If you’re an author (or would like to be) and have already, or are planning to, sell self published books on Amazon, Audible has shown itself to be a highly lucrative way to further monetize your writing efforts.
There are over 32 million books for sale on Amazon, making it a hugely competitive marketplace. But with only around 200,000 audiobooks listed in Audible, it’s a far easier market to break into.
If you’re already penning or putting a book together, why not go the extra mile and either narrate your own book or hire a narrator, list on Audible and generate even more income from your efforts!
If you’d love to know how to make money on Audible, this guide will help you get started.
The Audible platform offers audiobooks and audio versions of newspapers and magazines. It was founded in 1995 and was acquired by Amazon in 2008. Audible has an audiobook streaming service known as Audible Channels.
Audible offers various earning opportunities such as participating in the Audible affiliate program, creating your own audiobook, becoming an audiobook narrator, etc.
Although the royalties on audiobooks are not as high as those for eBooks, if you have the right strategy on the Audible platform, you can make a lot of money.
ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is the self-publishing platform of Audible. ACX is where audiobook authors can connect with voice actors or narrators to create audiobook versions of their books.
Authors are free to narrate their own books through the Audible self-publishing platform. Creators (aka authors) just need to sign-up, claim their books, fill out the necessary details and upload the audio files. That’s all, (although it has to be approved by Amazon, so audio quality is extremely important)
Audible refers to audiobook narrators who are not the creators or authors of the books as producers. Producers can earn a fixed rate with the per-finished-hour model, or decide to share royalties with the creators.
The most obvious route to make money on Audible is by creating and selling your own audiobooks.
There are two paths to select;
Write and Start Recording by Yourself: If you have time but no budget, you can write your book and use proper recording software to create the audiobook version.
Your audio quality needs to be top notch, so it’s imperative you get this right or you could waste a lot of time.
Once you are done recording your book, you can upload the audio file to ACX or other audiobook distributors and start selling your audiobooks.
Write but Hire a Narrator: Narrating audiobooks is not easy. You’ll need a proper setup and you must be efficient in variable narration speeds and have a great voice.
You’ll also need to invest in proper equipment and editing programs.
You can avoid all of this and hire a professional narrator with a proven track record of spoken word entertainment from the ACX platform, and pay the narrator to record your book.
The voice actor can charge between $100 and $300 per finished hour of narrating books, or you can just split royalties if you can’t afford to pay upfront.
There’s a process to making money on Audible. Here are the steps to follow to start creating your own books that will sell on Audible:
- Select a keyword: Choose a niche and a profitable keyword that people are interested in. My recommendation when it comes to anything Amazon is Junglescout. You’ll be able to identify the most popular selling audiobooks, how many sales they make a month and their average revenue.
- Write the book: Once you know which keywords you want to target, you’ll need to write the book. If you don’t want to write the book yourself, you can hire a ghostwriter. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, etc. are great places to find writers.
- Create a cover for your book: Your book cover is an extremely important part of your sales process, so don’t skimp on this part. If you’re a dab hand at designing use a tool like Canva. However Fiverr is a great place to find book cover designers.
- Start recording: Either create your own recording setup with a quality microphone, a quiet, non echoey place to record and a good online recording program such as Audacity, or hire an audiobook narrator through ACX based on criteria like gender, language, accent, etc.
- Publish and sell audio versions: Once the recording is done, upload the audio files to Audible. Audible offers 50 promo codes that your friends and family members can use to download your audiobook for free and listen offline. Audible will mark every download as a sale, which will help your audiobook to rank higher and then generate real sales.
At this point the hard work begins of attracting reviews and promoting your audiobook on your own podcast or website (if you have one), social channels, email newsletters, or whatever platforms you have at your disposal.
2. Become a Narrator
If you don’t want to write and sell your own books, and if your voice and narrating skills are pretty awesome, becoming an audiobook narrator is another way to earn money through Audible.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Signup with ACX and create your profile.
- Submit high-quality audio samples. ACX provides a quality control guide that you must follow.
- Select books in genres you want to narrate and apply for auditions.
- If the book author selects you, you can settle for the per-finished-hour model or you can select the royalty share model. You can also go for the royalty share plus model, which combines the royalty share and PFH models.
Experienced narrators can make anywhere between $500 and $5,000 a month.
The audible affiliate marketing program is one of the easiest ways to generate a passive income stream if you are not an audiobook narrator (producer) or an author (creator).
As an affiliate marketer, you don’t need to create your own audio content. Instead, you can just promote the works of others through emails, social media, or your blog (if you have one).
If the promotion leads to sales, you receive a small commission. What’s interesting is that you can earn a commission of $15 just for generating an Audible free trial membership. So, even if someone doesn’t buy a monthly subscription for an Audible Premium account, you still get to make money.
The process is quite simple. Just follow the steps below to start making money online as an Audible affiliate:
Step 1: Sign-up for the Audible Creator Program
Go to Audible’s website and sign up for the affiliate program. You will receive an affiliate link upon successful signup.
Step 2: Promote the Affiliate Link
Once you have the custom URL or the affiliate link, you can promote it on your own website, your social media posts, and even in your email marketing newsletter. That’s it!
If someone signs up for an Audible free trial through your link, you will receive a commission. The person who signs up will receive a 30-day free trial period where he or she will have access to one free audiobook, which can be a classic or an Audible Original.
However, to make consistent sales through the Affiliate or Creator program, your best bet is to build a specific brand or community and promote audiobooks that are relevant to your audience.
Also, remember that existing Audible members trying to sign up with your affiliate link cannot do so unless they use a different set of details to sign up for the free trial.
Audible will pay you through check or direct deposit every month if your earned commission reaches the $30 mark.
4. Coach/Teach Others How to be Successful on Audible
If you successfully make money on Audible, you can coach or teach others how to be successful on the platform. A vast majority of internet users look for step-by-step guides that will help them to earn money.
You could start a blog specializing in writing and selling books or audiobooks, sell online courses, start a group coaching program or start a podcast discussing how you make money on Audible and invite other successful Audible sellers to tell their story.
You can teach the nitty-gritty of keyword research, ACX, recording, narrating skills, outsourcing or all of it!
The world is your oyster!
Some of the most successful Audible stories include:
This is a YouTube channel where Marcus teaches how to make $100 a day in affiliate income from Audible. Of course, there are many more videos on the channel, but that particular video is the one you should be looking at if you are aiming to make money on Audible.
The best thing about Marcus is that all his earnings are essentially passive earnings! (Always remember passive means doing the work upfront and earning over and over again).
The Girl on the Train authored by Paula Hawkins has garnered a whopping 140,119 ratings, which means she’s had a lot more readers! Though Paula Hawkins is the author or creator, the novel has been narrated by Clare Corbett, India Fisher, and Louise Brealey. Reportedly, this book is Audible’s most wish-listed book.
George Guidall is considered Audible’s highest-paid narrator. This 81-year old American actor has narrated almost 2000 audiobooks using his baritone voice. He also won the Audie Award three times for best audiobook narration.
If you’re prepared to out your time, energy and focus into this business model you can make a lot of money on Audible.
Here are some tips to get you started;
Before you start creating an Audible book, you’ll need to select a niche that is not only profitable, but is ideally something that interests you.
While it is possible to make money in a niche that you have no personal interest in at all, there’s a lot of work involved in the process and so the more invested you are in the topics, the more fun it will be to build the business.
Writing a book and then creating an audio book is a time-consuming endeavour. So, you’ll need to make sure you can commit. Also, ensure that you are not selecting topics that don’t perform well in audiobook format such as baking, cooking, painting, etc.
Partner with other businesses to promote all your fresh releases. For example, you can work with online retailers, libraries, etc., and ask them to market your books to their audience and in exchange, you will promote those online businesses and libraries to your audience.
You can also contact influencers on social media to attract potential customers. However, social media influencer marketing can be expensive. So, calculate your startup costs accordingly.
Selling your audiobooks through ACX can help you to earn more money. Once you join ACX, you can sell exclusively on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes and receive up to 40% royalties. Going through non-exclusive routes such as Google Play may bring you equivalent or more royalties, but with ACX you can enjoy the benefit of split royalties with your narrator or producer.
Without doubt the secret to success when selling on a third party platform is to build your own audience. Use social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc to grow and build a community who will buy your books.
You could also start your own blog or an e-commerce website specifically for your Audible collections. As early as possible begin to build an email list of people interested in your niche. This will likely become your biggest sales arm over time.
5. Diversify as You Grow
While Amazon and ACX is likely the best place to start your audiobook career, there are other audiobook platforms you can sell on.
As you grow your collection and are starting to generate a regular stream of income from ACX, look to add and promote your books on other platforms such as; Blinkist (for non fiction books), Scribd or Audiobooks.com.
Now it’s time to get writing, outsourcing or recording!
You can make a lot of money on Audible with the right commitment and strategy.
If you’re unsure about what goes into creating a book for sale on Amazon even before you consider recording it, have a read of my article – How to self publish on Amazon Kindle; 7 Easy to Follow Steps.
If you’re more interested in becoming an affiliate marketer for Amazon, or even becoming an Amazon Influencer and promoting books via an Amazon Storefront, these two articles will help;
If the thought of writing or recording your own books seems too much of a commitment right now, consider getting started with low content books or even getting paid to read and review books. Check out these articles to help with those options;
Depending on your skills and time you can no doubt find a way to make money on Audible or Amazon as a whole.
I hope this article on how to make money on Audible has helped. Good luck!