Guest post by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Audiobooks Killed the…
Almost like that 80s song about video killing the radio star. Though both can co-exist, when one grows in popularity the other is sent to obscurity.
As an Indie author (independent author, self-published author, whatever term you pick I’m in charge of my empire) I know that there are various ways to get my books published. Audiobooks happen to be an interesting medium (no text for readers to read, just the words to listen to). And it’s scary. So is it worth it?
Let’s look at real data.
(E-commerce only. One title. Afrikaans.) In the second quarter of this year (1 April to 30 June) I sold double the amount of eBooks than I did print books and double the amount of audiobooks than eBooks!
I never thought going in that it would be such a big earner. I thought that maybe I’ll earn back my investment in the audiobook in a decade (if I’m lucky). So the distributors take their cut (let’s not talk about how skewed the royalty rates are in the audiobook sector) and my producer who managed to overcome the hurdles for me to get my audiobook everywhere audiobooks are sold gets his small cut from the royalties (basically the same percentage an agent would take) and then I get what is left, which isn’t too bad, everything considered.
I don’t have the report for the third quarter yet (it only ended a few days ago, after all), but I’m more interested to see the final report for the year: then I can track the sales of two titles (the one in Afrikaans from above and the one in English which had only recently been published as an audiobook).
As an incentive for readers to buy my audiobooks, I added a bonus short story at the end of each. Turns out it was worth doing.
So do I recommend investing in audiobooks as an Indie author? Absolutely.
There are obstacles to overcome (like not everyone in the world is eligible to use all distributors, some narrators and production companies are waaay too expensive, etc.) but if you really want it, you can find a way to make it happen. I did.
What goes into making an audiobook?
- An experienced narrator that understands the business and, most importantly, reads the book in the way you want to hear it. (When they read your character’s dialogue, can you hear your character?) Each narrator is different and they’ll interpret your story in different ways: as long as you are happy about the way your story is presented by them, then it’s probably a good fit.
- Either your narrator will have all the equipment necessary to flawlessly record your audiobook, or they’ll use a production company. You’ll be footing the bill either way. Quality is key.
- As recordings happen, you’ll be sent chapters to listen to and make notes. (Did they mispronounce something? Is something missing?) This is your chance to “edit and proofread” your audio samples. Re-recordings of this should be included in your agreed-upon price.
- When everything is recorded, the changes you wanted made and you’ve listened to the re-recordings, the audio will be mastered (turned into that perfect format of sound and use-ability on various devices). It is now ready to be published.
- You’ll have to get a cover designer to alter your eBook cover to become an audiobook cover (they have different dimensions).
- You’ll need to go through Audible to get it on Amazon and iTunes (as I understand it). These distributors have to approve your audiobook before carrying it. Remember to competitively price it, add all the metadata (key words and genres appropriate to your book), place it in the right categories, load your audiobook and cover, add your author bio if they allow it.
Personally, I just contacted Audioshelf and Devon did all the nitty-gritty things for me. (He found me narrators, he recorded the audio, he sent me recordings and updates frequently, he made sure I was happy with the audio and made alterations as necessary, he changed my cover for me, he advised me on pricing, he uploaded the audiobook to all the retailers, he makes sure that I get paid, when a new distributor appears he also gets my audiobook listed on it, he makes sure that I have all the relevant links, he sends me detailed quarterly reports.)
So where are my audiobooks available?
Audioshelf Findaway (and everywhere these distributors send their audiobooks too as well).
Some of these retailers have better royalty rates than others, but I think it’s best to have your book on as many of them as possible. (I believe in going wide and not to go exclusive when selling books.)
If you enjoy audiobooks, why not try out mine?
Or, for the month of October, buy the eBook at a discounted price on Amazon for only $2.99.
I hope I’ve demystified the audiobook process a little and that you’ll go and research the best option for your book.
Author Bio: Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.
Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.
All of her books are available for purchase from all major online retailers.
Once ebook release in May 2018:
Follow this link to read Ronel Janse van Vuuren talking about the world of ONCE here on Writer’s Gambit
Damsels in distress, curses, echoes of faery tales and tragic love affairs swirl together in sixteen stories found in a dragon’s lair by a curious half-fae.
Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.
A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.
Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…
Universal Book Links for Afrikaans and English versions of this book:
And, Audible Version
***Note: If reading on Medium, you will find live links at JunetaKey.com