If you have a few thousand dollars of disposable income lying around, then you have the option of getting your audiobook made right away with a good portion of the narrators on ACX. Since most people don’t have the luxury of bonus cash lying around, many authors will get involved in ACX’s Royalty Share program. Royalty share allows you create an audiobook without any upfront costs as long as you agree to split the royalties 50/50 with your narrator. While this is the perfect solution for many authors, you can’t just post your book and hope for the best.
Narrators who get involved with the royalty share program take a risk on every book they agree to narrate. The kind of narrators you want to work with earn between $150 and $400 per hour for their work. These hard-working individuals, who take their craft as seriously as you take your books, aren’t going to join your project unless they trust they can get a positive return on investment. Because narrators are going to be picky, you need to take extra care to make sure your work looks like it’s worth the effort on their part.
Here are four things you can do to make sure your books look like they’re up to snuff on ACX:
1. Get 50-100 Reviews
We’ve talked a lot about reviews on the Author Marketing Institute from a customer perspective. If a reader is choosing between two books of equal quality, he’s more likely to pick the one with better reviews. When the two books have the same review rating, he’ll probably pick the one with a higher number of opinions. The same decision process occurs among narrators too.
A narrator is more likely to pick up your book if you have more reviews. If you don’t have a large mailing list and can’t get many reviews from your current followers, you can use services like StoryCartel or tools like Author Marketing Club’s Reviewer Grabber to give your numbers a shot in the arm.
2. Beef Up Your Blurb
Narrators want to know that they’ll have a good time working on your book. If you’ve thrown up a short and boring synopsis of your fiction or non-fiction work, then you’re going to turn a lot of narrators off. You need to channel your inner Don Draper and describe your book in a compelling way.
For fiction, start with your protagonist and explain the stakes of your character’s journey. Tapping into the emotions of that character’s circumstances will work much better than a paint-by-numbers synopsis. With non-fiction, begin with the theme of the book and discuss the problems your work will solve. Use colorful adjectives and compare your book to similar works in your genre. When all else fails, find the top-selling book in your genre and use a similar style to ensure your description will be a winner.
3. A Cover That Fits the Genre
Narrators who specialize in sci-fi, romance, or another specific genre are unlikely to work on a project that has a crappy cover. Even if you have a strong cover, a narrator may pass on your book if it has a cover that’s not appropriate for your genre. An alien sci-fi book will likely have outer space, a black and green color scheme, and a creepy font. Romance will have a hunky shirtless dude and an attractive lady. While you want your cover to stand out and be a work of art, you need it to fit within your genre.
Check out the covers of the top-selling books in your genre. Take notes as to what traits they have in common. Share those notes with your cover designer. When you’re commissioning your cover, make sure to request a square Audible cover, as well as the traditional ebook and paperback covers.
4. High Sales Rank
Sales rank probably doesn’t sell you more books unless you’re highly ranked in a category or if you find yourself in the Amazon Top 100. When you’re looking to get a narrator to audition for your project, however, a better sales rank could make all the difference. Narrators on the royalty share deal want to know that your book has high earnings potential. If your book is languishing in the hundred thousands, then narrators might not think it’s worth their effort.
It’s smart to wait to post your ACX listing until after a promo or during a high sales period. That way, narrators can see that your book has the ability to rank well and stay at that ranking.
Giving Narrators What They Want
Like authors, narrators are trying to earn a living from what they love doing. They won’t just grab up audiobook projects all willy-nilly. They pick books with promise, and better reviews, blurbs, covers, and sales ranks will factor in mightily to their decision. As you improve these aspects of your book, you’ll find that not only will you get more auditions, but you’ll get a higher number of sales as well.