Setting Up Your Audiobook With ACX

ACX is a platform that allows you to easily create your audiobook. What I like about ACX is that the entire process is on their website so you'll be able to find narrators, check their work, and publish your audiobook to sites like Amazon and Audible all from the same place. The process is easy and efficient.

In this article, I'm going to walk you through how to set up your audiobook with ACX.

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1. Go to ACX and create an account

The first thing you need to do is go to ACX and create an account. ACX is linked with Amazon, so in order to create an account you need to log in, or sign up, with your Amazon account. Once signed in, you'll come to a registration page where you need to fill in your details and agree to the terms and conditions.

2. Find your book

Next, you may see a popup that allows you to add your title, but if not all you have to do is hover over your name in the top bar and click 'add your title' on the dropdown that appears. Like so.

You'll then come to a page where you need to search for your name and, if your book hasn't been claimed by another account, you'll be able to claim your book. For the purpose of this article, I created a new account and cannot re-claim my book, however, see an example of what this stage looks like below.

Don't worry, I'm not going to claim this person's book as my own, but once you click 'this is my book' the below pop-up will appear.

You have two options to choose from. If you don't have the audiobook files already, you will need to select the first option that states that you are looking for someone to narrate and produce your audiobook. If you already have your audiobook files, for example, if a friend of yours has narrated your audiobook, you can select the second option.

You'll then have to agree to ACX's terms and conditions.

3. Fill in your title information

You'll first have to describe your book in detail, and this section is usually your book's blurb. Most of the time, it'll already be filled in but please do go back and check that it is how you want it. The next section is the copyright information. Here you need to fill in the below details.

Print Copyright Owner - This is the name of the person who owns the print copyright of your book. If you're self-published, this will be yourself.

Print Copyright Year(s) - This is the number of years your book has been out in print. For example, we are in July 2021 and both of my books have come out before this date but still in 2021. Although it hasn't been a full year of my book being in print, you need to round it to the nearest year. So, for me, I have inputted 1.

Audio Copyright Owner - This is the name of the person who owns the audio copyright. Unless you have specified with a narrator of your own choosing (not on ACX) you will input your own name here.

Next, you need to fill out whether your book is fiction or non-fiction and put it into the most appropriate category. This is really up to you to choose. For me, my book is Young Adult Fantasy and there are two separate categories that this can go into either Teen & Young Adult or Fantasy. I feel that my book can't be closely classed as adult, so I've chosen to put it in the Teen & Young Adult category. Please know that ACX does categories your book further based on information taken from the print book. For example, even though I've chosen to have my book in the Teen & Young Adult category, my print book is still listed as YA Fantasy, so it will also show up under teen & Young Adult Fantasy.

Sections five and six are about choosing your audiobook narrator.

If you already have a narrator, say if you want a friend or family member to narrate your audiobook, you select the section option above. If you don't have a narrator and you want to choose one on ACX you select the first option. You can then choose what language, accent voice age and style you'd ideally like for your book.

Section seven is an additional comment section that you should fill out to the best of your ability. This is where you need to convince the narrator to want to voice your audiobook. Name any awards the book has won or been put forward for, roughly how many sales you've done, if it's reached the top of any bestseller or hot new releases charts on Amazon, whether your book has been featured in a book box and so on. It's like an appraisal for your book - go to town!

Finally, section eight is where you need to upload your audiobook script which should be around 2-3 pages in length for the narrator. These should be snippets from your book that will allow you to get a good idea of the voice capability of the narrators auditioning. Sections such as narration, where your protagonist speaks and when your antagonist speaks should be included, but you should also include sections from other characters, whether they're children, older characters or whatever you feel will help you determine whether a narrators voice capability is best for your book. Wondering how to layout your script? Take a look at the screenshot of my own below. As you can see I included a title page and then took paragraphs and snippets from certain sections of my book.

3. Fill in chapter headers

The next part of setting up your audiobook is adding your chapter headers. This is what will appear on the table of contents for listeners. It's mandatory to have opening and closing credits but you can add extra sections such as bonus material or a hello from the author section where maybe you record something yourself. There are some do's and don't of this section, so let's list the do's below.

  • DO: Have the first chapter header be 'Opening Credits' and have the final chapter header be 'End Credits'.

  • DO: Keep consistent formatting for your headers. Don't have 'Chapter 1' then 'Chapter Two'. If you're going to write the word out, make sure it's consistent for every header.

  • DO: Check spelling and make sure everything in clean and consistent. It may be tempting to put a spin on your titles by writing your headers like this 'ChApTeR OnE' or like this 'cHapter oNe'. Cool, right? Wrong. Please, don't do this as it's disruptive to the reader and makes the reader question your audiobook, in a negative way, before they've even started listening.

  • DON'T: Add in sections between chapter readings that can disjoint the story. For example, don't add a 'hello from the author' section in-between chapters five and six otherwise this can interrupt and take your reader out of the story.

3. Fill in the distribution section

Next, you need to fill in the distribution section which includes how many words your book is and what territory rights you own. When it comes to when you need to input the total word count of your book, just use the number in your paperback version. There's no need to take out chapter headers or copyright and title pages. Include this in the count. For the territory rights, unless you've signed a contract with a publisher which states any specific distribution area rights, you own world rights.

4. Review

Finally, review your audiobook. Once you've been reviewed, your audiobook will be posted to ACX to allow for narration auditions.

5. Choose an audiobook narrator

Over the next few days you'll start to see auditions pop up on your title, so please make sure you review each narration as it comes in and download the audition to review later if need be. Think about whether the voice matches what you've previously envisioned when thinking about your audiobook and if they voice all the characters as you'd like.

Once you've chosen an audiobook narrator, click on 'Make an offer' by their name and you'll come to a screen where you now chose how the royalties will be sorted. First, you need to choose whether you want to opt in to only allow distribution through Amazon, Audible, Apple and other sites on the ACX distribution list or opt-in for other territories but, if you do this, you will need to find those other territories and sites yourself. Most, including myself, opt for the limited distribution as this also offers you a large royalty (I believe it's 40%) whereas the other option offers you only 25%.

There are two ways you can choose to produce your book with a narrator through ACX. You can either choose to pay a production fee upfront to the narrator, paying them for their serves and this means you will receive all the royalties (minus the fees ACX take) OR, the most accessible option is to choose the Royalty Share scheme. Royalty Share means you don't pay anything to the narrator upfront but that you split the percentage of royalties you earn with the narrator. This is all handles through ACX. For example, if you went for the limited distribution option which is 40%, you would receive 20% of the royalties your book earns and your narrator would also earn 20%.

Alongside Royalty Share, you can also opt for the Royalty Share Plus scheme which allows you to access a higher tier of narrator for an upfront fee, as well as splitting the royalties you earn.

6. Let your narrator get to work

Depending on the time frame you've set, your narrator will then get to work with updating the chapter header sections with their voice notes. Please know that you should be in regular communication with your narrator, whether on ACX or over email or social media. You may need to send them a pronunciation guide if your names or place names are made up or difficult to pronounce.

7. Approve your audiobook

Once the narrator has uploaded all of the chapter header sections you can then approve your audiobook. Make sure you're listening to each section uploaded carefully to ensure it's the way you want it to be and, if you're happy with it, approve your audiobook.

The ACX team will then need to manually approve your audiobook which typically takes 30 days, but it can take longer. You'll then see your audiobook available to purchase on Amazon, Audible, iTunes and other sites.