ACX drops royalty rate


acxFor those of you who have created audio books with Amazon’s audio division ACX (or are thinking of doing so), you may have heard that ACX made a rather unwelcome announcement today: royalty rates–which had been a generous 50% of sales with a potential to escalate up to 90% based on unit sales–will be reduced to a flat, non-escalating, 40% as of March 12, 2014. 

When you consider that many self-published authors choose to split royalties 50/50 rather than pay their narrators per hour, this means a rather uninspiring 20%…and, for many of us, the bulk of sales are from ACX’s aggressively discounted cross-platform sales (as low as $1.99), rather than the juicy full price ($19.95). Twenty-percent of $1.99? Er…okay.

Goldrush
Despite the bummer, there are two silver linings in the announcement:

  • Audio books created before March 12 will still retain the old royalty structure (presumably until the contract can be renegotiated in seven years). This is a bit of a no-brainer, since I believe they are legally obligated to abide by the terms of the contract.
  • (more interesting) Audio books started before March 12 will also retain the old royalty schema. The message here? If you were thinking of putting your book into audio, get busy! It’s more than possible to submit your book to ACX, accept auditions, pick a narrator, and agree to a contract (i.e., starting the audio book) before 3/12/14.

Be Prepared
Just some warnings, since there’s a deadline to get your project started: if you haven’t already claimed your title, make sure you’re claiming your Kindle version and not the paperback if you have it.

ACX’s search engine is really lousy and it’s easy to pick the paperback, which then has ramifications for rank, etc. And to change to the digital, you have to make a written request to ACX support and it takes a week to reverse. The foolproof way to find your books is by its ASIN, not your name or the book’s title.

You can read other tips about the process (and mistakes made) on my blog post from my first foray into audio books, Do You Hear What I Hear?

Summary
ACX remains an innovative way for busy authors to convert their work into the audio format and it’s how I’ve chosen to continue creating my audio books for the Marty Singer series (in fact, Blueblood just came out in audio this week!).

We’ll have to wait and see how professional narrators feel about this reduction, since the royalty escalation was especially attractive for narrators hoping to “invest” in a potentially lucrative author. But for now, ACX has soured the deal…a little.

Advertisements

Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Epublishing News
2 comments on “ACX drops royalty rate
  1. Though there’s huge ramifications that’ll come out of this, and both narrators and authors are understandably spooked (I am!), the immediate concern is exactly what you point out here :

    “(more interesting) Audio books started before March 12 will also retain the old royalty schema. The message here? If you were thinking of putting your book into audio, get busy! It’s more than possible to submit your book to ACX, accept auditions, pick a narrator, and agree to a contract (i.e., starting the audio book) before 3/12/14.”

    ie, get your book listed, get the 3 min audition, make the offer, and have it accepted, by the deadline change –

    It’s also interesting, and important Matthew, that the ACX post says,

    “If you make an offer before March 11 at 11:59PM ET, and that offer is accepted before it expires, your book will earn royalties beginning at 50%, escalating up to 90%. If your offer is not accepted, cancelled, or terminated at a later time, the new royalty rate will apply.”

    ie, make the offer before March 11, 1159pm ET, and make sure it’s accepted before the offer expires –

    So, for me, if I thought I was busy already… 😉

    Glad you posted this right away Matthew, very very important!

  2. Chazz says:

    Reblogged this on C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m and commented:
    Aw, crap. Thanks to Matthew for the tip. There are ways around it, but ACX still isn’t easily available to non-Americans. If you don’t already have that paperwork in play, it doesn’t matter anyway. Disappointing news.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Newsletter
Get a free Marty Singer short story when you sign up here. Just 1-2 emails per month: giveaways, contests, & new releases!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: