Right now, with Audible actively seeking to claw back royalties from authors with their returns policy even after a year past the sale, ACX is not the place to distribute your audiobook. (Yes, they made a “concession” but it does not start until January, and there is no guarantee they will honor their word). And with the recent ACX emails (which may or may not be an attempt to strong arm and shut up angry indie authors) threatening to yank books from sale and close accounts due to sudden “fraudulent transactions” it has become clear that it is time for authors to leave ACX behind.
Now this may not be possible for everyone due to their exclusive contracts. If you are in an exclusive royalty share contract you may be stuck in ACX until its done. However, if you are not in a royalty share and wish to get out of any exclusive contract you may request to do so after one year and switch to a non-exclusive contract (for less royalties). You can then distribute to other retailers. (This is what I’ve decided to do; I’ll keep you updated on how it goes and how long it takes to go from exclusive to non-exclusive).
If you have not yet used ACX, congratulations. Avoid it like the plague. Your best bet these days is Findaway Voices. Especially if you are wide. Both Smashwords and Draft2Digital have agreements with Findaway Voices, and, at least with D2D, the setup fee is waved if you go through your ebook distributor to create your audiobook. They also distribute to Chirp, BookBub’s new audiobook arm.
Here is a link for a quick overview of what they offer: https://findawayvoices.com/selling-audiobooks/
And they also have a helpful tool to help you figure out costs: https://findawayvoices.com/pricing/
In addition they do have a type of royalty share, called Voices Share, although you do still pay 50% of the costs up front. See this page for details: https://findawayvoices.com/creating-audiobooks/
Now a new audiobook alternative has popped up recently and that is BookFunnel. This is not for audiobook creation, but it is an interesting alternative for anyone looking to distribute directly, but unsure about the process of setting up a store on their website. It is currently in beta testing and available only to those on the Mid-List plan or higher, but if you had been considering direct audiobook sales it is something to ponder.
You can check out their blog post here: https://blog.bookfunnel.com/2020/the-bookfunnel-of-audiobooks/
There is another audiobook distribution network called Author’s Republic. I don’t know much about them, but you can check out their site here: https://www.authorsrepublic.com/