Author Topic: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?  (Read 4460 times)  

Offline MMSN

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Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2020, 01:03:46 pm »
Amanda-- most of us welcome your comments.

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    Offline C. Gockel

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #26 on: October 21, 2020, 01:13:23 pm »
    I have listened to a lot more audiobooks since the pandemic, and even got an Audible subscription. I used to walk as part of my daily routine: kids to school, grocery store, whatever errands, kids home from school. I got plenty of exercise that way. Now I have no reason to go out, and I needed something to keep from being bored. My audiobook sales seem stable, so I can't be the only one.


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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #27 on: October 21, 2020, 01:22:31 pm »
    I don't have any friends who crack 10% with audio and I think most are closer to 5%. I'm sure it happens and I'm sure it's possible, but unless someone has actionable advice, it's really not helpful to hear "but I do so well in audio."

    But is it any more helpful to say:

    People have been saying audio is going to explode for most of the time I've been publishing (since 2014). It hasn't exploded yet and it certainly hasn't exploded for me, personally. I've seen better sales with a series that appeals to a different segment of the market, but it hasn't been anywhere close to the 20% of eBook sales so many people quoted me.

    You shared your personal experience. Amanda shared her personal experience. I'm not sure why you think your experience is more helpful than hers. You're acting like negativity can stand on its own but positivity needs 'actionable advice' to be worth sharing.

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #28 on: October 21, 2020, 03:08:24 pm »
    Agreed. ^

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #29 on: October 21, 2020, 05:39:21 pm »
    If we're doing personal experiences, audio's done well for me (well enough that I get an Xmas gift every year from Audible, but that may be lots of us), and I'm in romance. (Thinking back to last year--I think audio was 25% of my revenue, and it's been really good this year, too.) I'm sad about the Escape program going away, though, as I did very well in that. That's been the source of a lot of my audio money this year. I didn't have everything in it, but what I had in it made me good money. It's also garnered me thousands of audio reviews, which helps you in audio. (Long-term audio listener here--longer books with lots of reviews make you more willing to spend your credits. One reason I rarely used audio for romance was that the books were more like 7-9 hours, and often not that complex. Not as good as an audio listen, for me. I've noticed that longer romance does seem to do better--other than the very well known, short/sexy erom writers.)

    Other authors hated the Escape program, though, and said it did nothing for them, so I guess all it tells you is--averages are just averages. They aren't your personal experience. So my experience isn't "actionable," even if the Escape program were still going to be around. It's just what's worked well for me. 

    As others have said, audio is pretty crowded now. If you don't sell well and have some visibility in ebook, audio isn't likely to be great for you. It does cost also. My books cost me about $5K apiece to have done. ETA: Great narrators matter!

    Also ETA: Audible's always changing/restructuring. Like Amazon. People get moved around, and they try lots of new initiatives. They know they won't all work out great, but they're always experimenting. And, no, I don't think the holdup on some books being reviewed is a sign of anything, except a glitch. The problem is that glitches for them can be dealbreakers for an individual author.
    « Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 06:25:15 pm by Usedtoposthere »

    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #30 on: October 21, 2020, 10:54:33 pm »
    OMG! MY BOOK WENT THROUGH!!!!!

    I had unlisted my book and resubmitted in September to get a better place in line. Then, after 3 weeks when it wasn't moving along, I called and made a huge stink about it. But, that did nothing so I called again before I created this thread. This time asking to speak to a manager. They said he was going to call me in 48 hours, but instead my audiobook went through. In total it took 5 months and 7 weeks!

    Maybe audio isn't as popular among romance readers? I know in some of the genre's I follow audiobooks are big sellers.

    The guy who runs K-lytics was on Mark Dawson's podcast. He had a chart showing the most popular genres in audiobook. Romance is the worst selling of the three major genres. And, LGBT romance is the worst of the worst. I made note of that because that is what I write. Yay me!

    From 2010 to 2016 I wrote short erotica and produced audiobooks for them. Almost all of my audiobooks outsold their ebooks (on Amazon). And, I've produced 3 LGBT audiobooks. None of them have sold more than a few hundred units. However, they are all pretty short.

    The audiobook that I uploaded in April was supposed to be a test to see if having an audiobook over 9 hours made a difference. Finally I'll see!
    « Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 10:58:56 pm by Alex Anders »
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    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #31 on: October 22, 2020, 04:41:43 am »
    You shared your personal experience. Amanda shared her personal experience. I'm not sure why you think your experience is more helpful than hers. You're acting like negativity can stand on its own but positivity needs 'actionable advice' to be worth sharing.

    I don't do audiobooks, so this is all theoretics to me, but I don't see the harm in a diversity of opinions. Those who are considering audio could find such experiences useful in determining if they want to try it. Especially when one considers the expense.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #32 on: October 22, 2020, 10:52:17 am »
    As for actionable advice, this would be mine: Try to get your audio timed to your ebook release. I've been doing that for almost two years now and it's made a significant difference in my bottom line. I would have to dig deep for hard numbers but it's roughly a 30% increase over the course of a year for a title and more than 50% in the first month if you can time it to your ebook. I've found readers love that deal where you get a break on the audio if you buy the ebook. Also, take the time to do the omnibuses. Don't release them right away. Wait until sales dry up some on the individual titles and then do the omnibuses. You can make bank on those, especially if you run a promotion on the ebook omnibus. Audio tends to rise along with whatever deal you're running.

    As for poor attitude by certain posters where I'm concerned: No worries. It happens all the time with the same posters. I'm used to it.

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    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #33 on: October 22, 2020, 11:17:40 am »
    As for actionable advice, this would be mine: Try to get your audio timed to your ebook release.

    Amanda, have you been able to get your audiobooks released in Audible's promised 3 to 4 weeks is year?
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #34 on: October 22, 2020, 11:24:29 am »
    Amanda, have you been able to get your audiobooks released in Audible's promised 3 to 4 weeks is year?
    Yes. I missed the trouble window in the spring. All of my narrators are on ACX's approved list, though. Whether that plays into things, I cannot say, though. I sent up two omnibuses about a week ago and they're both already live. Now, to be fair, all that audio had already been tested for the first time the books went through. I had zero problems, though, and I normally have two audio titles (one under each name) going live every month.

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    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #35 on: October 22, 2020, 12:24:06 pm »
    Yes. I missed the trouble window in the spring. All of my narrators are on ACX's approved list, though. Whether that plays into things, I cannot say, though. I sent up two omnibuses about a week ago and they're both already live. Now, to be fair, all that audio had already been tested for the first time the books went through. I had zero problems, though, and I normally have two audio titles (one under each name) going live every month.

    Wow! It's like we live in two different worlds! Haha.

    I don't think the files being preapproved makes a difference because my anthology had only files that were currently on Audible and even if you only consider the time after I republished it in September, it still took 7 weeks. And my narrator (me) has 50+ titles published through Audible. I can't imagine a narrator having too much more credibility than that.
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    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #36 on: October 22, 2020, 12:58:20 pm »
    Amanda, did you request a specific release date for your audiobooks? I was just informed by ACX that, they prioritize books that have a specific release date emailed to them.
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #37 on: October 22, 2020, 04:57:16 pm »
    Amanda, did you request a specific release date for your audiobooks? I was just informed by ACX that, they prioritize books that have a specific release date emailed to them.
    No.

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    Offline jmb3

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #38 on: October 23, 2020, 11:13:10 pm »
    I'm sad about the Escape program going away, though, as I did very well in that. That's been the source of a lot of my audio money this year. I didn't have everything in it, but what I had in it made me good money. It's also garnered me thousands of audio reviews, which helps you in audio.

    I am also sad about Audible Escape shutting down as my experience mirrors Usedtoposthere. I had two books (plus an Audible Original) in the program and those earned bonuses every quarter from the very start of the program. In addition, I found many new listeners through the Audible Escape who went on to buy the rest of my series. I realize my experience wasn't the norm but, just like with KU, there were plenty of authors who did well in the program.


    Offline Thalstead

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #39 on: October 25, 2020, 11:08:32 am »
    My latest book has been sitting at Audible for a month. The previous one took six weeks before it was released at the end of April.
    My Audible approved producer tells me in both cases he was not asked to make any changes.  He has done over a hundred audiobooks, and agrees with everyone here that approval times have become ridiculously long.
    He blames delays on a new automated process at Audible for quality assurance that he says was intended to speed up approval. He has no idea, though, how it could have ended up having the opposite effect.
    As to the question asked by the original poster, though, I see zero chance that Amazon would allow Audible to go under. Even if somehow the pandemic temporarily affected revenue.
    Their entire market approach is classic monopoly.  Do all you can to make everyone deal with you, and only you. Want the maximum revenue cut on your book? Sell only through Amazon. Ditto access to Kindle Unlimited. Ditto access to Kindle Countdown. And of course, ditto for maximum revenue on audiobooks sold through Audible.
    Amazon gives you every possible incentive to sell books through them and only them. They are not going to give away the audiobook portion of that market.

    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #40 on: October 25, 2020, 11:27:33 am »
    Well, ACX could be collapsing without them going under financially or without Audible going out of business. But Audible did hire and fire a CEO since March. And they haven't replaced him as far as I know.

    ACX kept telling me that the delay was caused by an unexpected large number of submissions in January. They said they suddenly got thousands of submissions when they used to get hundreds. But this is an incredible basic business problem to solve. You don't have to be Amazon to know that you expand your employee base, if only temporarily, and inform your customers or clients of the incident to adjust their expectations and not create bad relations or a bad reputation.

    This is incredibly basic. Mom and pop shops know to do this. Yet, somehow ACX couldn't figure this out? What is going on over there?
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #41 on: October 25, 2020, 01:40:00 pm »
    Well, ACX could be collapsing without them going under financially or without Audible going out of business. But Audible did hire and fire a CEO since March. And they haven't replaced him as far as I know.

    ACX kept telling me that the delay was caused by an unexpected large number of submissions in January. They said they suddenly got thousands of submissions when they used to get hundreds. But this is an incredible basic business problem to solve. You don't have to be Amazon to know that you expand your employee base, if only temporarily, and inform your customers or clients of the incident to adjust their expectations and not create bad relations or a bad reputation.

    This is incredibly basic. Mom and pop shops know to do this. Yet, somehow ACX couldn't figure this out? What is going on over there?
    To be fair, what happened in January was more complicated than that. A certain individual taught a class on how to scam ACX through the codes. This is the reason we no longer get paid for the codes as well. What they were doing is putting up really bad products with really bad audio and then requesting up to 200 codes to make a profit. We're talking 15-page scamlets that they were producing in ten minutes and then profiting wildly from. The audio was often read by the author and was terrible. It didn't matter, though, because they were using the codes to make money on a product they essentially spent nothing on. This went on a few months until ACX yanked the money associated with the codes to stop the scam.
    Now, not to make excuses for ACX -- I'm not exactly happy with them and their return policy right now -- but they were inundated with titles thanks to this class and they've been trying to sort through them. They aren't using automation to sort through them because they're trying to weed out the scamlets. It still shouldn't have taken anywhere near this long by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn't just a thousand titles they weren't expecting. It was a massive scam effort.

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    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #42 on: October 25, 2020, 02:04:55 pm »
    Sucks that such a stupid, short-term con has had such a long-term snowball effect on real authors.

    Offline MMSN

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #43 on: October 25, 2020, 02:46:08 pm »
    Amanda --Has Audible's return policy changed?

    I see many listeners' posts on Facebook where they brag about returning an audiobook after they listen to it, in order to get another one. When Audible finally does cut them off, they just call customer service and customer service reinstates them and they keep right on going. They say it is their right to do this because they pay subscription money every month and Amazon is so big Amazon can afford it. When confronted with "It's the author and the narrator who get stiffed," they either don't respond or say they don't care.

    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #44 on: October 25, 2020, 04:04:07 pm »
    To be fair, what happened in January was more complicated than that. A certain individual taught a class on how to scam ACX through the codes. This is the reason we no longer get paid for the codes as well. What they were doing is putting up really bad products with really bad audio and then requesting up to 200 codes to make a profit.

    I remember that issue because I got my account frozen for 3 months because of it. But it feels like that is a separate issue. I got the impression from Customer Service that by December the scammers were weeded out. So, even if they were to get an influx of new scammer accounts, why would that freeze work on established, or already-reviewed accounts?

    If they chose to mix in submissions from new (possible scammer) accounts and established (already reviewed) accounts and then slowed production on all of them, then they're idiots. That would be the only way of describing such a brain dead move. Especially when doing that resulted in 7 month review times for books on established accounts with well established narrators.

    And, why wouldn't they communicate anything at all to producers?

    Ya know, with that account freezing situation, they froze my account but didn't tell me. So, I ended up submitting 2 additional audiobooks and didn't find out that my account was frozen until 3 weeks after my requested delivery date had passed. They then couldn't tell me when my 2 books would be released and couldn't release the books from their exclusive contract.

    They then told me that I would be emailed when my account was unfrozen and didn't do that either. I had to find out by randomly calling them.

    So, it's not dealing with scammers that has caused this caos. They are just a poorly run company. Which makes me again ask the question, are they now just collapsing under their own ineptitude?
    « Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 04:22:10 pm by Alex Anders »
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #45 on: October 25, 2020, 05:16:51 pm »
    I remember that issue because I got my account frozen for 3 months because of it. But it feels like that is a separate issue. I got the impression from Customer Service that by December the scammers were weeded out. So, even if they were to get an influx of new scammer accounts, why would that freeze work on established, or already-reviewed accounts?

    If they chose to mix in submissions from new (possible scammer) accounts and established (already reviewed) accounts and then slowed production on all of them, then they're idiots. That would be the only way of describing such a brain dead move. Especially when doing that resulted in 7 month review times for books on established accounts with well established narrators.

    And, why wouldn't they communicate anything at all to producers?

    Ya know, with that account freezing situation, they froze my account but didn't tell me. So, I ended up submitting 2 additional audiobooks and didn't find out that my account was frozen until 3 weeks after my requested delivery date had passed. They then couldn't tell me when my 2 books would be released and couldn't release the books from their exclusive contract.

    They then told me that I would be emailed when my account was unfrozen and didn't do that either. I had to find out by randomly calling them.

    So, it's not dealing with scammers that has caused this caos. They are just a poorly run company. Which makes me again ask the question, are they now just collapsing under their own ineptitude?
    I'm saying what I've talked to them about on the phone. I can only report what I was told. I tend to believe what they told me.

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    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #46 on: October 25, 2020, 06:14:35 pm »
    I'm saying what I've talked to them about on the phone. I can only report what I was told. I tend to believe what they told me.
    I appreciate your insight. I can believe them too.

    But then it just shows how poorly the company is run. Because they didn't separate out books published by the publishers they cleared after spending 3 months investigating them. And they refused to communicate anything to the producers being effected by it. There is no excuse for robbing "business partners" from being able to make informed production decisions when they had the information all along.
    « Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 03:05:03 pm by Alex Anders »
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    Offline Alex Anders

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #47 on: October 27, 2020, 02:55:30 pm »
    I HAVE NEWS!!!

    I just got off of a call with a supervisor at ACX. He confirmed what Amanda suggested, although he said that it wasn't just the scammers. The scammer submissions were just making their life harder.

    But, he informed me that, as of last week, they have put a procedure in place where if your book is still stuck or if you submit a book and it exceeds 30 days, you can call them and it will be moved to the front of the line and should be completed within 3 days. If it doesn't get completed within 3 days, they want you to call them right back so someone can personally check on it.

    I was also told that all ACX users should be getting a long overdue State of the Union email within the next 7 days which will go through what has been going on and why they have made my production life as well as everyone else's production life hell.

    More than that, they confirmed that the audio review team had an algorithm to determine which books got priority. So, there were 2 piles, the ones from earlier in the year and the ones on the back of the line. So, there was a slush pile they were slowly working their way through and there were recent submissions that met certain criteria.

    Finally, it turns out that it was corporate's decision not to communicate anything. Although staff members were constantly pushing for the company to communicate directly with producers, corporate thought it was better to keep everyone in the dark.

    But, the most important thing is that they now have a procedure in place for books that exceed 30 days. And, supposedly, we can trust that what happened this year (and last year) won't happen again.
    « Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 03:04:10 pm by Alex Anders »
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    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #48 on: October 27, 2020, 03:29:42 pm »
    Quote
    the audio review team had an algorithm to determine which books got priority.
       

    Quote
    Although staff members were constantly pushing for the company to communicate directly with producers, corporate thought it was better to keep everyone in the dark.
       

    No comment necessary.   

    Offline MMSN

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    Re: Are we sure that Audible isn't collapsing?
    « Reply #49 on: October 27, 2020, 06:14:16 pm »
    Alex--thanks for posting. I have a book I submitted on Oct 5, so it's good to hear I'll have some recourse if it doesn't get responded to.

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