I thought I’d share some of my thoughts (so far) about the process of getting an audio book done.
(BTW let me know in comments if you have listened to an audio book or buy audio books – would love to know!).
First, why chose doing an audible book?
Making an audio version of your book IS expensive and it takes time (1-3 months or longer for some). For example, for Wicked Wolves of Windsor I’m estimating a cost of at least $1200 and more likely $1500.
Will I make my money back on this? Most likely not the first year. It will take time to see that revenue come in so if you are looking for a quick return, audio books are not that. However, I’m doing it for several reasons:
1.) I do believe there is a growing market for audio books that will continue to expand. It is the next big thing but it hasn’t quite got there yet. I want to be on the cutting edge of that technology.
2.) I think the Ideal Reader (my target market) for my book would love to have an audio book version. This is just something I’ve personally seen with the people I know who buy audio books (a lot of commuters, college aged people, and those who are traveling) who would also be my audience.
3.) The book Wicked Wolves is going to work really well in an audio format as the stories have a lot of character voices (more on that later).
4.) I plan on marketing Wicked Wolves to libraries and a lot of libraries are buying audio books. I actually hope that the library sales is what will pay off the audio investment and it is another reason I went with Findaway over ACX. But this is a gamble.
The big questions you have to have ask yourself is:
1.) Can I invest in my book and be patient for the investment to be returned to me? Looking for a quick buck? Can’t invest that amount in your writing at this time? Take a pass.
2.) Would my book be a great one to be converted to audio? Not all books would work being read aloud so really be honest with yourself before proceeding.
3.) Yes you could save money doing the audio book yourself but Amazon has a lot of requirements on the quality of the audio so unless you have access to professional recording equipment and know what you are getting into, AND think your voice is a great one for your book, please consider a voice actor instead. (I’ll actually post about this option in a separate blog).
Before proceeding with contracting a narrator, what I did with my own book, was record each story being read aloud. In reviewing the audio I did make some additional changes with the text to make the words flow better – and if you are going audio book PLEASE consider doing this! It will save you a lot of heartache and money.
There are advantages and benefits to both but I decided to go with Findaway. If you want to know why, be sure to join the Author Newsletter because I will soon be giving full details as to why I went this direction to the subscribers.
With Findaway you submit your book and they locate a handful of narrators for you to review their submitted audio samples (you submit text for them to read for the audition). This is different on ACX where you actually find the narrators on their platform and request an audition.
I ended up getting about four narrators and selected the one that I thought best fitted what I wanted as well as price ($250 PFH). PFH means Per Finished Hour.
So if you want to know a ball park figure of how much your book audio narration will cost you, read your entire book aloud yourself (not silently) and see how long the book takes. Remember, that will only be an estimate and the price will be rounded up.
ACX offers PFH OR commission base pay structure with the narrator and I knew I didn’t want to go that direction. I wanted 100% of my rights (which again ACX ties up your rights on distribution, Findaway does not).
So far a couple of things have happened with my own book that you might want to be aware of:
#1 Keep abreast of deadlines with Findaway. Two weeks went by and I didn’t hear back on an audio file I was expecting. After the deadline passed, I immediately contacted Findaway and they let me know the file was there but for some reason the system hadn’t notified me.
I’ve seen this complaint on the internet by a few others using Findaway. So just be aware of deadlines and if they don’t happen contact customer support. It was rectified within 24 hours.
#2 Next, another problem I hadn’t thought through was that you get one audio sample before production begins. That would have been okay if I had been doing a book with one storyline and the same main characters throughout – but Wicked Wolves is a collection of short stories with many different settings and characters.
I’ve worked it out with Findaway and my narrator that she will provide me a short sample before proceeding with each story. However, this is rather unusual since the narrator is paid PFH, she won’t be paid for doing these extra samples. It was really nice of her to agree to do this extra samples as time is money for the narrator.
So far I’m happy with Findaway and I’m excited to hear the final book as it’s sounding great!