As homemakers, our days can get pretty hectic. There's grocery shopping, endless piles of laundry, bills to pay, and if you're a stay-at-home mom, the majority of your day is spent tending to the needs of your children.
Even though taking care of the home is a full time job in and of itself, sometimes we still get this nagging feeling that we'd like to be able to contribute more to help the family out financially.
Maybe you really need a second income to live comfortably, but with the cost of child care, it doesn't make much sense for you to go out and get a traditional job.
Maybe you'd like to be able to pay down debt faster or build your savings account up. Or maybe you'd like to be able to afford to go on a family vacation this year without feeling guilty or depleting your rainy day fund.
But what can you do?
If you've done any research into the most popular ways for stay-at-home moms to earn extra income without having to go out and get a traditional job, you've probably seen some generic options like:
- Freelance writing
- Create an online course
- Start a day care service
- Virtual assistant
- Sell handmade crafts on Etsy
- and so forth...
All of these options are legitimate ways to earn extra income from home, but most of these suggestions are very general and the path to getting started and earning a sustainable income isn't always clear.
But there is another option for making extra income from home that no one ever talks about...
If you've ever listened to audiobooks on Audible, iTunes, or purchased one with a Kindle book on Amazon, chances are that you're listening to an audiobook that was recorded by a freelance narrator working through a site called the Audiobook Creation Exchange, or "ACX."
ACX is an Amazon-owned site that matches narrators with authors and publishers. It also provides a safe platform for back and forth communication and for uploading completed audio files. ACX also supports royalty share agreements between authors and narrators and pays you your share of the royalties each month, so you don't have to worry about invoicing or tracking down payments.
Who can sign up to be a narrator on ACX?
Anyone one who lives in the US or UK can sign up to be an audiobook narrator through the site.
ACX does not require you to have prior narration experience. The only requirement that they have is that your audiobook must meet their quality guidelines before it can be sold on Audible. In other words, your audiobook shouldn't have a lot of background noise or contain anything that would be distracting to listeners. You can read about the ACX submission requirements here.
ACX is to Audiobooks What Kindle is to Traditional Book Publishing
Digital audiobooks are a relatively recent phenomena. I'm old enough to remember when bookstores sold audiobooks on CD's. The selection was usually limited to the New York Times best sellers and they were pretty pricey.
But then Audible came along and changed the audiobook industry forever. Now, you can download audiobooks with the click of a button and listen on the go through your car or smartphone.
Amazon bought Audible several years ago and rolled out the Audiobook Creation Exchange in 2011 to help increase the number of audiobooks offered and sold on Audible. In a lot of ways, ACX is the audiobook equivalent of Kindle Direct Publishing platform for people who want to publish and sell ebooks directly on Amazon.
How It Works
ACX allows any author, whether they are self-published or traditionally published, to post books and receive auditions from freelance audiobook narrators. Authors and publishers have the option of paying a one-time flat fee to have their book narrated, or they can offer what is called a "royalty share split" as payment to the narrator.
In a royalty share agreement the author splits all of the revenue from audiobook sales with the narrator for at least seven years. ACX keeps track of how many books are sold through Audible, Amazon and iTunes and pays narrators their share of the profits each month. This is great for both authors and narrators because you don't have to worry about tracking sales, drafting contracts, or hunting down missing payments. Everything happens automatically through ACX.
Opportunity to Earn Active and Passive Income
One of the best things about recording audiobooks is that you have the opportunity to audition for "per-finished-hour" or "PFH" projects AND royalty share book offers.
By recording a combination of PFH and royalty share book projects, you can earn a decent amount of income upfront while also growing a passive income stream. I know that most "passive income" opportunities sound spammy at best, but this one is legit.
Whenever one of your royalty share books sells a copy on Audible, Amazon, or iTunes, you get a percentage of the sale. You can increase your royalties by promoting your work online or, if promotion really isn't your thing, you can choose books that are likely to sell well on their own right out of the gate.
Choosing the right royalty share books that are likely to be the most profitable without you having to promote them is something that I cover extensively in my free 3-Day ACX Audiobook Audition Masterclass.
What do you need to get started?
You really only need a few basic things:
1. A quiet place to record (small rooms and closets work great!)
2. Computer or laptop with audio recording software (I like Audacity which is free!)
3. Microphone (you don't need to spend a fortune on this.)
4. Pop filter (you can get one for $5 on Amazon.)
5. Headphones for listening back to your audio and editing.
How to get your first paid audiobook job?
The first thing you'll want to do is create a narrator profile on ACX and upload a few audio samples to show off your vocal style. Authors and publishers search narrator profiles on ACX all the time. It's not uncommon to get offers to narrate books based on your audio samples even if you didn't audition for the book. Every author is looking for something different. Your voice could be exactly what they're looking for.
Next, you'll search through the available titles on ACX and choose a few books that you would like to audition for. Authors and publishers are posting new books to the site every single day, so it's a good idea to check back often.
Then, all you need to do is continue submitting auditions until you land your first paid audiobook offer. If you would like step-by-step guidance on setting up your profile, recording samples, researching profitable titles, and preparing your auditions, I offer a free 3-Day Audiobook Audition Masterclass that walks you through the entire process.
What happens after you get your first audiobook offer?
Once you get an offer you'll narrate the first 15 minutes of the book first and send it off to the author to review just to make sure that everything is going well. If the author is happy with your work, you'll finish recording and editing the book. Once you're done and you've made sure that your audiobook meets the ACX Submission Requirements, you'll submit your audio files through the ACX site.
If everything sounds good, your audiobook will be sent off to be sold on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon and you will officially be a published audiobook narrator! As you gain experience and build a portfolio of audiobook work, you not only be able to land better projects, but your royalty income will continue to grow and support you for years and years to come.
Why this opportunity is great for homemakers and SAHM's
Recording audiobooks allows you to have the flexibility that you need while allowing you to earn extra income upfront or build up a substantial source of passive income over time. This is something that anyone can do regardless of your age, what you look like, who you know, or even how much education you have.
If you already have a home computer or a laptop, your only real cost will be purchasing a microphone and you don't need an expensive one to get started. You can use the free audio recording software program Audacity to produce your audio, making this one of the lowest cost, lowest overhead business opportunities around.
Plus, if you love to read and be creative, there's no better job in the world.