Should You Publish With ACX?

I don't believe in blog posts that bash one company or another: they're biased and not particularly trustworthy. While looking into signing up and publishing with ACX, I've done my research, checked other blogs, checked forums, and looked at Reddit. Not one source had a collection of all the resources and information that I'm throwing together in this blog. So, have a read!

What is ACX?

ACX is the one and only platform that you can directly use to get your audiobook into Audible and Amazon. I use the word "directly" on purpose. Read on.

It's owned by Amazon, and so too is Audible. Just like KDP, Amazon's book publishing platform, ACX is pretty basic. It doesn't have Kobo's crisp UI and doesn't have a whole lot of options for promos. ACX will publish your audiobook to Amazon, Audible, and "iTunes" (which is now Apple Books, but they don't seem to have bothered updating that).

Here's the catch. If you sign on to publish exclusively with ACX, you get 40% royalties. However, publishing with them exclusively signs you on for a seven-year contract where you can't publish your

audiobook with any other company for seven years. Also, if you're sign on to exclusive, apparently ACX will promote your book a bit better than if you used non-exclusive.

If you sign up with ACX non-exclusively, you only get 25%. That's quite a cut. As my husband calculated, at 40% royalties, my $2,000 audiobook would be paid off in 200 sales. Sounds doable. But cut that back to 25% royalties... I don't even want to think about it. Ouch.

Some websites, including Findaway voices, will tell you that you can write to ACX and get out of this agreement after one year with them. I personally don't get that from the contract in the section Findaway told me to look. Check for yourself:


Here's a video that I found useful, even if I personally don't trust the part about getting out of the seven-year contract after one year:


One more catch: to sign on non-exclusively, you still have to sign a seven-year contract.

How to hire a narrator

There are a few ways to do this. You can find non-audiobook websites, such as Voice123, to hire a narrator, or you can go through audiobook-specialized websites such as ACX and Findaway Voices. I'm leaning toward the non-audiobook option, and here's why.

If you hire a narrator through ACX, you're stuck publishing directly through them. I'll explain in the next section why you might not want to do this. ACX considers the narrators signed up with them "their narrators," according to the person I spoke with on the phone.

From what I've read, Findaway Voices adds an unpleasant surcharge on top of you hiring your voice. That's why, to me, they're a flat no. Despite the fact that I actually really like the company and their company goals.

How should I publish my audiobook?

I can't tell you how to publish your audiobook; no one can. What I can do is give you my trail of research and thoughts to help you pick.

Here's the key, decision-making factor. It was for me at least. The Apple Book Store actually offers authors 45% royalties. However, if you publish through ACX and choose non-exclusive, you only get 25% regardless. Where the rest of the money goes, I can only imagine. To me, this just made me all squirmy and felt too underhanded for me to want to dive into a seven-year contract with ACX.

If you look at Findaway Voices, they're quite a helpful little company. I'm not going to turn this post into a pro-Findaway Voices, because I still feel they should be used in moderation.

Findaway Voices takes a 20% cut of what you earn in royalties. I understand their need to do so; they provide quite a thorough service and also help you promote your books. However, to me that 20% loss wasn't necessary for the basic audiobook companies.

Source: Findaway Voices

On a side note, why would you use Findaway instead of Author's Republic? The platforms are quite similar in aims and how they support your book. Because Author's Republic take a 30% cut of your royalties, that's why. Again, it's up to you though. Have a look at their platform yourself and make your own, informed decision.

A surprising amount of income authors can get resides in libraries. For example, every time a library client takes out your audiobook, you can get $0.45 or such, depending on the library and platform. It's a market that doesn't make sense to ignore.

Ultimately, I don't know how the heck to get onto library databases. Findaway Voices boasts that there are over 40 audiobook platforms that they can get your audiobook onto. No way do I have time to manage so many. But does that mean I should just forgo those platforms and focus on the others? Indeed I shouldn't.

Findaway, go ahead and take your 20% cut on those platforms. I wouldn't have even signed up for them on my own anyway.

Back to my deal breaker. ACX will not allow you to not publish to "iTunes" if you use their platform directly. Meaning; you're stuck with the 25% from Apple if you use ACX. I'd know, I called and asked them. So how do you get more of your 45% from Apple?

By using Findaway, they will post my audiobook on Apple Books and take 20% of my 45% royalties.

Another sidenote: Apple doesn't have a way for you to publish your audiobooks to their platform directly. You have to go through one of their partners, including Findaway.

In the end, here's my recipe to solve my needs.

For Kobo, Google Play, Audiobooks.com, and other, common platforms, I'm just going to publish to them myself. I won't lose any royalties and will manage them 100% on my own. Kobo, for one, offers 45% royalties on a-la-carte (non-discounted or subscription) audiobooks sold.

For Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books, I'm going to use Findaway. It's unfortunate that I'll be losing 20% of my pitiful 25% royalties from Audible, but I personally would rather that than giving away a chunk of my 45% from Apple. True, I might be missing out on some income, as I believe Audible is generally more successful than Apple Books. But, when it comes down to it, it's the principle of the matter to me.

Laslty, I'm going to use Findaway for all those avenues I wouldn't bother, or have the capacity, to break into myself. In the end, I'll be signing up for 37+ platforms through Findaway, just because there are wayyy too many for me to manage on my own.

Well, there you have it; a collection of pros, cons, and shortcuts for publishing your audiobook. Do you have any other tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy publishing!



Written by M. A. Leon — Author of the Steel and Magic series
                  www.leonauthor.com

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