New to ACX and no luck with auditions! Any tips?

Hello everyone!

This month I just started auditioning for audio books through ACX as a way to get some sort of extra income (currently a medical student stuck at home and broke lol) I found myself falling in love with it and I really enjoy reading, recording, editing and hearing the finished product. After researching I decided to purchase a Samson G-track pro USB mic, I have heard a lot about USB mics and the differences between them and condenser/XLR mics. I decided to go with this USB mic after hearing a lot of good reviews about it and it being cost effective as well. I also downloaded audacity 2.3.3.

In terms of my environment, I have tried recording in my closet and I also have a small bathroom located in the back of my house free of outside noise and I have found success recording in it as well.

I finally was able to download the ACX check plug in after getting a lot of help through this forum (thank you guys!) and picked up little tips here and there and I can tell I have improved a ton. I’ve recorded, relistened, rerecorded and submitted a handful of auditions. My latest audition was the Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen and with all these improvements I was pretty happy with the final product, I thought MAYBE I stood a chance, however, I did not get the role. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.

I have attached the audition (ACX check passed it) here so I could get some advice and suggestions on any changes I should make. I would appreciate any and all feedback. I’m looking forward to what you guys think!

Natalie L.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.

Post the rejection note. They always tell you what they didn’t like.

You pass the technical standards, but that’s only half of the submission path. You also have to pass Human Quality Control where a real person listens to it for mouth noises, tongue ticks, echoes, slurring, and other theatrical problems.

First pass you have serious “essing” where each SS sound is boosted and sounds too sharp.

I can hear the room behind you. I’m pretty sure they won’t like that. They want you to present in a dead room like what would happen if you did the work in an actual studio.

Post a sound test like this…

Read down the blue links. They’re very short.


I note you never said you submitted to ACX/Audible. Where did you submit?


Hi Koz,

I’m not seeing where on the rejection letter where they specify what they didn’t like. Am I looking in the wrong place? This is all that it says:

Thank you for auditioning for Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat: A Cookbook. Unfortunately, you were not chosen to produce this book, but there are still plenty of audiobooks looking for the right producer.

What to do now
Search audition opportunities.
Learn how to make sure a project is a good fit with our blog post Four Questions to Ask Before You Audition.
Submit an audition that showcases a superior production quality. Get help from Andrew the Audio Scientist.
Be sure to bookmark our Help Center for answers to your questions as they come up.

We can’t wait to hear your audiobook.

The ACX Team"

Yes, I’ve only been submitting to ACX/audible and thank you for the link I will do it as soon as I have a quiet moment! I definitely agree on my “essing” problem, is there something I can use on audacity that might make it sound less harsh or is it something that I will just have to work on? Also what did you think of the pace?


I got the DeEsser plugin to work. Detailed inspection of this type problem was long overdue, so that’s the good news.

ACX goes to great effort to cement the relationship between the reader/presenter and the author. Apparently, you have no relationship, so you didn’t even get first-pass technical inspection. If you are the author, then they didn’t like cookbooks. I’m picturing hiking around the neighborhood listening to advice on how much salt to use in a sauce. Gripping.

Or you could be in a race with thousands of other people who also want to read the same book. You failed the administration test. I should add that to my list of tests you have to pass. Many people assume if they make it past ACX Check, that’s it and they can start shopping for a new house in a better neighborhood.

I also downloaded audacity 2.3.3.

Do Not upgrade to a newer Audacity version yet. There are teething pains with the newer versions and some of the audiobook tools don’t work right.

I don’t remember where I left the DeEsser notes. Looking.


I put it all where I’d be sure to find it later. No wonder I’m lost.

DeEsserSettings-2020-05-23 at 18.33.43.png
Go through Mastering first, then apply the DeEsser tool with those settings.

14 seconds. “For years she’s been instagramming…” The SS sounds in those phrases will cut wood without the DeEsser.

This is concerning because I had access to a G-Track for a while and I didn’t notice that sibilence boost.


The reverb from the room is extending the sibilance.

The reverb from the room is extending the sibilance.

Which itself is odd because room resonances and echoes usually make a voice muddy and less distinct.

That’s not to say you can’t have both. Sibilance happens up around 8000Hz and intelligence tends to cluster around 3000Hz. So you can have essy, painful speech that nobody can understand. Everybody wins!

And just to cover it, that damage can pass ACX Check. Technically perfect trash. That’s why ACX has Human Quality Control.

I ran across this recently. This is a very successful home studio. Note the furniture moving blankets behind the performer to cut down room noise and echoes.

Also see:



more moving-blankets … :sunglasses:

Two solutions in one room. Note many of the wooden panels in the background are angled. Flynwill designed one of those as a recording studio in an old building. They had a band. It looked like a normal room. The first thing you noticed was the ceiling wasn’t even. Then you noticed the carpets weren’t quite square.

It was misleading because it didn’t have all those pointy foam things and soundproofing panels. And yet.

I sent a lot of successful sound recordings through that room.


I can’t take credit for “designing” anything. I just said to the architects “It will work better if the walls and ceiling aren’t square or parallel…” These particular architects absolutely loved the idea that they were not constrained to making things square.

They also found this “Green” material for sound dampening I forget the trade name now. The panels sort of looked like day-old spaghetti mashed flat, but they did work. A lot nicer looking (and more expensive than) the egg-crated stuff.

I can’t take credit for “designing” anything.

You’re tarnishing your halo. Just go with it.


Many factors play a role, as the competition may be stiff. I’ve only listed one title there, but as a first time author, my main goal was help on the marketing side of things.

How many auditions have you sent out? (Keeping sending more)
If the book you are trying to get is popular there will be many many people also auditioning. (Curse you R.C. Bray!!! j/k he is amazing)
I have sent a message to the RH after they rejected me and asked for some feedback, (if they had the time). And sometimes they do, and let me know why. The normal response is: I found a voice that was closer to what I heard in my heard when I was writing the book. I can respect that.

Keep trying. You read well, your breathing wasn’t obnoxious, the way mine is before I manually edit it out. There does seem to be an “echoey” quality to the space you are recording it, others may not agree.
Good Luck, I hope you keep recording.