ACX is definitely legit and safe. It is probably the best website that offers jobs for audiobook narrators. However, the website could let you down if you are not aware of how some deals work here. Let’s look into it a bit in-depth.
What is ACX?
ACX stands for Audiobook Creation Exchange. It is a platform created for book owners and audiobooks narrators where narrators can audition for various book titles and writers can have their books recorded.
ACX is producing books for Audible which we know belongs to Amazon. That probably adds a bit of trustworthiness to the platform.
Writers will have their books listed and narrators can filter them using various filters such as payment method, fixed price cost, length, gender, language, age, etc.
From the narrator’s perspective, ACX has many books to audition for. You are not limited to a few titles only, which is great because you can choose a book you like.
ACX offers three types of payment options. You are either getting a fixed payment, royalty shares or royalty shares plus.
Fixed price payment
Just as it sounds you will get a fixed payment for your work. It may be anywhere from $50 to $1000. Usually, it is closer to $50 than $1000.
With royalty shares, you are splitting royalties with book owners. You get 50% of royalties, another 50% goes to book owner. Royalty is going to be 40% of a sale. Which means from 10$ audiobook you are getting 20% and that is 2$.
Royalty shares plus
Royalty shares plus offers a combination of fixed price payment and royalty shares. You will be getting a fixed payment and also you will be getting a share of royalties.
What does per finished hour mean?
With fixed price payment and royalty shares plus options, you are going to get a fixed payment per finished hour.
A finished hour is an hour of a finished product. That is not a time you dedicated to narrating the audiobook, but a length of a finished product.
Usually, it takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to produce an hour of a finished product. Let’s say it is 6 hours on average. That means if you are getting paid a minimum of $50 per finished hour, you are getting slightly more than $8 per hour.
How much audiobook narrators earn on ACX.com?
Probably one of the most important questions is how much do narrators get paid on ACX platform. And the answer is as always – it depends.
We still want the answer so let’s do the calculation. It is impossible to estimate how much people are earning with royalty shares, so, for now, we are going to stick with fixed payment option only.
Average fixed payment
At the time of writing, there are 320 titles to audition for that offer fixed payment.
Out of these 320 titles majority of them, a total of 285 offer $50-100 payment per finished hour. We will average it to $75.
29 titles offer $100-200 per finished hour. An average is $150.
7 titles offer $200-400 per finished hour. An average is $300.
And no one is offering $400-1000 per finished hour.
The math is simple here (285×75+29×150+7×300)/320 = $87
The average pay per hour of a finished product on ACX currently is $87. If it takes 6 hours to produce an hour of a finished product, that is a payment of $14.5 per hour.
Obviously, the number varies depending on the day, but that is a rough estimation of how much audiobook narrators earn, which does not include royalty shares.
How to get paid with Royalty shares on ACX?
Royalty shares are a bit more nuanced than fixed payment option. It is more of a hit or miss thing with royalties.
You can either earn much more than any fixed payment or, and this is more likely, you can learn nothing or close to nothing for all the work that you have put in.
Whether you are earning or not depends not solely on you. A bigger factor is whether the book you are narrating is any good. Also, it will depend if the author is promoting the book.
You, as a narrator, can also help in the promotion process and that could help with the sales. Making a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post could help with a few sales.
If you have a huge following on any social platforms you can use it to your advantage. It all depends on how many people you can reach and whether the book you narrated is relevant to them.
Research book author
It is important before accepting the royalty share deal to research the book author.
Check whether the author has any other published books and how they have done. Did he/she sell any of them? Look at the reviews, if there are plenty of reviews it means the book was selling.
Fewer reviews will mean that previous books were duds. If so, chances are that the one you are narrating is not going to be good either, hence no sales.
Also, if the book you are going to narrate is not just recently published you can check how it is doing in terms of sales. It would give you a good representation of how many audiobooks you can expect to sell.
The longer the book has been published the better. If it has been out there for a long time you can get a more accurate guess of how well the audiobook is going to sell.
Check Amazon Bestsellers Rank
Amazon sales rank will tell you how the book you are planning to narrate compares to other books in sales. If you are choosing royalty shares you WANT to check this rank. It will approximately tell you how the audiobook is going to do in sales.
The lower the rank the better, here is a reference on what is a good rank on Amazon:
<100 Unicorns. You won’t see too many of these if any at all.
100 – 1000 Don’t think about it, start auditioning. This is a great opportunity.
1000 – 10 000 Still an amazing range. You should be auditioning for these. Probably going to sell a lot.
10 000 – 50 000 You can still find great books in this range. They will sell. Maybe not a lot, but these aren’t duds.
50 000 – 100 000 You can expect it to make some sales, but it won’t be a significant income. This is a risky zone. If you are starting, it could be your chance.
>100 000 Maybe a few sales. But you are working for pennies here.
Keep in mind that sales rank changes and could be affected by its promotion. If the book author is currently promoting it could temporarily increase its ranking.
The longer the book has been published the better chances that the ranking is accurate.
How does ACX compare to other platforms?
I don’t know of any other websites that are dedicated to audiobook narrations. ACX almost has no competition in this niche.
Some websites offer jobs for voice-over artists, but ACX is the only one to my knowledge that is dedicated to audiobook narrations.
Also, many of the other platforms that offer voice over jobs will ask you to pay subscription fees or charge you per audition.
ACX, on the other hand, is great because it doesn’t charge you anything. Well, at least not until you start earning money with royalty shares of which it takes a huge cut.
Nevertheless, if you are new to the voice-over industry it is great. It means you can practice voice acting without paying subscription fees.
If you are a more established voice over artist it may make more sense to look for voice over jobs on other platforms. But that is still iffy because if you are just into audiobook narrations then there are not many audiobook narration jobs on other platforms.
I will plug another article I wrote and tell you that if you want to check other websites offering voice over jobs here is an article about the best websites offering voice over jobs: https://voiceovertip.com/best-websites-for-voice-over-jobs/
ACX may not be the most lucrative platform to earn money. The average pay here is not so good. But as with all things, if you are good at what you are doing, you can start getting paid more than an average narrator.
Royalty shares have a chance to earn you a lot of money. It also has a very good chance to earn you nothing at all. To get the best of it, you need to be smart about selecting books that you are going to narrate.
The competition for ACX is almost non-existent. I would like to see more competition, but it is how it is.
For me, the best thing about ACX is how easy it is to set it up and audition, all for free.