microphone and headset for recording audio-books

Adventures in Audio-Books

 March 1, 2018

Three years ago, one of my writing goals was to explore having my book in audio format. The result of that goal? I had my book, Magnificent Failure, released in audio in December of 2015. After that my goal was to have more books in audio, possibly recording them myself. In pursuit of this goal, I purchased a microphone and an on-line course on recording audio-books. I downloaded audacity for recording, set up a makeshift recording studio in a closet and did . . . nothing more.

Time slipped away.

Finding a Narrator

Much as I thought I would enjoy recording my novels myself (after all, who knows the characters better than me?) I took the advice of Joanna Penn and decided to rely on the experts for my fiction. In the fall  of 2016 I of posted some of my books for audition through ACX (Audio-book Creation Exchange). I was surprised when I received a number of auditions for Land of Deep Water. The previous year I had posted two books and only receive one audition. The fact that I was offering to pay rather than do a royalty share made the difference.

I listened to all of the auditions and found a narrator I liked who was also willing to do my book for a royalty share. I then found two other narrators who were willing to do the recordings within my price range.

Choose a Publishing and Royalty Option

There are three options on Audible. One is the royalty share. With royalty share you are required to be exclusive on Audible, otherwise how would narrator be guaranteed their share of royalties? The forty percent royalty is split 20/20.

In the second option you hire someone through Audible and pay them a set rate per hour, starting at $50/hour. Experienced narrators often require a minimum of $100/hour. If your book is seven hours long, that’s seven hundred dollars. You have to sell a good amount of audio-books to break even, however, all of the royalty goes to you. You also have the option of being exclusive on Audible for forty percent royalty, or be non-exclusive and receive twenty-five percent.

While the bloggers I read on audio-books advise you not be exclusive so you can sell your books through other avenues, I’m not aware of those other avenues, so for now I’ve been sticking with Audible. My understanding from my contact with Audible is that this is a year by year commitment so if I find those other avenues I can change this.

The third option is to upload a completed book. This can either be one you recorded yourself or one recorded by someone else. I contracted independently for the narrator of Still Dancing. If you do this you don’t have the safeguards in place through Audible, however I didn’t have any problems with my narrator. I was pleased with all of my narrators.

Recording Non-Fiction

I had still thought I would try recording my non-fiction. That way I would have no upfront payment and would receive the full royalty but as the year progressed and I had yet to do any recording, I decided to post two of my non-fiction books on Audible. I received several auditions and opted for a narrator who was willing to record the books for a royalty share.

I now have four of my novels, Magnificent Failure, DreamweaversLand of Deep Waters, and Still Dancing, available in audio, and Walking with Families through Grief and Walking with Families through the Dying Process. My novel, A Slow Waltz, is currently in production.

My next step? To promote these books. Audible gives you twenty books that you can give for free, though you have to request those books.

Maybe someday I might actually use that microphone and record an audio-book myself. Or maybe I’ll try a podcast. If I do, it will be matter for another blog post.

What has been your experience with audio-books? Do you have any tips for me?

(For more information on the benefit of Audible from the standpoint of a reader, check out this review.)

I still have some audio-books available for free for subscribers to my newsletter. Sign-up and email me which one you are interested in. You also receive a free copy of Still Dancing, Book two of my Dancing through Life Series, when you sign-up.

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