Hey everyone, a serious post for a change:
Maybe some of you have heard of Audible’s Romance Package. Maybe some of you even subscribed, because, hey what an incredible deal!
But, as often with great deals, there’s a well-hidden crappy side. Romance authors were contacted one after another over the past 6 months with an offer to enroll their books in that new Romance Package. it would be, I quote, “a new distribution opportunity” for us. The deal was that, like Kindle Unlimited books, each title enrolled would earn royalties on a per-minute-listened basis. And since we receive 40% royalties from ACX/Audible for the full-priced-titles we distribute with them, we would get… 40% of that mysterious per-minute rate.
Which would not be divulgated before we signed the contract.
You read that right. We were offered to distribute a product and told we would not know how much the distributor would remunerate us for that.
Also, any title enrolled would be subscribed permanently, either for a maximum of 7 years or until we removed the title from Audible.
So, to sum it up: we wouldn’t know how much we’d get paid, and we had to sign off our books permanently.
Needless to say, this raised a number of red flags for me, and I decided to miss on that splendid opportunity: Spotless stayed out.
Another interesting detail is that, for titles enrolled in this amazing deal, royalties would no longer be paid on a monthly basis, but rather on a quarterly one, two months after the end of the period, which gave Audible/ACX ample time to recruit a number of authors before they discovered their first royalty report—which was due for the end of February.
And this is just in: according to the current per-minute rate appearing on several reports, authors earn a net $.000955 per minute listened. That’s roughly 57 cents for a whole 10 hours book and approximately a tenth of what we normally earn ($4.8 to $5.00 on average for a 10 to 11 hour-long title)
To say that those who enrolled are disappointed is a significant understatement. They’ve been owned by Audible big time… Some of them will fight this, others will accept the loss and move on. In any case, I wanted to share this information with you and encourage you to skip the Romance Package, if not for ethical reasons, then only because with such a business model, you won’t find many great or recent books: there’s no point for a book that makes decent sales and went through a costly production pipe to be enrolled there. 🙂
Before I conclude this post, a personal message to ACX execs: guys, you should be totally ashamed. Authors who work hard and invest several thousand dollars in producing their audiobooks trusted you, trusted your name, and you used your street cred to *literally* rob them blind.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the authors who shared this info with me and allowed me to make that number public.
Feel free to share this post, I think what ACX/Audible did with the Romance Package deserves as much attention as it can get.