I released my first book on August 1, 2015 (has it really been over six months!?). It was actually on that day that I was convinced that being in audio is a powerful thing and I needed to get going on it as soon as possible. So I created a profile for my book on ACX the day it was released (you can actually create a profile for your preorder, too, which I did for my next book).
Not surprisingly, I didn’t hear anything. Sure, my book was selling at the time (to friends and family), but it wasn’t number one, nor did I have an established following. Admittedly, I didn’t really read any of the ToS or look into how any of it really worked, so I listened to some samples, made an offer to a couple people, who turned it down.
Eventually, one woman accepted. Her samples were nice. She had a bit of an accent that I thought would fit well with the supernatural element of my story. But when she did the first 15 minutes, I wasn’t blown away. I asked for a few critiques, which she made, and I accepted the first 15 minutes, even though I wasn’t really crazy about it (dumb move). I got the first few chapters and still wasn’t impressed. I didn’t want to keep asking for revisions, so I looked into my options.
The ACX contract says that if both parties agree, the contract can be broken. So I requested that I find a different narrator. Thankfully, she agreed.
This whole process set me back considerably. By the time I found her, sent her the manuscript, had the first 15 minutes recorded, modified, rerecorded, the first few chapters posted, and then the contract broken, I was well into September.
Rule #1: Make sure you like your narrator and what they’re doing with your piece before you agree to a contract.
I took some more time looking for my next narrator. Learning from past experience, I decided to focus on a few key points:
- What kind of narrator was I looking for? Young/old, male/female?
- What style did I want them to read in? What was the tone of my novel?
- Did I want them to do different voices for different characters?
- How fast did I want this to be turned around?
Again, I requested that a few people read my book, which they politely declined until Nathan Weiland accepted. This was his first audiobook, but I loved his voice. He adapted it well to my book and my characters.
The process was slow (maybe slower than it would have been with an experienced narrator), but I’m very happy with the result.
Rule #2: Communicate with your narrator.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in other things, but it’s important to keep tabs on the progress being made with your audiobook. Don’t be annoyingly persistent, though. Your narrator needs lots of time to rehearse, record, and produce your audiobook. It’s as much of a process as writing the book is. So be patient.
Listening to my audiobook made me cringe and wish I could change the manuscript, but the book was published and I needed to move forward. Once I accepted the final recording, it took ACX about 1-2 weeks to approve it (although I’ve heard it could take longer). When it was accepted, it took a day or two to appear on Audible.com and another day or two for Amazon and iTunes. Like I said, a process.
After all was said and done, the project that I started on August 1 was finally on sale everywhere by November 30. Sure, I had some bumps along the way, but that seems about average to produce a 7 hour book. A lot of books are longer than that.
Another thing to consider when venturing into audio is how you’re going to pay for it. A lot of quality narrators only charge per hour (which could cost around $2,000 per book!). Some still accept royalty share, where you and the narrator split your audio profits 50/50. Since my narrator was new to the game, he was willing to accept royalty share.
We’ve had some sales, but nothing too impressive yet. I’m hoping once the rest of the series gets published, sales for this book will take off or at least be measureable where royalty share still makes me a decent profit. In the future, if my finances allow it, I’d love to pay per hour so I can retain all my royalties, but that just wasn’t feasible right now. What was more important was getting the audio out there.
What has your audiobook experience been like?
The Full Moon is now available. Pick up your copy on Amazon!
Kathy and her sister, Samantha, have always been a team. Throughout their time as witches, they’ve taken out more than their share of bad guys. But after Kathy meets Will, who she learns is a demonic Dark Knight, her loyalties begin to change.
Meanwhile, Samantha doesn’t trust Will or his intentions. Still, Kathy can’t help but feel tempted by the dark side as she falls deeper in love with Will. Crossing over would give Kathy the freedom to do whatever she wanted with her magic. No rules. No limitations. It would also mean breaking the bond she has always shared with her sister, who has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the dark side.
When Will proposes they take over the underworld, Kathy loves the idea of having power. But it also leaves her with a choice that will change her life: abandon her family and the life she has always known, or give up the love of her life forever.