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Audiobook Income Academy Review: Legit Self-Publishing Business or Scam?

January 13, 2023

audiobook income academy review

The Audiobook Income Academy (AIA) by Christian and Rasmus Mikkelsen is a program that teaches self publishing audiobooks on Audible by Amazon. The program includes a course (different from Audiobook Income Academy 2.0) that explains how to find low cost, talented writers, narrators, and graphic designers. These creators don’t keep any of the rights to the book, rather, you create a pen name, publish the audiobook, and reap the profits. (Though, these profits are miniscule to other online business models, like local lead generation.) 

The Mikkelsen twins have built the Audiobook Income Academy from a standalone course to a full education company, Publishing Life. But, do they know what it takes to build passive income online through Amazon publishing? Or, are they simply marketers that know how to bring in students? This Audiobook Income Academy review will tell you: Is this self-publishing business scam or legit?

Pros

The Mikkelsen twins will pick your niche for you.

They will help you use their low-cost experts.

The new partner program covers how to build a complete self publishing business. The twin entrepreneurs break this down to a simple level.

This business model is less saturated than physical products.

You don’t need to house or pay for physical storage.

Cons

Their easy methods (spending $150 on a narration, etc) may not lead to the highest quality books.

Profit generating books may not be as large as other business models.

You’ll have to navigate some heavy marketing to decide whether this program is best for you.

You still have to pay Audible royalties (25%-40% depending on what option you choose).

Price:

$1997 (full price is $4000)

Refund Policy:

Generous refund policy. You can request a refund at any point within the first 6 months.

Training:

The Mikkelsen twins have included a 6 module course and some free bonus lessons. The prior Audiobook Income Academy course, Audiobook Income Academy 2.0, had seven modules.

Group:

Yes. 15,000 students.

Origin:

The first AIA came out in September 2018. 2.0 is no longer available. The partner program is available as of spring 2022.

Reputation:

The Mikkelsen twins are notorious online for their extensive YouTube ads and pushy marketing tactics. This doesn't mean the entire program is a scam.

Mikkelsen Twins

Who are the Founders of Audiobook Income Academy?

The founders of Audiobook Income Academy are entrepreneurs Christian and Rasmus Mikkelsen, twins with about 6 years of experience in publishing audiobooks and teaching courses online. 

Mikkelsen Twins Age

The Mikkelsen twins are 27 as of 2022. They were born in New Jersey in 1995.

Mikkelsen Twins Net Worth

The Mikkelsen twins are worth $10 million each, or $20 million total.

What Do the Mikkelsen Twins Do on Amazon?

The Mikkelsen twins publish audiobooks on Audible. In the simplest of terms, it works like this:

  • Find a cheap ghostwriter on a third-party website.
  • Pay them to write a book for you around 30,000 words.
  • Get an ACX account. ACX has their own readers for audiobooks. Find one within your budget and pay them.
  • Find a graphic designer on Fiverr to make a book cover for you.
  • Post your audiobook on Audible and bring in passive income.

The Mikkelsen twins also had eBooks through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). They followed the same idea there- paid ghostwriters and sold the book on Amazon. 

Mikkelsen Twins Success Story

The Mikkelsen twins’ success story starts with their 2 year stint living in Aarhus, Denmark, unable to hold a job over 6 weeks and getting high to cope. In 2015, they both moved back in with their parents in New Jersey, enrolled in a two-year college, and worked on the side. While delivering Chinese food, they would listen to Stephen James from Project Life Mastery, which teaches how to make pamphlet length books and sell them on KDP.

This opened their eyes to making money online. They tried publishing, dropshipping electric bikes, and more. In the end, they realized publishing was the most consistent passive income with the least amount of work. They stopped going to classes (without telling their parents) and never finished their degree.

In 2018, the Mikkelsen twins made $60,000 without touching their audiobook accounts all year. However, Christian’s account got suspended for trying to use translation AI on their books. Of course, when the poor quality customer reviews rolled in, Amazon shut down the account.They tried to use Rasmus’ account, and Amazon shut that down, too. But, the ACX account wasn’t closed, so they were still making money through audiobooks. Still, they used this time to make YouTube content. 

Note: As of March 2021, the twins were still banned from selling books on Amazon. In 2023, you can buy their book The Freedom Shortcut, as a Kindle eBook.

When was Audiobook Income Academy Created? Is it Up to Date?

The Mikkelsen twins created Audiobook Income Academy in late summer 2018. It’s up-to-date, and changed to the partner program in 2022. 

Here's how it happened: As their YouTube channel following grew, so did requests for their own course. A friend, Emeka Ossai of My Self Publishing Blueprint, asked them to do a module for his course. Instead, they created their own. They made the first version of Audiobook Income Academy in a month, mostly out of PowerPoint slides, and admit it wasn’t the best course. Still, when they launched the course in September 2018, they made $53,000 their first day with 100 students. AIA became their most important income stream.

In 2019, they rebuilt the course over 6 months, and Audiobook Income Academy 2.0 came out. This course spanned 7 weeks and had many of the perks the partnership program offers today. This turned into Publishing Life, their education company, in 2020. That same year, both twins got married and Rasmus had a son. Christian’s wife Charlotte now has her own publishing course. 

The twins have over 15,000 students in 2022. Also in 2022, the Audiobook Income Academy has transformed from a course to a partner program, partially done for you.

Are the Mikkelsen Twins Still Active?

Yes, the Mikkelsen twins actively mentor and sell on Amazon. Though they were banned for some time it appears that they have been able to get their accounts back. 

SUMMARY: Are the Mikkelsen Twins Real?

Yes, the Mikkelsen twins are real. They have made money on Amazon selling audiobooks and marketing their course. 

What is Audiobook Income Academy About?

Audiobook Income Academy (AIA) teaches students exactly how to make money on Amazon through Audible. Formerly a course, AIA is now a partnership program. The Mikkelsen twins’ team gives you a winning topic for your book and you have access to their low-cost ghostwriters, readers, and designers.

How Can You Make Money with Audiobook Income Academy?

To make money with Audiobook Income Academy:

  1. Look at the best-selling titles on Audible.

  2. Hire a ghostwriter from the Urban Writers to write a book on that subject.

  3. Pay a Fiverr freelancer to design a book cover. 

  4. Hire a narrator on ACX.

  5. List the completed product on Audible, including all main keywords in the title.

  6. Curate reviews.

  7. Create bundles of audiobooks

  8. List on other platforms like IngramSpark and Draft2Digital.

Super simple, right? Let’s break it down more, according to the free Audiobook Income Academy webinar training provided prior to signing up.

Step One: Choose an Audiobook Topic

To choose an audiobook topic and.or audiobook niches, download the DS Amazon quick view Chrome extension. This allows you to see the Best Sellers Rank (BSR) of any audiobook right on the search results page. Look at the most popular top ten nonfiction categories. Remember: if you purchase the Audiobook Income Academy Partner Program, they’ll pick this topic for you.

A big part of this step is keyword research. The Mikkelsen twins’ keyword strategy seems a little too simple- just looking into the top competitors listing and taking notes. However, on their YouTube channel, they have used PublisherRocket, KDSPY, and shown how to add these keywords into their Amazon ads campaigns.

Step Two: Find “Low-Cost Experts”

You’ll need a ghostwriter, narrator, and graphic designer.

  • Find a ghostwriter on The Urban Writers. The Mikkelsen twins say that using more mainstream companies will be too expensive. Pay around $500-$600 for your initial book of around 25,000- 30,000 words. This book will be about 3 hours long. (other sources say that the longer the book, the better- the 3 hour long product is too saturated.)
  • Choose a professional audiobook narration specialist from Audible on ACX. You can find a narrator within your budget or for a cut of the royalties from your sales. For a 3-hour book, you might pay around $150, according to the Mikkelsen twins. (This number is actually much higher… closer to $250 per finished hour at the least).
  • Hire a graphic designer freelancer on Fiverr to create a book cover for $5.

What is Ghost Audio?

Ghost Audio is one way Christian and Rasmus market this strategy of creating content for Audible. If you ever catch one of their ads referring to Ghost Audio, they just mean what‘s described above: finding low-cost ghostwriters and narrators to create a book for you.

Step Three: Listing Optimization

There are two ways to promote your audiobook through its listing. First, you need to fill your listing with keywords. Use auto suggestions, look at the best-selling books, and create a list. Include as many keywords as possible in your title, subtitle, and in your product description. The Mikkelsen twins say that “more keywords mean more sales. "

You also need customer reviews. Don’t get reviews by asking for them- rather, rely on actual customers who buy your books. Currently, Audible gives out review codes you can share with friends/family/colleagues. The code gives them your book for free, and they leave a review. This is one of the biggest perks of the Audiobook Income Academy Facebook group. Members will do code swaps and boost each other's products.

Step Four: List Books on Other Platforms

Audiobook Income Academy also includes strategies for listing your audiobook on other platforms, as well as listing it as an eBook or print book. You can:

  • List eBook and print book on Amazon.

  • Put the print book on Ingram Spark.

  • Put audiobook on Author’s Republic.

  • List eBook on Draft2Digital. 

  • List eBook on PublishDrive. 

  • Bundle audiobooks together for the price of 1.

Finally, if you’re successful, you can sell your Audible account in the future for a large lump sum.

What’s Inside Audiobook Income Academy?

Inside the Audiobook Income Academy Partner Program is:

  • The 2022 AIA video course. This course has 6 modules, so it’s NOT AIA 2.0. With your purchase, you have lifetime access to this course and any updates.
  • Live QA call and group coaching 3x per week. These sessions are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and are either with the Mikkelsen twins or a coach.
  • 4 One-on-one zoom coaching calls. In these calls, you’ll choose your book topic together, bring together experts, and list your book on Audible and the other income streams.
  • A private Facebook community.
  • “Audiobook Creator Vault”, which is their exclusive connections to low-cost writers, narrators, and designers.
  • A special $10K award when you hit your first 10K month.
  • Email support with responses within the day.
  • $500 cash back if you purchase the course “during the webinar”, after you list one audiobook and get 50 reviews.
  • A bonus “guaranteed profits workshop” that trains you to start with nothing and make your first dollar within 48 hours.
  • Case studies of students who have made over $100K.
  • Instructions on a low-content kickstart (short audiobooks that are 30-60 minutes long).
  • Extra AIA membership for free- out of pocket is only $998 if you split the cost. But, the additional person doesn’t get any bonuses, just the course. They won’t have access to even the Facebook group.

How Much is Audiobook Income Academy Partner Program?

The full cost of the Audiobook Income Academy Partner Program is $4000, but the cost is really $1995. In addition, the Mikkelsen twins will get 5% of your first year royalties.

The Mikkelsen twins are great marketers, and tell you the high price so that the actual price doesn’t sound so high. They even say that you can skip the enrollment call and get a special offer of $999 up front, plus two more payments of $999 each. Or, if you “act now”, the cost is only $1995. They do a very similar breakdown of the 5% royalties. These are all great marketing techniques, and would feel more legitimate if the webinar was actually live and not recorded. Since it’s recorded, acting “now” could be any time.

What is the Startup Cost of Selling Books on Audible, Other than the Cost of AIA?

The cost of outsourcing books to sell on Audible is around $3K- $5K. The Mikkelsen twins say that you can start this for around $700 for your written word, narration, and cover design. However, if you decide not to outsource, you could do this for free, plus the cost of advertising. But, if you outsource, the Mikkelsen twins don’t give an accurate number. Expect at least $2000-3000 for a well-written book, and $750-$900 for a well-done narration. The book cover price of $5 is plausible, but you’ll get a better product and customer service if you spend more.

How Long Does it Take to Make Money with Audible?

It can take weeks to months to make any money on Audible, depending on how much you spend on its creation. Joseph Hogue, a well-known Amazon publishing guru, listed 6 audiobooks and made about $18/day. 

The Mikkelsen twins make it seem like this business model will make you money overnight, but it isn't as easy as it sounds. Even though the market is less saturated than physical products, your book will still need time to rank either organically, through paid ads, or both. This starts with the approval process, which takes between 4-6 days. Before this, your book won't even show up. Then, it takes about a month for Amazon to pay you anything. It also takes 7-10 days for Amazon to send those promotional codes. Then, you'll have to send them to reviewers, wait for the reviews to come in (at least 24 hours), and wait even longer for positive reviews to influence the promotion of your book.  

What is Audiobook Income Academy’s Refund Policy?

The Audiobook Income Academy refund policy is: you can get all your money back at any point within the first 6 months. If you want a refund, email support@publishinglife.com.

What are the Requirements to Join Audiobook Income Academy?

There are no real requirements to join the Audiobook Income Academy, though the Mikkelsen twins say that they prefer people with the right mindset that act fast. In reality, this is just another marketing tactic to encourage you to buy right now instead of later.

What is the Difference Between Audiobook Income Academy and Automatic Income Academy?

The Automatic Income Academy, also known as AIA, is a course about selling digital products like online courses, blogs, YouTube videos, and using email to promote your products. If you’re looking for an Automatic Income Academy review, you might be taken to a Mikkelsen twins article. However, Graham Cochrane teaches this course. He doesn’t specifically do any trainings on how to make audiobooks or use Amazon to sell them. He uses Kajabi to create landing pages and websites to push products.

Audiobook Income Academy Review: Is this Business Opportunity Worth Your Time?

Audiobook Income Academy might be worth your time if you understand publishing, Amazon publishing, and content creation more than the production of physical products. 

According to the Mikkelsen twins, their “done-for-you” business model only requires 30 minutes a day to make thousands of dollars each month. Certainly, their webinar makes it seem that easy- watching it made me feel like I knew enough about it to start the online audiobook business without purchasing the course. However, from my experience making money online, I know this business model can’t be as easy as the Mikkelsen twins make it out to be.

What is the Success Rate of Audiobook Income Academy?

While the general success rate is unknown, the Mikkelsen twins claim that their successful students have made over $20 million.

Audiobook Income Academy Review from the Mikkelsen Twins: Scam?

Audiobook Income Academy is not a scam. The Mikkelsen twins will provide a service, Facebook group of over 15,000 students, mentorship and support. However, they do use marketing tactics that many people think mean the Mikkelsen twins are scammers. For example, they use emotional triggers, like calling their strategy a way to “stress-free income”. They also tend to hype up the business model and make it sound signifcantly easier than it really is (as many other coaches do). You won't hear them mention much about the quality of their products, the slow pay-out from Audible, or just how expensive a quality writer and narrator will be. Here’s what one student had to say: 

“They had some slick marketing… It was slick, they’re saying all the right things, they’re doing all the right things. They have the T-shirts, they have the people, they have the motivation, they have the mindset. There’s these two good-looking twins and they’re like making it happen and bringing ya into their vision and all the things!” - Lindsay Anderson

They also are heavy on the use of scarcity marketing to make you feel you might miss out on a great deal.

Scarcity

Finally, they encourage you to “move money around” to buy in. This includes using a credit card to buy the course, and call this “good debt” because your audiobooks will pay off the course. They also advise you to eat out a little less, cancel some subscriptions, and say that the price of AIA doesn’t matter because the audiobooks will make money.

It just takes one look at this main page (hello 1990s infomercial?) to understand the marketing you’re dealing with. However, this doesn’t make the Mikkelsen twins scammers. People make money creating audiobooks and sell them on Amazon every day, so there’s a good chance if you buy into Audio Income Academy, you will too.

audiobook income academy review

Audiobook Income Academy Review Reddit

While researching the credibility of this course, I came across a massive Audiobook Income Academy Reddit review:

audiobook income academy review reddit review 1

This reviewer makes some significant points, starting with the over-exaggerated results. These may show a scam, but I saw nothing as bad as Kevin David editing his results while omitting the comma. 

This part of the review also references the tactics the Mikkelsen twins tout to get reviews on audiobooks. Right now, Audible gives out a review code that you can use to get fake reviews, but this won’t always be available, just like the loophole this reviewer mentions. Not really a scam, but also definitely not a sustainable strategy. 

As for the Mikkelsen twins losing their KDP and ACX accounts, I’d say these are valid points. However, many Amazon FBA coaches have lost their Amazon Seller Central Accounts and/or suffered Amazon account suspension. This is a fairly common occurrence and happens when you push the envelope against Amazon’s Terms of Service.

If the Mikkelsen Twins are Successful, Why Do They Teach a Course?

First, it’s incorrect to assume someone isn’t successful just because they are teaching a course on a business model. They have a specialized skill that they can turn into another income stream. The Mikkelsen twins certainly have their own skill set and strategy, so it’s perfectly within their right to teach a course on it. This doesn’t mean that they are scammers. 

However, looking into the Mikkelsen twin’s background, real results, and reviews found in places off their platform will be useful in determining whether the Audiobook Income Academy is a scam.

Here's what the reviewer above continued with:

audiobook income academy review reddit review 2

Audiobook Income Academy Trustpilot

Audiobook Income Academy’s reputation on Trustpilot is mainly positive. Take these Trustpilot reviews with a grain of salt. Trustpilot reviews can be easily faked. These follow a similar format which makes me wonder if they're real:

Audiobook Income Academy Trustpilot 1
Audiobook Income Academy Trustpilot 2
Audiobook Income Academy Trustpilot 3

Audiobook Income Academy Forbes

The Forbes December 2020 Mikkelsen twins article was probably a paid advertisement than a legitimate feature. Plus, there are a few weird things about the article itself. First, a former contributor, not a staff writer, wrote it. This means the article doesn’t go through the typical rigorous editing process. Also, it was in the digital version only, and was included in Forbeswomen, which is supposed to focus on business women.

Mikkelsen Twins Forbes

What Alternatives are There to Audiobook Income Academy?

SUMMARY

Audiobook Income Academy teaches you how to outsource the writing, narration, and graphics of an audiobook to sell on Audible. There is valuable coaching and support. The Mikkelsen twins are surrounded by controversy, and use marketing tactics that come off a bit scammy. However, their product isn’t a scam; you’ll receive a product for your money. Still, there are other sources of information that are far less expensive where you can start your Audible by Amazon journey.

Is Selling Audiobooks on Amazon a Saturated Market?

There is a focus on selling audiobooks in 2023 because the Amazon marketplace has become significantly saturated and audiobooks are becoming more popular. According to the twins, for every 1107 people trying to sell a physical product on Amazon, there is only 1 person trying to sell an audiobook.

We know that there are over 200,000 audiobooks on Audible, compared the 12 million + products listed on Amazon brands alone. So, it might be easier for a new seller to break through the thick Amazon competition.

Here are a few more reasons audiobooks may be a lucrative business model on Amazon in 2023:

  • A study done in 2020 by the Audio Publishers Association says that 50% of Americans above 12 years old listen to audiobooks.
  • Audible is available to a worldwide customer base, so you aren’t stuck in a single marketplace.
  • Amazon appears to be promoting Audible through free review codes.

Note: Only people who live in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland may sell audiobooks on Amazon. Prior to spring 2022, there was a way around this by purchasing an LLC in one of those countries. However, Amazon has started asking for proof of residency. When LLCs from other countries cannot produce this, accounts are getting shut down. This is a bummer for those who live outside of this space. But, it’s great news for those that do, because it will eliminate a large amount of competition.

Audible by Amazon vs. Amazon FBA

Let's compare Audible to Amazon FBA. With Audible, you won’t have to worry about huge Amazon FBA fees. But, Audible has their own. You can choose to receive 40% of royalties (for books only sold on Amazon) or you can receive 25% of royalties.

Product selection is much easier than with Audible, as you won’t have to worry about test products, broken/cheap items, etc (although you’ll have to worry about producing a book with crappy quality). 

Your startup costs are also lower than Amazon FBA, especially if you write and produce your book yourself. The Mikkeslen twins say you can outsource your entire product for about $700, but doing it yourself will make it cheaper, if you have the skills.

What are the Challenges of Selling Audiobooks on Amazon? 

  • Audible doesn’t “give you” or provide a narrator. Yes, they approved ACX, which is like UpWork for narrators. But, you’ll have to search for and pay for any creative you want to use. Narrators are paid “per finished hour”. This means if a book is 3 hours long, they get paid for 3 hours. However, a good audiobook takes time. They won’t be able to read it once with no errors. So, narrators list higher prices to get paid for the actual time and quality equipment they use. You might find a narrator for $150, but many authors accept nothing less than $250 per finished hour. So, the idea of $150 is far too small.
  • Likewise, any 30,000 word book for $500 won’t be excellent quality. For the author, this is under $0.02/word. There will be grammatical and even spelling errors, not to mention a possible lack of organization and even coherence.
  • Keyword research is complex, and ever-changing. You will need to update your listings and continue to produce more books to stay relevant. 
  • Amazon could stop giving out those free review codes.

How Much Can You Make Selling an Audiobook?

If you can sell 1,000 audiobooks in 1 month, you can make at least $1100. Some sellers make over $16,000. To be this successful, you must produce multiple books and follow different ways of promoting them, like filling your listing with keywords, hiring a narrator that already has a following, bundling your products, creating an audiobook trailer, and more. However, these have a cost and will keep you from your maximum profit.

Conclusion: Is Audiobook Income Academy Worth It?

Audiobook Income Academy might be good if you enjoy the book publishing process, you’re not too tight on cash, and you’re interested in learning the Mikkelsen twins’ process. Because of the level of support you’ll receive, you may avoid mistakes by learning from others' mistakes and save a lot of time and money. 

In some ways, it’s easier to wrap your head around something like this instead of a more complicated business model like Amazon FBA private label. However, you won’t be able to make as much money with this business model, Amazon still has ultimate control over your business, and you won’t be able to outsource a quality product for as little investment as the Mikkelsen twins say. 

Rather than selling audiobooks (or Amazon FBA), I make passive income with local lead generation. We rank local sites to the top of Google organically and sell our leads to small businesses. It’s turned into a primary source of income. Learn more about local lead generation.

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  1. Howdy Ippei, and thank you for providing this unbiased insight to AIA. Much appreciated, amigo!

    You might have already mentioned it in your review, however I might have missed it.
    QUESTION: Are there other less expensive alternative training programs to this AIA program?

    1. Hi Keith! Thanks for taking the time to comment, and glad to hear you enjoyed the article. A few less expensive options I listed in my article include the following:
      Udemy: Audiobook Creation and Self-Publishing on Amazon and Audible ($59.99)
      Udemy: Amazon ACX Masterclass: Reach The Market That Prefers Audio ($84.99)
      ACX University (FREE)
      Hope that helps.

  2. Hello everybody. Yes, I made the mistake of buying it (on 23/01/2022) and I am here to tell why I think you shouldn’t.
    First, watching that advertising on YouTube, everything looks easy, fast. Then I watched almost 1 hour of explanations, even easier, faster and then it comes the pressure to pay. They say there are only a few places, like that webinar was live (it is not). And then I paid. And everything becomes more real, they start to say that it's possible, but not easy, neither fast. That we have to put a lot of effort on it. And then I started to think (which I haven’t done before paying) and realizing that is totally against my principles. I have a job, that I love, but doesn't pay me much. I saw this as an opportunity to keep this job and have a financial freedom, an easy money where I don't have to spend a lot of time. Fake. It needs time, especially at the beginning. It needs effort (not easy as they say before we pay). And particularly, I would have to go against my principles.
    Yes… I am totally against this superficial economy where everybody buys everything without the necessity. I was imaging myself paying someone to write a book for me, another one to make the cover and other to make the narrative and then myself selling on Amazon. And for all that I had to just choose a title, I probably wouldn't even read the book before selling. They probably don't do it either.
    So, when I realized that, like 6 or 7 hours later, I asked for a refund, based on the Contract Policies. They answered me in the next day and made the refund 2 days later.
    As I paid in euro and the euro was dropping, I received less money. Maybe I am wrong, but in my opinion, that's not right. They should guarantee I would receive the same amount in my own currency, as there is nothing being said differently in the contract.
    Anyway, that’s not the point. I just wanted to ask everybody to think before paying and not believe in the pressure they put on before we pay. There are a lot of wrong things on their process and I hope I could help some people to make a decision.

  3. I would like to have a discussion with you . I am a partner in a business that provides online directory placement for over 10 million business in 1700 local communities globally
    We also have the most powerful SEO based web tools in the industry enabling businesses to build their own websites
    Lead generation is key and I'd like to learn more about your system
    Let me know when we can talk please and the best number to reach you

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