Just realised, I hadn’t made an actual post about this even though I’ve talked to a few friends about my own experiments.
Definitions & Business Information
Firstly, when I say ‘wide’, I mean having your audiobooks outside of ACX (which, if you are exclusive with ACX puts you Audible & iTunes).
Secondly, it’s worth noting that Audible is not the dominant force that Amazon is. It’s like 40% of the audiobook market. When you go exclusive with ACX, you are only reaching a small percentage of the market. This also means that you are NOT in any library systems at all.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that if you are exclusive with Audible, you get 40% of the calculated royalty rate. If you are non-exclusive, that amount drops to 25%.
One of the things I did recently, at the urging of another author (whose name I’ve forgotten – but thank you!) was to test going wide. I did it first with 3 of my Adventures on Brad books and then later on, have begun adding the rest of my AoB series.
Well, when you pay for your audiobook files (i.e. did not do royalty share, did not go through a production company); when you sign up with ACX for an exclusive agreement, you can opt out of the exclusive agreement after 1 year. This is what I did with the AoB books and A Gamer’s Wish.
I then put the books up on Findaway Voices for wide distribution including iTunes which btw you get a higher royalty rate.
Now one of the advantages of going wide (especially for the AoB series) is that I can set my prices. Because my books are shorter (4-5 hours each), I can price them lower than what I have on Audible to give people more incentive to pick them up because they’re a better ‘deal’ now.
I’ve been wide now for about 5 months. Over the period, in nearly every month; I’ve earned more going wide even after the drop in revenue from ACX. This amount has varied – from around 20% to 50% more. Now, mind you – I don’t earn a lot from the AoB series (a few hundred dollars at most a month); but a lot of this increase has come not from other audiobook markets but Hoopla and other library providers.
Words of Caution
As many authors know, the first month sees a huge surge in sales. After that, you see a drop in sales over the following months.
From speaking with another author who went wide immediately for his book, he found that he earned a lot less since the drop of 15% from ACX was NOT covered by increased sales wide.
As such, I think (and what I’ll continue to do) is keep my books exclusive for one year and then go wide after the year is done. This keeps a constant flow of new books to the other markets while generating the most income possible from ACX in the initial ‘rush’ period.
One last thing
I’m not wide (yet) for the System Apocalypse. That’s because I’m waiting for book 6 to release since I often see a bump in sales on book 1 (and other following books). Once that book releases and the big bump is gone, I’ll shift wide. It’s… risky, but worth testing. If numbers change, I’ll let you all know.
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