So, audiobooks and Audible have been having a big kerfluffle over Audiblegate, their return policy and the like. I’m not getting into that, you can do your own research.

Instead, I wanted to talk about Going Wide.

Very simply, going wide is removing yourself from exclusivity from ACX and promoting yourself on other platforms.

Why Exclusive on ACX

The simplest reason to stay exclusive on ACX is the HUGE royalty difference. You get 40% royalties if you are exclusive and 25% if you are not.

You’re also on one of the largest marketplaces (Audible) and, of course, iTunes as well. Both make up a significant % of the English language market. 

In addition, when you are exclusive, you get put on Audible’s sales more often (not always guaranteed). Which can be a HUGE difference, especially if they choose book 1 of a series. I know people who have sold thousands of books when this happens. And thousands even at $5 is a HUGE amount, especially if you have a series with good readthroughs.

So Why Non-Exclusive?

Firstly, getting put on Audible slaes only happen if you are selling really well already. If you aren’t, the vast majority of the time you will be ignored.

In addition, while Audible is a large % of the US (and UK) market, they are not the entire audiobook market. They are, last I heard, about 40% of the total market, with something like 70-80% of the US market.

So, if you are popular outside of the US, there’s something to be said about going wide and tapping other countries and other market.

In addition, you can tap into library sales and other subscription services like Scribd. While your payout is lower, the volume can be higher. The amount varies depending on genre.

For myself, I have worked out from past experience that any audiobook that sells less than 50 books should go wide. I make up the difference (loss in royalty) in additional wide sales due to this. Your number might be different, depending on your genre and how well / how much marketing you do.

Lastly, going wide is particularly good for short audiobooks (anything less than 10 hours, though optimal is 15 on Audible) and short stories due to Audible’s credit system.

How to go non-exclusive

Audible recently updated their terms to allow you to go non-exclusive with an exclusive PFH contract after 90 days exclusivity. This is a change from their previous 1 year exclusivity requirement for the same contract. Once that time period is past, just e-mail them to request removing exclusivity. It takes them 7-14 business days they say to do that.

If you did Royalty Share, you need to get your narrator to agree and sign off on it I believe. Though I’m not entirely sure on this (I don’t do RS).

At this point, you also need to download your files and make sure they are correctly labelled.

You’ll have to choose how to go wide. For the most part, you’ll need to use a middleman with only Kobo being easy to access direct. The most popular audiobook middleman right now is FindAway Voices.

Once you are confirmed non-exclusive, upload files to FindAway (or which middleman you use or direct if you can) and publish as usual.

Then sit back and watch the money roll in… 

Sort of.

Check the details of each distributor, because some only inform and pay for your books once every quarter. So, don’t worry if you don’t see sales for some distributors. A lot of sales data when you are wide is NOT real-time.

Promotional Opportunities Wide

Right now, there aren’t many locations to promote audiobooks wide. A few facebook groups (obviously), Reddit has r/audible and r/audiobooks and Chirp is available via FindAway. Outside of that, Bookfunnel has occasional Audio only e-mail newsletter promos which can be useful to join.

Last Thoughts

Going wide isn’t for everyone. I know many authors who do so well on Audible (including me) that going wide will result in losses with those books. Other authors find more success being wide and selling direct on their websites (I do relatively well that way). Being in libraries can be very useful for legitimacy as well and reaching a different group of readers.

Promoing for audiobooks is still tough.  I’d love to learn of more ways of doing promotions for audiobooks if people know of it. It’s perhaps the biggest negative of audiobooks in general, and going wide in particular.

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