Acoustically treated—A environment (such as a studio) that has been set up to record high quality audiobooks without background noise and echo.

ACX—The Audiobook Creation Exchange ( The main platform for creating audiobooks. Connects authors with narrators to create audiobooks.

ACX dashboard—Where you can monitor sales for all of your audiobooks. It doesn’t contain any financial information, that arrives at the end of the month.

ACX promotional codes—Codes that ACX gives you when you launch a book to help you distribute free copies and promote your work.

Advance—An advance on royalties you might get if you sell your audio rights to a publisher. Same as an advance for a book.

Affiliate program—A program where you get a financial reward for referring a customer. For example, you send someone to Audible, who buys a book, and you get a 10% share of the sale.

Audible—The largest audiobook retailer in the world. This is where most of your audiobook sales will come from ( ACX books go through this outlet.

Audible approved narrator—A narrator who has 25 audiobooks on Audible and has had their work assessed for quality by the company.

Audible member—A customer of Audible. Referred to as a member, because they pay a monthly membership fee to download books.

Audio rights—The legal rights you have to the audio version of your book. If you have signed any contract dealing with rights, you must check to make sure you own your audio rights.

Audio theater—Having more than one narrator work on your project, often accompanied by sound effects.

Audiobook—A recording of the reading of a book.

Audiobook cover—A square version of your book cover, similar to a CD cover.

Audiobook distribution—The various ways to bring your audiobook to your audience, mostly done through a digital retailer like Audible.

Audiobook producer—A flexible term, this can be a company that will acquire your audio rights and produce the book. Narrators are sometimes also called producers.

Audiobook production—An umbrella term for the whole process of creating your audiobook.

Audiobook publisher—A company that buys the rights to the audio version of your work, then produces and sells it.

Audition script—The text that you provide to narrators for their auditions.

Auditions—What narrators do to “interview” for your book. Short audio readings from your book for you to assess their suitability.

Author platform—Your presence for selling books on the Internet. For example, an author website, social media page, and email list.

Audio specifications—How the company you are working with (ACX) requires the audio to be delivered. This is something for your narrator to take care of.

Bounty payment—A bounty payment is a financial reward that ACX gives you if your audiobook is the first purchase that a new Audible customer makes. The bounty is currently $50(2014).

Brick-and-mortar stores—Remember those 36 CD sets sold at gas stations? Those are brick-and-mortar store sales. They still exist, but are a dying phenomenon.

Call to Action (CTA)—An instruction that will provoke an immediate response from a listener or reader. E.g. “Please review my audiobook today.”

Character profile—Information you provide to your narrator about the character, so he can perform the role correctly.

Credits—What is read before and after your book. Contains information about the author, narrator, and the copyright.

Digital retailers—Platforms like Audible and iTunes, but also smaller players like

DIY—“Do -it-yourself.”Narrating/producing your own audiobook.

Escalator—A retired (as of March 2014) royalty rate increase that ACX used to give authors and narrators based on number of units sold.

Estimated audiobook length—An estimate of your book’s hour length based on its word count. Deviations from this are usually minor.

Exclusive/nonexclusive ACX distribution—Exclusive distribution is opting to sell your audiobook though ACX’s partners: Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Nonexclusive distribution gives you the flexibility to sell anywhere. You get 40% revenue on the exclusive deal, 25% on the nonexclusive.

Finished hour—One completed (ready for delivery to a customer) hour of audio. This is the way narrators charge for their work. E.g. “She charges $250 per finished hour, so $2500 for my 10 hour book.”

Full cast production (full cast audiobook)—Rather than working with one narrator, several come together to lend their voices to your audiobook.

Hybrid deal—Where you do Royalty Share with your narrator, but also pay them something up front. This can be a good way to snag a great narrator on a budget.

Indie author—An independent author. An author who has self-published her book, independent of a publisher.

iTunes—Apple’s audiobook outlet. ACX books go through this outlet, as well as Audible and Amazon. A far second to Audible.

Mastering—The process of taking raw recorded narration and turning it into a great sounding finished product. This is done by your narrator or studio.

MP3—A compressed (smaller) audio file format in which audiobooks are delivered.

Narrator—The voice talent reading your book aloud.

Paid for production—Paying a narrator X number of dollars per hour to produce your audiobook. You do not split any of the royalties with him.

Pronunciation sheet—A document you provide your narrator explaining how to pronounce any unusual words in the book.

Proof listen / proofing sweep—Listening through the audiobook to spot for corrections.

Royalty rate—The share of the earnings that you will get from each sale. With ACX, this is currently 40% if you are exclusive, 25% if nonexclusive.

Royalty Share—You split the revenue with the narrator for seven years, but you don’t have to pay anything to the narrator upfront.

Sample—You’ll need to provide a 1 − 5-minute sample from your book to ACX. They’ll use this on the book’s sales page. You can use up to a 15-minute sample outside of the site to promote the book yourself.

Soundscapes/sound effects—Used in audio theater. Soundscapes are the background sounds to a scene. E.g. “The sound of a lively pub.” Sound effects are much more isolated. E.g. “A breaking glass.”

Stereo/mono sound—Stereo sound is where different audio is fed to each speaker, allowing a more immersive listening experience when working with sound effects. Audiobooks do not support this. They use mono sound, feeding the same sound to each speaker.

Stipend—A $100 per hour bonus payment that ACX attaches to some books listed for Royalty Share.

Studio Professional—A sound engineer/professional who works in a studio to make the narrated audio sound great.

Whispersync—An Amazon/Audible program that allows buyers of your book to get the audiobook at a steep discount.

Simon WhistlerAFI: Key Terms