The Audiobook Process! Working with ACX on Cobwebs

Hello! Back in May, I alerted you that my first mystery, Cobwebs, was going to be an audiobook. My ACX adventure had begun. Today, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the process, and if you, or someone you know, is interested in having a book made into an audiobook, here’s how it works.

ACX is the audiobook arm of Amazon. If you have a book that is available for sale on Amazon, you can have an audiobook there as well, and Audible can be available for purchase along with your book. You should be able to access ACX from your author page, or by just putting acx into your search engine. However, accessing through the Amazon author page gives you immediate access without lots of other steps.

At the ACX site, you can pull up the book you want to create an audiobook for. Then you have to request auditions. For the auditions, you select portions of your book you would like to hear. I selected about ten portions of scenes, primarily to give me an idea how the auditioning narrator/producer would portray a character. Most included dialogue, but a few did not, as I wanted to see how my protagonist would sound. Then you upload those selections as reading files for potential narrators to use in their audition.

Reagan Boggs, a Tennessee singer/songwriter, was one of several people who auditioned for Cobwebs within four days! Her voice sounded perfect for my main character, Jamie Aldrich, late 30s. Plus, there was the added benefit that she can sing, and Cobwebs includes several passages where the characters sing, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “And the Band Played On.” Her renditions of these passages was right on target. Better yet, her portrayal of Jamie in the tense, scary scenes gave me the chills!

I selected Reagan as my narrator/producer, offering her no money up front, but a 50/50 split of the royalties once the audiobook was completed and offered for sale.

Then, Reagan took over. She read and recorded the book, chapter by chapter. As each chapter was filed on ACX, I could access it and listen. Then, I would send a message to let her know if anything needed to be corrected. Occasionally, words or sentences were dropped, or a word mispronounced. Reagan immediately made the correction, and a new file was available to review.

An interesting sidenote: Oklahoma accents can be tricky! Northern Oklahomans from places like Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the setting, do not have a  strong Southern accent, only a bit of a drawl and the use of words like y’all or euphemisms from the region. So, I had to provide Reagan some tips on accents and pronunciations. For one thing, in Oklahoma, most of us who were born in the area, say the word Aunt as ANT. The pronunciation in the eastern US is ONT. Another example, the emphasis on syllable in words is often different in different parts of the country, and a few words were ‘off’ for many of the characters.

Reagan’s contract had a start and an end date, but it was up to the two of us to get the contract completed. While Reagan was reading and recording the book, I was tasked with getting cover art, and writing promotional material.

It all came together only a week ago, when I approved all of Reagan’s recordings and my Audible cover and information was accepted by ACX. Seven days later, the recording is now available on Audible.

In a few more days, it will be available on Amazon for purchase as a stand alone product.

The process was EASY. So many people are listening to books on tape as they drive, exercise or just go about life. It’s a wonderful way to get your writing heard by audiences of all ages. Go for it! Try ACX!

Cobwebs, written by Mary Coley, read by Reagan Boggs.  On Audible, and Amazon.

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