ACX stands for audiobook creation exchange. This is the audiobook self-publishing platform for Amazon. This gets your audiobook out to Audible, Amazon, and Apple.
ACX, much like other Amazon Self-Publishing programs, incentivizes exclusivity. While it isn’t the same as Kindle Select with special deals and promotions if you are exclusive with ACX you get a higher royalty rate on your books. You get a 40% royalty on your audiobook if you are exclusive, compared to 25% if you are not exclusive. (Also, 40% is still a crappy royalty rate, but that’s not why we are here today). So the difference in royalty rates is pretty tempting to go exclusive.
So, why would I ever want to do that? Well, for starters, you may want your audiobook available on Google Play, or Audiobooks.com, or through a library, or anywhere that isn’t Amazon, Audible or Apple. Or you may be boiling mad with Audible and their policies.
This leads us to Audiblegate. For years Audible has been advertising their subscription to avid readers and listeners. One of their many listed benefits is that you can use your monthly credits that you get from this subscription to listen to any audiobook in their catalog. If you don’t like the book for whatever reason you can return it, no questions asked, so you can listen to another book. Sounds like a reasonable enough benefit. Especially if you as the listener clicked to listen to a sample and accidentally redeemed your credit. Or you thought you were getting a book about vampires, but instead you got a nature book about Transylvania. I don’t know, there are a lot of legitimate reasons a listener may want to return an audiobook. But, what Audible was doing was telling their subscribers to return all of their audiobooks to re-use their credits. So they listened to the audiobook, they liked it enough to finish it, and then when the subscriber wanted to cancel with Audible because the monthly cost was a little high, Audible was instructing them to redeem all the credits from the past year to get a whole year’s worth of books. Which makes them like a library. Only instead of paying authors with a library model, they counted every one of those returns as a ding against the author and processed a negative royalty against the author. That’s right. They told customers to return books and then went to the author and said, “this book was returned so that pitiful $4 you got months ago with our 40% royalty, you have to give that back.”
Again, I’m linking you to information, you can learn all about these shenanigans through Susan May’s Fair Deal for Authors and Narrators Facebook group and the Audiblegate website.
You can ask after 90 days. So here is how you can get your audiobook out of an exclusive contract so you can get paid for your hard work and IP on other platforms.
I’m going to show you the exact process I just went through to get my own book out of an exclusive contract.
For books where you bring the files, either because you self-narrated or you paid a narrator upfront, you can make this ask after 90 days.
To make this request you need to first ensure your book has been on ACX for more than 90 days. Check!
Next, you need to go to their “Contact Us” page and select the exact issue. They make it easy.
“Other” “Change Distribution”
You input the details for the book. I include the ASIN as well as the Audible link to the book.
Music from: https://www.bensound.com/ E.R.F.
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