Monday, August 26, 2013

Audiobook Production


I decided to try out the ACX-platform to see how my stories would fare as audiobooks. Sure enough, there are many hurdles to take.

The major issue I'm having is the fact that non-US citizens can NOT open an account with ACX (and I don't see anything that indicates this is going to change any time soon). As a German, I have to rely on the honesty of an American friend (waves, hi Will), who allows me to use his account (which is legit as ACX'S guidelines say).

Another bug to swallow is the duration of the contract. I'm signing away the distribution rights for my audiobook for SEVEN years (initial period with automatic renewal for one year). The only good thing is that I don't have to go exclusive (although that cuts royalties nearly by half). I'm thinking of going exclusive since ACX delivers the bigges players out there anyway (Amazon, Audible, and iTunes)who currently cover 90% of the online market.

Plus, ACX doesn't allow you to set your own price. They determine for how much money they sell my audiobooks (I'm sure that's different for bigger publishers), and I get 50% of net. price (for the first 500books, increasing from there to 90% if I manage to sell more than 22,500 copies). The audiobook will probably ten times as expensive as the eBook, but it also cost much, much more to produce (I used a professional since I don't want my listeners to listen to inferior material). I calculated that I'd break even if I manage to sell 160 audiobooks. That doesn't sound too daunting especially since it doesn't come with a deadline.

One more practical problem is that I'm on a very, very slow Internet connection. Although it's DSL, it's barely faster than ISDN used to be, plus it's not reliable. It keeps breaking down. Unfortunately, audio files are huge even if I split them up into chapters. Every time my Internet connection collapses, I can start anew. Argh.

Last but not least, I didn't know that I have to have the eBook published first. So I struggled yesterday to upload "Heroes Wanted" ("Helden Gesucht" in German) to Amazon. Luckily, the two short stories I had selected for the audiobook were already proofread and edited. Just in case you're interested, here's the cover and the blurb:

Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends
or How to order a dragon
Mondays are hard in any office. When Siegfried of Xanthen is calling before opening hours the day in Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends can only go downhill for Rose.

A Different Perspective
When Romans attack, Freyja flees with the women of her clan while the men, including her beloved Thordal, fight. Can Allfather Odin help Freyja to save Thordal’s life?

You can buy "Helden Gesucht" or "Heroes Wanted" on Amazon for $0.99 (0.92€). Other retailers will follow. Hopefully, I will overcome all obstacles and announce the audiobook soon.

Have you ever thought about trying to do an audiobook? Any last minute tips or tricks for me?
Thanks in advance,


Charmaine Clancy said...

I would love to create an audiobook for my stories, but it's a bit hard from Australia. Will follow your progress with interest :)

Katharina Gerlach said...

It's hard from Germany too since ACX doesn't allow non-US citizen to open an account. I had to go through a friend, hoping his and my friendship will "survive" the next 7 years (because that's the minimum time the contract runs). I'll see how it goes. This is more or less a test balloon, although I did try to use fascinating stories.