So … we’ve finally arrived at the part where we talk about audiobooks! A great way to get your work out, especially if you’re good at reading your own work (which I’m not particularly, though I could probably do my own nonfiction audiobooks, at this point—hmm … just a thought!). If you hire a narrator, that gets more expensive. In fact, a lot more expensive, depending on whether you revenue share with your narrator or not. But we’ll get to that part.
Yeah, so. Here we go!
At the moment, audiobooks are the hot, new, sexy format everyone says is big, big, big. Maybe it is. But they are much more expensive and time-consuming to create than ebooks or even print books.
They generally involve collaboration, for one thing. You, as the author and publisher, are responsible for picking the right narrator. And to find one that’s just right and within your price range may be tough. It requires thought, people skills, and patience.
However, if you want to make audiobooks a significant part of your product line (and always remember, that’s what your books are—a product), here’s what you should know about the platforms.
I suppose the major platform is ACX, which is owned by Amazon and sells audiobooks through Audible. For publishing purposes, here’s where you go to set up an ACX account: https://www.acx.com/
When you create an audiobook there, you’ll need to decide whether to be exclusive to ACX or not. If you’re exclusive, you’ll get a 40% royalty and giveaway codes. If you’re not exclusive, you get a 25% royalty, no giveaway codes, and a swift kick in the ass out the door. However, more authors are finding out that it’s a good idea to take the 25% royalty and distribute those audiobooks around through other channels.
The two options I use are Findaway Voices (which works in association with Draft2Digital) and Author’s Republic.
You can set up an account with Findaway Voices here: https://my.findawayvoices.com/login
And the same for Author’s Republic here: https://authorsrepublic.com/
Along with deciding whether to be exclusive to Amazon/Audible or go wide, you’ll need to decide whether to share part of your royalties with the narrator or pay the full price for their services up front. I’d advise you to think long-term on this. And keep things like this in mind. (And note the year this was published: 2013! Also, click on that little orange rectangle on the side. Patreon. Yeah, that’s the next step. Or one of them.)
No matter where you are in your writing career, remember the words of William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything.” So, ignore about 90% of what you hear you’re “supposed to do” and use the 10% you manage to find. The bottom line is, good writing will always get noticed, if you play your cards right, market and get good word of mouth, but that’s just my opinion.
And it’s never too late to get started. But you do need to get started.
# # #
Debbi Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae mystery series, featuring her lawyer protagonist Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. In addition, she’s written a standalone thriller and a middle-grade/young adult novel. Her short story “The Right to Remain Silent” was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2010. Debbi’s short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online publications.
In 2020, Debbi released Damaged Goods, the Shamus-nominated first book in her new Erica Jensen mystery series about a female Marine veteran sleuth. The sequel, Fatal Connections, came out in 2022. She also hosts her own podcast, the Crime Cafe, where she interviews other crime, suspense, and thriller authors. In addition, Debbi’s a screenwriter and minor-league videographer. A retired attorney, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, librarian and freelance writer/researcher. You can find her online here: https://linktr.ee/debbimack. 🙂
# # #
And back to my self-publishing story next week! 🙂 How exciting, huh?