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Hunter Grayson flits from job to job, relationship to relationship, continent to continent until thetragic death of her parents brings her back to her childhood home.While trying to figure out how to move forward, she meets wild, fun Natalya Haven, who quickly becomes the sister she never had. But when Natalya moves in, their friendship unravels.
A second tragedy sends Hunter to a small town in New Mexico, a town out of her own past. For Hunter, that's more than a coincidence, that's fate. Natalya's family will fill the void in her life. Natalya's parents will become her parents. She and Natalya's brother will fall in love. But nothing is ever that simple....

Author Topic: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?  (Read 1642 times)  

Offline lostones

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Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« on: March 16, 2017, 01:44:49 PM »
A few questions for you veterans that are familiar with it. Whether that be with ACX or Tantor, or have done it and then given up with audio.

Hi, I've not dabbled in audio yet but I'm looking to do it in 2017.

1. I notice anyone browsing amazon has the option of either getting a trial with audible and downloading for $0 or buying the audio file for $9.99 or higher.  If you have created that file through ACX and paid the audio guy upfront say $1500 for creating it. Based on what i can see from ACX, each time someone buys it or gets it through audible. You would get 40% of whatever it was. So if they buy it for $9.99 you are getting $3.90. I gather that's the same for if they sign up through audible and get it for nothing??? and are you paid that into your account every 60 days like we are with Amazon?

2. For those of you who have gone outside of acx and used a company like tantor ( tantor seems to do an agreement where they offer like $500 for a title and then you get 20% for downloads of that audio, 10% on hard goods of that title) for a 7 years agreement.  Was it a good experience and does that sound fair? How often did you get paid? Would you keep working with them?

3. For those of you who go through acx and do a royalty share with the audio guy. How's that work? Does ACX keep 60% of the 9.99, then you split the 40% with the audio guy? Would like to hear what kind of arrangement/ percentage you have made and what that looks like and if it you are paid that amount every 60 days? or is it quarterly through acx? And is worth it?

4. I know there are some authors who have dabbled in audio but no longer do it as they don't see it as profitable ( or can't make their initial investment back soon enough). Are you considering other companies like Tantor? or such or just waiting until you have enough funds to keep going with acx?

Thanks.

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 02:11:28 PM »
I have an agreement with Tantor and another with Podium. I don't know if you can approach them, in both cases they approached me.

I know people who've gone in with ACX and are making LOADS more than I earn ... but I really didn't have the money to invest in audiobooks so I'm not sad that I did it. Also, I know people who haven't broke even, so there is that as well.

Tantor pays you an advance and then a royalty once the advance is earned back. I think you can negotiate on what the royalty rate is. Podium pays more in royalties but there is no advance. I think I'm going to wind up making more money with Podium, but we'll see in 7 years!


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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 02:49:32 PM »
Yes, there are people who are making loads and others struggling along. No different than the ebook market.

Just because Audible prices your book at $9.99, doesn't mean someone is going to buy it at that price. The most common price is $1.99 for whispersync. If you buy the ebook, you can get the audio for $1.99 which returns $0.80 in royalties. On the other hand, someone may buy it with an Audible credit which is $14.99. There are also bounties. If someone signs up for a membership and buys your book first, as long as they keep the membership for 60 days, you will get a $50 bounty.



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Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 04:16:26 PM »
First, ACX pays monthly, just like KDP and CS. The pay 30 days after the month of sales. In other words, whatever audio sales I have in March will be paid at the end of April.

There are a number of payment amounts. depending on if the buyer is an Audible subscriber or not. I sell between 10 and 20 per day usually and my average royalty per sale is $2.88 currently.

To determine if royalty share is a good fit for you, do the math backwards. A good narrator will cost at least $200 per finished hour. ACX uses 9400 words per hour as the average. This will give you a good baseline for straight pay to the narrator. A 94K word book will be about ten hours long and cost about $2000.

So where's the break even for the narrator for this 94K book with Royalty Share? It's a seven year contract. If you average $2.88 royalty per sale, as I do, the narrator will get $1.44 of that. 2000 divided by 1.44 equals 1389 sales for the narrator to earn the same money. Seven years X 365 days equals 2555 days in the contract. 1389 sales divided by 2555 days equals .54 sales per day, or one sale every other day.

If you sell more than one audiobook every other day, the narrator comes out ahead with Royalty Share. And you come out behind. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't even consider doing it, if my goal was to sell only one audiobook every other day.

To put a better slant on it, consider if you sold two audiobooks per day. The narrator will earn $2.88 every day and so will you. In the lifetime of the contract (2555 days), the narrator will earn $7358.40, or $5358.40 more than had you just ponied up the cash up front. Four sales per day? You pay the narrator over $12K instead of $2K.

Yes, it's an expensive investment. But way too much money is left on the table with Royalty Share.
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Offline lostones

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 04:36:20 PM »
I have an agreement with Tantor and another with Podium. I don't know if you can approach them, in both cases they approached me.

I know people who've gone in with ACX and are making LOADS more than I earn ... but I really didn't have the money to invest in audiobooks so I'm not sad that I did it. Also, I know people who haven't broke even, so there is that as well.

Tantor pays you an advance and then a royalty once the advance is earned back. I think you can negotiate on what the royalty rate is. Podium pays more in royalties but there is no advance. I think I'm going to wind up making more money with Podium, but we'll see in 7 years!

That's the big questions. Are people even breaking even with ACX?

They approached me. Did you manage to negotiate higher than 20% and 10%?

Offline lostones

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 04:40:21 PM »
First, ACX pays monthly, just like KDP and CS. The pay 30 days after the month of sales. In other words, whatever audio sales I have in March will be paid at the end of April.

There are a number of payment amounts. depending on if the buyer is an Audible subscriber or not. I sell between 10 and 20 per day usually and my average royalty per sale is $2.88 currently.

To determine if royalty share is a good fit for you, do the math backwards. A good narrator will cost at least $200 per finished hour. ACX uses 9400 words per hour as the average. This will give you a good baseline for straight pay to the narrator. A 94K word book will be about ten hours long and cost about $2000.

So where's the break even for the narrator for this 94K book with Royalty Share? It's a seven year contract. If you average $2.88 royalty per sale, as I do, the narrator will get $1.44 of that. 2000 divided by 1.44 equals 1389 sales for the narrator to earn the same money. Seven years X 365 days equals 2555 days in the contract. 1389 sales divided by 2555 days equals .54 sales per day, or one sale every other day.

If you sell more than one audiobook every other day, the narrator comes out ahead with Royalty Share. And you come out behind. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't even consider doing it, if my goal was to sell only one audiobook every other day.

To put a better slant on it, consider if you sold two audiobooks per day. The narrator will earn $2.88 every day and so will you. In the lifetime of the contract (2555 days), the narrator will earn $7358.40, or $5358.40 more than had you just ponied up the cash up front. Four sales per day? You pay the narrator over $12K instead of $2K.

Yes, it's an expensive investment. But way too much money is left on the table with Royalty Share.

Good info Wayne, okay so you are paying upfront the audio guy on all your books instead of doing royalty? And its costing you $2000 a book?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 04:43:38 PM by lostones »

Offline SC

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 04:49:20 PM »
I've thought about maybe getting audiobooks made myself, but I've already decided I have no interest in the royalty share option. There are reasons why I don't think it's good for me as an author, but a big reason is that I don't think it's the most fair way to pay the narrator. Royalty share is asking the narrator to basically invest in your book, but that's your job as the author to do. Narrators deserve to know how much they're getting paid, to do the job and get paid that money, and then move on with their lives and not have to worry about how well your book is doing. If I do ever pay a narrator myself (as opposed to making a deal with an audiobook publisher), I fully intend to pay a flat fee up front, not do a royalty share. It just seems like the more responsible thing to do.

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 04:52:56 PM »
$9.99 is a pretty small book. The starting price for my books is around $21.95-$24.95, and they get discounted from there. That's 9-11.5 hours, and around 85000 - 115000 words.

Just to throw more numbers in, on a month with no unusual discounts, I come out at about $4.60 per unit. I'm using ACX, and I paid for narration up front. I hired a narrator at $250 PFH. His rate's gone up with subsequent books; we're at $275 PFH now.

Offline Kristen Painter

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 04:54:44 PM »
That's the big questions. Are people even breaking even with ACX?

Absolutely. I could live on my ACX royalties alone.
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Offline Crystal_

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 05:48:06 PM »
I have my series with an audiobook publisher. It's great in that I never have to think about it, but I don't make a ton of money from it. The ebooks still sell well (all ranked below 10k on Amazon US and UK), but that hasn't translated to huge royalty checks. It's a nice bit of extra money but it's not a big difference to my bottom line. I have a friend who has made a lot more than me with the same amount of audiobooks, so I think it varies.

I will probably seek out another audiobook deal for my current series or pay upfront. Probably the former. I don't see any reason to do royalty share.

Offline Rosalind J

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 05:51:43 PM »
It's a big huge "It depends." If you're not in audio and unless you sell very well indeed, I wouldn't do your own audiobooks unless you can afford to invest the money and not get it back right away. If you can't afford it and need to do royalty share, I'd be very reluctant. The best narrators don't want to do that unless it looks like a great deal for them--that is, if it looks like you're a bestselling author and they'll earn back their investment fast. (Which you'd do a whole lot faster at 40%.)

My audio has cost me $2800-6000 per book (85-135K). In my opinion, my best audio are the ACX books (all my books are in audio). I've done the most quality control on those and selected the narrators most carefully. I also have 4 books through Brilliance and 3 books through Audible Studios. My bestselling books are also the ACX ones.

I do pretty well in audio. Not huge, but I've probably cleared six figures over my investment over the past few years with about 15 books through ACX and selling rights to the others. Bestselling audio genres aren't the same as bestselling Kindle genres. Audio is also very new-release-dependent, and doing very well hinges on getting a push from Audible--which tends to happen more if you have bestselling Kindle books + a fabulous (not cheap) narrator.

Many indies prefer to cut out the guesswork (and just plain work--ACX audio takes time) and just take the deal. Nothing wrong with that.

Offline Amyshojai

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 06:54:34 PM »
Reading this with interest. I'm a bit different, have my own recording studio so do my own VO for both my nonfiction and fiction. Takes a LONG time to voice a book right (esp fiction) so I currently only have five pub'd with ACX with more on the way. My first four were with the 50% royalty contract (before it went down) so I'm doing okay and it's improving over time.

Offline SC

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 06:54:56 PM »
Question for Rosalind (and anyone else who's had books produced by Audible Studios): How much input (if any) did you have in narrator? Were they at least open to suggestion/request if you had one in mind?

One of my big problems as far as doing my own audiobooks through ACX is that the narrator I'd most want to get doesn't do work through there and pretty much only works with the big companies that can rent studio space, pay a producer, etc. He's not one of the ones who does it all themselves. I know there are lots of other great narrators, but it's like with cover artists: I've got my ideal choices and it's hard to think past them unless absolutely necessary.

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 07:35:11 PM »
Bestselling audio genres aren't the same as bestselling Kindle genres.

this is the most interesting thing, and I agree.

Offline Rick Partlow

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 06:06:47 AM »
I have a contract with Tantor for one of my books.  Should be released soon, so I'll try to remember to let you know how it goes.
I'm also producing one through ACX, and I'm doing the royalty sharing thing.  I know a bunch of people say not to, but honestly I'm not going to pay a narrator so if I didn't do it this way, I wouldn't do it at all, and it's the narrator's decision to take the risk that we'll make money off of it.

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 06:14:49 AM »
First, ACX pays monthly, just like KDP and CS. The pay 30 days after the month of sales. In other words, whatever audio sales I have in March will be paid at the end of April.

There are a number of payment amounts. depending on if the buyer is an Audible subscriber or not. I sell between 10 and 20 per day usually and my average royalty per sale is $2.88 currently.

To determine if royalty share is a good fit for you, do the math backwards. A good narrator will cost at least $200 per finished hour. ACX uses 9400 words per hour as the average. This will give you a good baseline for straight pay to the narrator. A 94K word book will be about ten hours long and cost about $2000.

So where's the break even for the narrator for this 94K book with Royalty Share? It's a seven year contract. If you average $2.88 royalty per sale, as I do, the narrator will get $1.44 of that. 2000 divided by 1.44 equals 1389 sales for the narrator to earn the same money. Seven years X 365 days equals 2555 days in the contract. 1389 sales divided by 2555 days equals .54 sales per day, or one sale every other day.

If you sell more than one audiobook every other day, the narrator comes out ahead with Royalty Share. And you come out behind. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't even consider doing it, if my goal was to sell only one audiobook every other day.

To put a better slant on it, consider if you sold two audiobooks per day. The narrator will earn $2.88 every day and so will you. In the lifetime of the contract (2555 days), the narrator will earn $7358.40, or $5358.40 more than had you just ponied up the cash up front. Four sales per day? You pay the narrator over $12K instead of $2K.

Yes, it's an expensive investment. But way too much money is left on the table with Royalty Share.


And don't forget. If you used royalty share, your narrator owns half of your audiobook forever. THe 7 year thing DOES NOT mean you can sell that audio yourself in 7 years. It means you can have it re-recorded by someone else by paying up front and sell THAT recording, not the old one. In effect, that 7 year royalty share option means in 7 years you can buy your narrator out, or continue on.

I NEVER recommend royalty share. If the book sells well, you will never be free. If it sells poorly, you'll have to start over in 7 years. Save up. Do it right the first time.

All in MY opinion etc ad infinitum

Offline KevinH

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 07:06:48 AM »
Paying up front just seemed like the better play, and in my case it worked out well.  Like some others have already stated, the royalty share option appears to have limited upside; I'd avoid it, if at all possible.

Offline Athena Grayson

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2017, 07:17:04 AM »
For those of you who have the experience, do the audio publishers create audiobooks that are "narration" or do they go for more "audio dramatization" - a trad-pub friend's publisher is getting her UF series into audio through an audio publisher that is casting different VAs for the different characters, but I don't think it's full-on radio drama with sound effects and the like. Audio is still out of my reach, primarily because I can't tell what makes a good audio book, what makes a good narrator, or how to identify the right narrator for a book yet. But it's worth it to start learning about it.

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2017, 07:26:46 AM »
but honestly I'm not going to pay a narrator

Why do you say that? You put that statement down without further explanation or reasoning, and it makes it sound like you don't think narrators are worth paying.

Offline Deke

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 07:46:07 AM »
I have only tried audio with The Plot Machine. Read the book myself, had to educate myself on some audio production and file preparation. Not pleased at the split, or the 7-year exclusive deal with ACX, or the fact that they set the price.

But it does bring in some extra spending money each month. I'll probably do the same process with my other books.

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Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 07:54:19 AM »
For those of you who have the experience, do the audio publishers create audiobooks that are "narration" or do they go for more "audio dramatization" - a trad-pub friend's publisher is getting her UF series into audio through an audio publisher that is casting different VAs for the different characters, but I don't think it's full-on radio drama with sound effects and the like. Audio is still out of my reach, primarily because I can't tell what makes a good audio book, what makes a good narrator, or how to identify the right narrator for a book yet. But it's worth it to start learning about it.

You can list a lot of information in the audition details along the lines with what you're looking for. if you want something more performance-like, you can ask. You're not going to get a multi-voice, I don't think, but I did get an audition from someone who did uncanny multiple voices himself.

Offline Kristen Painter

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 08:02:47 AM »
I just crossed 75K audiobooks sold this morning, and I can tell you that a good narrator is absolutely worth what you pay them. A narrator can make or break an audiobook. And audiobook listeners aren't shy about saying what they think in reviews.
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Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 08:04:15 AM »
I just crossed 75K audiobooks sold this morning, and I can tell you that a good narrator is absolutely worth what you pay them. A narrator can make or break an audiobook. And audiobook listeners aren't shy about saying what they think in reviews.

Exactly this, and 75k sold is awesome. I'm not quite at 25k yet.

EDIT: I need The Dragon Finds Forever in audio please.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 08:06:19 AM by Mark E. Cooper »

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 08:19:51 AM »
I need The Dragon Finds Forever in audio please.

Soon! Should be live in about a week or so. ;)
Kristen Painter
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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Audio books questions (acx, tantor, pricing, royalty)?
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2017, 08:37:48 AM »
I recently noticed that a number of UF books in my also boughts are available in audio. I'm puzzled by the range in pricing. Some are $9.99, some 14.99, 19.99, 29.99. Why the huge discrepancy? These are all indie authors.

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