Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Creating Audio Books is Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Creating Audio Books at is easy peasy lemon squeezy! This is part one in my two part "Expanding Your Reach" blog series. Part two will cover Book Kiosks Coming to an Airport Near You.

[Before you start reading, try listening with the little audio gadget just under the post title.]

Part 1: Creating Audio Books

When I wrote The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe, I wanted to create a book that was authentic to my experience, transparent in my findings and genuinely helpful. That’s what publishing independence is all about, right? It’s in that spirit that I want to share the latest tool available for the indie author… free audio book creation.
Like all technologies, accessibility drives innovation and encourages success. All of us are living in a time when we can publish, promote, and get noticed on an international scale through Amazon. Well we now have that same availability to produce and publish our work in audio book format.
I'm grateful to Gerard de Marigny, author of The Watchman of Ephraim, for introducing me to Amazon’s answer to indie-audio publishing…
ACX stands for Audio book Creation Exchange, a website where writers and voice professionals can hook up to create top-notch audio books. ACX is actually a sister site of, which is owned by Amazon. It is a website where voice-over professionals (VOP’s) and writers can do business within a simple and streamlined website. The site provides everything you need to download your “script”, sign official contracts, and produce your audio book(s) on time and to your satisfaction. Once produced, ACX will upload your audio books to their online retailing partners.

At ACX, you have choices, too.

You can pay the VOP by the recorded hour and keep all of your royalties, or you can contract a 50-50 shared royalty at no cost to you. You can even record your audio book yourself if you want to. ACX has produced dozens of tutorials on YouTube, so you can learn the ropes before you get started.  
ACX offers two publishing deals: exclusive and non-exclusive. Non-exclusive simply means that once your audio book is complete, you can upload it anywhere, but you get a lower royalty. An exclusive contract means that your audio book is only available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes but you get a higher royalty. You can find all the details about the contracts, royalties, and how it works HERE.
This site is cutting edge, fun and easy to use. But like any platform, your book has to be well written and needs a good looking cover. Voice-over professionals do not want to waste their time on poorly edited books, especially if they are working for shared royalties. So make sure your work is the best it can be before submitting.
If you are ready for Phase II of your publishing journey, check out It’s time to open the audio book floodgates. It’s time for authors to break down the walls, swords in hand and assail our next treasure chest.

Here’s how it works:
Step 1.  Go to (insert link:
Step 2.  Click on the “Get Started” button.
Step 3.  Once you open an account, go to your “My Projects” folder and start entering your book information.
Step 4. Once you have your book information posted, you either wait for a VOP to audition, or you can search for a voice professional by using AXC’s search tool. This tool will help you find the voice that best fits your book, mood and genre. Once you find the right voice, you don’t have to wait. You can email the VOP directly. Be warned, you need to use the ACX email system for all correspondence because they want to track the process of negotiations and keep everyone honest. You will have to play with the system a little to figure it out, but you can do it.

So what's my experience?
I'm glad you asked. Three weeks ago, I made all four of my books available for auditions: Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, Creepy, and The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. I contacted two authors and received several auditions by very professional VOP’s. I now have 3 audio book contracts signed, one by an award winning VOP, and three promising auditions for the fourth book. The fourth book will be signed within the week. By the end of the summer, I will have four books that were previously only available through Amazon, in audio format at the three largest audio book distributors on the planet.
So let this post serve as an invitation, a call to arms, a raising of the indie flag if you will. Indie authors are now invading audio books. 

BONUS MATERIAL: The following is a comment posted by Karen Commins, a narrator at ACX, at, where I shared this post for Laura Pepper Wu, book marketing extraordinaire.

Greetings, all! As an audiobook narrator, I want to let you know that audiobooks are VERY popular! The Audio Publishers Association sales survey shows that audiobooks are approaching a $1 billion industry.

According to the APA FAQ at “Who are the primary customers for Audiobooks? The audiobook customer is a frequent book reader who sees audiobooks as a way to “read” more while pursuing other lifestyle activities. They are well educated, have higher incomes than non-listeners, tend to be older (30+) and are attuned to book trends through reviews and bestseller lists. Children’s audiobooks are also a formidable part of the market, as many families choose them for in-car entertainment or an at-home hobby, as well as many teachers and schools using them for educational tools. When and where do they use them? The primary usage is while traveling and commuting. Other uses revolve around lifestyle activities such as exercising, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, crafting, walking the dog, etc. People whose jobs involve repetitive manual tasks also report using audiobooks at work.”

 I love ACX and have voiced 5 books that were posted there. I recently wrote a blog post to help authors decide whether to list your titles on ACX: If you decide to post your book for auditions, I encourage you to read this excellent article from my colleague Jeffrey Kafer about reasons your book isn’t receiving auditions: Finally, let me add that flexibility on your completion timeframe and prompt communication will be appreciated by the narrators on the site.

If I am voicing a book on a royalty share deal, I ask for several months to complete it so that I have availability to accept projects that pay up front. I hope these thoughts are helpful. Best wishes for your continued health, prosperity, and success!

 Cordially, Karen Commins

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, and The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. 



  1. Jeff,

    Saw a great demonstation at BEA this week in NYC by Amazon on They had a packed crowd. It looked very easy not only for the author, but the voice over person, publisher, and sound professional.

    The stat I heard was 95% of all books are NOT on audio.

    1. Anthony, That's a great stat isn't it! That means the listening public is likely interested in new books and voices.

  2. I just got my "Dying Days" book also released on audiobook, with another book currently being narrated. You're right! The site is easy to use, and the process was super easy and fun. I'm looking forward to eventually get as many of my books on audio as possible. Good luck with yours!

    Armand Rosamilia

    1. @Armond ~ Thanks for the comment. I'm excited for you and your venture into audio books. I'd love to hear how things work out for you. Come back and update me sometime!

  3. Thanks for the mention, Jeff. With the best spirit of cooperation and friendship in mind, you and I have shared information, thoughts and ideas <-- I think that is the essence of the indie publishing community.

    I've learned so much from you and your great _Indie Authors Guide to the Universe_. I'm just happy I could reciprocate in any small way ... and hope it helps our brutha and sista indie authors.

    Blessings & continued success,

    1. Hey, G. Thank you for your kind words. You should know I think about our dinner that we had with you and your faily often. So glad for my good indie friends.

    2. G, Quick update. Creepy was the first book to hit the Audible/Amazon/iTunes stores and it has sold 7 copies in the first week. Thank you very much. I hope this continues.

  4. Hey Jeff, just a quick note to let you know that I chose you in my post for the Versatile Blogger Award. The link's here: Thanks

  5. Hey, thanks D.K ~ I appreciate that very much. I think that makes 3 nominations for that award in 1 week. #humbled

  6. Hey, thanks D.K ~ I appreciate that very much. I think that makes 3 nominations for that award in 1 week. #humbled

  7. I didn't know about ACX until now. It's a very good tool for creating audio books. I think I'll create an account and explore the options for making my own audio books.

  8. After reading Jeff's post, I checked out ACX's website. I am so glad I did; I've found many voice actors and actresses I like and have already had one audition for my novel, Glimmers. I have also been in touch with an actor to read my middle-grade fiction book (due out next month).
    Thanks, Jeff, for steering me in the right direction, yet again :)

  9. Greetings, Jeff! Thanks so much for including my previous comment in your post. I'd like to add a few points that may be of interest and assistance to your readers:

    1) June is audiobook month, so check out some of the Twitter promotion for audiobooks by searching the hashtag #JIAM2012.

    2) Audiobooks have their own awards ceremony each year called the Audie Awards. You can hear snippets from the 2012 finalists and winners at

    3) When uploading your audition material to ACX, be sure that you have the file named correctly. Word documents should end in .DOC or .DOCX. However, I've seen many files that end in BOTH extensions, for instance MyManuscript.Doc.Docx.

    This point is VERY important as narrators may have difficulty in downloading or opening your audition text, especially if they use an iPad. I and a growing number of narrators use the iPad for our narration. When the file is incorrectly named on ACX, I can't download it when using my iPad. I'm unlikely to download it from my computer and send it to my iPad unless your description has really grabbed me.

    4) The majority of titles posted on ACX are listed for royalty share deals. I saw a comment from one author who wondered why she should split her royalties 50/50 with the narrator. You don't have to do that! You always have the option to pay up-front for the production and retain all the royalties due you. In fact, narrators are much more likely to audition for your project with an up-front payment rather than take the complete risk of ever selling copies that goes with a royalty share deal.

    I hope these thoughts are helpful. Best wishes for your continued health, prosperity, and success!

    Karen Commins


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