A Step-By-Step Guide To Making An Audio Book Using ACX

making an audio book

Making an audio book using Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) is a great way to stand out in a competitive market. Offering eBooks, audio books, and physical books boosts your professional image and increases your sales opportunities.

This post originally appeared on Mike Fishbein’s blog. Reprinted with permission.

With the growth of independent and self publishing, the eBook market is getting more crowded by the day which makes it increasingly difficult to stand out. However good your book is, there are a lot of fish in the pond to compete with.

One solution to drawing a wider audience is to turn your written work into an audio book. I’ve been able to tap into a whole new audience on Audible who otherwise may never even have heard of me, which adds variety to my product offering and boosts the professional image of my book pages. Plus, I reach more people than ever and I serve a whole new sector of potential customers who prefer listening to audio over reading.

On top of all that, you get a $50 bounty from Amazon if yours is the first audio book an AudibleListener member buys. I’ve sold over 3,000 audio books and have earned over 30 bounties.

ACX_LogoIn this post, I’ll walk you through the whole process of how to make an audio book using ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange), Amazon’s “marketplace where authors, literary agents, and publishers can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other Producers capable of producing a finished audio book.” I’ve captured and detailed every step involved from converting your book to auditioning and working with the best narrator for the job. Log in to ACX now and follow along as you read.

Step 1: Go to ACX.com

Log in or sign up at ACX.com and enter your book title, ISBN, or author name. Amazon will then search Amazon.com for rights you might have using your name.

If this is your first audio book or even if you have created a few already, ACX provides some very helpful guidelines to get you started. Read them to get an idea of the process.

01 ACX Process

Step 2: Select your book

Select the book you’d like to turn into an audio book.

02 Search

Step 3: Choose a narration option

Choose whether you are looking for a narrator, already have audio of your book and just wish to sell it, or if you will provide narration and will be uploading later. I outsource my production, so I select the first option.

03 Narration

Step 4: Terms

Read through ACX’s book posting agreement carefully before continuing. Each time you turn a book into an audio book using ACX, you enter into a separate agreement.

04 Terms

Step 5: Book description

Provide potential buyers with information about your book, giving them a sense of the content. My advice is to use your Amazon book description for this.

05 Description

Step 6: Copyright information

Confirm that you are the copyright owner for your original book as well as for your audio book.

06 Copyright

Step 7: Category

Indicate whether your book is fiction or nonfiction and then select the category most suited to your book.

07 Category

Step 8: Narrator voice

If you are outsourcing the narration, here is where you specify what type of narrator voice you want. Give careful consideration to tone, accent, and gender as this will influence how readers interpret your message. For my business books, I tend to stick to the specifications below.

08 Voice

Step 9: Additional comments

Add information that will give your potential narrator a clear picture of who you are and any accolades you or your book have received, the value of your book, and who your target reader is. Get narrators excited to collaborate with you!


Step 10: Your audition script

Either type in or upload a narrator audition script to help you choose the best fit for your book. Do you want to hear how well they tell stories? How captivatingly they retell facts or data? Can they get your unique sense of humor across? Choose a script that exemplifies your book and one that will give you a good sense of the narrator’s scope.

If you prefer to upload your script, make sure it is in either Word, PDF, or TXT format.

10 Audition

Step 11: Your book’s word count

Enter the word count for your finished script.

11 Word Count

Step 12: Specify your territory rights

Define your territory rights. Unless you have a limitation on where your book is allowed rights, select “World.” Choosing this means you have permission to sell your audio book in every country.

12 Territory Rights

Step 13: Payment method

Select how you wish to pay your ACX narrator. You can choose either a revenue share model or a per-hour production fee. If you are unsure which one you want, select both and make a final decision once you have secured a suitable narrator.

13 Payment

Step 14: Sell exclusively at Audible?

Choose between exclusive or non-exclusive distribution. I prefer the exclusive option with the higher royalty percentage – and I prefer to have my audio books sold in one place.

14 Distribution

Step 15: Review and post

Post your audition script to ACX so narrators can pick up your script and start auditioning for your audio book. The sooner you do this, the better!

15 Post to ACX

Step 16: Review auditions

This is the fun part. As narrators audition for your audio book, you will receive an email notification. I usually wait five days to let them come in. If you have a specific narrator in mind, you can invite them to audition for your book.

To listen to the auditions, log in to your ACX profile and click “new auditions’ in the top menu bar. You will find all the auditions you haven’t listened to yet in the right sidebar. The listening process is simple on ACX. Click on the play button to listen to the audition and then click either “like” or “dislike” depending on your preference.

16 Auditions

Step 17: Set your schedule

Once you have decided which narrator you want to use, and alerted them, set your schedule to indicate what timeframe they have to work within. This must include edits and correction time.

17 Schedule

Step 18: Choose a payment method

This is where you decide whether to choose a royalty share or pay for production method. If you were previously unsure and selected both, this is when you will need to make your decision. Discuss it with your narrator to see what suits both of you best. If you’re paying, you have to coordinate with your narrator and most likely pay via PayPal. If you select the royalty share option, ACX will handle it.

18 Payment

Step 19: Make an offer

Before you send your payment proposal off, click “preview” to check it’s correct. Once you are happy with your payment proposal, click “send offer” to send it off to your narrator.

19 Send Offer

20 Production

Step 20: Send your narrator the manuscript

Once your narrator has accepted your offer, the first step in your collaboration is to send them the manuscript for your audio book. Click “In Production projects” to bring up the tab below. Here you can select the manuscript you wish to send your narrator. Click on the title and then click “Browse” to upload your Word, PDF, or TXT document. Your manuscript has been sent to your narrator! Now you need to wait for them to review it and record the first 15 minutes, which they will then upload for your approval.

21 Send Manuscript

Step 21: Review and approve the first 15 minutes

When your narrator has recorded and posted the first 15 minutes of your audio book as a sample for you to listen to, you will receive an email notification. Click “Play” to listen to the recording and select “Approve” if you are happy with it. If you have comments or concerns, click “Send Message” to contact your narrator.

Once you have listened to the recording and clicked “Approve,” sit back and relax. You will need to wait for your narrator to finish recording the rest of your audio book. You can check the “Produce audio book” tab to see if any files have been uploaded.

22 15 Minutes

Step 22: Create and upload your cover

While you are waiting for your narrator to finish recording your book, you can create your audio book cover. The image and technical requirements can be seen here.

23 Cover Art

Step 23: Final review

You will receive an email notification when your audiobook is ready for a final review. Click on the link to open it up. Listen to each chapter separately by pressing the play button on the track you want to hear. If you’re not quite satisfied with it yet, you can request more changes from your narrator. If it’s ready, click “Approve Audiobook.”

24 Approve

Step 24: Wait for the quality assurance checks

Once you have approved the audio, you will receive an email that clearly lays out what the next steps will be. You just have to confirm your bank information and wait.

25 QA

Your audio book is live!

A week or two after you approve, you will get an email confirming that your audiobook is now live on Amazon and Audible! Once live, I make it a habit to regularly my dashboard to see how sales are doing.

Audio books image via ShutterStock.com.


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  1. Nice overview, just one question that others may (or may not) have: what if you want to do the narration yourself? What kind of process would follow if you click the “will provide later” option?

    • Hello, I am going to start making my series of childerens audio book called “Follwing the fairies” I have done quite a bit of research and I know someone making his own audiobook now. From my research the most important factor is the room you record in. Prefer to record in a damped room with minimum reflections of the sound on walls because that sound will be recorded too. You can try to find a spot in the room and listen to see if there is boominess or echo tail sound when you talk. Stay away from that. Hehe! You can get decent microphones from 200 $, you can use ur pc’s soundcard or purchase an audio interface from anout 80$, or get a usb microphone. Download audacity for free, record from about 15 – 25 cm away from the Mic. Adjust the input level to be not too high or the sound will distort nor too low because the voice will sound far in the room. Do some tests and see where it sounds better. Focus on a clean narration with emotion. Dont worry about mistakes, make a signal like clapping your hands close the microphone when you make a mistake so an audio editor can remove it. Find an audio producer with good rates to edit remove mistakes, uumhas, ahhs, plosives etc and enhance the sound and make it sound great. If you are going to hire an audio producer to edit, he will probably guild you and help with the recording process so you can make it as good as possible. That is what i am going to do. Cheers!

  2. Thank you, Michael, for outlining all these steps. So helpful!

    I am left with the question: who does the edits of the narration? Is the assumption that the narrator also has technical skills to engineer the recording? In my case, the audio version of my forthcoming novel will be a long one (500+ pages), which requires a lot of time and inevitably will need audio editing–cannot expect a narrator to breeze through with no need for retakes etc. What about that technical aspect of creating the audiobook?


    • Hello! A friend of mine is making a audiobook now and I am following the process because I’m planning on launching a series of childerens audio books. The best way is to follow some simple teqniques to record the best possible sound with your equipment and then let someone who knows how to edit and produce audio do the rest for you. You can find very good rates online without having to pay a fortune to get your audiobook ready. They can also help you record the best quality basec on what you have. http://www.e-AudioProductions.com are said to great rates, then there is http://www.AudioBag.com also that are good maybe with a bit hi the rates. You have nothing to lose to ask them for a quote.

  3. Re points 10 and eleven, apparently anyone seeking to have his/her book published in audiobook form has to write it all over in script form. Is this correct? Is there a service where this can be done?


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