Frequently Asked Questions


I’m a Rights Holder, how long should it take to produce my audiobook?

It typically takes 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the length of the book and the Producer’s schedule. When the Producer is done recording and editing the first fifteen minutes, they’ll upload it to ACX's secure website. The Rights Holder will then will need to approve the first fifteen minutes or request some revisions. Once the revised first fifteen minutes is approved, the Producer will complete the audiobook.

When done with recording, editing, and mastering, the Producer will upload each chapter of the audiobook to ACX's secure website. The Rights Holder then will need to approve the completed work, and can request two rounds of revisions. The audiobook Producer will consider the Rights Holder’s suggestions in good faith and make the requested changes, or, if needed, the Rights Holder and Producer can discuss the changes so that an agreement about what is best for the book can be reached. When everything is done, both parties will end up with a great, retail-ready audiobook.

The ACX Audiobook Production Standard Terms set forth in greater detail the process for obtaining a Rights Holder’s approval of the finished audiobook. Click here to see the ACX Audiobook Production Standard Terms.

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What does “cost per finished hour” mean?

Audiobook Producers are often paid based on the length of the completed book. It’s a method that helps everyone involved better estimate the project’s cost. For example, if a Rights Holder were instead to pay the Producer for the total number of hours worked on the project, they probably wouldn’t be able to get a good sense of what the final cost will be. In part because they might not know how many hours are actually put into the project, and in part because different Producers can work at very different paces. Paying per finished hour also encourages a Producer to prepare well and work efficiently, since they’ll get paid the same amount regardless of how long it takes to complete the job.

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How long does it usually take someone to produce 1 finished hour of an audiobook?

We have found that it generally takes a total of around 6.2 hours for a Producer to complete one hour of an audiobook.

Here’s how you get there:

  • It takes about two hours to narrate what will become one finished hour.
  • After the narration is recorded, it then takes an editor (who might be the same person as the narrator) about three hours to edit each finished hour of recording.
  • And then it’s a wise move—we might even say STRONGLY recommended—to run a quality control (QC) pass over the finished project. This means spending time re-listening and suggesting words, sentences, or sections to re-record. And that takes about 1.2 hours for every finished hour.
  • Tips on Audiobook Production for Producers:For detailed info on key steps, read the ACX Audio Submission Requirements.

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How does a Rights Holder send the book’s manuscript to the Producer?

There are several ways to do this. It’s considerate to ask what is the Producer’s preference.

Here are the methods ACX recommends (in the order we recommend them):

  1. Upload it to ACX. You may upload Word, PDF, and TXT files.
  2. Email a Word doc
  3. Email a PDF
  4. Scan the book and send it as a PDF
  5. Photocopy the book and print it out and mail it to the Producer
  6. Mail a copy of the book (the Rights Holder can always buy it online and have it shipped)

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How long should it take for a Producer to produce a 15minute sample of the book?

Usually it should take a day or two, once the Producer has gotten started. Rights Holders can specify a due date in your Offer to the Producer.

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Why do you have the Producer record the 15 minute sample?

We set up the process that way because we want all parties to agree on the project’s direction, and this provides a key check-in point. So having the Producer prepare and send 15 minutes for approval is a vital step in the production process for all ACX titles. Producers should take great care in preparing it, and Rights Holders should be meticulous about listening to it and requesting any adjustments or changes.

Tips about the first recording:If you’re a Rights Holder, please don’t assume that something you hear in the first fifteen minutes will simply be fixed in the final mix. Make sure these first minutes sound 100% right to you. And be sure to clearly communicate what you want and ask any questions you might have. Both parties should work together to make sure that they're on the same page.

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What should I do if I don’t like the 15 minute sample?

If you’re extremely unhappy with the narration, we recommend that you stop the project right then and there. Don’t approve the 15 minute sample. To see more information about the contractual obligations surrounding the approval of the first 15 minutes, read the Production Standard Terms

If you’re pleased with the work, but have a few suggestions or corrections, simply start a dialogue with the Producer. These professionals are generally eager to get feedback on their performance. On the off chance that they don’t like what you, as the author or Rights Holder, have to say about the narration, remember that they, too, can choose to walk away from the deal at this point. Most of the time, you’ll open up a good conversation and can work together to finish making a great audiobook.

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Should I add music to the audiobook?

We do not recommend adding music to any audiobook production. We’ve found that our customers don’t want music to interfere with an audiobook’s narration. Additionally, the process of licensing music can be complicated. Our Production Standard Terms require you to agree that “the sound recording in the Audiobook will be original and will not infringe upon or violate the rights of privacy, publicity, copyright or any other statutory or common law rights of any kind of any third party”. Unless you have obtained permission to use a piece of music, the use of non-original music could violate the Production Standard Terms. If you include original music in the recording, the Rights Holder may take ownership of your original music, since the Rights Holder owns the recording once it is finished.

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How do I pick a section to use as the retail sample on Audible?

The retail audio sample used on Audible and Amazon is a short preview of your audiobook. A great sample will show off your material and attract paying customers! (Note: iTunes automatically uses the first five minutes of the book as their sample.) To pick a strong sample, follow these guidelines:

  • Select a compelling excerpt that you feel will do a good job of selling the book.
  • The sample should be anywhere from one to five minutes long.
  • Consider using the book’s beginning as your sample. It’s often the best set-up, and might be the simplest, most effective way to intrigue a listener.
  • Do not include spoken information such as “introduction” or “chapter one.” Your sample should start directly with narration (not the title, credits, etc.). Check out a sample on Audible to see what we mean.
  • If the book is erotic, please do your best to choose a “clean” but romantic excerpt.

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Who uploads the audiobook to ACX? The Rights Holder or the Producer?

The Producer handles the uploading. If you’re the Rights Holder, you’ll be alerted once the audiobook has been uploaded. Listen to it from beginning to end, take notes of any mistakes or problems (and the time they occur), and send them to the Producer to have corrections made. Or, if the book is in great shape already, go ahead and approve it. After it’s approved—and the Producer is paid (if it’s a Pay For Production deal)—then the audiobook is delivered to retail.

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What format should I use when I upload my finished product?

192Kbps MP3 with each file containing only one chapter or section. Mono files are strongly preferred. Stereo files may be submitted but your audiobook may not contain both mono and stereo files. Stereo files must not be “joint stereo”.

For detailed instructions about uploading and other key processes, read the ACX Audio Submission Requirements.

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What if I’m not satisfied with the Producer’s finished product?

A Rights Holder can reject a completed audiobook that does not meet the standards set forth in the ACX Audio Submission Requirements. Even if the audiobook does meet all of the ACX rules and standards, the project can be canceled if the Rights Holder is unhappy. For full details of what may be required financially to cancel your contract, you should review your Production Standard Terms.

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