When I first created my indie mystery series, the Winston Wong Cozies, it was a venture into new publishing territory for me. I had to learn the ins and outs of formatting, cover design, and marketing—or rather, contract with others to do so. Soon after I dipped my toes into self-publishing, I also learned about making audiobooks.
discovered the ACX
platform (operated by Audible), which allowed me the ability to do so with no
upfront cost. This method employed a royalty share structure through a partnership
with an audiobook producer. After uploading a sample of my book, I could listen
to voice actor auditions and then choose my preferred narrator.
DeBiase, the narrator and producer I eventually picked, is a gem. He produced
amazing and fun audiobooks for the first two books in my series.
went on without a hitch until book three. At that point, Noah didn’t offer the
royalty share option anymore. Instead, he was inundated with so many requests that
he asked interested authors to use a “Pay for Production” model, which meant writers
paid upfront for audiobook development. This would require me to invest a huge
chunk of change for the service, but it would also result in my ability to keep
my audiobook rights and receive all royalties.
I willing to try something new? There was no guarantee that I would recoup my
costs if sales failed to materialize. However, I wanted the voice continuity for
the series, and I enjoyed how Noah brought my main character to life. I decided
to go for it.
As always, Noah did an excellent job of recording my audiobook, Wedding Woes. Did it pan out in the end? Yes, I was eventually able to cover the costs of hiring him as a narrator.
controversy in the audiobook world appeared recently. At the end of 2020,
something called “Audiblegate”
cropped up. Independent authors issued complaints about ACX/Audible’s easy
return policy. It appeared that listeners might have abused the system by
returning audiobooks within the generous one-year time frame for exchanges. Consumers
could do so without any repercussions, even if they’d already listened to the
ACX has since reduced the buyer’s ability to return an audiobook to within seven days. They have also expanded their earnings reports for authors to include data on any audiobook returns. Moreover, since February first of this year, they’ve offered indie authors the ability to move from an exclusive to a non-exclusive contract, as long as it’s for a pay-for-production title which has been on sale for at least ninety days.
means that instead of being locked into a contract for seven years with ACX, I can
now approach other distributors with Wedding Woes. ACX
limits their connections solely to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, so I’ve decided
to try out Findaway
Voices. That platform offers
distribution to more than forty audiobook retailers and library platforms. They
even have a royalty bonus for transferring a previously exclusive title to them
before March fifteenth.
It looks like I’m on another new audiobook path. I wonder where it’ll lead me to next.
Writers: What surprises have you encountered on your writing journey?
Readers: Share your opinion about audiobooks.