Low RMS on Audiobook but being told to lower dB level

My audiobook has been rejected because of the following issue:

Issue: 19 files have a low RMS and are too quiet: Please see attached document for a graph of affected files.
Requirement: files measuring between -23dB and -18dB RMS
Solution: Please raise the overall RMS level of each file to within our requirement. For example, if a file’s RMS is -30dB RMS, it must be raised +8dB to be within our -18dB to -23dB RMS requirement range.

All of the dB settings for every file in my audiobook are at 0 dB - exactly in the centre

I am being told the files are too quiet but am being told to fix this I must REDUCE the dB level to between -23dB and -18dB , making them much much quieter!

What can they possibly mean!

Any help hugely appreciated!

Best wishes


This post went a long time before response because it’s so convoluted, it’s rough to know where to start.

Are you following somebody’s instructions or process for reading? Did you submit a sample work to ACX before you read the whole book? I don’t know when they started doing that, but I think they got too many people reading the whole book before getting rejected and wiping out months of work.

Have you read and published before?

Describe your studio. Which computer, what microphone and how are the two connected? I’m typing on a Mac Mini. When I announce, I connect the microphone via USB. It’s totally possible to read an audiobook without the computer and it would be good to know how you did it.

Read a test and publish on the forum. It’s 20 seconds.



I’m new to audiobook recording and trying to figure out the RMS thing; consistently falling out of the acceptable ACX range.

Any suggestions?