Audio Books-The Next New Thing! Part 1.

Here are a few highlights from the 2011 Association of American Publishers report:

Total book sales in all categories hit $805.7 million
• Hardcover books fell 11.3%
• Paperbacks fell 19%
• eBook sales increased 115.8%
• Downloaded audio books increased 8.8% to $6.5million.
• The fastest growing category in the iTunes App store – books!

For those of you who may be skeptical about audio books – I should point out that it was just a few short years ago that no one believed eBooks would ever catch on! If you put audiobooks into your search you will find HUNDREDS of companies getting into the audiobook production business. You no longer see “never” when readers are asked how often they listen to audiobooks; everyone is now ready and willing to give audiobooks a try. The past stigma about listening to books is long past. Listeners are no longer lazy but busy! We now use audiobooks while our hands are doing other things. After all, listening to stories has been part of every culture, teaching us and entertaining us, from the beginning of time.

Audiobooks are here and growing in popularity, they are the next means of getting your book out there to new audience and another source of revenue.
But beware – publishers will often take the rights to your book on audio and not having control can be a very bad thing. As a self-published author, control over the quality of your audiobook is extremely important.

Here’s a revealing story-

An author, who is traditionally published, was approached by a friend about putting her books on audio. She checked with her agent to make sure she had the audio rights. To her surprise, the book was all ready available on audio. Her excitement quickly turned to dismay when she listened to it. Her story―told by a young black man―was being narrated by an older white woman! Inappropriate talent is probably the biggest complaint of unhappy authors. And of course, the quality of the production is another thing that must not be overlooked.

Cindi Crane author of Rosewell Redemption, A B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree, recently produced her audiobook. (reprint from earlier blog)
Her thoughts-

Did you know that you can have a professionally developed audio book for no investment?
Yes, it’s true. One thing I sigh about continually is how many people try to sell to us authors. Classes, webinars, conferences, marketing, and on and on. Don’t get me wrong; I participate in these activities as much as I can. Many are helpful and work to promote our books, but costly none the same. I have recently found a way to drive more revenue out of the book I already wrote by getting it produced as an audio book! It’s true! Sandy Weaver Carman of Voicework on Demand, Inc. is in the business of helping authors grow their “revenue river”.
Here is how you get started. Amazon has a company called ACX. http://www.acx.com/ ACX walks you through registering and uploading your book for auditions. That was actually very fun and extremely rewarding to hear people read your book in character. Then you chose the narrator that you feel captured the essence of your story and you are on your way. You review each chapter and if there is anything you want reread, you let the narrator know and they will redo any mistakes. Once you are happy with the finished product you accept it and it is uploaded to the ACX library. Within a few weeks your audio book will be published on Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes! At no cost to you. So here is the catch…some narrators want a fee upfront, and others work on a 50/50 split. Sandy works on a 50/50 split of the royalties. So what do the royalties run? Let’s say you price your book at $20. Audible/Amazon/iTunes keeps 50% and you and Sandy split the other 50%. If you did your math right, that’s $5.00 per audio book to you for doing no additional work. If you are interested in working with Sandy, check out her sample page for the various voices available at http://voiceworkondemand.com/blog/audio-samples/.
You can listen to a sample of my audio book, Roswell Redemption, at http://www.audible.com/.

Best of luck and don’t delay – there is a “revenue river” waiting for you!

5 responses to “Audio Books-The Next New Thing! Part 1.”

  1. Pam Stucky says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been looking at audio books but have been under the assumption I’d have to lay out thousands of dollars. Maybe not, it seems! I’ll give it another look!

  2. Geri says:

    We are going to have several posts on this subject by authors who have done this and their advice along with an interview with a bestselling self-published author who is praising audio books!

  3. Kim Votry says:

    I have some experience in the recording studio and always thought I’d record my own audio book. But my novel has characters with accents I can’t manage . . . so it’s back to the question of talent, as you pointed out in your post. So I’m on the lookout for people with good voices who can do Welsh and Romanian accents!!

  4. Joe Perrone Jr. says:

    Geri,
    Thanks to your blog about audio books, I have become a member of ACX, and have two books that are going into production tomorrow, March 4th. Gary Kohler will be narrating Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, and Mark Smith is narrating As the Twig is Bent. I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to listen to both narrators’ audition recordings. It’s one thing to read a book and hear the characters’ voices in your head, but quite another when a professional narrator actually gives life and expression to those voices. Thanks for helping me along the road to making all my dreams come true.

    Now, for the audio book process itself. I highly recommend ACX. They have about 900 producer/narrators from which to choose. The actual process of connecting is incredibly well organized and easy. The royalty structure is quite generous, and using the “Royalty Share” option, there is no out-of-pocket cost to the author. It’s truly amazing. Stay tuned for more, as I move forward with the process. I plan to put all of my novels into audio book, thanks to Indie B.R.A.G. and ACX.

  5. Geri says:

    I am so thrilled and can’t wait to hear more- perhaps you can write a blog for us on your experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.