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Is Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX:) JUST ANOTHER WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING?

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson shares writers’ resources on her award-winning blog Sharing with Writers


My friends and fellow authors kept telling me, “You have such a pleasant speaking voice, why don’t you try making an audio version of one of your Tales2Inspire books. So during Covid, while isolating a lot and feeling a bit bored, I decided to give it a try.

Well first, of course, I had to purchase the proper equipment. You know, without getting too extravagant, I spent about $100 for a decent microphone and pop filter. (The latter is used to screen out some of those extraneous popping sounds caused by recording certain words, especially those starting with the letters p, t, k, b, d, g.  Try it yourself. Put a hand up over your mouth as you say words such as pain, kid, bag and you’ll feel the air that pops out of your mouth.) 

Next I moved on to the actual recording. 

I googled, 

How long does it take to record a book, and got the following answer:

It takes an average of 6.2 hours to create 1 hour of your finished audiobook. That includes narration, recording, and editing. 

And that’s for a professional producer – so if you’re a novice, narrating and producing your own audiobook, you can expect it to take a lot longer than that. Perhaps I recorded 3-5 finished pages per hour, and trust me that is a conservative estimate.  I was constantly listening, cutting, and rerecording. So let’s do a bit of math.Tales2Inspire ~ The Diamond Collection – Series V totals 238 pages. Listening time for this recording would total 5 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds, so let’s just round it off to 5 hours. Multiply that by the 6.2 hours it takes to produce each hour of finished product: (5 times 6.2 ) equals 31 hours of recording time to create this audio book. My guess is it took me a lot longer than that.Next I had to upload my files to ACX ( The ACX wheels spin as you upload each chapter individually. When you first upload your chapters,  some of them might be rejected = because the volume is too low, or perhaps because of extraneous noise as a ticking clock you fogot to remove from the room. When that happens, you will have to fine tune those audio files. (Luckily I have a  grandson who is tech savvy, so he did that work for me.)

I was required to format a new cover,  similar to the original, but in a square shape and informed  I needed to remove the Readers Favorite Award sticker I was so proud this book had been awarded.

The payoff must be in royalties, I thought.  Here’s the rub:  If I agree to an exclusive, I receive a 40% royalty, which totals $5.88 per audio book sale. (A non-exclusive yields even less – only 25%, a grand total of $2.99 per sale.)(Just as a side note, you should know that that’s well below the industry standard of 70% for other digital products like games or apps.)Authors are given a special link to promote their audio books so that if others order using that link, the author is rewarded. But in their own words, here is how:

“Every time someone signs up through your custom URL you get a $15 commission each month you hit the $30.00 payment threshold.” But what if you don’t meet that $30 threshold in a single month? I contacted [email protected] to ask that question. If i get an answer, I’ll let you know.
Is ACX being fair to us authors?  I googled this question and found an article written by best selling author, Brandon Sanderson, who thinks not and told how he fought back. You can read his article here:

Oh yes, one perk I was given was the option to create a PDF document to accompany my audio. I wrote a bit about the values of participating in Tales2Inspire, that it’s a free Authors Helping Authors project/contest rolled into one. It took me several hours to make the graphics, but I think they’re kind of eye catching and hope perhaps will garner me a sale or two. I pasted it below so my SharingwithWriters visitors and subscribers can see it.


Lois is an associate of TheNewBookReview, working with a passion to help other authors strengthen their visibility on this blog and elsewhere. Through her annual Tales2Inspire contest, a labor of love that has received worldwide recognition, she accepts entries from talented newbies and accomplished authors alike and continues to feature her winning authors on an ongoing basis. True to her ‘Authors Helping Authors’ philosophy, she charges no submission fee for folks to enter her contest. She receives no remuneration for any of her services, but hopes those who benefit from them will express their appreciation by purchasing Tales2Inspire anthologies and writing reviews. In her continuing spirit of “Authors Helping Authors,” Lois provides several tips on how authors can help promote themselves while writing honest reviews for others. To read her article, Be a Hero: Make Some Magic for YourselfCLICK HERE.

All details for submitting stories to her annual Tales2Inspire anthologies are detailed  HERE. To date, winning authors whose stories are published in Tales2Inspire anthologies come from across the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series ( ) of books for writers including “The Frugal Book Promoter” (, and “The Frugal Editor” both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are “How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically,” and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, “Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers” ( and “Great First Impression Book Proposals” ( are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. “The Frugal Editor “(, was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is “A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques” ( In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at She also blogs all things editing–grammar, formatting and more–at “The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor” ( Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for authors and retailers. She was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature and was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade. Learn more about her writer’s services at


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