Posts Tagged ‘Audiobook Creation Exchange’

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an audio book in production for my Gothic horror novel, The Pure World Comes. What you may not know, however, is just how far production is. I can now tell you that the audio book files are done and have been sent for quality assurance. And in honor of this special news, I thought I would tell you all about the experience and any advice I have for producing an audio book.

So first things first, how did I produce the audio book? Well, I don’t have the talent, time or equipment to actually narrate my own audio books, so I used a service. Findaway Voices is a service/platform that pairs authors and publishers with audio book narrators (think ACX, but with more distribution options than just Amazon and Audible). And honestly, I found the process to get the book narrated pretty easy. Findaway Voices is owned by the same company as Draft2Digital, the platform that published the paperback and ebook versions, so all I had to do was transfer the books from one site to another. After that, all I had to do was fill out some questions and then do some auditioning.

That’s how I found my narrator, Nikki Delgado. She could do every accent necessary for each character and gave them all a unique voice. Plus, whenever I found something that could use an edit, she got it done quickly and exceeded my expectations. Truly, a great narrator and I’m glad I got to work with her.

If it’s not clear, Nikki Delgado’s a wonderful and professional narrator and if you’re thinking of hiring a narrator who can do British accents, she’d be a good choice.

That being said, producing the audio book was kind of expensive. Not as expensive as that YouTube video I sponsored when Rose came out (click here to watch that video, by the by), but it cost a lot. The majority of that money went to paying Ms. Delgado for her services, plus a bit in taxes for using Findaway Voices and for taxes (it was a service, after all). Not surprising, considering this is an income stream for many of these narrators. It’s a good thing I had some savings and budgeted for the audio book. Otherwise, after buying my own place and all the expenses involved with that, I might be in trouble!

And cost will play a role in determining if I produce another audio book this way in the future. Most of the money I used to pay Ms. Delgado came from the original payment from Readict to license TPWC, so I didn’t really take a financial hit from the payment. It made me appreciate all the more when Castrum Press paid for Rose‘s audio book, because then I didn’t have to pay for it! So if I want an audio book produced of another novel or collection in the future and I’m paying for it myself, I’ll have to do some calculations before I decide if I’m going to do it. And then I’ll have to figure it out how to pay for it if I decide to go for it!

But other than that problem, it was a great process with a good platform and an excellent narrator. So, if you can pay for the work and nothing else is holding you back, I totally recommend you use Findaway Voices.*

Audio book coming very, very soon.

Anyway, now the audio book is with Findaway Voices’ quality assurance team. They’ll check it over and make sure everything’s fine with the recording and the cover art before letting me release it. I’ll let you all know. I’m planning on the first week having the audio book on sale, so I hope you check it out when it’s available.

Until then, I’ll leave the links for The Pure World Comes down below in case you want to check it out. And if you prefer audio, I’ll post links for Rose. After all, that book has an excellent audio book as well.

So, until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

*Whether or not you get your investment back, that will depend on your marketing skills and a few other factors. Good luck to you and me both!

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

Audible company logo.

If you’re not familiar with Audible and Audiobook Creation Exchange (aka ACX), let me fill you in. Audible is Amazon’s audio book wing. They distribute thousands of audio books and have just as many subscribers (I’ve been one since 2015). ACX is part of Audible: it’s a places where authors and publishers can hook up with narrators, produce audio books, and then upload them to Audible.

With me so far?

Recently, Audible and ACX have been in a bit of hot water. It’s come to the attention of several authors that Audible has a rather questionable policy on the books. Audible Premium Plus subscribers have the option to exchange an audio book they’ve bought through their subscription within 365 days of purchase! And get this: if an audio book is exchanged within that time frame, the authors or publishers get their royalties deducted for it!

You read that right: somebody can exchange any audio book they buy within a year of purchasing, and the author gets punished for it.

Most people’s reactions to the exchange policy abuse. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

And lately, this has become a huge problem. Many authors, mostly indie authors, have noticed an increase in exchanges and deducted royalties over the past several months, In fact, some have speculated that use of the exchange policy–or should I say abuse of the exchange policy?–has boomed because Audible’s been using the policy in some of their advertising to attract new members.

Spurred by reports of this, the Authors Guild, along with a whole bunch of other author organizations, have drafted a letter to Audible and ACX to get them to, among other things, change the policy and create a more reasonable exchange policy. At the time I’m writing this, the letter has over twelve thousand signatures, and it’s still growing. To quote the letter,

This policy is in clear breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing implied in the authors’ agreements with Audible and ACX as it allows books to be purchased and listened to without paying the authors and narrators their royalties.

Authors Guild Letter to Audible and ACX

Now, I have only have Rose‘s audio book on Audible, and so far as I know, it hasn’t suffered from this exchange policy much. However, I have heard from a couple of colleagues, including some I consider good friends, who are upset by the policy and are considering pulling their works from Audible and ACX because of the policy.

And even if I didn’t know anyone affected by this policy, once I learned about it, it was hard for me to sit still. This is a terrible policy that hurts authors and publishers alike! These are the people that Amazon needs to continue selling through Audible, and yet they treat them this way?

And why is the exchange window a year long to begin with? That’s a terrible business strategy. Can you imagine if a hardware store allowed you to exchange a tool within a year, even if it’s likely been used? Or a shoe store? Or a computer business? They’d be out of business within a year with a policy like that! What the hell, Amazon?

The letter I received from Audible about the change in the exchange policy. Feel free to enlarge and read it in full.

Thankfully, it seems that news of the abuse and the letter made Audible realize their mistake. While they’ve defended the policy, saying that they do monitor for abuse and that such abuse is rare, they are changing the policy effective January 1st. After that, the exchange window is limited to 7 days, and Audible will pay for any exchanges made after that timeframe. They later confirmed this in an email to ACX creators, which I got as well.

And that is good. That is a good change. It’s harder to abuse an exchange policy limited to only a week instead of a year. Still, some aren’t satisfied. In fact, the Authors Guild letter suggests shortening the window to 48 hours. And I like that idea: not only is it even harder to listen to multiple audio books over the course of two days than it is to do over a week, but it should be easier to spot abuse when an account is making multiple exchanges within a two day period.

So, what can you do? Well, you can sign the letter, which at the time of writing is only 440 signatures away from the Authors Guild’s goal. Even if Audible has changed the policy, every signature is a reminder to the company that this sort of malarkey won’t be tolerated by the very people the company needs for products if it continues.

You can also share with other authors and readers. The more people who are informed about the issue, the more people who will be weary and on the lookout for policies and abuse like this. People, and companies, are more likely to be better behaved if they know they’re being watched and kept under pressure.

And finally, if you have or plan on getting an Audible subscription, don’t be the kind of subscriber who does this sort of crap. I’ve only exchanged a book on Audible once, and that was because I thought it was one kind of story, and it turned out to be another. Otherwise, I would never rob another writer of royalties! Instead, keep the book once you buy it, and wait for your next credit. Don’t make someone else lose money just because you want more listening material!

And if Audible doesn’t address the problem, maybe consider giving up your membership. Yeah, it’ll suck to not get that credit for an audio book each month, but it’ll sure send a message to Audible.

And if you do enjoy an audio book purchased through Audible, make sure to review or at least rate it afterwards. Trust me, ratings and reviews left by readers help both new readers and the writers who put their books on the site. I speak from personal experience on that!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Thank you for reading this far and giving a damn about this problem. I hope you’ll consider helping out authors and stopping abuse of Audible’s exchange policy.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving and pleasant nightmares!

My latest article from Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors is Finding a Narrator on ACX. I gained a lot of experience in the matter over the four months it took me to find mine, so I thought I’d share that experience with a helpful article. Perhaps it’ll get noticed by the company, like the last article I wrote on them did. If so, I hope they don’t think I’m a girl again when they tweet about it. That was hilarious, but I don’t like to be mistaken for a woman when I’m not at a costume party or have some other good reason to cross-dress.

Anyway, check out the article if you have the chance. And while you’re there, check out some of the other articles on Self-Pub Authors, which is written by independent novelists and designed to help you write, edit, publish, and market on your own while saving money and maintaining quality. Believe me, it is great. I wouldn’t write for it if it wasn’t.

That’s all for now. Have a great day and I’ll see you later, my Followers of Fear. Preferably I’ll see you with good news while I’m at it.

RC cover

It’s been a long time in the making, and a lot of work since I announced that I was planning on turning Reborn City, my science-fiction novel, into an audio book back in August. I listened to a lot of audio samples, contacted a bunch of potential narrators, and even received a couple of auditions. But as of today, I am very pleased to announce that Reborn City has a narrator!

If you’re unfamiliar with Reborn City, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel that follows Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager who’s forced to join a street gang called the Hydras, and her involvement in a strange plot involving the gang’s superpowered leaders and the shadowy corporation that rules the city they live in. The novel contains themes of Islamaphobia, racism, gang violence, drug addiction and several others.

It also is a world that has much more resemblance to our own than Hunger Games or Divergent does (just look at the refugee situation these days and how some governments have responded to refugees these days) and I like to think it makes a little more sense than those books.

The audio book will be narrated by Barron Bass, an actor and voice artist based out of New York (check out his website here). I heard some of his samples on ACX, the website I’m using to produce the audio book (see my article on that site here). I liked what I heard, and I started corresponding with him. Once I heard his audition, I had a pretty good feeling I’d found my man. After some more weeks of correspondence, I sent him an offer and he accepted.

Our esteemed narrator, Barron Bass.

Now, I’m hoping we’ll have the whole thing done by early March, but I’m flexible. If Mr. Bass needs more time, I’m willing to give it to him. You can’t rush perfection, after all.

So I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, which following the production process on ACX is that the first fifteen minutes of the book are recorded for my approval. After that, I give some feedback, and we work chapter by chapter on the book. Once it’s all done and it’s uploaded onto Amazon, Audible, and iTunes, I’m hoping a lot of people decide to check it out and take a listen. Maybe leave a few reviews while they’re at it.

And if RC does well, then maybe I’ll do Snake as well, and any other book I decide to publish from here on out. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I’m going to go do my happy dance. Have a good rest of your day, my Followers of Fear. I know I am.