Submitting Recordings to Audible (through ACX)

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MaryAnnSpiegel
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Post by MaryAnnSpiegel » July 28th, 2018, 12:07 pm

After reading the discussion in another thread about people posting LV projects to Audible (viewtopic.php?f=24&t=70888), I thought I would create an ACX account and try to upload my own recordings to Audible.

I would appreciate suggestions from anyone who has figured out how to do this. First, what status do I pick? (I started as narrator, but that's clearly wrong because it only puts me in the pool of people to be hired by others. Maybe Rights Holder?)

Second, how do you get by the requirement that the audiobook you upload must be for sale on Amazon.com?
Can I upload audio for a book that is Public Domain, or out of copyright?

Books that fall under Public Domain do not typically make good candidates for audiobooks; however, the only time we make an exception for Public Domain works is if your titles have met the following conditions:

> In order to claim the rights to a public domain work, you must first make sure that it is, indeed, in the public domain.
> You must have created your own version of the title by adding your own original content to it (i.e.; a historical introduction or fictionalized content).
> You must have put your original version up for sale on Amazon.com in the books section. Please do not claim the rights to any other person’s public domain product.
> You must have hired a narrator outside of ACX or narrated the book yourself. In such a case, you are welcome to upload the completed audiobook using our DIY (Do-It-Yourself) option.

Source: https://audible-acx.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6860/c/3524,3526
MaryAnn (aka "Ella Porter", after someone pitch shifted my LV recordings and posted them to Audible)

icequeen
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Post by icequeen » July 28th, 2018, 10:15 pm

This is interesting, MaryAnn! Let us know how this works out for you. I am wondering about ACX's standards. I remember there was a particular gentleman here a while ago, the one giving all kinds of advice to newbies. He said on his website that ACX has stringent standards for their recordings. Your recordings are definitely of better quality, but I wonder if they will meet their standards, and how hard it may be to meet those standards.
Ann

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Availle
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Post by Availle » July 29th, 2018, 12:03 am

The standards of ACX are as follows:
Your submitted audiobook must:
be consistent in overall sound and formatting
be comprised of all mono or all stereo files
include opening and closing credits
include a retail sample that is between one and five minutes long
be recorded by a human

Each uploaded audio file must:
be a 192 kbps or higher MP3, constant bit rate (CBR) at 44.1 kHz
contain only one chapter/section that is shorter than 120 minutes
section header must be read aloud
have room tone at the head and at the tail
be free of extraneous sounds
measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS
have-3dB peak values
have a maximum -60dB noise floor
The only thing that's really different is the bit rate with 192 kbps; and they have a requirement for maximum noise level (which we don't have at all, we're winging it, so to speak).
However, for many of our readers, submitting to ACX themselves should not be too big a (technical) hurdle.
Cheers,
Ava.

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Post by lurcherlover » July 29th, 2018, 5:49 am

Audible and other platforms require a noise floor of at least -60dB and peak values of no more than -3db as well as an RMS requirement of -18 to -23dB, and these specs are hard to achieve even with good mics, pre-amps and recorders. A lot of loud audio such as music (especially pop, rock and rap) will cover up a load of sins, but silence and low voice production will really show up problems - as well as too much reverberation - the room needs a reverb time of half a second or less.

So these specs are not that easy to achieve although many people succeed quite well. You do need an accurate DAW to see for certain that the values are accurate and use of a LUFS meter will give you the RMS readings - sometimes called "integrated loudness."

GrayHouse
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Post by GrayHouse » July 29th, 2018, 6:43 am

Hi MaryAnn,
I think this is an excellent idea. I understand what PD means but I don't believe it means you can dishonestly claim attribution as Audioliterature are doing. And that ridiculous pitch-shifting makes your lovely voice sound awful.

I was curious about what editions Audioliterature were claiming to have used for the source text if, as you say, they have to be editions that are listed on Amazon. Did you look at the 'linked' texts on Amazon?

Amazon's search is a little odd. I used Google to find all your Audible books listed on Amazon. Type this in to Google:
"Ella Porter" narrator site:amazon.com
Then, within each Amazon page, click on the "Kindle" link that appears next to the product image. That takes you to the Kindle book which, presumably, is the one they linked to your audiobook when they submitted the audio files.
The results are a mixed bag:
- Quite a few, eg The Valley of Vision, The Borough Treasurer, A Happy Boy etc. link to Public Domain versions for which no publisher is listed. The listings state: "This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web." [My italics - it's a pity they don't say that for LV recordings!]. I presume these are from Gutenberg or suchlike.
- Pilgrim's Progress links to the Dover edition.
- The Princess Galva seems to link to the Kindle version of a Hard Press book - they're similar to Dover.
- The most interesting one by far was War and Peace. This links to a book with the title "X" though the cover art states it's War and Peace. The publisher is listed as: Leo Tolstoy (September 7, 2016). This may be a version created by Audioliterature simply to use as a linked work for the audiobook. The title suggests they don't want it to be found, or Amazon raised objections. This seems odd as there are dozens of other versions of War and Peace on Amazon, though many of them are a different translation. I initially wondered if they might be pulling this trick on all their audiobooks ie creating their own Kindle version mainly to use as the basis for their audiobook. But this seems to be the only one. :?

I think you'd be on safe ground to use the Amazon Public Domain texts as your source text. You might try those ones first before doing the others. I wonder if Amazon/Audible will allow more than one audiobook version of the same text. If not, then you could create your own Kindle versions - just add your own introduction and claim it as a new work.

I really hope you succeed in this.
-Ian

GrayHouse
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Post by GrayHouse » July 29th, 2018, 7:10 am

MaryAnn,
You can download a simple but useful ACX Check plugin for Audacity from here. Note the caveats in the description. I don't think you'll have too much difficulty based on the quality of your audio - a version of your audio has already been accepted by Audible...
-Ian

MaryAnnSpiegel
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Post by MaryAnnSpiegel » July 29th, 2018, 10:22 am

Ian,

Thank you for that plug-in. It's very helpful. I tried it on one of my recordings and had to do a bit of tweaking, but it pointed me in the right direction to quickly get an "OK" on the file.

I'll do a bit of searching on Amazon to see if I can find links to some of the books I have read which are not already on Audible. Maybe best to start with some of the religious stuff which is PD, but not already posted, to avoid conflicting links.

First though, I need to figure out how to revise my status to that of "author" (or something other than narrator). I've sent an e-mail to the ACX team about that.

MaryAnn

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