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Thread: Audible books?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Audible books?

    I apologize in advance if this is a subject that has been broached, but a cursory search has failed me. I am an action adventure novelist, are audible books worthwhile? Anybody done it? I know it's a pricey enterprise. But, I have a friend loves them, and keeps asking me if I put my works out in that format.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    I think if you search for audiobooks you'll find those threads. I, for one, love them. It's the only way to commute if you have a long drive.

  3. #3
    Get it off! It burns! Dennis E. Taylor's Avatar
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    Are you asking from the point of view of a reader or author?
    Formerly Angry Guy.

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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW WriterBN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al X. View Post
    I apologize in advance if this is a subject that has been broached, but a cursory search has failed me. I am an action adventure novelist, are audible books worthwhile? Anybody done it? I know it's a pricey enterprise. But, I have a friend loves them, and keeps asking me if I put my works out in that format.

    Thoughts?
    I detest them myself, but plenty of readers like them. It doesn't have to be expensive if you do a royalty-share agreement with ACX. The problem is that, unless your book is already selling well in other formats, there won't be many good narrators willing to do a royalty share.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis E. Taylor View Post
    Are you asking from the point of view of a reader or author?
    Quote Originally Posted by WriterBN View Post
    I detest them myself, but plenty of readers like them. It doesn't have to be expensive if you do a royalty-share agreement with ACX. The problem is that, unless your book is already selling well in other formats, there won't be many good narrators willing to do a royalty share.

    I'm asking from the standpoint of the writer. The problem is, my books did sell well up until fairly recently, when sales flatlined. I was hoping it might be an avenue to jump start sales. It sounds though like it might not be for me.

    I know that the the latest versions of Adobe PDF will read a PDF document to you in an automated, monotone voice. It's pretty hilarious listening to it, especially when the F-bombs hit. Is there any passable automated narration services that don't cost an arm and a leg?

  6. #6
    Get it off! It burns! Dennis E. Taylor's Avatar
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    Audio publishers work on much the same basis as book publishers, in that they will offer contracts, pay advances, and absorb the costs of production. I don't know whether they take unagented submissions or not, but I expect that's easy enough to find out. And may vary by audio publisher anyway.

    As an alternative, as mentioned above, you can pay to get your own ACX made. I believe the rule of thumb is $200 per finished hour. It's slightly more than 1 hour per 10K words (again, rule of thumb). My first book, for instance, was 90K words and came in at 9.5 hrs.

    Now, as to whether you should...

    My sales are approx. 80% audio, and 20% e-book and paperback. I was surprised by this, as I 'grew up' before audio books were a thing. However, talking to my daughter and her friends, it seems they are very mainstream among millennials. I've actually started using, myself. It's a great way to make a treadmill session go by faster, for instance.

    The narrator you use has a huge effect on your sales and visibility. My narrator, Ray Porter, also does Peter Clines and several other high-profile authors. He's hugely popular, and many audible customers will buy books based on the narrator just as much as the author. So if you're going to do it at all, this is not the place to cheap out.
    Formerly Angry Guy.

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  7. #7
    Жили-были дед да баба... davidjgalloway's Avatar
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    I believe the rule of thumb is $200 per finished hour.
    For top of the line on ACX, yes. Narrators can set their own rate. Good narrators, who have Audible certified status, can command the best. But it's true that for most of them, you're looking at paying up front instead of a royalty share. Why? Royalty share, for most of the books that come through ACX, sucks because the books are low earners. Once upon a time I did four titles for them and I get about $20 a month through my royalty deal.

    So if you're going to do it at all, this is not the place to cheap out.
    Yes. This would also include using a synthetic narrator. Audible won't even stock your title unless it's a human narrator. I would think trying to inflict a computer-read audiobook on the world would earn you far more enemies than fans.

  8. #8
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    What's been said about finding the right narrator. Two of my novels were done by a narrator with a deep voice who sounded bored to death and kept mispronouncing a character's name. I couldn't bear to listen to him after five minutes. The next batch of books had a younger sounding man, who made the words fresh again, doing a bang-up job. I am a fan.

    I discussed doing indie audio books with a friend who knows the business, but it's just too expensive for me. If you can afford it, invest in the right "voice" for the work by listening to samples of books the site.

    Years back I was thrilled to see a favorite hard boiled mystery novel read by Donald Sutherland. Seemed a natural, perfect choice--until listening. He read it like a stumbling first-grader, over-pronouncing, and with no difference in delivery between different characters. Couldn't finish.

    Then there was Roddy McDowell. OMG, he was magnificent, approaching books the same as he would a theatrical performance. Different voice and cadence for each character, nailed accents, it was a work of art.

    Find a narrator who can act the parts and who sounds like your character. Well worth it!

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