When To Make An Exception to the “Only Audition for Stipend Books” Rule

Hey there!

On ACX, you can get paid one of three ways to record an audiobook: a certain amount per finished hour (PFH), on a royalty share basis, or, in the best of all deals, a stipend book.

That’s an audiobook job that not only pays you a great rate per finished hour, but then sweetens the pot with the royalty share for every copy sold. So it’s like a combo deal.

I advise my students and clients to concentrate on auditioning for, and booking, stipend jobs. They guarantee you income even if the book doesn’t sell well.

But there is one case where I’d suggest you seriously consider a royalty share only book.

Here’s that case.

My client, Shelley, wrote me and asked:


I just got approached by an author of a book with the below impressive amazon rating but it’s NOT in the stipend program.

I’ve been pretty adamant about only accepting stipend books, as you suggest.

But what is your thought on this one?

Hope you’re well:)

Love, Shelley

And she copied and pasted the area of the book’s description on the ACX project page that said this:

Book two in the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling series
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult
#9 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age
#9 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age

Well, OK then.

I advise you not to take on royalty share only books unless you do your homework on the author’s sales. You don’t want to do all that work, only to get a few paltry dollars in royalties. Of course, if you’re still learning, take any book you can get so you get the experience.

But this one’s an exception.

This one’s an NYT and USA TODAY best seller. These are amazing ranking numbers. And if a book is selling this well, then you have a much better chance of making some serious coin on the sales of the audiobook.

So, if the book is in the top 10% in its categories, it may be worth taking on. And if a book is in the top ten numerically, it’s a green light for me.

And the first approach to take is to offer the RH a hybrid stipend deal. We talk about this in our ACX classes – it’s essentially an RH-funded stipend of $100+ per finished hour, in addition to the royalty share that the RH would offer through ACX.

You’d make this deal separately with the author, via email. And you’d do so at a point depending upon their contact with you – if they asked you to audition (or gave you an offer), reply back with your gentle counteroffer, the hybrid stipend. If you’re auditioning for them, make the counteroffer not when you audition in your notes, but when they make you an offer. Terms are usually 50% down, 50% when the I’m Finished button is about to be pressed, or Headed to Retail is achieved.

You can always accept a pure Royalty Share deal as a fall back – but remember to do your homework on the title and the Rights Holder!

Grab our ACX classes to instantly learn more and do a deep dive into mastering ACX:

Mastering ACX – Part 1
Mastering ACX – Part 2
Recording for ACX With Audacity – Part 1
Recording for ACX With Audacity – Part 2

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

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