elysabeth and her other writings on her website or follow her blog.

10 comments:

  1. Elysabeth, thanks for the informative and timely article. I'm putting this on my to-do list for Sand in the Desert.

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  2. Elysabeth, I recently ran a little article on this free service in my SharingwithWriters newsletter. It was written by a longtime subscriber, Aaron Paul Lazar who is firmly in favor of putting his mysteries on Audio books. If any of your readers are interested in his article too and want to subscribe, I'd be happy to send them a copy of that issue.

    http://www.writersonthemove.com/2013/02/acx-audiobook-creation-exchange.html.

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  3. Hi, Carolyn. You are absolutely correct, I love ACX! I currently have 11 titles with them and am enjoying the process of adding all my books. You can see them at www.lazarbooks.com if interested, and I'm available by email to any authors who want to ask questions about "how to." Happy to help! Thanks, Elysabeth and Carolyn. ;o)

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  4. Thanks Elysabeth - ACX looks excellent, and they did an amazing job with Aaron's books, but I do have to say that it's only available in the US at the moment. It's not particularly obvious on the site either, so for those of you (like me) who are not resident in the US, you'll need to either DIY or find another resource (and if you do, please let me know - I've been looking for a while without luck!).

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  5. Elysabeth, what great information. This is something most of us writers will be interested in. This is a great venue for nonfiction also. I'd be interested to know how sales go.

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  6. Maggie, sorry I did forget to mention that the service is only for US citizens right now but they are working on including other countries - just will be some time before it is available.

    Aaron Paul, thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. I subscribe to Carolyn's newsletter but for some reason have missed the article but will try to reference it so that I can post on my blog as well since I'm going to continue with more information over there.

    Carolyn and Margaret - thanks for reading and glad you have found the information helpful as well. Looking forward to seeing others use this tool as well. - E :)

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  7. I'm so happy to have this information! I've been trying to get my books done as audio-books without any luck. So I may just look into this!

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  8. Just popping in to say what a fan I am of Elysabeth's bookworms since winning Woody in a past giveaway. When I have time I shall be investigating non-US options too.
    Thanks for a very useful article, Elysabeth.

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  9. I forgot to do the drawing for my bookworm Friday so I just did the random.org drawing, and the lucky winner is Karen. I think I have your mailing address but if you will just shoot me an email with your address, I can put this in the mail tomorrow.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting. I'm still in the process of getting my auditions, although I have made an offer to one person so far. I really liked her audition and I think she will be a good fit for reading Finally Home.

    Now it's a wait and see if she accepts the offer and if my timeframe is suitable to her. I put in the offer for the first 15 minutes submission by next week and the final reading for one month. Aaron, not sure if this is the correct turnaround time or not, so maybe you can give me some insight. If this works out, I may consider putting my state series as audiobooks too, but for now, will just worry about this one book and go from there. -

    Again, thanks for all the encouragement and leads from everyone - see you all in the postings - E :)

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