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/
Back to the Fluffy and Fluffernutter saga this week with two more stories. Enjoy.
Preparing for Guests
“Fluffy likes cranberry sauce?” Frankie looked at me with wide eyes.
“I think so. At least his little paws and mouth were covered in the sticky stuff and the sample bowl I had in the kitchen was turned over.”
“That’s so cool. Fluffernutter likes stuffing.” Frankie grinned.
Uh oh. Something was going on in his head. That was never good.
“You know what that means don’t you?”
I was almost afraid to ask. “What?”
“Two more places at the table for the holidays!”
Well, that didn’t sound too bad. Then I looked at Fluffy. I swear that guinea pig smiled.
Lying in the hospital bed, I stared at the ceiling. I didn’t blame the docs in emergency for ordering a psych evaluation. Between Frankie’s rambling and the truth, we must’ve seemed crazy.
I can’t imagine too many people come in after being attacked by a cat.
I sighed. Twenty seven slashes and ten bite marks; Frankie was even worse. They ran through two stim healers fixing us up.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know how the super charged catnip got in Fluffernutter’s gravy. The poor thing went berserk.”
Oh, I knew.
Fluffy, Fluffy, what am I going to do with you?
Today is going to be an angry post, because there is something going on in the indie world that is currently unacceptable and coming very close to royalty fraud (well, allegedly, so I won’t get sued). I am here to talk to readers that favour audiobooks about Audible’s new return policy. And make no mistake this is a RETURN policy, not the “exchange” that Audible is currently and actively promoting.
And this is the problem.
When you return an audible audiobook, you are not just “exchanging” the book you read for a new one. You are remitting that first sale, and buying another book with your credit. So what does that mean to the authors and narrators trying to make back the hundreds of dollars in costs they invested in the creation of that audiobook?
It means they don’t get paid for their hard work.
Because this is what happens when you, the reader, “exchanges” a book: Audible takes back the royalty it paid us (which is 40% if you are exclusive with them, less if you are not). That means for every return we owe them money. And the kicker is they still have their 60% of that sale/membership fees lining their pockets. What’s worse, this return policy is valid on a purchase for a full year!
Now does this mean you should never return Audible audiobooks? No, of course not. If there is a legitimate reason for the return such as you didn’t like the book, it wasn’t what you thought, the narrator annoyed you, etc. then by all means, return it. That is your right as a consumer. But please, please DO NOT return an audiobook just to get another free book (as tempting as that may be). If you do, you increase the chances the author of that returned audiobook will not be able to AFFORD to make more audiobooks.
Authors and narrators deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Please do not support this policy that is taking royalties away from creators.
For more information, and a better explanation check out Writer Beware: https://accrispin.blogspot.com/2020/11/audiblegate-how-audible-acx-returns.html
Or check out this wonderful video:
There is also a petition you can sign to protest this policy: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-our-letter-and-tell-audible-to-stop-charging-authors-for-returns
UPDATE: ACX (the audiobook creation/distribution arm of Audible/Amazon) has sent out a statement saying they will now honour author royalties on returns after 7 days. Meaning authors will get paid on any audiobooks returned after a week’s time. Now this is encouraging, but it still remains to be seen if they will follow through on this, or delay it, or obfuscate on this change in Audible’s ridiculous return policy. And this does not mitigate the fact Audible is still implementing this policy and messing with an author’s right of sale (not right of lending or exchanging). Too many companies are currently trying to mess with author agreements and contracts to get out of paying us for our hard work. Short term it hurts the author’s ability to earn money and publish. Long term it will drive writers away from publishing. Speak up and voice your opinion. Save the future of books.
Here is the full statement of ACX: https://blog.acx.com/author/theacxteam/
And another video about the update
I know I’ve neglected Drabble Wednesday, and it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted, but my schedule has been tight. I’ve launched the new Camelot Immortals series, and with marketing the first book, Past Legends, plus hosting panels for LitCon and writing book four in the new series for NaNoWriMo I haven’t had a lot of extra time. And that doesn’t even include regular life things, like getting a new modem installed and the winter car maintenance.
But you are getting one installment this week in the Fluffernutter vs. Fluffy saga, and hopefully back to full production in December. So enjoy.
And here’s the start of the story if you need to refresh your memory: The Saga Of Fluffernutter and Fluffy
Who is Fluffy?
“At least he’s eating again.” Frankie walked in and flopped down in his chair. “Poor Fluffernutter. I still can’t figure out how the accident happened.”
“Accident, yeah,” I mumbled. “It was just an accident.” I glanced over at Fluffy. He lay in his box, on his back, waving his paws in the air.
“He’s sad and listless,” Frankie rambled. “He didn’t even hiss at me.”
“Yeah, it’s tragic.” I chewed my lip, still staring at Fluffy. “Um, where did you get the guinea pig?”
“Fluffy? I bought him from some laboratory. I think they used him as a test animal.”
Here is my annual poem for Remembrance Day.
The Path Forgotten
After the gentle rain
along the petrichor earth
Against the beaten sun
rising past the mountain,
on the winding trail
you find your way
in time with the wind
that sing in your heart
for one last look
that never came,
before you walked
the long road home
Amongst the echoes
and your death
on the French battlefields…
after the gentle rain
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